The end of the holiday parties

I can’t believe it, this will be the end of my Christmas party photos for this column. Now I have to face the nasty, cold weather of January, and the only thing going on is the sound of snow shovels cleaning out driveways and cars being revved up to get started.

The reason I remember the Christmas luncheon held by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee is that it was on my birthday.

Mary Ellen Grafton, chairman, is such a gracious and thoughtful lady. She and Jeanne Roberts had an enormous birthday cake that I got to take home – my first birthday cake in about 12 years.

It was supposed to go to Columbus with us for the family weekend, but the weather didn’t cooperate and we didn’t go. Therefore, the Herald Star newsroom was treated to the red velvet and white cake that was delicious. They said “Yum.”

Mary Ellen gave me a Christmas ornament resembling a cupcake that says “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus” and plays the birthday song. This was played while the gang sang to me.

The Grafton family was well represented, as Emilee Wood and Joy Clements, Mary Ellen’s daughters, were present.

It was nice to see Joyce Wetherell, the busy 4-H adviser, present. She and Jeanne Roberts, both from New Alexandria, came together.

There were red, wooden bird tree ornaments for favors, along with hand lotion, bath gel or emery board favors as well. The birds were made by Barbara Sanders, who comes up with a unique idea for an ornament each year.

Friends, Orega Yanik and Patty Schnabel, were enjoying themselves at the luncheon.

Mary Ellen had those with a certain colored hand lotion tube get up to sing the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” They had to do one of the 12 objects with hand motions and Liz Matthews and Emilee Wood did funny renditions of the five golden rings and maids a-milking.

Then the real meaning of the 12 Christmas presents was read.

It is said that from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. The carol was written as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element was a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese-a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.

The eight maids-a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the holy spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

The 10 lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The 11 pipers piping stood for the 11 faithful disciples.

The 12 drummers drumming symbolized the 12 points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

The P&E has a time-honored type of Christmas gift exchange. Each member and guest attending signs in under a number, and the gifts brought in are numbered. When receiving a gift there is a preference given between opening the gift or trading with someone’s unwrapped gift. It’s lots of fun, and there is some snappy swapping going on.

OK – this is the end of the party season for me. I know in a few days I will be having cabin fever as I stay inside, except for the walk that Ozzie insists we take each day. About the time I get cold we head in because if I am cold I know that his feet are quite cold also.

Quite an eye opener is when he is taken out in the middle of the night and then gets under the covers in bed and lays a cold paw on a body part.

That’s all for now. Stay warm.

(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