Valentine's Day is nice when it comes on Feb. 14, but when it comes again on Feb. 20, that is a bonus.
That is what happened when Lamont and I were invited to the Adena Lions Club Valentine's Dinner at the Farm Inn, where food is both like grandma's wonderful cooking and that of a prized chef from an exclusive restaurant.
Phil Wallace, past district governor and editor of the Lions Newsletter, with his wife, Pat Green-Wallace, sent an e-mail requesting our attendance. This suited me fine as it meant two really nice dinners in one week.
ARRANGE DINNER — R.J. Konkoleski, left, and Phil Wallace, both past district governors, were in charge of arrangements for the Adena Lions Valentine’s dinner that was held Feb. 20.
-- Esther McCoy
We were asked to be seated at the table with the Wallaces and Bill Ralston, a new member, who came to the Harrisville area from Las Vegas, and it was interesting to talk about his horses. I guess everyone who goes to Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.
He and Lamont talked about Henderson, Nev., where Lamont would go to represent TIMET on many work occasions. Bill and Lamont both remembered when there was no gambling there, but now it can be found almost at the entrance of the Henderson plant.
The Wallaces are from Martins Ferry, where Phil served as mayor for four years and is a past District 10 governor for the Lions. He and his wife and R.J. and Laura Konkoleski were in charge of the wonderful dinner.
I was having a hard time remembering names after I took pictures, and Don Goff was chiding me about it. At times I seem to leave my brain at home. I knew most of the people, but their names would not come to mind.
It was nice seeing Martin and June McKim. I get to see Martin at the Adena Lions Minstrel each year and at the Mining and Reclaimation dinner and auction held in May.
Ron Malin was excited about winning one of the two baskets in the fund- raiser. With one teddy bear in the basket, and having more than one grandchild, he was trying hard to decide to whom it would go.
Maybe Ralston's Vegas influence was part of the reason for the annual minstrel theme of "Viva Las Vegas." It will be held April 19-20. Dustin Kinsey is in charge.
Some other Lions and their families I had contact with were Randy and Shirley Bednarski; Mike and Bunny Zonkoski; Don and Marge Moore; John and Beverly Lengyl; Bill and Nancy Walker; Alva Kinney, who will be getting married April 27, according to the newsletter; Lloyd Hutchison, who kept coming to our area of the dining room to make announcements in his position as first vice president; and Ray and Lois Konkoleski.
Sadly missing from the dinner were John and Judee Parkinson, as John went straight from a doctor's visit on Monday to surgery on Wednesday. We hear that he is doing well and heave a big sigh of relief over that. I think that get-well cards would hurry along his recovery process, though.
Another "get-out-of-the-house" trek for Lamont and me were to help man the Brightway Center table at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at the Fort Steuben Mall.
We handed out brochures, and people stopped to look at the plans for the activity center that is well on its way to completion. There will be many activities taking place there as time goes by.
The first event will be a spaghetti dinner challenge to be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. March 9. Pastors will be challenged to make their best spaghetti sauce at home and bring it to the center. The pasta will be cooked at Brightway, and after judging the competitors, the winner of the "Golden Ladle" will be awarded.
A St. Patrick's pancake breakfast event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on March 16 at the center. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. And guess what? There will be green eggs and pancakes. Sausage, juice and hot drinks will complete the meal. What? No green ham to go with the green eggs?
A time of entertainment will be held March 30, starting at 4 p.m., when Elec Simon, who once was our neighbor, and Ivory Williams will be entertaining. This will be a day of storytelling and interaction. There will be performances with messages inside them to help both children and adults find a deeper sense of community. Both shows will last about an hour. Food and refreshments will be available at a low cost.
The program is in partnership with the Buckeye Local School District and the 21st Century After-School Grants, and there is no admission.
Elec is a performer with "Stomp" and lives in Akron with his wife.
Another "leaving-my-brain-home" episode happened when I wrote the story on the Jefferson County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society's project to digitize and preserve the records from the courthouse.
Bill Pace told me they did between 18,000 to 20,000 packets per week, but I narrowed it down to 1,000 in my story. I'm looking right now, and I see my notes that say 18 to 20,000. How could they ever get 850,000 done when they were only putting out 1,000 a week? My mind even thought about that for a moment but went on to other things. I'm so sorry, Bill and Beverly Pace, two of the nicest people I have ever met.
I have to extend sympathy to some dear friends who had loved ones pass away recently. First there is Larry and Kim Rensi Yocum who lost their son, Devin, 29, this past week. A memorial will be held in the near future.
Craig Dixon lost his mother, Alberta, Feb. 22 as well. Michelle Garcia Miller was telling me that Alberta was an aide at the Northwest Elementary in her youth, and she admired her colorful way of dressing and the respect and friendship she offered to the children at the school. Alberta was always in the center of the planning for the Millard R. Burriss Post 396 American Legion Memorial Day program and parade. She will be missed.
One that I was close to was Dino Piergallini who died Feb. 25 and graduated with our son, Larry. I remember Larry telling me that a large gathering of couples went out to dinner together before the prom, and Dino and his date were part of the crowd. He always had a friendly smile and a "Hello, Mrs. McCoy" for me whenever I saw him. We talked last at his mother, Lucille's, funeral where he was struggling with his battle with cancer.
My heart breaks for his children, Mario; Giovanni, who I photographed for 4-H in the past; and Madeena; and his wife, Diana. I liked his saying "Never say I can't when I can is just as easy to say." My sympathy goes out to Raymond and his family.
Three other friends died recently: Wayne Kurtz, on Feb. 14, brother to my dear friends, Pam and Sarah Malechowski; Arnetta Farnsworth Kurtz and Theresa Kurtz-Blumenauer; and Dorothy Simeral, the spritely 92-year-old mother of our pastor, Wilford Simeral. She was quick to speak her mind but also just as quick to give a compliment or to help out any organization. I took a picture of her on Christmas Eve at a church service. She wasn't exactly happy to have a photo taken, but she let me do it.
William Stanley "Bill" Binkiewicz died Feb. 18. He and Lamont would ride together to TIMET, and he would park his station wagon in our driveway when it was Lamont's turn at the wheel. He told me I could use his vehicle any time I needed it, so one day I had a necessary errand to run.
I took Jay, 11, along to hold Darin, 1, as carseats were not required at that time. I went into the hardware to get what I wanted and suddenly I heard a police siren wailing and knew that Darin had done it. Bill, who served on the Dillonvale Police Force, had a siren and flashing lights on his car, and Darin had pulled the control and turned everything on. Then Jay couldn't find the button to turn it off. That caused a stir on the streets of Smithfield.
Our sympathy to Bill's wife, Rosalee, who was our mail carrier for many years and a very good one.