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I’m Irish

“I’m Irish
And I’m proud if it
You hear so many say
And if they’re not
They wish they were
On each St. Patrick’s Day.”
“St. Patrick’s Day”
by Josephine Wayland

I send thanks to my Florida friend Anne Wayland O’Hara for allowing me to use part of this poem about St. Patrick’s Day in today’s column. The poem was written by her mother, Josephine Wayland. I would love to have known Josephine. She was a very gifted woman who lived right in my neighborhood, on Neponset Ave.

Hubby and I just took a quick look around our yard at the rose bushes, especially those in the front of the house. We think that all have survived the winter. We haven’t checked the ones in the back yard as yet because the ground is a little mushy. I must check down cellar to see if we have any packages of bulb food. Now is the time to put down the food because we can see where the bulbs are growing. Over the years, we have planted bulbs all around our yard, along the fence line.

You would love to see our side yard. It is a mass of yellow and purple crocuses. We even have one lonely snowdrop. Daughter Sue’s back yard has two large clumps of snowdrops that look beautiful. (We planted them many years go when we lived in her house.) Our own daffodils now have flower buds among the leaves. They should be open on the next warm day. Our forsythia bushes are turning yellow. The flowers should be out very soon.

I loved hearing the callers into Steve LeVeille’s overnight radio program on WBZ. Early the other morning, some of the callers were speaking about “peepers,” the frogs who emit high-pitched sounds in the spring of the year, hoping to attract a female peeper with the sound. Steve then played a recording of the sounds of peepers, made by the late Norm Nathan near his home in Middleton. (I can remember hearing Norm play this recording.) The only time Hubby and I have heard peepers was outside St. Pius X Church in South Yarmouth, on Cape Cod. The sound was almost deafening as we walked up and down the stairs to the church. Peepers are tiny tree frogs and are difficult to see. The frogs have an X on their backs, in case you are lucky enough to see one.

Last week, our friend Margaret McCauley called to invite us to her family’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration in South Boston. Margaret and her husband Tom are fortunate in that the parade passes in front of their home. As we drove along Morrissey Blvd. last Sunday, Hubby and I noted how nice the weather was for the parade. It was a little bit cool but it was bright and sunny. As we drove along Day Boulevard, we were stunned by the number of cars already parked. We had never seen that many cars at 10 a.m. on parade day in all the years we have been invited to the McCauleys’ home. We turned onto L Street. There were quite a few cars ahead of us so we had to inch along. By the time we got to East 5th St., we came to gridlock. Hubby decided that he would go down East 5th St. and drive up one of the side streets. He was finally able to get to the corner of East 4th St. where he let me out of the car with our two folding chairs, plus a bag of Greenhills scones for our hosts.

When I got to the McCauleys’ home, the place was busy with our kitchen workers. Everyone helps with the food as they get ready for the large crowd, mostly family, who will be at the house for the parade. When I went into the parlor, host Tom was watching Sen. Jack Hart’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast. As I walked back out toward the kitchen, I met Margaret’s niece Donna, who told me that she was going to be the Mother-of-the-Bride in May. I loved hearing about the bride’s gown and Donna’s search for the right “Mother’s” dress. Donna told me all about the preparations for the wedding. The wedding reception would be at Lantana’s, where my daughter Jeanne and son-in-law David were married in 1991. I told Donna how accommodating Lantana’s was to the wedding party and what a nice meal we had. While we were chatting, Hubby came in from the cold. He had to park our car five benches from the Firefighters’ Bench at Castle Island so it took him a half hour to walk to the McCauleys’. He told us that he had never seen so many cars parked at the island so early on parade day.

As it came closer to noon, more and more of Tom and Margaret’s family and friends came in, ladened with food. Almost every one of the kids, grandkids, and friends brought something to feed the large crowd. (Now there are even great grandkids.) Hubby and I sat in the living room and chatted with our friends Mary and Don, while we had one eye on the breakfast. Margaret came in the living room and gave me a terrific little story, written by her eight-year-old granddaughter Julia, on how she tried to catch a tadpole. It was hilarious. At the end of the breakfast, host Tom turned on Ch. 501 on Comcast TV and we listened to Irish music. I believe it was Kevin’s wife Ann who made several trays of finger sandwiches, both tuna and chicken salad. They were scrumptious and fortified us so that we were able to face the cold outside for several hours as we watched the parade.

Hubby and I grabbed our folding chairs and went down in front of the house. We were directly across from the home of “Wacko” and Molly Hurley. Wacko has organized the parade for many years. It is fun to watch all the activity at the Hurleys’ home on parade day. We were surprised at how many people were already in place to watch the parade. Pretty soon, the parade started. When Boston’s Mounted Police Unit came by, our group gave them a resounding ovation because their unit is scheduled to be disbanded in June as a budget-cutting measure of the Boston Police Dept. The Budweiser Clydesdale Horses were also near the front of the parade. They are such beautiful animals. How I love the bagpipe bands while most people don’t care for them at all. It must be my wee bit of Scottish blood mixed in with my mostly Irish blood.

All during the parade we were inundated with green lollipops, thrown to the children watching the parade. One even bounced off my face and into Hubby’s hands. I had hoped to catch one of the green plastic necklaces but I wasn’t fast enough to beat the young kids, who scrambled for them. Hubby and I were surprised to see Bob Faherty, now retired from the Boston Police, who used to be assigned to District C-11. Bob was marching in the parade for his favorite cause, “Cops for Kids with Cancer.” We also had a chance to say, “Hi” to City Councilor John Connolly. We were amazed at the number of Boston Police Officers who were patrolling the parade route. The crowd in our area seemed very well behaved. It was a great parade. Wacko should be very proud. He announced that this will be the last year that he will organize the celebrities.
Once the parade was over, we all headed upstairs where a wonderful array of food had been placed on the dining room table by the terrific kitchen gals. Everyone ate well, and there still was still plenty left. I even took home Irish bread and a couple of cupcakes. I was sorry that I was a little too late to get one of Margaret’s famous brownies. (Margaret wraps each one individually.) About 6 p.m., we thanked Margaret and Tom for inviting us, once again, to their wonderful St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As we started to drive home, we were delighted that it was still daylight. We then almost ground to a halt. There was a great deal of traffic on Day Boulevard. It took us almost a half an hour to get home.

In addition to spending Parade Day with the McCauleys, we also had more Irish functions to attend last week. On Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, our friend Eileen Burke, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I had lunch, where else, but at Gerard’s because of his terrific boiled dinner. On Thursday, we were at the Irish Cultural Centre for the monthly luncheon organized by the Irish Pastoral Centre. I will tell you more about these wonderful times in next week’s column.

The St. Vincent DePaul Society of Blessed Mother Teresa Parish (formerly St. Margaret’s) is expanding to include a clothing day for people in need. Soon it will be seeking seasonal clean and lightly-worn clothing. Why not start looking in the attic now to see what you can contribute to the clothing drive when it is held.

Continue to bring your used books, CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes to the Got Books’ container on the Rita Rd. side of St. Brendan School. Each time the container is filled, the proceeds go to the school. The container has already been filled four times!

I was sorry to read of the death of Sister Mary Dolores Foley, CSJ, on Mar. 8. Hubby and I send our sympathy to her sister, our friend Lucy Hebard.

I am still in a St. Patrick’s Day mood. Here is a lovely blessing:

“May good St. Patrick bless you
And keep you in his care,
And may Our Lord be near you
To answer every prayer.”