There is nothing more endearing than to watch a group of youngsters working together to do good for someone else.
Linda Bartrug's fourth-grade class at Buckeye North Elementary School were doing just that last week when they first brought snacks, such as pudding cups, Pop Tarts, Goldfish crackers, packs of almonds, cheese crackers, Rice Krispie bars, gum, potato chips, tooth- paste and crossword puzzle books to class.
Then came the visit from Carla Grabits, mother to Cameron Grabits, a member of the class, and to Capt. Cody Sherlock, her other son stationed in Afghanistan, bringing in postal boxes, tape, magic markers and custom labels.
RIBBONS — Donna Pendleton holds the ribbons won by Clooney, the prized bullmastiff dog that received select dog honors at the Westminster Kennel Club. The ribbons shown are from the American Bullmastiff Association National Speciality in Fort Mitchell, Ky., in September 2011. They are all best breed, best in show, speciality, best in show and futurity. Also received are three reserve best of show awards.
-- Esther McCoy
ON A MISSION — Some of the snacks brought to Linda Bartrug’s fourth-grade class at Buckeye North Elementary School are shown. These are to be sent to a classmate’s brother in Afghanistan. Carla Grabits, mother of Capt. Cody Sherlock and to Cameron Grabits is in the back. From left are Landon McCain, Lynnzie Belon, Cameron Grabits and Evan Chuckiak.
-- Esther McCoy
PARTICIPANTS — A group of students at Buckeye North Elementary School work together to make, tape and pack boxes, write letters of encouragement, write cute sayings on the leaf of the boxes and fill out custom labels before sending the merchandise to Afghanistan for Capt. Cody Sherlock.
-- Esther McCoy
TEAM WORK — Austin Ebling, left, and Nathaniel Jarrell, work together to get a packing box taped securely to go overseas.
-- Esther McCoy
FILL OUT LABELS — Meghan McAlevey and Megan Baluska fill out custom labels for the boxes that will be sent to Capt. Cody Sherlock. Carla Grabits, his mother, explained to the pupils that Sherlock’s base was downsizing and the PX would be gone. This is a place where they could buy snacks, health needs, writing materials and such. The USO would be there to cook breakfast but many of the other meals will be the MREs, an acronym for meals ready to eat.
-- Esther McCoy
Sherlock is the brother of Cameron, and his classmates wanted to do something as the Fab Sharana Army base was downsizing, and its PX where they could buy snacks, health needs, writing materials and such would be gone.
They would be served breakfast by the USO, but many of the other meals would be the MREs, meaning meals ready to eat - dry-packed meals that need heated in the box.
Carla Grabits had groups of pupils tape the inside and outside of the boxes; two with good handwriting filled out custom labels; some wrote letters of admiration and good wishes; others removed cheese crackers, pudding cups and potato chip cups from the packaging so they would fit into boxes better; some did the packing; some drew pictures on the box lids; and some taped the boxes closed. It was an assembly line that worked out very well.
Carla asked the pupils if they packed their suitcase when they went away and received many nods. "You try to get as much as possible into the luggage, don't you?" She then told them the boxes needed to be packed that same way as postage was expensive, and if the number of boxes were reduced, it would help the cost.
Linda Bartrug said her class would likely be doing the project again, perhaps after Easter. She felt the pupils were excited about doing something for the military.
I learned much about raising and showing dogs for prestigious shows through Donna and Scott Pendleton. When I went to visit them, Violet and Jelly Roll, the family of Clooney, who won select dog at the Westminster Kennel Club, took to me right away and kept leaning on me to pet them.
Donna has a display of colorful and impressive ribbons won by Clooney at the American Bullmastiff Association National Speciality in Fort Mitchell, Ky., in September 2011. They are all best breed, best in show, specialty and futurity. There are three reserve best in show awards also.
It gave me a start to see the big dogs coming toward me, but I saw that they were as gentle as baby kittens. Actually, Ozzie could run between their legs but instead he would be yapping and snarling as small dogs are prone to do, showing they are big and brave.
When I entered our door, Ozzie had his nose pressed to my jeans, following me around the house sniffing. I put the jeans on the bed when I took them off, and he was busy trying to reach them to get a better sniff.
Donna has been showing dogs since the age of 14 and is acquainted and friends with dog owners and handlers all over the country. "They are my family," she said.
John Borkowski wants to tell Smithfield High School alumni members that he has an updated directory of past graduates from 1885 to 1972, when the school closed.
