I don't know of any weekend that was as busy as the one that just passed. Ozzie must have felt that we abandoned him for all the time we were away.
It started April 18 when I attended the Gables Care Center Volunteer Banquet to say goodbye to Marilyn Thompson, employed at Gables for eight years and serving four years as the activity director. Lynette White was introduced as her replacement.
It was nice to see Laban Blackburn at the dinner as a volunteer. He was one of the first Harrison County employees I met when starting at the Cadiz Bureau in 1980 and one of the most helpful. He was accompanied by his daughter, Amy Norris, an activity assistant at the center.
Joe Pelegreen, props man; Dennis Kinsey, Lions president and endman; and Dustin Kinsey, musical director, keyboardist for the house band and show host, get ready for the curtain to go up.
From left, Roger Warren, singing “This is my Country;” John Parkinson, interlocutor; and Rich Steffl, an endman who sang “This Land is Your Land,” are ready for the curtain call.
Martha Packer sang “America the Beautiful” and was part of the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” trio. She took time to hug her granddaughter, Addison Erwin, 4, daughter of Julie and Rob Erwin
John Borkowski, Friends of Smithfield president, looks over antique tools at the flea market of Becky McLaughlin at the walking trails event. He is holding a railroad spike. Other sale items were a corn sheller, vulcanizing tool to patch inner tubes, Armstrong knife sharpener, tool to stretch cable or barbed wire and old soda bottles, such as Spring Hill, Pa-Poose, Wink, Frostie and Zip.
The opening act of the Stars and Stripes Spectacular featured Lions members dressed in military uniforms from many wars. The chorus in the background was dressed in red and white outfits.
I remember Lottie Tipton as an activity assistant from many years ago. She and Rhonda Davis make up the rest of the activity people trio.
Laban told me that everybody has people they are very proud of and wanted to show me a photo of his pride and joy. He pulled out a photo of a bottle of Joy dishwashing soap and a can of Pride furniture wax.
Doris Boals, a member of the dietary staff, and I go back to Darin's baseball days. Our sons played on an all-star team together then. Joyce Richards is another member of the dietary team.
Next came the Adena Lions Club's Stars and Stripes Spectacular, a wonderful two-plus hours of hometown entertainment.
Lamont; my brother, Dale; sister-in-law Norma; and I enjoyed all 28 acts and appreciate the effort that goes into each one. Some acts really caught my attention, including Julie Erwin's singing of "Amazing Grace" with the haunting refrains of the fiddle, played by Dan Jones at the beginning and end.
I loved Chris Krahel's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." It is a song I remember singing in my own tuneless way during the war.
The "Village of Adena People," Indian, policeman, soldier, construction worker, sailor and such, were a riot. They sang and performed a dance to "In the Navy."
The skit by Drew Case, who was a puppeter, and Darrin Young, his dummy, was funny - so funny in fact they were nearly breaking up themselves.
Dennis Kinsey did some unbelievable feats as the new recruit put through the paces by Darrin Young, the loud Army instructor in the Boot Camp skit. He was made to climb a wall, struggling a bit at the top; swing from a rope; and then climbed a rope to retrieve a red scarf. He is in amazing physical condition.
At Rich Bolock's singing of "God Bless the USA," everyone stood when he sang the stanza about standing up and defending it.
Dustin Kinsey played Brian Edwards for a NBC candidate program, with some hilarious candidates, including a very funny Donald Trump.
At the beginning of the singing of "American Soldier" by Darrin Young, two soldiers returning from Afghanistan, Nicole Hopkins and Laurie Wentworth, came marching out and saluted each other, standing at attention throughout the song.
Kathy Oxley, Julie Erwin and her mother, Martha Packer, were dressed as believable WACs and sang "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," with trumpet playing by Bill Harms.
A quartet of tap dancers performed an excellent opening for the second act. They were Kelsey Fithen, Lindsay Harms, Danessa Kinsey and Smithfield's own Megan Lecik.
The Buckeye Local jazz band played for a 30-minute warmup before the show, directed by Bill Stephens, who I saw playing in the brass section. Ron Retzer was on the keyboard, and Jared Roach and Aaron Stewart were playing guitar. I realized how few students I know any more in looking at the band. I did recognize Ramsey Core and Mark Carson. I made the acquaintance of Tyler Pasco when I asked his name as I took a picture of him and Ramsey playing their saxophones in earnest.
The Deuces Wild Band played "Pink Houses (Ain't That America)" as one of the acts. This is comprised of Dustin Kinsey, keyboard; Kipp Bowers, drums; Brian Dawes, bass guitar; Dan Jones, guitar, fiddle and harmonica; and Stephen Keiner, rhythm guitar.
