AND THEN AGAIN by Tamara Pettit

……..We truly have a lot to celebrate this weekend! Being confined this past year and restricted due to COVID the ability to move about freely among our friends and neighbors feels like a breath of fresh air.  Being afraid this past year has taken its toll and I think we all realize how fragile and fleeting this time we’re given can be and with many a renewed sense of purpose has emerged.  But, the best thing we can celebrate this weekend is how our community has come together as we dedicated efforts to protect our neighbors, educate our kids and preserve all we hold dear.  We’re celebrating our independence this weekend and it feels good to have events scheduled again.  Although Chester has scaled back its activities this year and will not have a parade, residents can enjoy a full day of activities on July 3 beginning with the car show at Chester City Park and ending with fireworks with lots of entertainment at the Davis Bros. stage in between.   The City of Weirton will have a parade beginning at 10 a.m.

……..Fireworks are everywhere.   I think they look pretty and light up the sky, but I’ve never been a fan of the big boom.  Nor has our dog, Max.  Keep a close watch on your dogs this weekend as I’ve read that more dogs go missing on July 4th.  Shannon’s dog Pele has now got a fence that is escape proof, but he is a crafty pup and often talks Leo into nefarious      so we’re keeping a  close eye on them both.

…….How we celebrated.  In  less sophisticated times, parades and celebrations were a huge  deal and the entire community often turned out.  Not only were businesses decorated, but homes as well.    A photo (above) shows how we decorated for Independence Day and a home at 208 Pearl Street in New Cumberland.  The photo is from New Cumberland People and Places book and  my Aunt Eleanor Herron Weltner as a small child with a parasol,  and my Great Grandmother Alice Barton seated on the steps  of a porch decked out for Independence Day.  In my mind they are waiting for the parade to pass by.  The individual in the rocking chair is believed to be Lizzy McLaughlin according to the book.

…….One of my favorite photos is of the New Cumberland Centennial in 1939.  The event was sponsored by the merchants and citizens of the area and an arch was built with the names of each sponsoring merchant on what looks like a piece of wood.  The crowds that lined the streets for Chester parades were huge and the Homecoming and Prom queen always had a car.  I do not know the identity of the queen participating in the Chester parade,   Can any of our readers help me?  Apparently there was a lot of musical talent in the area.  I had often heard of Press Evans Drum and Bugle Core, but I also found photos of the Comet Band and a Clown Band that participated in an East Liverpool parade.


 ……I will miss the New Manchester children’s parade.  It was a tradition my kids and grandkids 4th of July loved and it  was refreshing to see the efforts of youngsters who built their own floats and decorated their bikes and tricycles.   It had the distinction of going around twice because the town was so small. It was started in the Sixties and thanks to volunteers continued until the COVID pandemic.  I wonder after taking a few years off, the parades will make a comeback.  One of the problems in a small town is that the people who volunteer their time to put on the parades and celebrations are unable to continue year after year and there is no one to replace them. 

….Looking beyond the headline.  We get a lot of releases from Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.   Most are about a lawsuit he has filed on behalf of the State of West Virginia.   One caught my eye the other day.   The State of California has ordered   that no state travel funds can be used to travel to sixteen  States which according to California law have laws which discriminate against LGBT.  West Virginia was at the top of the list and the recent House Bill which addressed transgenders competing in high school sports was the basis.  Morrisey contends that the State of California  is violating each state’s sovereign right to govern their own  citizens and thus their constitutional rights by forbidding them to come to West Virginia. He, in fact, is filing a suit to intervene in California’s action.   Hold on.  Putting whether you agree with West Virginia’s law or California’s on the participation of transgender athletes to compete in high school sports totally aside, how many State employees from California do you think are attending conferences in West Virginia? I would venture to say …. None.    It’s not everyone from California that’s been forbidden to come (cause if it was my son and family I’d be on the warpath) it’s State funded travel and that means they won’t reimburse state employees or legislators for lodging or plane fare.  When was the last time the National Conference of State Legislators held their annual meeting in West Virginia?  Never.  When was the last time a lawmaker from California, the most progressive State, said “I’m gonna travel to West Virginia to talk with legislators about their laws?  Never.  California is making a statement and   Morrisey is wasting taxpayer dollars by reacting  and using the resources of his office to file lawsuits intended to grab headlines.  Oh, and California didn’t say those State employees can’t come to West Virginia, the State just isn’t gonna foot the bill, so if you know of a Californian who wants to come here, let us know. I’m sure we can put him/her up at someone’s house.  Maybe, even the Governor’s mansion.  We’re a friendly bunch.

……Not kidding about this one.  Governor Justice sent us a news release the other day.  Seems Senate President Craig Blair had come across a family from California in the Capital  and was showing them our beautiful State building.  He called the Governor and Justice invited them on over to see the Governor’s mansion and showed them all over; introduced them to Babydog; and was I’m sure a great host.

……Check out Governor Justice giving away fully-equipped pick up trucks to the lucky winner of the Do It for Baby Dog vaccination contest.  Some citizens are angry that we are using State resources to entice young people to get vaccinated.  We shouldn’t  have to offer them a chance to win a prize to get vaccinated.   No we shouldn’t, but in the face of the pandemic we should do whatever it takes and I applaud the Governor for realizing what West Virginians in that age group appreciate.  By increasing the number of vaccinated citizens it protects all of us.  Plus, I like Baby Dog!