I love my Weirton Greeks. All Saints Church is always one of my favorite places to roll up and take some photos, maybe do a little article. It doesn't hurt that three times out of five they feed me delicious Greek food, and getting big hugs five times out of five is always awesome. They're so nice to me, if I only hung out with them, I might start deluding myself into thinking I'm someone important. (Speaking of, hi to the Sassy Saint's buddy, the Greek Orthodontist, and his Yiayia.)
Since the newsroom relocated across the river to Steubenville some time ago, I've been hanging out with my community sister-in-crime, Janice, who basically does for the Herald-Star what I do for the Times, and is likely better at it.
Janice happens to be fond of the Steubenville Greek community. I am sure they are lovely. They came riding to the rescue last year when a freak storm knocked out the power at All Saints, and all the food my Weirton people had been stocking up for months for their annual summer festival was ruined. They came down and rolled grape leaves until their fingers just about dropped off. That's awesome; much love to you guys.
I still love my Weirton people best. And I'm convinced they prepare the very best Greek food in the Greater Pittsburgh area - that's right, my Weirton people are the best in three states, better than 2.5 million people. No, I'm not exaggerating. It's that good.
We have two festivals in the immediate area, one given by each church, and they feature delicious food prepared by both congregations. I have not eaten at the Steubenville festival, because it would be cheating on my Weirton people. I am nothing if not faithful.
Last year, Janice was trying to tempt me over to the dark side.
"Do you want anything from the festival?" she asked.
"No," I sniffed. "I'll wait for the Weirton festival. They have the best food."
She then very sensibly pointed out that most of the people involved in the two churches had family who attended church on the other side of the river. Many of those favorite recipes were handed down to cousins in both communities.
"No, no, no," I said. "I can't be caught at the Steubenville festival. My Weirton people might think I don't love them anymore."
So I didn't indulge. I should pretend anything fattening is from Steubenville.
I was really, really good. Then I went on vacation ... the same week of the Weirton festival. I don't make the vacation arrangements - Grampy Grumpy is our tour guide, I haven't chosen a destination for our extended family summer caravan in years - and I only remember vacation about two weeks before we leave, and only because I have to pack, stop the mail and attempt to do the next week's work before I depart.
So I forgot vacation coincided with the festival. And I didn't get any Greek food at all, because I had turned my nose up at the Steubenville festival. Hoisted by my own petard, guys.
But there was always next year.
When I bopped into All Saints recently, everyone was hard at work making those twist cookies I like to dunk in my coffee. (Grampy Grumpy loves those things; someone remind me to pick him up a couple dozen.) I was chatting with the church's Super PR Lady and the Orthodontist's mother when I realized the festival was the third week of July - and once again, coincided with vacation. We'd already dropped several hundred dollars on reservations and invited my brother, Davey Crockett, and his bride-to-be, Glinda the Good Witch.
No way we can move vacation now. No Weirton festival for me.
So ... hey, what's up, Steubenville Greeks?
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)