2007.08.01 Dorothy Okray

Written by David Green.

It’s been a month since I left Morenci and I can't believe I am still homesick. You might wonder that only four years in your city could evoke such sentimentality, but I miss you!  Now mind you, Morenci can’t compete with the lushness of the palm trees and exotic flowers one sees along the streets of Sarasota…as most of you know, I am a firm believer of trees in the commercial areas of towns. But, Morenci has something with which even the most awesome displays of foliage can’t compete—a beautiful soul.

I miss my early morning visits to the Village Inn where the waitress brought my decaf coffee upon arrival and the tables were filled with the familiar faces of retired farmers and village folk. I miss Adam and Gail at the hardware store; they are the essence of what it means to be a good neighbor. I loved visiting the library to say hello to Liz, Colleen and the rest of the crew…what wonderfully talented people.

I will always remember David Green from this newspaper whose intelligent editorials were on my must-read list; he was both my first and last visitor, welcoming and saying a fond goodbye.

I could go on and on for there is so much about Morenci and its people that is in my heart: the generous nature of the Kiwanians and earnest endeavors of the Chamber of Commerce for the Morenci citizens, the loving friends I found in my congregation at the United Methodist Church and the Congregational Church that I served for a short time, the Friday night Happy Hour gang, the phenomenal meals at the Disters, movies with Lois, my exercise group at Curves, coffee with Connie…these are precious memories that will always live with me.

Morenci might not be found on “The Best Place to Live” list but that is only because the judges haven’t learned about it.  I arrived in Morenci, sight unseen, expecting a foreign kind of life that included cows grazing on the front lawn of the parsonage, so unaccustomed was I to the life in a rural town.  Instead I found a place I wanted to call home.

My immediate plans are to plant a few flowers, walk on the beach and read that stack of books I brought along. My future plans are uncertain, but a trip back to Morenci is at the top of the list.

– The Rev. Dorothy Okray
University Park, Fla.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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