I traveled to Harrison County twice last week, and both were enjoyable enough sessions as not to seem like work.
Since I had not visited the Harrison County Farm Bureau in "many moons" - Smithfield talk for about six months - they thought I had deserted them.
Not so, just other commitments were blocking my way to state Route 151 and state Route 22.
WELCOME — Serving as the welcome committee for the county event held at Thompson’s Restaurant in Jewett were, front, from left, Jane McCaslin, Nationwide Insurance staff; Peggy Horn, office administrator; and Kelly Love, director; and back, Jayne Wallace, president, who was getting into the spirit of the Duck Dynasty theme by wearing a mountain man hat.
-- Esther McCoy
GABLE?FANS — Danielle Manbeck, left, and her niece, Taylor Manbeck, both artists, paid a visit to the museum and gift shop for the Feb. 1 birthday celebration of Clark Gable. They discussed serving as volunteers with the foundation with Nan Mattern, executive director, right.
-- Esther McCoy
JONES?FAMILY — The Harrison County Farm Bureau membership committee has grown with the addition of Jalyn Jones to the committee. She will be working in her capacity as a Harrison County FFA member. From left, seated, are Jalyn and Emi Jones, daughters; and Amy Jones, wife; and back, Don Jones, who has been a membership committee member and was a high producing committee member. He is the Harrison FFA instructor and ag teacher and joint owner of the Jones Equipment tractor and farm equipment business.
-- Esther McCoy
CHATTING — Jayne Wallace, farm bureau president, right, seems to be ready for an arm wrestling match with Lynette Dauch, membership committee member. Wallace is wearing a mountain man hat to be in dress code for the Duck Dynasty theme. There were no duck call horns present, though.
-- Esther McCoy
The Jewett visit was a first for both Lamont and me, as we had never been a patron of the Thompson Restaurant before. We would see the sign showing to turn right at the intersection by the Jewett post office, but instead, we turned left and went on to Scio for events. The restaurant is partially hidden, except for the blinking sign that advertises specials of the day.
We walked in to be greeted by bureau President Jayne Wallace, who was wearing a mountain man hat, or maybe better described as a Dudley Doolittle chapeau.
It was Duck Dynasty night, and all were to be attired that way, but only some members followed instructions.
There should have been some punishment for not following rules.
There were camouflage napkins on the table, the first time I had seen the camo pattern on paper napkins, and they added to the theme.
Peggy Horn, office administrator, was another to give us a big greeting.
We sat with the Jones family - Don; his wife, Amy; and daughters Jalyn and Emi. Don had enlisted his daughter, Jalyn, who is a member of his Harrison FFA, to get members from the organization. Both girls are very active in the county 4-H program as well. Between them, they both raise hogs, steers, dairy cattle and lambs - and do still projects as well.
John Birney was his same jovial self. He usually teases Lamont about carrying a purse, as my hubby carries my camera case if I am in the process of taking pictures. And in no way does it look like a purse, or I would just lay it on the ground and keep my foot on the strap to make sure it didn't get yanked away.
Michele Specht, Harrison County Farm Bureau organization director, commended the county on its membership campaigns and community projects. "I am proud of the vital role my counties played in the severance tax issue statement," she said. The counties covered by Specht include Harrison, Jefferson, Carroll and Tuscarawas.
"The Farm Bill has passed through the House of Representatives and will be going to the Senate floor next week. We need Farm Bureau members to call Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, or Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to get the bill through. The president will sign if it gets through the Senate now," she said.
"It takes such 30 seconds to call our senators about the food programs. It is so important and so necessary," she said.
The Farm Bureau will be working on comparisons of the CAUV list to that of Farm Bureau memberships. "It is a huge savings for bureau members and non-farm bureau members alike, and it doesn't seem fair," Specht said.
Serving on the membership committee with Birney and Seleski, co-chairmen, are Dave Mizer, Collin Albaugh, Kelly Love, Dale Arbaugh, Damian Chrisman, Wallace, Greg Knoop, Lynette Dauch, George Mizer and Samantha Trushell.
"The first check-in will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wendy's in Cadiz. A planned goal is 45 new members in 45 days, to end on March 14. We want Harrison County to be eligible for the president's award. We have received it three out of five years, and we need to do it again," she said.
Remember that Valentine's Day is this Friday. Brightway Center is sponsoring candy grams to be delivered on Feb. 14.
The cost for a basket of goodies is $10 and must be prepaid. Orders need to be in by Tuesday, so get yours ordered tomorrow. Mail to 2511 county Road 15, Rayland, OH 43943 or stop in at the center to order.
A Bible verse can be chosen to be added to the gift, including Corinthians 13:13, Ephesians 4:2, Peter 4:8 or John 4:7.
Clark Gable's 113th birthday, celebrated Feb. 1, was another Harrison County event.
There was a cake and coffee celebration, with an invitation for folks to stop and talk and grab a bit of dessert.
Visitors came from Pittsburgh, St. Clairsville, and all parts of Harrison and Jefferson counties.
While there, Lamont and I got to visit with a Smithfield High School classmate, Inez Merryman Zajdowicz, and her daughter, Toni. We called her husband Junior and pronounced his last name as "Zydovicz," but Inez tells me they learned from relatives later that the real pronunciation leaves out the "j." I know that working on the school paper. I always had trouble spelling his name.
Joanne Murdock Stives of Hopedale told an interesting story about her grandmother, Virginia Hervey Merryman, being in a Hopedale High School play with Clark Gable. She was a senior, and he was a freshman.
Stives did research and found the play, had it reprinted so that it could be read easier in bigger print, and the Clark Gable Foundation did a read-through of the presentation at the autumn Gable event in 2011. Of course, Stives read the part that her grandmother had in the show at the Hopedale United Methodist Church. It had been presented in the Patton Opera House in 1916.
Dolly Smith baked a huge cake for the party. She is quite a baker and frosting decorator, making dozens of cupcakes for the Harrison County Relay for Life in 2012.
Thanks goes to Shelly Coffelt who was instrumental in getting the Gable mural on the wall of an uptown wall. She also stopped in at the birthday event.
There is a framed picture of Clark Gable at the 1939 premier of the movie "Gone With the Wind," with a copy of a letter written by Jackie Rocchi, foundation secretary, telling about learning that Weinstocks Florist in Atlanta had provided the flowers for the event. She wrote to tell them about the museum done in Gable's honor and received the nicely framed and matted picture.
Gary Milligan was the first to attend the Feb. 1 birthday event and brought along a framed picture of Gable and Vivien Leigh, one that was in all theaters to advertise the steamy show in days gone by. This picture was actually a jig-saw puzzle that the St. Clairsville man had purchased in a consignment store, put it together and framed.
That is how it goes at the museum. You never know when a fan will drop in with a memento from Gable or just to talk about him.
Many are younger people now who learned of him through their parents and wanted to know more. He lives on through generations.
(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.)