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McCoy house under tiny rodent seige

September 18, 2011
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

Help! Our house is under attack by a tiny rodent, and we can't seem to outsmart him. I say "him" because I don't want it to be a she who has had a romantic encounter with a furry creature of the opposite sex.

The story goes back at least six months when my car wouldn't keep running once the key was turned on. This only happened on random occasions. Then Rick Pastre was called to get the Focus towed to Smithfield. Upon arrival, he would jump in the car and start it with no trouble at all.

Two weeks ago this happened while Kathy Dombroski and I were delivering meals for Lunches With Love. I had my cell phone but Lamont did not have one in making his deliveries on another route. Actually, we now have a very clean cell phone in the dresser drawer that went through the washer and spin dryer inside my husband's Bermuda shorts.

Having never entered the LWL phone number in my phone directory and not wanting to bother Corella Robinson, where we made our last delivery, we thought of calling Petrozzi's Florist and having Mary Ellen run across the street.

Kathy thought she knew the number so I called, and it was wrong. The nice man who answered put his wife on the phone, and she looked up the florist number. Lamont came to the rescue and was able to keep the car running for the two or three miles back to Rick's. Then it died for him, too.

Rick kept the car for a week, running it constantly to see if it would stall out. It didn't but in inspecting the running parts, he discovered about three cups of dry dog food in an area that would occasionally get clogged in some parts. (I don't know car innards so that is the best explanation you're going to get.)

Now back to the mouse in the house. I don't often open the bottom doors of a bookcase in our living room, and when I had a reason to do so, out came tumbling lots of dog food.

My first thought was, "Am I going crazy?" Lamont said he didn't do it so it just left me and Ozzie. We removed the dog food and then I started to see, dog food in the upturned lids in the stove drawer.

I washed everything with scalding hot water and used bleach in the drawer but decided the best solution was to get rid of the little robber. Ozzie probably wondered why he was getting cheated on dog food each day with so much missing all the time.

We started emptying the dog dish at night and put out four mouse traps smeared with peanut butter. The little guy is a real escape artist. The peanut butter was gone on all four traps each morning, but they are still set.

Does anyone have any ideas? I dislike the thought of little animals making themselves at home in our house and eating up all of Ozzie's food and my peanut butter.


Regarding the arrival of Clark James Gable, grandson of the King of Hollywood, in Cadiz on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I received a suggestion from Joanne Murdock regarding the part that the young man will be taking in a play in the Reading Theater at the Hopedale Church.

He will be reading the part his grandfather played in the original production of "Captain Racket," and Joanne suggested trying to contact as many descendants of the actors who could be found that were in the play.

She will be reading her grandmother Hervey Merryman's part and said that Hervey was a senior in school when Clark was a freshman in 1916 at Hopedale High School. Other actors in the play were Andrew Means, Thomas Lewis, Wilson Hoobler, Eva Skeeles and Eileen Bell. Are any of these descendants in the area?


I got a nice letter from Arlene MacQuown with a terrier-mix dog stamp on the letter and another stamp inside for me.

History tells that during the late 1880s, a dog appeared at the post office in Albany, N.Y., and the clerks took a liking to him and named him Owney.

Fond of riding in postal wagons, Owney followed mailbags onto trains, where Railway Mail Service employees considered him their good luck charm.

As he traveled the country, clerks affixed medals and tags to his collar to document his travels, and Postmaster General John Wanamaker gave him a special dog-sized jacket to display them all.

Owney later toured the world by steamer and became an icon of American postal lore. His adventures highlight the historical importance of the Railway Mail Service, and today he enjoys a place of honor at the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

He also enjoys a place of honor on a forever stamp that went to print July 28.

Much too long ago, I received a handmade water-color card from Ann Knowles, now residing in Manassas, Va. She always mentions that she misses Steubenville and all its interesting people.

Ann asked about the Grand Theater restoration and recalled memories of that theater and the Capitol and Paramount.

Movies were 25 cents during her early memories, and the Capitol had a large stage where big bands played on Sunday, a day they were forbidden to do so in Pittsburgh, so they came to Steubenville.

Another memory is of her mother, Elizabeth Rumics, walking her children to the Rex or Olympic theaters on Saturdays to see black and white movies that cost 10 cents.

"We always wanted to see what happened in the cowboy serials," she said.

Her daughter, Patty, didn't know about Hopalong Cassidy who came riding into town to save the day at the end of the movie. He is a Zanesville native, according to Ann.

I have to relate to Ann that the Feb. 1, or thereabouts birthday celebrations of Clark Gable, are not held any more. Bad weather spoiled too many of the well-planned events. That is why the Sept. 23-25 one is being held this year. I'll have to send Ann pictures after it is over.


Patti Sabo tells me that a Women's Retreat is being held at the Bethel Church near Jewett Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be a purse ministry, so bring any you have tired of, and they will be distributed to needy ladies. There will be a 25 cent auction on white elephant items as well.

The theme is "Women of the Bible." They would like to meet new friends at the retreat.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist at the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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