Coming back from a vacation is tough. There were nearly 270 e-mails to read or delete, and I apologize to anyone who has not been contacted yet.
There were stories to get ready fast or they would miss deadline; a food column to throw together in a hurry because other things are pressing; clothes that were brought out of summer storage for the warmer southern weather and now must be put back; and lot of walks with Ozzie, who missed our daily jaunts while we were gone.
But a big vote of thanks goes to Lamont's twin brother, Larry, for doing the doggy-sitting chores while we were gone. And to Kathy Dombroski, who got the mail and newspapers each day.
Gary and Paula Bush received a plaque for nominating the biggest ash tree in Jefferson County, located at the Union Cemetery.
A worry I had the entire vacation was that my doctor's visit on Tuesday would be scuttled by the delicious breakfast and dinner buffets we were offered. I took my hand away from my eyes to stare at the numbers on the doctor's scale and saw that they were down 2 1/2 pounds. I could not believe it. Paula Deen's fried green tomatoes, Leonard's barbecued chicken and sweet potato casserole and the French toast from all the breakfasts had not caught up yet. Let's hope it stays that way.
It was nice having dinner at Paula Deen's Buffet with Donna and Becky Sliva of Adena. We didn't get to see each other much during the trip, though. We were on opposite ends of the bus.
At Graceland I purchased "The Presley Family Cookbook" and thought I could print some recipes for a column. Then I read that the book or any portions thereof could not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher. There was a telephone number, so I think I will be making a call to Mississippi soon. I do know the recipes contain lots of butter and a tomato soup recipe calls for bacon grease.
I want to comment on the Steelers story I printed during our vacation. Sam Geddis of Toronto called and gave me great compliments, an e-mail came from Linda and Betty Vidmar of Hopedale, former Imperial, Pa., residents and longtime Steelers fans; Judy Saiter of Rayland said she made copies to send to friends; and Thelma Buchmelter of Mingo Junction sent copies to her family. I did not hear anything from Browns fans.
John and Thelma Buchmelter came to the newsroom to put in their 45th anniversary, an event they will celebrate during Thanksgiving when all the family can get together. I was sitting at my desk with lips that were double those of Angelina Joline because I had used or ingested something that caused an allergic reaction.
I took a mercy run out to see Dr. George VanWeelden, and we tried to figure what I had done differently that morning. The only thing different was the use of a new brand of toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
I told Thelma about this, and she said her daughter came to visit and used her toothpaste for sensitive teeth and broke out in a rash. So I think that is what happened to me. It might be good for sensitive teeth but not so good for sensitive lips.
When my lips first started puffing up, I grabbed a little frozen ice pack that came with my canvas lunch carrier and held it in my mouth, much like Ralphie handled the Lifebuoy soap in "A Christmas Story." That was fine around the house but I wondered what to do while driving the 16 miles to work. As puffiness started again right after I removed the ice pack, I drove to work with it protruding from my lips. Those passing on state Route 22 had to wonder what in the world I was doing.
Lamont and I sat with Judy and Corky Saiter and John and Cathy Cavanaugh at the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District the night after we arrived home from vacation. The Saiters looked happy, as they were celebrating a wedding anniversary. I think it was for 35 years.
Irene Ann Moore gives me biographies on those getting awards, and I looked through and saw the Cavanaugh name. I was really pleased that we were seated at a table with some worthy recipients who were getting a plaque.
I was totally surprised when a door prize was called, and I had the winning number - 7. I couldn't believe that out of about 100 people my number was pulled. Ray Agresta, county treasurer, provided the nice bottle of wine.
Jody Russell, who receives nice awards in photography at the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, was a winner in one of the photography categories. She named her picture "Tim Henge," as he trimmed their shrubs to resemble the famed stones in England, and she shot the picture. Gary Bush had a winning photo of a flower garden in Toronto.
Chip Warren did a great job putting a landscape design on a JSWCD rain barrel that was up for bid. Ken Perkins was the high bidder at $90. The money will be used for a scholarship.
Later in the week I was a judge for the Unionport Apple Stirrin' apple pie baking contest. It is hard to choose a winner as I know all the work that goes into a pie and have admiration for all the young people who bake anymore. Ten-year-old Makara Eick was the first-place winner. She makes good gingerbread boy cookies, too.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)