Meatloaf Dinner and other signs of Spring

“Sometimes sunshine, sometimes showers
Bathe and nuture budding flowers
As April sings a song of spring
And dances of a bluebird’s wing.”
“A Song of Spring” by Nora Bozeman

Hubby and I are amazed at our flowering plants. There are more purple crocus but still very few yellow ones. There is one orange crocus that is positively gorgeous. There are quite a few daffodil leaves in the yard but only one daffodil flower. There were daffodils blooming last weekend outside the Bayside Office Center where our office is located. The building gets sun most of the day.

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What a lovely time Hubby and I had at the annual Meatloaf Dinner, a fundraiser for Dorchester Day activities, on Thurs., Mar. 22. It felt like snow as we got out of our car on Meetinghouse Hill. As we entered the First Parish Church, we were greeted by our friend Barbra Trybe. We thought we might be the first ones there but pal Eileen Burke and her sister Lorraine Greer were already there. We try to sit near the front of the hall so that we can see Michael Pratt perform. In came our pals Loretta, Ginny, and Mary, who sat with us. So did our friends Joe and Carol. We were delighted to see our friends Richard, his wife Maureen, and his sister Claire once again. Our friend Peter Woloschuk was also attending the dinner. (We had seen him several times that week.) I had a chance to chat with Barbara Green, my friend for quite a few years. I also spoke with Karen MacNutt and Regina Hughes, who came in a little later. Michael Pratt was practicing for his concert, which we would hear after we had eaten dinner.

Rev. Art Lavoie, pastor of the church, said “Grace.” Chairman of the event, Ed Geary Jr., asked all of us to observe a moment of silence for the late Ralph Browne, a former chief marshal, and for Billy McDermott, a mainstay in Dorchester affairs and politics. His sudden death by auto accident several weeks ago saddened the Dorchester community profoundly. Joe Chaisson, who was there with his wife Carol, announced that he and she would be taking a year off from organizing the wonderful Parade of Seniors’ luncheon, which is part of Dorchester Day activities. Ed Geary invited former Parade Grand Marshal John Scannell to lead us in saluting the flag and then in singing the National Anthem. (He sang beautifully, as usual.)

Chairman Ed told us that he and his lovely wife Gretchen had just celebrated their first anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day. (They were on their honeymoon last year at the time of the banquet.) He then invited members of the audience to go to the back of the hall where Gerard and his restaurant employees were ready to serve dinner. We were treated to salad, a roll and butter, a generous slice of meatloaf, scrumptious mashed potatoes, gravy, and carrots. We had to wait until everyone was fed for the superb dessert (my favorite): vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping. What could be better!

When everyone had mostly finished the dessert, Ed invited pal Michael Pratt to come to the stage. Once Michael sat down at his keyboard and began to play and sing, the audience was his. He began with a rousing version of “Rock-a-bye Your Baby.” He followed that song with, “Never Can Say Good-bye,” He ended with “Everlasting Love.” (I must thank pal Eileen for giving me some of the titles of Michael’s songs.) He received a rousing round of applause when he finished.

At the end of the dinner, Ed Geary thanked Gerard for his wonderful meatloaf dinner. As we put on our winter jackets, we could see through the windows of the church that it had been snowing. Thank goodness there was no snow on the sidewalks. We were easily able to get to our car. The Meatloaf Dinner is such a pleasant evening.

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Hubby and I were sorry to read of the death of Catherine “Kay” Donovan on April 2. Kay was the terrific secretary at the Holland School when Hubby was there. What shocked us even more about her death was the fact that Kay died just two weeks after her sister, Ann Hanwell. What a terrible shock for their family! Our family sends its sympathy to her husband William and to their children, Frank, Christine Feeney, and Caren Donovan. We also send our sympathy to her siblings: Helen Lee, Mary Pipia, Frances O’Toole, Claire Stanton, Neil Doherty, Bernard Doherty, and Paul Doherty.

I was also sorry to hear of the death of Thomas Walsh on Apr. 4. Tom was the husband of Kathryn “Kay” Walsh. Kay and Tom were very active in the K Club, Senior Citizens of Neponset, from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, the K Club was named for Kay (without the “ay”).

I know Kay well but did not know Tom well until I sat next to him at a K Club function. He was quiet, just like Hubby, so I didn’t know what to talk to him about. We began talking about TV shows. I mentioned that I was currently hooked on “The Closer.” Well, his eyes brightened and he started to tell me how much he also enjoyed the show. We talked about that program for at least an hour. I mentioned this story to Kay and the grandkids when I was at the wake. They all laughed. I send my sympathy to Kay, and to their children, Linda McElroy Conlon, Carol McElroy Connolly, and Robert McElroy and to Tom’s siblings, Mary Walsh, Pauline Walsh, and Jack Walsh. Tom was an Air Force veteran. His funeral Mass was held in Mission Church, on Mission Hill, where he grew up. By the way, it was so good to see Maureen Connolly, Mary Maloney and her daughter Kathleen, Ginny Aveni, and Evie Dunne at the wake. I also had a chance to chat with Charlie Carroll.

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It was a shame that there were so few attending the Pope’s Hill meeting on March 27. Pres. Phil Carver addressed the issue of low attendance. Granted it was cold and dark, but Phil urged those attending to bring others with them to the next meeting. He pointed out that the Pope’s Hill Association now has a lady, Adrienne Kaszanek, who is willing to mind young children at the meeting while their parent or parents attend the session. Phil then asked Judy Burke to give her Treasurer’s Report. One of District C-11’s Community Service Officers, Dennis Rorie, was invited to speak. He invited anyone affected by autism to come to a Community Day at the Fire Station on Neponset Avenue on Sat., April 6, from 10 a.m. to noon. Also participating in the autism event were the Boston Fire Dept., Boston’s EMTs, and the Boston Police Dept. Dennis then gave the local report. A child was locked in a car in the Liquidator’s Parking Lot. There was also a B & E at 1 Pope’s Hill St. Hubby saw at least five or six police cars outside that building on the day it happened. Dennis urged everyone to call the police if they think that something is suspicious. He told us that three pizza places had been robbed. On March 1, there was an incident on Adams Street of someone going into peoples’ back yards. A neighbor got the license plate of the car the man was driving. Police were able to apprehend him later in South Boston. Dennis also told us that there was a very serious fire earlier that evening on Juliette Street. As a matter of fact, the Murphy School was going to be used as a staging area for all the people displaced because of the million-dollar fire. We stopped our meeting very early so that the fire victims could congregate in the Murphy’s cafeteria.

The next speaker was City Councilor Frank Baker. Frank told us that he had been in office for a little more than a year. He amazed us when he said that panhandlers come up from Rhode Island to Boston to work the streets. He said that there were two methadone clinics in his district. He thought there was a health club rumored to be interested in the Rite Aid store. Frank also told us that Mayor Menino would announce his decision of whether he was running for re-election or not at 4 p.m. the following day. State Rep. Nick Collins was the final speaker for the evening. He told us that Tom Cifrino would be very selective in choosing what will finally go into the Rite Aid space. He also invited seniors to a luncheon on Monday at Florian Hall. The meeting closed at 8:15 p.m.

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On Monday, opening day for the Red Sox, I went to work sporting the Red Sox pin that daughter Sue gave me a few years back. The team is off to a great start. Go, Sox!