2006.10.25 Die here or elsewhere?

By DAVID GREEN

It was the odd question of the week. I was standing by the kitchen counter applying peanut butter to a rice cracker when my wife asked me something.

“Do you want to die in this house?”

I knew Colleen had a large kitchen knife in her hand, but I didn’t turn to face her. If she was about to stab me, it would be in the back. I wouldn’t give her the pleasure of a decent murder.

Turns out she was asking if I was interested in moving some time in the future...or did I want to die in this house.

Two kids gone, one a senior in high school—she was thinking about our future. More room than we would need, stairs to climb up, stairs to climb down, repairs to make in an aging home, etc.

And then there’s the issue of grandchildren, all those next-generation offspring who don’t yet exist. Maybe we’d have to move to get closer to the dispersing family.

Ben is in Miami, a place so far south that he says it’s south of the South. It’s an entirely different culture.

Ben took the job down there stating that he would like to return to the Great Lakes state sometime down the road, but certainly not now. Landscape architecture firms often live by public money for the parks and downtown development projects they design, and Michigan isn’t a place for public money these days.

Rosanna is in year three of college in Kentucky, and with a Kentucky boyfriend, maybe she’ll end up living there. That’s a long drive, too.

Too early to even guess with Maddy. She has yet to settle on a college and she’s applying to schools from here to there.

My parents stayed put here in Morenci and had access to three grandchildren plus a 90-minute drive to three more. Two others are a few states away in Minnesota.

Through some strange planetary alignment, all of my siblings were in Morenci Friday. Dan flew in from Seattle for a home town visit. Tom had two days off from school, so he decided to drive over. Diane wasn’t about to miss out on this and she came down from East Lansing.

We decided to participate in a shared interest, geocaching, so we grabbed our GPS receivers and headed out in search of hidden “treasure.” Since Colleen appeared to be free of weapons, we allowed her to come along.

While traveling between the Little House on the Hill and Wabash Cannonball Trail #1, Colleen put a different twist on the “Do you want to die here?” question. She asked my siblings if they ever considered moving back to Morenci. “Do you ever have a yen for it?” is the way she put it.

Dan said he has no yen and Diane said she hasn’t either.

“I could move back if I had to,” she added.

“Maybe if a giant wave wiped out the west coast,” Dan said.

Tom never answered that one so I asked him the next day when he and Dan and I were headed to Lost Nations to look for the famous cave that I’ve long heard about. There was a geocache nearby.

Like the other two, Tom has no reason to consider moving back here. All three of them live in areas that hold a lot of appeal.

Tom figured he could do it if Colleen and I were still living here, but he didn’t think he could ever talk his wife into making the move. She’s from Minnesota and they live near the 45th parallel. What’s the appeal of southeastern Michigan?

You can visit the Silas Doty cave only so many times before getting accidentally shot by a hunter.

When we were about to set out Friday afternoon, I pulled up to a gas pump at the Deli, opened the window, and asked the elderly gentleman who was studying the directions to “Fill ’er up, please.” I knew it was Jack Smith.

He turned around looking a little surprised until he saw the joker who was asking. He couldn’t see through the tinted glass of the van so I opened the door and there were the other three Green kids, much to his amazement.

We helped Jack with his purchase—he was just filling a gas can—and he mentioned that he and Ruth are considering moving to Illinois to be closer to their children. That sounds like a situation in which Ruth had a knife in her hand one day and asked, “Do you want to die in this house?”

I guess it worked for her.

   – Oct. 25, 2006

 

  • 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.