2009.01.21 This, that and the other thing

By DAVID GREEN

I have a couple of things to mention from recent editions of the Observer.

Two weeks ago I wrote about my gris-gris Christmas present—the little sack of herbs and oils that I’m supposed to carry around for good voodoo.

That column closed with directions about how to part with the gris-gris, to throw it into water running away from me. I said that eventually I would toss it into Bean Creek and let it travel into Ohio.

My sister, Diane, wrote that when she read about water flowing away from me, she immediately thought of the toilet. Bean Creek never entered her mind.

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Last week, we published a letter to the editor from a Montréal resident. Not likely, some of you must have thought. Why would someone from Montréal read the Observer?

Good question. Why do you read the Observer, Kay Johnson?

This Kay Johnson is a former Iowa farm girl who grew up near Guss where the baby pigs sometimes develop scours.

I met Kay in 1969 when we worked together at an old hotel up north in Bay View. I was the dish washer; Kay was a maid. We’ve been friends ever since.

I’ve sent bundles of old Observers to her now and then over the years, but I slipped out of the habit. Now that she can download the paper off the website, she buys an electronic subscription.

So yes, there really is a Kay Johnson from Montréal who reads the Observer and writes a very occasional letter to the editor.

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When my wife decides to recount a dream to me, I try hard to ignore the long, twisting tale in which I’m frequently a villain. But here I am telling about a dream.

The two of us were walking toward the front of a bookstore and as we neared the window, I could see my father holding Maddie, our youngest daughter. I pointed toward her and she pretended to bite my finger through the glass. She was probably three years old.

We went toward the door and there was Ben pressing his face against the glass. He was about nine years old. We walked outside and there was Rosanna running around, about six years old.

What was so unusual is that they were moving around exactly like they did at that age. Seventeen years were instantly erased. I wanted back in so I could see Maddie get down on her feet and move, but of course dreaming doesn’t work that way.

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Colleen and I went skiing Sunday for the first time in a long time.

This winter is like one from the 1990s. Lots of cold, lots of snow. We’ve had enough snow for skiing some years, but it either wasn’t good snow–maybe ice on top–or the air was so cold and windy that skiing was out of the question.

Someone was kind enough to circle the cemetery with skis already to make a good trail through the deep snow, so away we went.

We saw a pair of hawks take off from the north side of the cemetery. They must be mating already. I noticed that the basswood and box elder still have their seeds. The witch hazel still has its leaves. The tulip trees have the remainder of their fruit on the tree. It was almost glowing in the sunlight and the snow was looking a little golden, too, in the late afternoon sun.

Getting on cross country skis brings back a lot of memories, like heading off across Lake Hudson with my father and Clyde Brasher and wondering how I would ever get out of my skis and save myself if I fell through the ice.

I remember skiing around Pokagon with baby Ben on my back. Eventually he would fall asleep. But if I happened to fall down a fast hill or ran into a tree, Ben was going to be hurting. Somehow I always managed to stay on my feet, but I’ve wondered ever since...should I really have been doing that?

Steve Begnoche and I used to epitomize the words “cross country.” We would drive out to Lake Hudson and just take off across country. We didn’t look for trails. We just headed out into the woods. It was sometimes more like hiking with skis, when the snow was deep enough.

It’s deep enough now and there’s not much melting in the forecast for a few days.

We decided optimistically to leave the skis on the porch as though this thing just might happen again before spring arrives.

  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.