I had a whirlwind of dinners the past 15 days, and each has been more exciting and different than the last. Life is going to be very quiet once Christmas is past at the McCoy household.
It started with the 8 & 40 Christmas dinner at the Steubenville Legion. Ellen Hunt provided nice favors and Lorraine Hazlett offered an interesting punch, with maraschino cherries soaked in brandy.
Next, it was the Brilliant Lions Christmas dinner, where every guest went home with a nice door prize, and the Vinyl Classics sang "Feliz Navidad," "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," to name a few songs.
Esther McCoy takes the dare of her grandson, Matthew, to ride a camel at the Living Christmas Tree production at the Grace Brethren Christian Church in Worthington.
I met Lowell and Jean Shields, a couple who have been married for 69 years, and saw Martha Bradley again after two years. Lamont and I once frequented the New Alexandria Grange card parties, lunches and flea markets, where Martha and her group did many benefits.
We accepted Colleen Mindzak's invitation to attend the Lawrencefield Bed and Breakfast appetizer and spirits party. This is sponsored by the Wheeling YWCA, where Colleen is a member. She made an excellent, hot Reuben dip and pineapple skewers, and there were many other finger foods, rich desserts and a selection of fine wines.
The B&B was once the home of James and Tabitha McCulllough in the mid- 1800s and is now owned and operated by Millie and Terry North. There are five rooms with individual bathrooms and two rooms for a family, with children 10 and older accepted for the overnight stays.
Ceilings are 20 feet high in the downstairs rooms with a working fireplace in each. All rooms had a beautiful Christmas tree.
The Harrison Community Hospital Christmas Leadership Breakfast was another wonderful event, celebrating a 20-year anniversary. Each $5 fee went to provide gifts for children in the county who would not have a happy Christmas without toys. The hospital provided the pancake, sausage and scrambled egg breakfast, and hospital managers served the coffee and orange juice.
The Gen. George Armstrong Custer birthday dinner happened to be celebrated on my birthday. His birthday was Dec. 5. I met a new Custer re-enacter in Rick Williams, who proved to be quite personable, and we sat with Lyle Zerla during the dinner.
I got to meet Kyle Wolfley and share in his proposal to Danessa Kinsey at an event bringing friends and family together for an Operation Kyle project. This was to gather needed items for Kyle's "Punisher" troop in Afghanistan.
I even had Kyle's dad, Craig Wolfley, a 10-year member of the Steelers family, pull me up from a very low step I sat on to take a picture. I was almost lifted off my feet. Wow!
Lamont took me to a birthday dinner on Dec. 4, Kathy Dombroski did the same on Dec. 7, Larry took us out for a Chinese dinner Dec. 8, and then we went to Columbus, where it was celebrated again with Darin, Missy, Jackson and Maggie one evening and Jay, Margaret, Amber, Jessie and Matthew the next.
During that time, we sat through three Worthington Christian High School basketball games, and I got to hold a "new," but let me stress right now, "just-pretend" family member. Amber is in Family Living class at school, and their goal is family responsibility. Each female class member was issued a life-like doll to be cared for as a real baby.
She couldn't put the baby down when she went out to cheer. A responsible person is needed to hold it. I was that person on several occasions. At least the baby - Amber named her "Peyton" - didn't squirm and cry.
We watched Jessie cheer at the freshman game; there was a junior varsity game where we went to the cafeteria and had pizza and hot dogs; and then Amber cheered for the varsity game.
We had not seen her since the scare of her partial paralysis. I know it was because of all the prayers offered that she is doing much better.
The next day, we drove to Logan to see Matthew play his game. Then it was back where I took up my dare with Matthew to ride a camel. The animals were part of the Wise Men group traveling to see the new-born Jesus in the "Living Christmas Tree" production.
I'm sure the young man leading the camels around in the church lot was happy to see me get off. After climbing the ladder to the platform, where riders were loaded up, I was told to stand close to the edge, lift my leg high and throw it over the camel. I did so but sat down with a heavy plop. The camel sort of jumped as if startled. Then the camel leader told me to raise my foot so it would not get crushed if the camel came too near the platform. I swung my foot outward and startled the camel again.
We were walking around, and it was too quiet for my satisfaction, so I asked the camel's name. He softly said Toby. I wasn't sure if it was Toby or Doby so I repeated Toby louder than he did. The camel recognized his name and turned his neck around until he was about 2 feet from me, as if saying "Here I am."
So ended my camel escapade. It was fun but I imagine if I would show up next year, the leader would want to say that the animals ran out of gas or something.
This past Monday, we attended the installation of grand master for the Toronto Masonic Lodge 583. Carl Glenn was installed in that impressive service. I immediately said yes when I learned that it was Virginia and Kurt Glenn's son. They have been an inspiration to me with their promotion of the book on Yellow Creek and their initiative to write another, with letters from people who lived during that time included.
Carl said he felt as if he knew me from the times I took his picture in 4-H through the years and then of his children.
We talked to Ray "Rainbow" Hilderbrand's mother and Manuel and Carol Ann Garcia and his sister, Babe Kovarik were at the dinner, too. Butch - he is not Manuel to me - is a district 24 deputy and attends more dinners than I do.
The Herald-Star all-building luncheon is this week, along with a dinner Lamont and I will attend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my brother, Dale, and sister-in-law, Norma. Next week is our office Christmas hoopla and then Christmas Day when all the McCoys come trouping home.
It's all good. Everything but the extra pounds I know will be registered on the scales on Jan. 1.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)