A busy spring season has arrived in our area

As I had anticipated, last week was a busy time in Easter Ohio.

I attended the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday. The room at Undo’s West just east of the city was packed with a who’s who of local business and government affairs.

Among those on hand were representatives of the Belmont County Board of Commissioners, East Ohio Regional Hospital, Ohio University Eastern, Belmont College and numerous local companies, including those in the gas and oil industry, landscaping, retail and many others. The event provided an excellent opportunity for people in all of those fields to get better acquainted and to network with one another, as it does every year.

For me, this year’s entertainment was of particular interest. Wheeling resident Craig Karges performed, delighting the audience with a variety of illusions. Since my husband, Mike, also is a magician, he came along with me and also truly enjoyed the show.

Karges, who was friends with several people in the room, got numerous audience members involved with his act. He gave people the opportunity to come on stage, in some cases, or to assist him from their seats.

Regardless of how he achieved the effects he demonstrated, members of the crowd were stunned, amused and entertained by each and every one of them.

If you have the opportunity to see him perform, I suggest you take it.

Two other big events involving lots of local residents also took place this past week.

Belmont College and Ohio University Eastern held their spring commencement ceremonies, kicking off the graduation season.

Completing a college degree — whether it is an associate degree, ­a bachelor’ or a master’s — certainly is a good reason for celebration. The same can be said for completing a high school diploma.

As these new graduates go out into the world this month, most of them will be entering the workforce or furthering their educations to the next level. They will have big, important decisions to make and many opportunities to explore.

In a way, I envy them. I truly enjoy my work as a journalist, but there are many other fields that have appealed to me over the years. I have a strong interest in the law, I love to work with my hands in the soil and I feel that I have a knack for handling animals. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I might go on to law school after college or minor in archaeology or get certified to train service dogs.

It is unlikely, though, that I will have the chance to do any of those things anytime soon. Perhaps I will someday have the opportunity to make one of those fields a second career, but for now I will focus on being the best newspaper editor I can be.

If you — as a young person or even as a retiree — have the chance to gain new skills and additional education, I urge you to do so.

And if you know someone who is entering a new career field or planning to further their education, support their efforts as much as you can. Let them bounce ideas off of you, and give plenty of honest feedback in the areas where you have knowledge to share.

In addition to graduation season, yard sale season has arrived.

On Saturday, the village of Belmont held a community sale day. On May 11, it will hold a community cleanup. The idea is to help residents get rid of unwanted items, first by sponsoring the sales and then by providing a place for them to properly dispose their leftovers.

Other local communities will follow that example in the coming weeks, as will individual residents who have more stuff than they need. It may not seem possible, but the annual Route 40 Yard Sale is really only few weeks away.

But why would anyone want to buy items that other people no longer want?

I can tell you from experience that yard sales, garage sales and flea markets hold plenty of appeal for certain people.

My dad, the late Jim Compston, was devoted to such sales. He visited flea markets every Sunday during warm weather, and he stopped at nearly every yard or garage sale he ever passed.

What did he find there?

Everything from parts for automobiles and lawnmowers to new hardware for the household. He would buy windows, doorknobs, utensils, oil filters, spark plugs — just about anything he thought he could find a use for.

Dad also tended to buy plenty of collectibles. My late mother, Grace, ended up with an extensive bank collection, whether she wanted it or not. Dad also bought her dozens of pretty plates, glasses and other dish ware.

For me, Dad would bring home old oil lamps, because I had inherited a collection of them from my grandmother. I guess he figured I might as well continue to obtain more of them, especially if the price was right. Dad’s going rate for most items he purchased at yard sales was one quarter.

You might find plenty of similar bargains at sales this spring, so get out and explore them if you have the chance.