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Good things about growing older

March 4, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

Going to Heartland at the Fort Steuben Mall is always a treat for me. I love to wander past the tables where health providers offer instructions and products that are helpful.

I especially like to stop at the Jefferson Behavioral Health System table, where I see a longtime acquaintance, Mary Krauskopf, someone I knew in my days of working at the newspaper's Cadiz office. Or as Matz Malone, retired Herald-Star reporter, once called it "The Outback."

What I like at the health system's table are all the leaflets on mental and physical health issues. This was from a pamphlet on "18 Good Things About Growing Older."

You smarten up.

Your mental health improves.

You take charge of your health.

You feel your power.

You find your personal style.

You're allowed to please yourself.

Love deepens.

Love widens.

Curiosity increases.

Your altruism increases.

Stress diminishes.

You toughen up.

You mellow out.

You feel free.

Motivation increases.

Gratitude deepens.

Your spirit comes alive.

You become more yourself.

I guess I'm not that far into the golden years yet because some of those issues have not overcome me, especially the smarten up one. But I will work on that, plus a few others in the mix.

I received an e-mail with this bit of advice, and it gave me a laugh for the day. Here it is:

"Grant me the sensibility to forget the people I never liked anyway.

"The good fortune to run into the ones I do.

"And the eyesight to tell the difference."

Recently, I had the good fortune to be in the same place as an old friend from the Buckeye Central Middle School Athletic Boosters days, Ethel Todoroff of Dillonvale. We were both at a cooking and health lesson sponsored by Ohio State University Extension in Jefferson, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties and the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, held at the Dillonvale branch.

Ethel and I went through four boys who played sports, her sons, Mike and Mark, and ours, Larry and Jay. Actually, Darin attended Buckeye Central as well but Ethel had gone through all her sons by then.

Another incident came up while Norma McHugh and I were on our way to the Dillonvale library branch for the diabetes session.

While driving down Cole Street, I noticed a woman walking a gorgeous collie, if you can call a dog gorgeous. It reminded me of my younger days when we had such dogs on the farm. As I started to pull into the library parking lot, Norma yelled, "Esther, watch out."

I looked at her kind of weird, because I didn't see a thing I needed to watch out for.

Then I noticed the same collie running around past my side of the car with a hot pink leash dragging on the asphalt.

I threw the car into park halfway in the parking lot, blocking anyone else who would want access to the lot, jumped out and told Norma to park the car.

The dog stopped when I called "Here boy." I seem to call all dogs that, as that is the gender that we have in Ozzie.

He stopped and started toward me giving a big tail wag welcome. I took control of the leash, feeling a great victory, but soon learned that it wasn't me who was in control. The collie was big and strong and pulled me around like I was a toy on a string.

I started stumbling and half running down the street where I had seen the dog walking with an owner just minutes before but saw no one. And this brought on a sinking feeling for me. What was I going to do with a frisky animal that was dragging me all over the place?

Norma then saw a car coming up the street and said it might be the owner. Lo and behold, it was the doggie's owner, and she expressed her appreciation to me over and over again for rescuing her dog. She said that he had just started doing this run-away bit lately, and she could not understand why.

I was glad to be of help as the collie did not seem to have a healthy regard for cars and could have been in an accident or caused one.

While still on the subject of dogs, did you see Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier from the silent movie "The Artist" as he made an appearance at the Academy Awards? He was very well behaved, something I'm not not sure our Jack Russell would have been under the same circumstances.

Ozzie recently got groomed by Petey Cecil and looks so adorable with the fur trimmed around his mouth and sporting a little green bow tied onto his collar.

Darin always said that the bow made him look like a sissy, but I disagree. Anyhow, he doesn't own Ozzie any more - we do. I think this comes under the pleasing yourself issue in the 18 things about growing older as listed in the early part of this column.

Jackie Clark Haynes has one of the same breed with the name of Twink, short for either Twinkle or Twinkie. And I know that I will get a phone call from her telling me the difference. The dog has been credited with alerting Jackie about an emergency situation that could have turned out bad in their home.

Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America" has a Jack Russell terrier as well.

The Survivors and Seekers members - they made me an honorary member last year - wish to express sincere sympathy to the family of Gordon Grafton upon his death. He was founder of the group that brought together former residents of the McCullough Children's Home to talk about past experiences and learn to face the future.

The home opened on June 3, 1914, with the first 28 children placed in the McCullough Home coming from the Smithfield Children's Bethel Home, purchased by my grandfather, James Kollar, after the bethel closed.

Gordon was the author of "Lost Children of the Ohio Valley," detailing the lives of those children from the McCullough Home. Many at the meetings have their story told in the book

Darlene Pehanich, secretary of Survivors and Seekers, tells that members will hold their regular second Friday of the month luncheon meeting at the Wintersville United Methodist Church social room to discuss how the group will go on without their leader.

Gordon was loved and respected by all members, and it will be a sad time.

I want to make mention of the Olde Stark Antique Faire at 305 Wertz Ave., Canton, to be held March 10-11 and April 14-15 at the Stark County Fairgrounds.

We have gone to this event with my friend, Shirley Owens, now deceased, in the past, and I found it very enjoyable and with plenty of antique merchandise to "oggle" over. There are more than 100 select dealers and collectors with tables and booths.

The fair reminds me that Shirley's daughter, Renee, would go with us and always make the remark "old people" in a manner that sounded like it would have many exclamations points following the two words.

Of course, Shirley and I were known to act a bit silly at times. And this might come under the "becoming more of yourself" from the 18 lessons to learn.

I could use an antique bed stand now, and the old jewelry is always something to admire. I would miss being there with Shirley though.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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