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Celebrating the holidays with friends

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

The Exchange Club hosted their annual family Christmas dinner recently at the Tuckahoe Inn. While members and their spouses enjoyed the social hour, their children and grandchildren gathered in the dining room where they were entertained with the magic of Chad Juros. Maddie Price, a sophomore and honor student at Wake Forrest, accompanied her father, Ed Price, to the dinner.

John Lugo sold tickets for the basket of cheer while Allison Mullen and Kelly Ann Whelan set out the buffet and Tony DeLuca played Christmas music on the piano. Jim and I enjoyed dinner chatting with Andrea and Don Paul, who drove us to the party in their new, white Toyota sedan. Fred Marcel sported red corduroy slacks appliquéd with small green Christmas trees. When Santa arrived, the children quickly gathered around him in front of the Christmas tree to sit on his lap, get their pictures taken and receive a gift. Stu Sirott took the heat from Eileen Argoe, Sue Doll and this columnist as we made him move Santa’s chair to a better vantage point for pictures. Eileen told me she and her husband, Don Argoe, graduated OCHS in ’60 with Bob Smith. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to John Petricki, who was celebrating his birthday the next day. When President Frank McCall announced the poinsettias from Produce Junction went to the lady at each table whose birthday was closest to Dec. 17, Toni Marcell, Andrea Paul and this columnist grabbed three in a hurry even though our birthdays weren’t even close. Chuck Peterson won the basket of cheer and invited everyone back to his house to celebrate.

The Crab Trap’s private dining room provided the perfect setting for the Exchangette’s Christmas dinner and gift exchange. While my husband, Jim and Craig headed over to the VFW for the PBA Christmas dinner, this columnist picked up Andrea Paul and drove over to The Crab Trap. Winnie Piriano got a great parking space near the door while this columnist parked over at Pier 4. Christmas dinner co-chairs of the Linda Gronert and Maribeth Neall greeted the ladies when they arrived and placed a number on each gift on the table. Judi Roseland found time to bake cookies and gave me a container filled with Christmas confections and she and Janet Ernst staked out a table for us. Peggy Doyle gave me our travel documents for our trip to Hawaii with special instructions for our upcoming trip. Exchange Club President Frank McCall was the lone man among all these ladies at the dinner and he had a smile on his face all evening and said he just does what his wife, Beverly, tells him to do. Everyone was glad to see Pat Gillian when she stopped by having just flown in from Florida with husband, Roy, for the holidays and stopped at The Crab Trap for dinner. Mary Ann Jones was still using a cane having had her knee replaced the end of November. Marlene Sheppard and Rose Haas were glad when they were served dinner first as their next stop was DiOrio’s for the Republican Club Christmas party. I enjoyed dinner chatting with Susan Miller, Denise Jessel and Anita Culp. Joyce Trofa had a seat for Alice Wolf when she rushed in late after her spin class. Kieran Murray stopped by periodically throughout the evening to make sure everything was running smoothly. Joselyn Stephens surprised her grandmother, Mary Wurtz, when she walked in to say hello to everyone. Betty Ray was No. 1 in the gift exchange and was surprised when Maribeth Neall presented her with a big beautifully wrapped package and told her she had to wait until everyone else opened their gifts before she could unwrap her mystery gift. Kara Hill wore a light turquoise sweater accented with rhinestone jewels and she loved the shiny silver reindeer she opened in the gift exchange. Among the ladies enjoying the dinner were Barb Adams, Vonnie Price, Susan LaRosa, Jane Lugo, Dottie McClain, Brigette Wills, Sue Doll and Bonnie Richards-Ryan.

With two days until Christmas Eve, members of the Eve Circle arrived at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church at 9 a.m. to place red poinsettia plants from Spinning Wheel Florist in the sanctuary. Marion McCaughey brought daughter, Susan, after only a few hours sleep, as she flew in just hours earlier from Florida. Andrea and Don Paul carried six poinsettias at a time from the elevator in the Stainton Room up to the chancel where Joan Walker, Lois Werner and this columnist removed the protective covers and arranged them around the nativity and on the chancel rails. Joan and Dave Wilson arrived with 4-year-old grandson Kellen Faber, who preferred hiding out in the sanctuary while his grandparents helped out. Phil Young and Bill Bateson were on hand to make sure the sanctuary was ship shape for the Sunday worship service while Herb Godfrey and staff set up Angie Pileggi’s service. As I headed home, I stopped in the kitchen where Mary Mohr and Jennifer Bowman were checking on supplies for the upcoming Christmas Day dinner at St. Peter’s. Marion and Susan were headed to the mall to finish their shopping while Andrea and Don were on the road to visit the grandchildren.

Two days before Christmas when Jim and I stopped by Jon and Patty’s on Asbury Avenue for lunch with my brother and sister-in-law, John and Fran Maberry, we sat down next to Santa. Of course being a columnist, I couldn’t resist finding out about this jolly gent from the North Pole. Bob Ryan is a retired truck driver with 40-plus years on the road and 4 million miles over 38 years and a butt that still hurts. Bob’s wife, Trudi, still teaches in Egg Harbor Township. The Ryans, who moved to Ocean City in ’84 from Cherry Hill, have three daughters and eight grandchildren. Charlene and Bruce Twiggs stopped by to chat and Charlene was sorry she forgot her Charity League pin when she spotted mine.   

The gang gathered at the Jessels for their annual New Year’s Eve party. While Gary and Denise Jessel enjoyed family and friends, their son-in-laws, Clay Rossiter and Paul Audino, made sure everyone was well fed and DJ and Tricia kept an eye on the kids. After looking at a ring in Artisan’s Alcove Estate Jewelry for almost a year, Mare Frei showed off this beauty she got for Christmas. Frank Faverzani stopped by the party while wife, Susan Sheppard, was resting up at home after a busy day being sworn in as the new Cape May County surrogate. I enjoyed catching up with Betty Ray at the dessert table while Ned McCaughey sampled a chocolate covered Oreo until wife, Marion, caught him and threw it away. Joanne Budnick baked her famous apple pie for the party and Jon Werley made sure he took home a piece to have for breakfast. Gail and Bob Blevin stopped by after attending a couple of the First Night venues. Scott Ping was packing on the pounds before his weigh in at noon on New Year’s Day at the Music Pier. Keith Hartzell arrived late and immediately checked out the buffet. This was Donna and Steve Ang’s third party and when many went to the upstairs deck to watch the fireworks, they opted to stay in at the party catching up with other guests.

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan


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