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Cherry trees in bloom

If you want to see the most magnificent cherry trees in full bloom, you must drive down Hancock St. in Quincy and go past Quincy City Hall. The building is surrounded by cherry trees that are the most beautiful color I have ever seen. They are almost a mauvey-pink. I hope that they are still in bloom so that you can see them. I saw the cherry trees in bloom in Washington, D.C. but the Quincy ones surpass even those in Washington.

Fortunately, daughter Sue is on the New England Patriots’ e-mail list. Two weeks ago, she forwarded, to me, an e-mail from the Patriots that Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti would appear in the Patriots’ Pro Shop, next to Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro. They would be signing copies of their new book, A View from the Booth: Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti-25 Years of Broadcasting the New England Patriots.” The book-signing would be held on the observance of the Patriots’ Day holiday, April 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. I would be able to go because I was only working in the morning. Of course we have listened to Gil on WBZ radio forever and especially enjoyed hearing his comments on local sports during the noon hour. Now that he has retired from WBZ, we do miss hearing him. Fortunately, he, along with his friend Gino, will continue to broadcast the Patriots’ games on WBCN (104.1 FM).

Daughter Sue called niece Terri, who lives in Attleboro, and asked if she would like to join us for lunch at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant at the Wrentham Outlets. Sue also told Terri that we would be going to Foxboro to see Gil and Gino after lunch. Terri was delighted to join us for the afternoon. We had a chance to look around the restaurant’s magnificent gift shop. I resisted buying anything. Before long, our table was ready.

Inside the nice, warm restaurant, we were each given two menus, a breakfast menu and a lunch/dinner menu. (I am always amazed at the number of selections on both menus.) Hubby and Terri liked the daily special, a crusty chicken selection for about $7. Sue ordered chicken tenders while I had my old favorite, meatloaf. Our waitress brought out four cream-of-tartar biscuits and four pieces of corn bread, one of each for the four of us. Our dinners came out quickly. Each of us cleaned our plates. Then it was off to the Patriots’ Pro Shop. We drove into the parking lot and had a difficult time finding a parking spot. Hubby and I had not had a chance to see the new Gillette Stadium up close. It looked beautiful from where we were standing. Both Hubby and Sue took a few photos of it. Then we hurried out of the cold and into the Pro Shop. As I walked in the door, I saw jerseys with players’ names on them. There, in the middle of three racks of jerseys, was my favorite player’s name, (Tedy) Bruschi, Number 54. I would never wear the jersey but I really was tempted to buy it. I resisted. “Let’s go and find out where the book-signing is being held,” said Sue.

Up a little stairway went Sue and then she pointed and said, “Over there.” We came around the corner and I was perhaps within 10 feet from Gil. Gino was sitting next to him and both were busy signing books for the crowd of people in line. Hubby and Sue both started snapping photos. When Gil was waiting to sign another book, I went over to introduce myself. I wished him a “Happy Birthday” and a “Happy Anniversary.” I told Gil that I always put his birthday and anniversary in The Dorchester Reporter. Sometimes I would even mail him a copy of the paper. He said, “Yes, I remember getting the papers from you.” Gil, by the way, was born on Patriots’ Day (April 19); he celebrated his 48th wedding anniversary on Patriots’ Day; and he is the voice of the Patriots on the radio. I told the very pleasant guard standing near me that it was Gil’s birthday and anniversary, actually on Sunday, so he bent over and wished Gil well. I looked around in the crowd for Gil’s wife Roberta because I almost know what she looks like from the photo that was in the newspaper the day after Gil retired from ‘BZ. I said to the guard, “I am looking for a tiny lady, Mrs. Santos.” The guard said that she was taken upstairs to the office area for the two-hours of book-signing.

Hubby, Sue, Terri, and I stayed around for a few minutes just looking at Gil and Gino. Then Sue saw an opportunity. Gil was waiting to receive a book to sign. Sue asked him to smile and to show the Super Bowl ring that he was wearing. Thanks to her digital camera, we were able to see the photo right away. The photo was magnificent. Sue was so happy that she was almost jumping up and down with delight.

