Holiday over, but not the stories

Christmas is over, but stories about the season abound in the McCoy household.

I first have to tell you about our Christmas Eve, when we attended the candlelight community service at our home church, the Smithfield Christian Church, which was hosting the event.

When walking in, I spotted our pastor, Wilford Simeral, and his wife, Anna, shaking glow sticks and circling them around the head of baby Jesus in a homemade manger that our church member, Carlo Barbarossa, made with only two days’ notice.

I always wondered how those sticks started glowing. I didn’t realize they needed a big shake first. Anyhow, when the lights were turned down, the sticks made a radiant glow around the baby’s head. Nice thinking, Simerals.

Sad to go from that to fallen underwear but that is what happened next. Wearing a dress called for me to wear a slip and all I have are half slips. Since I was wearing knee-high boots, I couldn’t feel any slipping but when I looked down, my slip was down to my ankles.

It was black and so were the boots, so I don’t know how many noticed it, but the biggest problem was getting it hiked back up to my waist. I stepped off into a corner where a pulpit met the wall and started wiggling to pull it back up. Mission accomplished, but I kept a firm hold on my waist each time the congregation was asked to stand.

Dennis and Donna Neeley came over to talk as we don’t see them often. She mentioned how much she enjoyed the poem, “My First Christmas in Heaven,” that was in an earlier column. I had several comments from other people as well.

Dorothy Simeral, Pastor Wilford’s mother, was looking sprightly beyond her 90 years and told me she didn’t like to get her picture taken, but she finally permitted me to do so.

Erin Smith, organist for the Smithfield Presbyterian Church, was in the congregation in the event our organist, Carol Ann Garcia, who was fighting severe back problems, could not attend. But Carol made it to the service and played the hymns beautifully.

It was nice to see young people in the congregation, and the couple I noticed right away were Megan Lecik, Ozzie’s best friend at Dr. Robinson’s veterinary clinic, and Richard Boyd.

Gilbert Powell was decked out in a red shirt and sang a solo for the program as part of the St. Paul A.M.E. Church segment of the service. Jayda Dalton read the Litany of Glad Tidings, and the St. Paul pastor, the Rev. Anthony Gatewood, did a reading and offered the invocation and benediction.

Soon after we got home, part of the McCoy tribe arrived, coming from visiting relatives in Youngstown and staying the night. With three bedrooms and seven people, somebody ends up either on the couch or on the floor, and Matthew, 13, chose the floor. In the morning, Ozzie was putting his cold nose on his face – a frightening way to wake up if you don’t have a dog of your own.

I had asked – make that begged – for a Steelers Christmas ornament, and Lamont finally consented. He wore his Browns hat and sweatshirt to go into the store and make the purchase and got some dirty looks. I didn’t put the ornament on the tree until only Matthew was left in our household, as he was staying for four days.

Then started the game of finding the black ornament, as he was always tucking it away in some far-away place on the tree.

The ornament that did not get moved was a white ceramic heart memorial to Larry. The brothers, an uncle, a cousin and many of Larry’s friends got one as well.

Amber, Jessie and Matthew helped get dinner and then the whirling dervish arrived in the form of 5-year-old Maggie McCoy. Jackson, who is on the quieter side, was there as well as their parents, Darin and Missy.

Maggie got a toy sewing machine, and there were remnants of fabric and all colors of threads included. She wanted to make a doll blanket so her aunt Margaret make a lined comforter. She had Jingle and Belle, two adorable dogs who barked at the mention of their names in the reading of a book, covered up with the blanket when everyone else decided to crash on the floor after dinner and playing my silly after-dinner games.

We didn’t have a cake, but I put candles on a Twinkies Trifle I made for dessert, and we all sang “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”

I bought the Twinkies to put in the grandkids’ stockings but found that they were not Twinkies fans. So I had to use them in another way. Cutting them in circles vertically, I layered them with sliced strawberries, whipped cream and dribbled strawberry gelatin over each layer. It was a big hit.

With Matthew staying for several days, we had an opportunity to take Ozzie out for walks in snow that came up to his stomach. He didn’t mind it at all, but I was afraid that his feet would freeze in the snow.

Matthew thought if he took a big run and sat down in the snow that he could slide down to the house, but as soon as he hit the snow, he skidded to a quick stop. It wasn’t the sliding type of snow.

My shining star, Stella Puskarich, sent me a Thanksgiving card with a poem that can be changed to be a Christmas greeting and I am going to print it right now because I think it is awesome.

“If Jesus showed up for dinner on Christmas, there wouldn’t be any fighting over the drumsticks. He’d just multiply them. He could turn water into cranberry sauce if you ran out. The last to arrive would be the first to get served. He’d let the little children come to Him at the big people table. He’d make sure all the food was ready at the same time and dished up piping hot. He’d grant everyone’s wishbone wishes, and there would be enough leftovers to feed a whole multitude.”

I do hope your Christmas was special with love and family, and I wish you a wonderful new year.

(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