And Then Again….by Tamara Pettit

……And, then there were three.   Declared candidates for the Clay District seat on the Hancock County Commission now number three.   Popular Oak Glen Football Coach Ted Arneault announced his resignation as head coach to pursue the candidacy for County Commission this past week  (see letter in this edition).   Brett Lemley and incumbent Paul Cowey have announced their intentions previously.  To date, all the candidates are Republican and I have yet to hear of a Democrat considering throwing his/her hat in the ring.  Twenty years ago, when I was running quite the opposite was true.    For many years the seat was held by Democrat John Sorrenti.  Democrat Mike Swartzmiller succeeded him for 12 years and Cowey was a Democrat when he was elected five years ago.  I am seriously wondering if a Democrat will enter  that race.  If not, the race will be over in the Primary. 

,,,,,The registration in this County used to be so predominantly Democratic that I used to breathe a sigh of relief when the Primary Election was over because we often no competition in the General.    One election the late Sam Love and I emerged victorious for the Democratic House of Delegates nomination and had no Republican opposition in the General election.  We made an agreement that with no competition we would not expend the energy to put up yard signs.  Then Weirton City Councilman George Ash filed as a write-in.   I began to get nervous and started bugging Sam about signs.   Knowing me Sam was worried he’d wake up one morning and find the County peppered with “Pettit for House” signs.  We conjectured that there hadn’t been time for Ash to order a large number of signs, so he probably was hand painting them in Iaquinta’s garage on Weir Avenue.  If so, no worry.    So, one night at 11 p.m., I picked Sam up when he got off night turn in the mill and we went to Iaquinta’s garage where I got out, climbed up on a step stool we had brought along and peered in a window.  Sure enough, there were the few signs. We relaxed and went out for a few drinks.

……The season has begun and the Christmas spirit and lights are growing.    While the COVID Grinch managed to dim a lot of our Christmas spirit last year, I can feel our heart and our spirit growing this year.  New Cumberland’s lights are now in the City Park and on River Avenue.    Thanks to the volunteers who put the lights up Saturday morning.

…….They are looking for Jimmy Hoffa again and according to the internet a deathbed revelation from a man who claimed his father buried Hoffa’s body in a New Jersey landfill has the FBI looking again.   Perhaps there is hope that I may solve the “Letter from a Dead Man” mystery that has haunted me since 1968.

……Health care workers have until December 5th to have had their first COVID vaccine or they cannot work at the facility.    I’ve made it pretty clear I am not a fan of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and he has joined with 12 other Attorney Generals to file a suit against that mandate.  His staff is hardworking because we received the release (in this edition) on a Sunday.   Governor Justice, also a Republican, has been an affective leader in advocating vaccines and it appears that Morrisey does not stand in unison with the Governor.   I think Morrisey’s suit is merely political posturing and I believe the mandate will stand.   I agree with the mandate.   It’s not about me or you, it’s about those patients with whom you come in contact or those nursing home residents for whom you care.  

……..We captured our family memories with a family photo on Thursday….our branch of the family that is.   Addison was home from Las Vegas and while he was home we took the opportunity to get a picture of all of us with Madilynn Grace.  A great-grandchild, and grandchild of divorce, I hope the pictures continue throughout her life.   I miss the pictures we forgot to take (or more likely, forgot to take the film to get developed) when my kids were growing up.  

…….Our pictures are captured on Facebook and were taken by “Captures by Kirsten” I would highly recommend her.   The hit of the day, however, was not the adult family members, but our canine family member with Madilynn.   Max and Madilynn were captured in an unscripted moment in a photo we’ve entitled “Best Friends.”    I can see that friendship continuing as she develops in  a “Max & Madilynn” series.

……..I become very reflective this time of year.   Each tradition: putting up the tree, watching the  Christmas parade,  baking cookies, all evoke memories.  Some are good, some are not so good,       the funny thing is sometimes with the passing of time, the bad become good.

…..  As a young mother I thought my family had to have each and every tradition.   No matter how tired I might get,  a dozen different varieties of cookies had to be baked; wrapped in tin foil and frozen awaiting the great “unthaw” on December 22.  My sister, Marsha, and I kept up a great competition as to how many varieties we had made and frozen.    It was easy for her (OK, maybe those five kids might have made it a little more difficult).    I, however, was challenged and I coped for my lack of culinary expertise by posting a day- by- day schedule.  If it was December 10 then I made pecan cups in the afternoon and put  the kids in the  Christmas parade in the morning.  I stuck to that schedule with a rigidity that only a mom who’s afraid that she won’t provide her kids the best Christmas ever exhibits…..and therein lies the tragedy.

……I read yesterday about how to tell your child about Santa.  Doug’s father and I had addressed the situation a few months before Christmas when the neighbor kid spilled the beans.  We sat Doug down and told him that neighbor kid was a big fat liar and his parents really needed to do something about him.   Right, we had no Christmas ethics,  we were just trying to preserve the Christmas magic for a little while longer.  That’s why when Doug found out for himself it was a heartbreaker.

……It was Dec. 10. 1973.     We had just returned from the New Cumberland Christmas parade where both Doug and Shannon had marched.   He as a proud Little League Baseball team member, she as a dancing Daisyette.   An ice storm turned the parade participants into living, walking icicles and we returned home to unthaw, undress and mop up the remains of the parade.   I was in a hurry to bake cookies  so  I bustled Shannon  and “special blanket” off to a nap and encouraged Doug, all toasty and warm to find something to occupy his time.   But who would predict that a very precocious six- year-old would pick up my Woman’s Day magazine?   It must have been the picture of Santa himself that drew Doug to the article in which a little boy found out the truth about Santa.   I knew what had happened the moment I heard the mournful “MOOOOM” from the living room and rushed in to find my baby boy in tears as his childhood fantasy about Santa was crushed.   I put aside the rolling pin, flour and the sprinkles that day to hold tight to little boy I had let down and to  mourn the moment I missed.  Remember, Christmas comes without cookies!