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It was a week of fear, tears and cheers

February 5, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

I experienced a white-out during a snowstorm for the first time while Lamont and I were driving back from Massillon last Sunday. It didn't happen just once, but in four different locations during our trip home, one that took more than an hour more than it did to arrive at our destination.

The occasion was my Aunt Victoria Kollar's 90th birthday party. A surprise event that she handled much better than I did for a surprise sprung on me by Kathy Dombroski about 10 years ago.

Aunt Vicki looked around and said, "Oh you guys!" and then went to her assigned table, decorated with a lovely vase of pink roses and pink and purple balloons. As you might have guessed, her favorite color is pink.

Aunt Vicki resided in Dillonvale with her parents until my uncle Frank, my mother's brother, discovered her and whisked her away to the Bethel, where my grandparents operated a big livestock and garden products farm, outside of Smithfield.

I can remember her living in three rooms in the big farm house, and I would go to visit her often. All I had to do was go from my grandparents' living room into their headquarters. Not much privacy there.

She had one carpet that covered the middle of their living room, while the rest of the rooms were linoleum. A newlywed, she did not have an electric sweeper, so she dipped a broom in water and swept the carpet. It was done this way to avoid scattering dust around, she pointed out.

My cousin, Little Butchie, came along after a year or so, and I recall so well taking him for a walk in his stroller when he was about 2 years old, letting go of the handle and it careening down a small hill and tipping over. I was so afraid that he was badly injured, and Aunt Vicki would be mad at me. He had a few scrapes and tears but nothing major. I think it would have been a good segment for "America's Funniest Videos." I think that now but I was terrified then.

I also remember her giving me a very grown-up (to me) Christmas present when I was about 9 years old. It was a fountain pen and pencil set with my name engraved for all the world to see. I took it to school and liked dipping the fountain pen into the ink well and pulling the plunger to fill it for my writing lessons.

They moved to Canton after several years, and I didn't see them often for awhile, but we reconnected four years ago when we were invited to Wendy Kollar's house - Little Butchie's daughter. He grew up with no scars from the stroller accident you see. Frank has a sister, Dorothy, better known as Suzie, who has a son, Brenden, and he has a family consisting of Chrystal, his wife, and daughter Adylin and son Aiden.

I have now met all of Frank and Tina's daughters: Wendy, Missy and Christy and Christy's children, Kaylie, I'm not sure of the spelling; and Kollar, yes his mother used her maiden name for his name. Everyone calls him Kole.

Back to the whiteout, Lamont had gone to the car at 2:45 p.m., and the weather was fine. When we left at 4:15 p.m., there was snow covering the cars and parking lot, and it was coming down in buckets. It wasn't quite as bad going through Navarre and Strasburg but when we hit Dover, it got extremely bad again. Then on state Route 250, just before Tappan Lake, it was so bad that we couldn't even see the lights of the car only 15 feet in front of us. It wasn't over as it happened again as we approached Hopedale.

I was never so glad to get home in my life.

But it was a real fun time at the dinner party, and I enjoyed seeing all the family members and looking at all the memory pictures. I was in some, including my brother, Dale; sister, Dot; and my mother.

Those people are excellent bakers. Each one made at least two pies or plates of cookies or a cake. There was cherry crumb, coconut cream, raspberry, key lime, mixed berry, peaches and cream and a sugar-free pecan pie. There were cutout Valentine cookies, a lacey lemon-coconut cookie and a chocolate-iced cookie, along with a fruit-filled cake. All yummy but hard on the diet.

I was truly grieving for the Birney family upon the death of their son, husband and brother, Philip Birney. I remember him as the Harrison County Fair king and taking part in the livestock auction from the 4 p.m. beginning until its end at past midnight when he was a teen. I remember all the livestock projects he took during his years in 4-H.

I came across him again when his daughter, Malania, received the grand champion title for her steer at the Jefferson County Fair. She also received the grand champion honors for a hog that she raised. Those people really knew their animals.

His dad, John, is a special friend of ours. At one of the auctions, Lamont was carrying my camera case, that's manly enough, right? John called it a purse and from that time on, he always yelled out, "Hey Lamont, where's your purse?" no matter where we were.

My heart broke, too, for Cheryl and Zack Taylor's loss in the death of Kent, her husband, and his father. Cheryl is such a giving and loving person, and I know that her loss is great. My sympathy to the family.

A good thing came out of the lock-out of the Lunches with Love headquarters. It looked as if the 45 Smithfield shut-ins and elderly on the client list would go without a meal on Feb. 1, but Paul Folmar, owner of the Sunset Pizza Shop in Smithfield, stepped forward and provided pizza and a salad for each of the customers. Thanks, Paul. Your generosity was appreciated.

And Jennifer Trehar of Brightway Center called to say that Brightway was the fiscal sponsor for Lunches with Love and that anyone wishing to make a donation to the food for the needy and elderly could do so by sending it to the Brightway Center, P.O. Box 126, Smithfield, OH 43948. There is also a website,, regarding this.

Let's hope that the matter gets straightened out quickly. Both sides have good points but sometimes compassion is needed. Lamont serves on the board for Lunches with Love. He is quite concerned. Me, too, but he is in the mix of the battle.

That's it for this week. It has been a busy one. Next week, I'll rest on my oars, a saying Lamont's dad would use a lot.

(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

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