I dubbed last weekend "Mid-Fest 2012."
That's because it was the 90th birthday celebration on June 15 for Mildred "Mid" McNinch Kinney, a woman who has been a Hout family staple for as long as I can remember, and that's 50-plus years in my world.
She and her husband, the late Harold Kinney, were friends of my parents as were the late Ed and Anne Kinney.
April 1952 -- Ruth Ann Hout and Mid Kinney
Harold and Ed were two brothers who married two sisters, Mid and Anne, and both sets had lots of kids.
If all the Kinneys would be around in the same place, mixed in with the Houts, it would be more of an invasion instead of a get-together.
Harold was my childhood savior, by the way - the guy who came around, thank goodness, and fixed our TV at the Hout House from time to time when foil on the rabbit ears no longer worked its magic.
Harold was king in my world of desiring a "snow-free" screen on which to watch "Honey West" and "Rawhide." All hail Harold.
In my mind, Mid is one of those people who has never changed, save a gray hair or two.
I've always admired Mid, with her laid-back ways, her gift of hospitality and her wiring to take everything in stride.
I gladly took my mother to the first half of the festivities - a dinner at Williams Country Club in Weirton, where family and friends offered glowing personal tributes and testimonies that led Mid to quip "Who's everybody talking about?"
I presented Mid with a "Stop the Presses - Mid is 90" kind of token sporting a photo of her and my mom all dolled up in an April 1952 picture. They were at the flower show at Phipps Conservatory on opening day of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field, so read the back of the photo I came across in an ongoing search for Hout House pictures for a project I'm working on.
The evening ended with everyone getting a hardback copy of "The Road Less Traveled - A Journey of Love," a compilation of tributes along with a DVD of Mid's memorized recitations, one of which is entitled, "When I'm An Old Lady."
"Mid-Fest" continued last Sunday with an open house at the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, where Mid is the eldest member and its first ordained female elder.
I stopped in - never mind that there was food - feeling a sense of it's up to me to gather all these Kinneys together for a group shot, to activate my Canon G7 "necklace" and shoot candids for posterity.
It was a challenge to get all the Kinneys together, but it was a success, I'm happy to report. I drew on my years of photo-taking, which is a lot like herding cattle, I have come to believe. I think of myself sometimes as the cowgirl in the saddle rounding up people for a proper photo. Somebody's got to boss everybody around. It might as well be me.
As I looked through the lens and got the job done, I realized I had been part of a very special weekend - Mid-Fest 2012. Happy Birthday, Mid Kinney, and may there be many more.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)