Closet cleaning brings discoveries
Interesting discoveries can be found when cleaning out closets.
It happened for me this past week when a Russian poster from Buddy McCoy, my brother-in-law, was found lurking in the back of the top closet shelf.
The poster was purchased in February 1979, when he received a free trip to Moscow and Leningrad from Goodyear Tire, as an employee at Beitner Tire in Dover.
The next year, 1980, was the XXII Summer Olympiad in Moscow, and there was a wide variety of material for that occasion on sale in the towns where Buddy and his friend were staying.
He brought us back a poster with many Russian words that I did not recognize, but I did know that the pictures depicted wrestling, basketball, biking, racing, rowing, swimming and other sports that comprise the list of competitions.
There was a miniature pin of a black bear wearing a belt with the five Olympic rings, one of the two mascots for the Olympiad as well.
These, along with a flowered mug with a bill of sale inside in the Russian language and a black, flowered, fringed shawl were gifts given to us from his vacation. The cup remains in our dining room cupboard, with the Russian paper inside, and the shawl is in my dresser drawer.
I had forgotten about the poster and the mascot pin until Lamont and I started pulling things from the crammed closet.
It was mentioned several times on television about the USA teams not being in Russia for the 1980 Olympics, and then I realized that these were the Olympics games that were boycotted against the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
This spurred President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum that the United States would boycott the games if troops had not withdrawn by Feb. 20, 1980, according to a Google I had searched.
The United States was joined by Japan, West Germany, China and Canada in not attending the Olympics, and they had their own event called the Liberty Bell Classics in Philadelphia on July 16, three days before the official Olympics opened on July 19 in Russia.
In the Summer Olympics of 1984 in Los Angeles, 14 nations did not compete because of the Soviet boycott.
In talking to Buddy this past week, he told me that it was one of the best trips ever experienced and was so very interesting.
When you were in elementary school, did your mother tell you not to look into the eye of a classmate with pink eye or you would get it as well?
I heard this from my mom quite often, so I think it was the power of past suggestion that caused me a problem on Monday morning.
I watched Bob Costas go through his Olympic comments with an eye that was swollen nearly shut on Sunday evening. His commentary was interspersed between Olympians shooting at targets, hurtling over steep obstacles on snowboards and skis, racing on skates and skating in pairs in rhythm to music.
I awakened on Monday morning with my right eye burning slightly, so I used warm water compresses to make it go away. It stopped for a while, but when I jumped into the Focus to head for work, it started to water and burn considerably more with the sun streaming in the window, so I put on my sunglasses.
It helped some, but I had to close the offending eye and drove using only the sight of my left eye, which threw me off a bit. The right eye was watering profusely, and my sunglasses fit tight against my face, so I lifted them and had a flood of tears run down my face.
I found that by shutting the burning eye very tightly it hurt less, but in doing so, it lifted the corner of my mouth, giving me a squinty look like Popeye. The only thing missing was the pipe or a can of spinach.
When I got to work, I wet paper towels and held them to my eye, and it quieted down enough so I could work. But the eye had a Bob Costas look all day. Now I blame him for causing me a day of misery.
On Monday night, I would not look in his direction when I heard his voice.
I didn’t want to go through that misery again.
I was very proud of Jason Lambright when he gave a talk at the Friends of Smithfield meeting at the Smithfield Presbyterian Church.
He spoke of the squirmishes he and his team of 12 from the American Army encountered when joining with Afghanistan soldiers to give them more advanced instruction. He received the Bronze Star for this accomplishment and has other medals to keep it company.
He was acknowledged at the Steelers-Browns game in December as a veteran of honor, but Jason being the humble person that he is, felt that the other 12 members of his team should have been there as well.
If you want a night out with an Italian dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a talent show put on by the students at the Jefferson County Christian School at 125 Fernwood Road, Wintersville, save March 1 for the event. Tickets are $10 per person or $25 per family for parents and children under 18. It might be good to call the school at (740) 275-4326 to see about the tickets.
I saved this part of my column for last as I know there will be tears shed as I write it.
Lamont and I have known Malcolm Fellows since high school, when he graduated from Brilliant High School, and we graduated from Smithfield High School the same year.
We shared a tragic event in our life as well. His son, Tim, died in 2012, just four months before our son, Larry. They had graduated together from Buckeye North High School. We could share in the knowledge of knowing what the other was going through.
He was my faithful contact for the publicity for the Brilliant Lions Club and the fire department, where he was the eldest member.
We saw him and his wife, Elaine, often, and I took a picture of them at the Lions Club Christmas party, and the big smile was there.
Malcolm always wore a boyish grin that made you feel good just to see him.
He died peacefully on Feb. 3 after spending many days in the intensive care unit.
I learned that his beloved fire department members held a last call service at the Wheeler Funeral Home. His fire- fighting gear was displayed, along with his pager.
All other members of the department had their pagers turned off for the moment, and Malcolm’s rang for the last time.
Another friend passed away two days later, on Feb. 5, when Steve Tucker died unexpectedly at home.
He was a cancer survivor, with Steve and his wife, Michele, both battling the disease at the same time, but that is not what took his life.
Michele died on March 30, and he valiantly carried on, even attempting to make his wife’s lasagna recipe for Christmas Eve.
He was mayor of New Alexandria for many years and a member of Smithfield Masonic Lodge 182.
In October, I did a story on the gigantic pumpkins growing in his backyard garden – pumpkins that were supposed to be watermelons. He had put down the wrong order number on his seed order.
I saw him at the cancer survivors dinner, and he promised to plant watermelons this year, no mistake.
His sister, Brenda Vandeborne, told me that he had his seeds ordered already for this year and was looking forward to having a lush garden again.
He leaves two sons, Derrick “Deke” and Justin “J.T.”
My sympathy is with both families.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)