In my search for a way to start this column, I ran across a Dec. 22, 1977, copy of the Herald-Star, and it had a list of last- minute gifts that you would not be able to buy anywhere - even at the Hub.
Yes, it was an advertisement for what I thought was the largest and most wonderful department store with the best decorated windows in the area.
I remember in my youth going shopping for a winter coat in the Hub basement and thinking it was the most marvelous store around. I loved their candy counter where peanut butter fudge balls were sold for 50 cents per half-pound, too. I have tried to duplicate those fudge balls and was told by Mildred Kropka, who worked in the fine china department then, that mine came very close.
FINAL CHRISTMAS — Little did we know that Christmas 2011 would be the last time to celebrate with our son, Larry Scott. He loved giving surprise gifts to the children for the holiday and enjoyed all the Christmas dinner food. A family photo includes, seated, from left, Jackson, Matthew, Amber, Jessie and Maggie; middle, Margaret, Jay, Lamont, a space left for Esther, Larry and Missy and back, Larry Scott and Darin.
-- Esther McCoy
Getting back to the gifts that cannot be purchased in a store, here was the list:
Ask someone who's lonely to share your Christmas dinner.
Declare Mom's liberation on Christmas morning and clean up Santa's aftermath.
Send a check to your favorite charity or organization.
Say "I love you" and then act like you really mean it.
Remember a needy family that Santa might forget.
Take an elderly person with you to Christmas Eve services.
Tell the "Christmas cook" that the dinner was super.
Give a child the gift of your time and attention.
Give the birds and animals outside a "Christmas dinner."
Remember someone who is ill in the hospital.
Adopt a homeless dog or cat from the Animal Welfare League.
Brightway Center was dressed up for the Christmas season when I attended the open house held last week. In a tour of the "up and coming" activity center, Donnie Grim, contractor with Allied Construction, showed me the remainder of the structure of an old activity barn on the Kara Bright property, used for youth activities when Kara or "Cobby" as he was more well known, held youth seminars.
"That part of the barn has remained in the renovation and construction, and we are adding on further additions for a sports and dining center," he said.
Grim came to the Smithfield area, actually Weems, less than five years ago but has fallen in love with the good hearts of the people here. You can bet that he is putting his heart into the activity center that should be up and alive with the patter of basketballs and pounding rubber soles soon.
Clifton Spinner is one of the board members who started out by going to the West Liberty retreats, went on to become a huddle leader and now is a board member working to make the place a center of activity for young people.
The Christmas season was evident at the former Bantam Ridge Elementary School where three offices have now been located and held an open house together.
The Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio State University Extension and Jefferson County Farm Bureau staff were greeting visitors and feeding them quite well at the snack table last Friday.
There were 4-H members visiting the OSU Extension office to see where they will be coming for Junior Leader meetings and to get project material. Allison and Emily Pizzoferrato of the Country Classics 4-H Club were visiting there. They have been involved with horse projects for many years and are very good at it.
Santa Claus made an appearance at the open house, and I spotted little Paige Somerville, who is 4 years old, setting on his lap. She is the daughter of Chris and Matthew Somerville, and I think I remember Matthew as a 4-H member.
Lamont attended the Survivors and Seekers Christmas luncheon at Froehlich's Classic Corners as a guest. It was great to see Darlene Pehanich back after suffering a serious illness in early fall. Carolyn and Bill Bever donated a lovely Christmas arrangement for a door prize that was won by Mary Pasich, who gave the invocation. Charlie and Shirley Lash were in charge of arrangements.
Now I need to change gears from lively Christmas parties to a poem that I have sent to many friends and acquaintances who had a loved one die during the year. Little did I know that it would pertain to me this year with Larry dying on May 24. It is called "My First Christmas in Heaven."
I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights like heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away your tears,
For I am sharing Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir here.
I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
It's far beyond description to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me. I see the pain within your heart.
But I am not so far away, we really aren't apart,
So be happy for me, loved ones. You know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I send you each a special gift from the heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all "love" is the gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do,
For I can't count the blessings or the love He has for you.
So, have a Merry Christmas and wipe away those tears;
For I am sharing Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I can only add that as much as Larry loved to sing, I don't doubt that he will be joining in the singing with those angels.
I read this saying recently and am trying to follow its instructions: "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it."
I am trying so hard to cope. I would like that to be my Christmas present this year.
Merry Christmas to all and remember to tell your loved ones that you love them each day.
You never know when it will be their last.
(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 email@example.com.)