Enjoying time with UMW groups

Some friends asked me to attend their Smithfield United Methodist Women group some time ago. I did, liked it and have been going ever since. Although the Methodist church is not my home church, they welcomed me with open arms to their meetings.

I have taken part in their programs and learned a great deal in the process. I caught my finger in a mousetrap once when they were talking about how you can get trapped in sin. I found that a mousetrap can hurt very much, so it was a good demonstration on avoiding sin for me.

They asked me to attend the Wintersville United Methodist Women’s luncheon recently, and I found it very enjoyable.

There were beautiful gospel songs from Barbara Thermes and her daughter, Leslie.

We learned about Prime Time on Aging and the services offered. Judy Owings spoke on the Prime Time fitness class, the morning walks, the able bodies fitness and the lunches. The floor plan for the new senior center in the former Temple Beth Israel was shown, with all the meeting rooms and program locations.

Nancy Hukill made the luncheon tables come alive with color with her decorating skills, and the salads looked mighty tasty. The one I selected had a creamy peach topping and peach slices on the bottom. It was delicious. There were strawberry and blueberry desserts, too.

Someone was a very good potato salad maker. The plate I chose had a salad reminiscent of that of my mother-in-law, Bessie. She made her own dressing for the potatoes and had lots of vegetables in it, just like this one.

As little girls are known to do – little boys too, for that matter – they tend to squirm and give begging looks when an adult program is going on. Laci Gear, Liz Matthews’ granddaughter, had reached her limit in patience when Nancy Hukill came to the rescue with a purple canvas bag of word games, stories and coloring material. This got her attention up until lunch time.

I saw my cooking friend, Natalie Doty, at the luncheon. I will be spending more time with her in the fall, when she serves as one of the judges for the Holiday Cookbook contest. Natalie was the 2012 grand prize winner with Cranberry-Pear Clafouti, and this earns her the right to judge in the 2013 contest.

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Because of the many years I have put together a food column on the Greek Festival, I feel close to the volunteers of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Many of us still feel great sorrow over the death of Angie Kayafas.

I came to know Angie and George Maragos, Pete and Roberta Atsalis, Millie Mougianis and her son, Anthony, John Scavdis, Paul Mastros, Pete Petrides and loads of names I have scrambled in my mind. I felt a surge of pride when I saw young George Atsalis working in the gyro booth. He took time off from his employment at TMET to volunteer with his dad and mom.

No one can bake better pastries than the ladies at the Holy Trinity church. I’m sure some of the foods were done without a recipe as they know every step and measurement by heart.

I can’t say enough for the Rev. Nick Halkias, pastor of the Holy Trinity Greek Church. Last June he consoled and prayed for Lamont and me when I stopped to pick up recipes and a story for my 2012 food column about the festival. He had learned about our son’s death that was a week before and stopped everything he was doing to take time for us.

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In 1975, Larry and most of the boys his age went to Brilliant to become part of Buckeye North High School. It was there that I met Donna Herrlein, a whirling dervish who was active in the boosters. We stayed friends over the years, with both of us serving as news correspondents for different papers but covering the same material.

I had not seen her for a time but still recognized those sparkling blue eyes and wide smile when she was at the Mount Pleasant High School dinner, her alma mater in 1947. We sat at the table with her; her hubby, Phil; and daughter, Cheryl. Soon her granddaughter, Marissa, came over with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for the celebration of her 84th birthday. Donna has never missed one of her 66 school reunions either.

Marissa Herrlein, Rebecca Rector, John Rozenek and Boyd Walker were honored with $1,000 scholarships from the school organization. Their parents or grandparents graduated from Mount Pleasant and all are top Buckeye Local High School graduates.

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The Smithfield High School Alumni Banquet needs a little boost right about now. Reservations are due for the July 13 dinner and are coming in very slowly. The committee has planned a great night, and all we need are the past graduates to make plans to attend. The Class of 1963 is holding its 50-year reunion that night. We hope it brings in a large enthusiastic crowd. Send reservations to Tony Philippi, 1341 county Road 15, Rayland, OH 43943. The cost is $30 per person.

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In just nine days, the 166th Harrison County Fair will be in full swing. It doesn’t seem like fair-time, but this summer is really speeding by. I love the vanilla soft serve ice cream the Harrison County Dairy Board has at its concession stand near the display buildings. Their rootbeer floats are tops, too.

I tasted my first taco salad in a bag at the Harrison County 4-H stand. It was just new on the horizon and after that their popularity spread fast. The Millers of Bloomingdale are always there with peanuts in the shell; cotton candy, a favorite of mine as it just melts in your mouth; and candied apples, if they are the caramel covered, don’t care for the candy coating that is hard as a stone.

The auction of baked and canned goods and crafts is made hilarious by Steve Birney, auctioneer. There are buyers such as Lynette Dausch, Sandy Thompson and a few others who bid on objects, and they are then found hanging on the wall of an animal stall or wrapped beautifully and presented as a gift to someone. They have loads of fun with a tiring situation and make it fun for everyone.

Check out the Harrison County Fair. It is small in size, but the committees who put it together each year are large in heart and planning.

(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 emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)