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The first crocuses of the season

"February can be wild
With her storms of sleet and snow,
Other times she can be mild
With a preview of spring's show."
"February" by Carice Williams

All through February, Hubby and I have been checking the patch of ground on the sunny side of the house, near the foundation. The first week of February, we saw a few crocus leaves poking through the ground. The crocuses have now been joined by approximately 30 tulips and daffodils. One daffodil is about three inches high. Another patch of ground on the sunny side of our home, but not near the warm foundation, has no bulbs emerging as yet. These bulb need some more "warm" days to emerge from their winter's sleep.

Thanks to a kind invitation from our friend Loretta, we were able to attend the $10,000 drawing and dinner to benefit St. Brendan's School last Monday evening. Hubby was especially thrilled because he figured that the dinner at Anthony's Pier Four would probably be his favorite meal, roast beef. During the afternoon, he went upstairs to nap. (I should have realized that something was amiss because he very seldom goes upstairs to nap.)

When he awoke, we dressed and drove to the waterfront to Pier Four. As we walked toward the front door of the restaurant, we had a chance to greet the principal of St. Brendan's School, Mrs. Ellen Leary. When we arrived on the second floor, we saw pal Loretta, who told us that she had already told the women at the registration desk that we would be using the extra tickets. Emcee for the evening, Jack Ryan, said that we could come in as long as it was us.

Loretta ushered us toward her table. We were delighted to be sitting with Maryann O'Brien, Dottie O'Brien, Carol Murphy, Mary Shea, Ginny Biagiotti, Mary Reardon, Bob Boushell, Loretta herself, and, for part of the evening, Fr. Clif Thuma, who had previously been stationed at St. Brendan's. (Fr. Clif is now pastor of St. Anne's Parish in Littleton.)

Emcee Jack Ryan welcomed us all to the dinner and drawing. He began by telling us a joke. "Why is the IRS Form 1040 called that? It is because you get to keep $10 and send the other $40 to the government." We all laughed. Just before the dinner was served, Hubby told me that he was not feeling well and he was going home. He told me to stay and enjoy myself. If I needed a ride home, he would come back and get me. (Daughter Sue was at a wake in Hanover so I couldn't get hold of her.)

Then it was time for dinner to be served. We began with a bowl of clam chowder, which everyone enjoyed except me. I am allergic to shellfish so I couldn't have any. Then we had a lovely salad. While we were eating the salad, the waiters came around with Pier Four's renowned popovers. The popovers that night seemed to have more substance to them but they still tasted great, as usual. Then, the main course was brought out and it was, as Hubby suspected, a roast beef dinner, with delmonico potatoes and green beans. (Hubby would be so disappointed that he missed the roast beef dinner.) To top off the meal, the waiters brought out good-sized pieces of Baked Alaska, with strawberries. It was quite a meal. Bob, Loretta, and I thought the food was excellent. There will be more about the dinner and drawing in next week's column.

If you are "down the Cape" on Sat., March 7, you may see a preview of Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade. I heard, on the Irish Hit Parade program on radio Station WROL (950 AM), that there will be a parade in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Sat., Mar. 7. WROL will be broadcasting from Capt. Parker's Restaurant, on Route 28, in West Yarmouth, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. The parade will pass in front of the restaurant so you will have a wonderful view of it. By the way, Gerry Manning, owner of Capt. Parker's, recommends that you try his famous, award-winning clam chowder while you are there. It sounds like a great day.

I was so sorry to read of the death of Robert "Bob" Drummond Sr., on Feb. 11, at 79 years. I knew Bob and his long-time partner Mary Carney from the K Club. We often had a chance to chat. Bob was a retired 41year employee of the City of Boston (in the Transportation Dept.). He received the prestigious Shattuck Award for Outstanding Service to the City of Boston in 1988. (My cousin Janet received the Shattuck Award with Bob the same evening in Oct., 1988.) Bob was the husband of the late M. Christine (McKenna) and the father of Robert Jr., Patricia McDaid, Paula Mahoney, and Kathleen Duffy. He was the brother of Paul and the late Henry Drummond and Joan Gibson. He and Mary were often seen at Castle Island; he was a member of the Castle Island Association, the Friendly Club, and the K Club. I send my sympathy to Mary, to Bob's children, and to his brother Paul. He will be missed; he was a nice person.

I was also sorry and surprised to read of the death of Patricia "Pat" (Horrigan) DiLorenzo on Feb. 17. Pat often attended the four o'clock Mass on Saturdays at St. Christopher's Church with several of her friends. Hubby saw Pat at the Boston Teacher Retirees' luncheons and meetings. We also saw her at the K Club celebrations to which we were invited. Our son-in-law David, when he was a student at B.C. High, asked Pat if he could volunteer to help Pat in her second-grade classroom at the Roger Clapp School. She agreed. Pat loved David and he thought she was a wonderful teacher. (She taught at the Clapp School for more than 39 years.)

When I attended Pat's wake at the Murphy Funeral home on Dorchester Ave., I was immediately drawn to her high school yearbook; it was placed right by the sign-in guest register. I recognize the yearbook because it was from Girls' Latin School, my alma mater. As I looked through the book, I discovered that Pat was just two years ahead of me at GLS. She also graduated from State Teachers' College at Boston and was just a few years ahead of Hubby and me at STCB. We will miss Pat, especially at St. Christopher's. Fr. George Carrigg, pastor of St. Christopher's, mentioned that many of her former students were in attendance at the funeral. She was a lovely lady and will be missed by many.

If you are not able to attend the Stations of the Cross at your church on Fridays, St. Christopher's Church offers the Stations of the Cross on the Wednesdays of Lent at 6 p.m. at the church.

Early last Saturday morning, Hubby and I realized that we had to hit the ATM at the Sovereign Bank on Gallivan Blvd. before we started out to shop. Hubby entered the lobby of the bank and spent longer than usual getting money from the machine. While he was inside, I was looking at the trees near the bank to see if I could see some birds' nests. There, on the tree right behind the bank, was a huge bird looking straight forward. I am not an ornithologist but, from what little I have read about birds, I think he must have been a snowy owl. He was very large, larger than a regular-sized owl, with a snow-white breast.

When Hubby came out from the bank, I saw why he had taken longer than usual to use the ATM. He was speaking inside the bank with our friend, Bob Genduso, who served for many years as president of the Pope's Hill Neighborhood Association. I pointed out the owl to them. We all just stared at this beautiful sight. We more or less agreed that it was, indeed, a snowy owl. What a treat to see him. Thank goodness the tree was bare of leaves so that we could see him. Keep your eyes out for him. He is definitely in the Neponset area.

If you wish to get rid of some of your used books, CDs, DVDs. VHS tapes, and audio books, a "Got Books" container is located on the Rita Road side of St. Brendan's School. The school is compensated every time the container is filled. (It has already been filled four times.) This is a great time to clean out the old bookcases and it will benefit the school. By the way, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Brendan's is collecting warm hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves. Please leave the items in the basket at the front of the church.

Two nice things happen this weekend that are harbingers of spring. Sullivan's at Castle Island will reopen this Sat., Feb. 28, probably till just about 3 p.m. Sully's will offer its delicious hot dogs at half price (75 cents) on Sat., Feb. 28, and Sun., Mar. 1. Thereafter the hot dogs will cost you $1.50. Also, in Lower Mills, The Icecreamsmith will reopen for the season on Sun., Mar. 1. Spring is definitely right around the corner.