Dr. Jones - I don't know how he has the time to be both a musician and a doctor - and I spoke during intermission. I told him I met his grandfather, Roy Lucas, when I did a local horseshoes story. Roy plays a mean harmonica and guitar, and I asked if he got his talent from him. He explained that in his family you either played horseshoes, cards or an instrument. "I wasn't good at throwing horseshoes or cards, so I took up several instruments," he told me.
Lamont and I were surprised to hear the town of Lakeland, Fla., when they announced the winner of the $500 drawing on Friday evening. If I had been thinking, I wouldn't have been surprised. That is where two of the Parkinson children live. The winner was C.J. Keon, John and Judee's grandchild. The stipulation was that the money had to be divided between the other three grandchildren. But that was still $125 each, almost enough for C.J. to pay some of her car insurance, as she just got her driver's license.
Saturday morning was spent in a cold and rainy atmosphere at Friendship Park for the event that had been planned out so well but was somewhat spoiled by the rain.
It did not dampen the spirit of those who walked the rehab trail for the grand opening of the two trails and it surely didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 4-H members taking part in the bicycle safety rodeo.
They rode through the rain from station to station to be tested and filled with knowledge on turn signals, how to handle a fire truck situation and even how to toss the newspaper, the Herald-Star, what else, into a basket.
I purchased a blue-sponge design pitcher that matched my dishes, filled with wooden kitchen utensils at the antique sale. There is a meat tenderizing utensil, potato masher, several wooden spoons that I need desperately as I tend to burn mine to a crisp and tongs in the set.
Renee Garcia was giving appraisals of antiques brought in by proud owners as a fundraiser for the Friends of Smithfield. They had some interesting pieces brought in.
I had a nice conversation with Evelyn Clouston. I also saw her son, John, who was a close friend of my son, Jay, throughout school. We talked about some of the funny things the two had done together. And I was happy when John recognized me. He had changed to where I wouldn't have known him if I didn't know that he was to show up.
I used the Jefferson County Mobile Medical Unit and got good news on all my numbers. I even received a hand-drawn picture, done in magic markers from James, grandson to the nurse taking my blood and blood pressure. I'm going to put it on the refrigerator with those of Maggie and Jackson.
We used the GPS to travel to the Amish Door Banquet Center in Wilmot for the Ohio District Ruritan Spring Banquet at the request of Bud Hyndman, Zone 8 governor. The GPS always wants to take us through back roads to Tuscarawas County, areas we know well from traveling to Buddy McCoy's Dover home. It is after we pass Dover that we need instruction.
We sat with Jeannette, Brian and Gretchen Yanssens and Harry and Donna Fair, members of the Buckeye Ruritans, and had a great time at the dinner. We were lucky to be at our table early and play the "pie switch game." If you didn't like the slice in front of your plate, you get up and find one you do like. Of course no one should be seated in that chair at the time.
Gretchen has great powers of persuasion. She convinced Lamont that the peanut butter pie was to die for - even better than the coconut cream pie, which has always been his favorite.
The Canton Hall of Fame Barbershop group was wonderful, singing all the songs of my era. The song leader received a surprise when he was directing much too enthusiastically and backed up into a microphone and got a thump to his head.
After grabbing his head, he said, "That was planned. That was part of the act." But it wasn't!
I took home a beautiful pink rose, as anyone who wanted one was allowed to do. I would have liked to take my pie home as I was enticed by their warm, fluffy, homemade rolls and ate two. I didn't really want the pie right then but there was a note in the program saying that doggie bags were not allowed.
Lamont said I could put the pie in my camera case but I knew that wouldn't sit well, and it would surely play havoc with my camera.
To conclude the weekend, on Sunday, we went next door to the home of Bob and Mary Ellen Petrozzi for the open house to introduce us to little Alfonso Joseph Nocera, their new grandson. He is the son of Josie and Joseph Nocera, born Feb. 21. He has a brother named Benjamin and a cousin named Evan Petrozzi, 9 months old.
As I did the entire weekend, I ate much more than the diet books would suggest. And again there was really great Italian bread, Italian sausage, baked corn, green beans, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes and about six kinds of pie. This time, I got to take home my pie, lemon meringue. Mary Ellen even gave me a slice of cherry pie for Lamont.
And that is the end of the indulgence weekend that I got to spend with really great people. But now it is celery, tomato juice and Special-K cereal for a few days until I get back on track with my healthy diet. But I will always remember having peanut butter and lemon meringue pie and warm, fluffy rolls with butter all in the same weekend.
(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 email@example.com.)