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Special folder produces special topics

I have a folder in the back of my file drawer on 4-H clubs, Smithfield Council, Gen. George Custer, Clark Gable, Jefferson and Harrison county fairs and many others.

But a file that was the most useful for me to write about in this “all-words” column was titled “Future Column Material.”

I dearly loved Erma Bombeck when she was writing columns and books and read everything she put on paper. Florence Turnbull bought me one of Bombeck’s books and wrote inside. “To Esther, our own Erma Bombeck.”

I am sure there are readers who have shed a few tears over this advice, but I’ll print it for those who have not seen it and as a reminder to those who have. It was written after she found out she was dying from cancer.

If I Had My Life to Live Over

“I would have gone to bed when sick instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

“I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

“I would have talked less and listened more.

“I would have invited friends to dinner even if the carpet was stained or the sofa faded.

“I would have eaten popcorn in the good living room and worried less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

“I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble on about his youth.

“I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

“I would have never insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

“I would have sat on the lawn despite getting grass stains.

“I would have never bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or guaranteed to last a lifetime.

“Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I would have cherished each moment, realizing the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

“When my kids kissed me impetuously I would never have said, “Later. Now get washed up for dinner.”

“There would have been said more I love you’s. More I’m sorry’s.

“But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it, live it and never give it back and to stop sweating the small stuff!

“Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more or who is doing what. Instead, cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

“Angels exist, only sometimes they haven’t got wings — we call them friends.”

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A “Just for Today” thoughts section was in the folder lurking in the back of my desk. It is typed and doesn’t have the name of who might have sent it.

Just for Today

“Just for today, I will live through the next 12 hours and not tackle my whole life’s problems at once.

“Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look my best, speak in a well modulated voice, be courteous and considerate.

“Just for today, I will not find fault with my friend, relative or colleague. I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself.

“Just for today, I will have a program. I might not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two enemies — hurry and indecision.

“Just for today, I will exercise my character in three ways. I will do a good turn and keep it a secret because if anyone finds out, it will not count. I will be unafraid, especially unafraid to enjoy what is beautiful; and I will believe that as I give to the world, the world will give back to me.”

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Remember that laughter really is the best medicine. Each time we laugh, endorphins, the chemicals in our brain that make us feel euphoric and boost our immune systems, are released.

Here are a few ways to get your daily dose of laughter:

≤ Don’t take life so seriously. Give your health a boost by learning to laugh at yourself from time to time.

≤ Get nostalgic. Get together with old friends and talk about embarrassing moments and fun childhood experiences.

≤ Rent a funny movie. Grab your favorite comedy and tickle your funny bone.

This information was from a brochure I picked up from a health fair years back. It was provided by the Jefferson Behavioral Health System.

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Our Holiday Cookbook contest is nearing completion for sending in recipes. The envelopes need to be postmarked on Friday or sooner. Or you can e-mail me at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com. I have not heard from some of my cookbook standbys and hope all is well with them, and they decide to make me happy by sending in a few recipes.

Gene-Marie Sperduti, a former Steubenville resident, sent me her mother’s recipe for apple raisin croissant pudding two years ago. Last year there were several recipes, and she sent an e-mail in September to tell me there would be some recipes coming soon. Sperdutie had just returned from Italy where she had an audience with the pope. This was made possible because her friend’s cousin is a Vatican employee.

I remember some of the winning contestants from the past, including Maxine Cenker of Weirton, Pat Merritt of Brilliant, Cindy Houk of Bloomingdale, Marilyn Walters of Brilliant, Faith Semple of Toronto, Suzie Crawford of Steubenville, Al Arabia of Steubenville, Nada Todd of Toronto, Jeannie Roberts of Mingo Junction, Carol Mazzaferro of Wintersvile, Marilyn Crawford of Toronto, Linda Nichols of Steubenville, Norma Scott of Colliers, Jenny Monfred of Wintersville and Debra Latynski of Wintersville. Claudia Clevenger and Natalie Doty, both of Wintersville, and Bertha Cline of Mingo Junction were contestants and winners back in the early 2000s and are still contributing recipes. It is nice to see cookbook friends come back year after year. Please, won’t some of you send me some mail?

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The wedding of Megan Lecik and Brent Wetherell was a beautiful sight to behold, and something that gave it a cutesy look was the appearance of Beanie, Megan’s 5-year-old bull dog, who was the ring bearer. She was pulled down the aisle in a Radio Flyer wagon and was dressed in a satin doggy dress and wore a lace veil. Beanie sat quite still and loooked up at all the wedding attendees with an “I’m cool” look and didn’t even try to get out of her transportation. In case your were wondering, the ring was in the wagon, not on Beanie’s person. She might have decided not to give it up.

It was quite touching when the voice of Megan’s deceased granddad, Frank Cibulka, was heard singing a hymn through the courtesy of a taped recording. He was one of the soloists and members of the choir at our Christian Church in years past. I noticed many eyes being dabbed with tissues.

Connie Cibulka, Evelyn Clouston and Mary Ann Clouston made 500 rosebud butter cream mints for the wedding the night before the event. Connie, Evelyn’s friend since childhood, arrived from the Akron Airport on Friday evening, and the girls started in with their candy making. Evelyn soon learned she was better at rolling the candy into small balls and dipping them in sugar than pressing the fondant into and removing it from the plastic forms. I skipped part of my dinner to be able to taste-test five of the six flavors of mints. I somehow missed the rum-flavored ones.

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Hope to hear from all the cooks and bakers with your favorite recipes. And the recipe does not have to be anything original, unless you have something like that.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is the food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstronline.com.)