We looked around the shop a little longer. The four of us agreed that we liked the old Patriots’ logo much better than the more stylized new one. We started back toward the door. I saw Tedy Bruschi’s jersey once again and stopped dead in my tracks. I took one of the jerseys off the rack and held it in front of me. Both Hubby and Sue took perhaps 10 photos. I was thrilled. What a wonderful photo to have.

Since niece Terri lives near Foxboro, she knew that a brand new Christmas Tree Shop had recently opened in the Patriots’ Mall. The mall is so big that we had to drive to the store. It was late Sunday afternoon so that there were not too many shoppers in the store. Usually I know how to “attack” a Christmas Tree Shop and see most of it. This one was so big that I forgot my usual plan. I know that I missed half of the items for sale. I did buy paper plates and five-ounce and three-ounce paper cups at great prices. I also was drawn to the rose bushes and saw a yellow hybrid tea rose bush that had several shoots of green leaves, each topped with a tiny rosebud. I grabbed it and put it in my carriage. We will find a place in the yard to plant it. When we were done shopping, we met behind the registers, paid for our purchases, and went to our cars. We said, “Goodbye” to Terri and drove back to Boston. Traffic was light because it was a holiday. What a great day we had!

I am late in speaking about one of my favorite events of the year, the annual Meatloaf Dinner, which is a fundraiser for Dorchester Day events. The dinner was held at the First Parish Church on Thurs., Mar. 19. Our friend Eileen Burke joined Hubby and me that evening. We were quite early and were able to get great seats. Our friends Loretta Philbrick, Ginny Biagiotti, and Mary Shea joined us soon after we arrived. Richard McKinnon and his sister Kathy Coleman also sat with us. Steve and Carla Tankle came in with the youngest person to attend the dinner, their daughter Alannah, almost seven months old and awfully cute. Karen MacNutt chatted with us for a few minutes. Regina Hughes came in and sat with Karen. I enjoyed speaking with the First Parish Church’s secretary, Barbara Greene. Ed and Karen Crowley were also at the supper. As usual, Charlie Tevnan brought his three girls, Caroline, Kathleen, and Mary Ellen. Mayor Tom Menino and his wife Angela joined us for the evening. (The Mayor loves Gerard’s meatloaf.)

I must mention the menu for the Meatloaf Dinner. As usual, Gerard was the caterer. His meatloaf, that evening, tasted even better than usual. Along with the meatloaf, we had mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, rolls, and a Caesar salad. Coffee and punch were available for all. To top off the evening, each of us was given a dish of vanilla ice cream with strawberries, my favorite dessert. While we were eating our dessert, we were treated to the music of our friend Michael Pratt. He played and sang some beautiful selections that I hadn’t heard in many a year. He was wonderful, as usual, and received a rousing ovation. That was the perfect way to end a pleasant evening. On the way out, the church’s Girl Scouts were selling their cookies at the dinner. Hubby succumbed and bought a few boxes.

I was impressed and delighted to hear that Kelley Doherty, daughter of Joanne and the late Thomas Cook, was inducted into the National Honor Society on Apr. 8. Kelley, a third year student at Bridgewater State College, lives in Dorchester with her husband Sean and daughter Kelsea. She is the granddaughter of Marie Ryan and Betty Cook of Dorchester. Kelley is expecting a baby in June. I don’t know how she is able to keep up such a busy schedule and get wonderful marks. Congratulations, Kelley!

I enjoyed hearing Morgan White Jr. on WBZ radio two very early mornings recently. During the last hour of both days, Morgan conducted his Trivia Quiz. The first day, all the answers contain the same word twice, such as “Bora Bora,” “Rin Tin Tin,” and “Zsa Zsa Gabor.” That contest was pretty easy. The second day took too much thinking at 4 a.m. so I zoned out on it. Morgan mentioned that he has written a book of trivia, Talking Trivia, that will be available for purchase later this month. There is to be a book-signing at the No Name Restaurant at a date TBA.

Here is a Golden Rule from Ann Landers: “If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.”