The directory sells for $15 if picked up at the home of Ann Marie Grayzar and $17 if mailed from his home.
He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. His address is 9846 Alpine Drive, Kirtland, Ohio 44094. Five dollars of the directory cost is going to the Smithfield Historical Society, one of its sponsors.
The book has a comb-binding, and it lists all the known graduates of SHS for 87 years. Addresses, phone numbers and e-mails are listed if available. It contains three commencement announcement pamphlets - the classes of 1947, 1957 and 1961 - and attendees of the 2012 alumni dinner listed as well.
He would like to include more commencement announcements from other grades if anyone has them.
Children of Smithfield are asked to remember the Community Easter Egg Hunt to be held at 1 p.m. March 23 at the recreation area.
There will be hot dogs, chips and punch for the kids after the excitement of searching for eggs on the football field or baseball diamond. There will be three hunting spots, ranging in age from 3 years up to 12-year-olds.
There also will be door prizes as well as candy-filled plastic eggs.
Nikki Pflugh and Ed Sobolewski are in charge of the event.
Five different cooks prepared spaghetti sauce for a cook-off for the silver ladle award at the Brightway Center recently.
Brenda Harris took home the Oneida silver ladle with pride. She was teased by her sisters, Janet Johnson and Janice McCoy, about being a winner but never cooking at home. Jim Seabright, a pastor from a Wellsburg church, was a contestant, for which the service board members extend a hearty thanks. He brought in a roaster full of great sauce and meatballs.
Daryle Griffin, Brightway president and CEO, had a huge roaster full as well. I'm going to have to remind him that he promised me the recipe.
One recipe I won't have to drop reminders to obtain is from Lamont, who made a tasty pot of sauce with both ground sirloin and sausage included. I watched him prepare the sauce and was told to get away when I stopped by to stir it a few times.
Dave Rutter was another contestant. He is the son of our dear volunteer, Shirley McCartney. All the spaghetti sauce entrants received a nice black apron with Brightway Center embroidered in red and yellow. It has a feature that is especially good for me. You can slide the straps around so they become shorter or longer. Daryle had to show me to make the strings shorter rather than tying a big knot in the strings at the back of my neck.
Debbie West, one of our diners, told Lamont she was glad to finally have met the man I praise and pick on in my column. She had a recipe for a White Sheet Cake in the St. Paul A.M.E. Food for the Soul Calendar in 2012, and I loved it as it was not chocolate, not one of my favorite flavors.
Debbie was there to cheer Brenda on, and it seemed to work. They are best friends.
Shirley McCartney said her bucket list was to ride a motorcycle, and Brenda said she could already do that.
The subject of tatoos came up, and a few mentioned giving thought to that as well. As you can tell it was a really intellectual conversation.
Kathy Mathison and Cecelia Seabright cooked the spaghetti, made the salad that was full of veggies, heated slices of buttered French bread and cut the many cakes that were donated.
Lorrie Green had a pineapple upside cake that Lamont took a liking to, and I thought Karen Rish's carrot cake with cream cheese was quite tasty.
Cathy Takich brought cupcakes with St. Patrick's Day rings for decoration. I think some of Misty Rish Miller's boys selected those. Little Joel, 14 months old, had a field day with the dish of spaghetti. Misty was rushing him to the bathroom for a quick cleanup but I stopped her to snap a shot. The brothers, Grant and Caleb, seemed to be eating the traditional way.
Cameron Best was enjoying spaghetti and chocolate cake with his grandparents, Judy and Corky Saiter. He is entering 4-H through the club that his grandparents, the Saiters, and Cathy and Alan Core started more than 25 years ago.
I was telling him that the first buy we made at the Jefferson County livestock sale was the market hog of Erin Saiter, who later added Best to her name and is his mother.
Some time ago Barbara Cunningham called to ask for a recipe for using green tomatoes in making a strawberry jam.
Norine Lerczak sent me a recipe I hope is to Barb's liking. I have had it for more than a month but kept forgetting to put it in my column.
It is quite easy actually.
4 cups shredded green tomatoes
4 cups white sugar
6-ounce package strawberry flavored gelatin powder
Combine tomatoes and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Stir and cook about 10 minutes.
Add gelatin, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Spoon into hot, sterilized jars and seal; or pour into freezer containers and freeze.
This has been my week. It was enjoyable and I got to talk to many nice people. Now I have to remember to tell everyone Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Wear green today if you are going out or even around the house. You never know who is coming to your door.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff writer and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)