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Irish Heritage Festival

Boston did have strong winds over last weekend. We had to bring our flag inside the house. Hubby postponed putting up the outside Halloween decorations until it became a little warmer. Sunday morning, as we were thinking about what time we would go to the Irish Heritage Festival in Adams Village, the furnace went on for the first time this season on the second floor.

The first meeting of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association for the 2009/2010 season was held on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Murphy Community Center. The officers for the year are: President Phil Carver; Vice President Mike Juliano; Recording Secretary Christine Whittemore; Corresponding Secretary Janice Schneiderman; and Treasurer Judy Burke. The 15 Executive Board members, Kate Brohel, Mike Brohel, Michele Cooper, Kathy Costello, Pat Dennehy, Melissa Driscoll, Therese Fitzgerald, Robert Genduso Jr., Noreen Hegarty, Alice Holloran, Susan Holloran, Jim King, Tom Lynch (from the Bostonian), Derek Mourad (from the Neponset Circle Car Wash), and John Schneiderman. Joe Harty, Jack O’Connor, and Barbara McDonough serve as senior advisors. Contact any of them if you have a problem.

On Monday, Sept. 29, Hubby and I drove over to Castle Island to see the Queen Victoria, the largest cruise ship afloat. We knew that she was in Boston for the day. We could see her as we drove along by the water but not well. We then drove along Summer St. where we could see all three ships docked at the Black Falcon Pier. Since the Queen Victoria is at present the largest cruise ship, she was at the farthest end of the pier. She didn’t look so big until I read her statistics. She was built in Italy and is almost 1,000 feet long and 106 feet wide. She can carry 2,000 passengers. Even as I write this, a cruise ship is being built that will be even larger than the Victoria.

On Tues., Sept. 29, I left work a little early so that Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I could join our friends from the Irish Pastoral Centre in catching the bus for the Mohegan Sun Casino. Mike Shields organizes a trip to the casino about every three months and almost always has a full bus. Our friends Tom and Esther Mannion were already waiting for the bus. Esther introduced us to her sister Agnes Kavanaugh, who had just arrived from Ireland the previous day with her daughter Greta, a member of the Garda. (Agnes was only a young girl when Esther came to the U.S.) We boarded the bus quickly and left Quincy just about 8 a.m. We were delighted to see Eileen O’Connor from South Boston on the same bus. Hubby and I had traveled with Eileen on several trips with the Castle Island Association. The traffic that morning was terrible. Our bus driver heard the reports and drove an alternate route to avoid most of the traffic. Even then, we were later than usual in arriving at the casino. The bus driver told us that we had to stay at least six hours to get the deal with the free coupons so we may not leave at exactly 4 p.m.

When the casino employee got on our bus, he told us that we would, indeed, leave at 4 p.m. When we finally got off the bus, Eileen said that she would stay in the “Lost Tribes” area where there is no smoking. Hubby and I headed for the coffee shop area, which had been renovated, and sat with coffee and a sugar-free blueberry muffin to sustain us till we took advantage of the luncheon buffet. Our friends, the Mannions, and Eileen O’Connor and her friends also joined us in the coffee shop area. This time, Hubby and I did not go into the stores at the casino. Most of them are way out of our budget but they are fun to look at and to drool over. We were saving our money for the Irish Festival at Adams Corner/Village.

On the way back to the Lost Tribes area, Hubby took my free coupons and his and tried the wheel. This time, he lost all six of our coupons. Several times, in probably eight visits to the casino, he has been lucky at the wheel but not that day. We found Eileen having a great time on the penny machines. I found a 25-cent poker machine, with deuces wild, so I plunked myself down in front of that one. Hubby went off to a regular slot machine. (I don’t dare try that type of machine because I am a very unlucky gambler.) It took me about an hour to lose $10, half of my allotment for the day. (I stick to $20 a visit to a casino.) Hubby usually sticks to $20 also to lose.

Our bus driver urged us to get to the buffet early so we joined Eileen in walking there. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated, unlike the last time we were there when we were seated immediately. (We figure that the economy is beginning to look up and there are more people at the casino.) The salad bar was just wonderful so we thoroughly enjoyed that. The main courses I had some trouble with because quite a few were made with shellfish and I am allergic to shellfish. There were no Italian dishes that I usually fall back on when there are too many items with shellfish. Of course, I looked over the many items that filled the dessert area. (None, sadly, were sugar-free so I had to be very careful.) Our waitress was very attentive and kept us supplied with coffee and soda.

Back we marched to the Lost Tribes area, fortified for another session with the one-armed bandits. Eileen went, again, to her penny machines. I did go back to my deuces-wild machine while Hubby went off, checking out the casino. I seemed to be doing a little better in the afternoon. I went way down on my $10 but then hit a lucky break, a straight flush. I then ended up with just over $10 on my machine so I worked it down to exactly $10 and cashed out. I knew if I played longer that I would eventually lose the $10 again. So I only lost $10. Hubby told me that he actually lost about $30. That wasn’t bad for a day’s recreation. We boarded the bus just about 4 p.m., and were back in Quincy just a little after 6 p.m.

Often, when Hubby and I get in our car, Hubby will say to me, “We can be in the Irish Village in a little over an hour.” We always wanted to go there but we never seemed to have time. Back in the spring, after we came home from Branson, Missouri, our friend Eileen Collins, president of St. Brendan’s Seniors, mentioned that she had booked some rooms at the Irish Village for October. She asked if we would like to come. Because Hubby and I had special birthdays in September, we thought we would give each other five days at the Irish Village as a birthday gift. “Of course, we will join you,” we told Eileen.
The summer passed too quickly and then it was the Sunday before we were to leave for our trip. We had to get packed. We had checked out the Irish Village on line and discovered that it was founded in 1976 by Noel Henry and his family. We would enjoy being there with our friends for five days and four nights. We would be given three breakfasts and two dinners during our stay.

I had worked Monday morning but as soon as we had lunch, we packed up the car and were on our way. We were concerned about the backup at the Sagamore Bridge but it was not very long since it was early in the afternoon. We decided not to stop at the mall at the bridge in case traffic became heavier. We got off at Exit 6 and started to shop our way to the motel. We stopped at the “new” Christmas Tree Shop in Hyannis and found several things that we had needed. I keep forgetting to take the doorstops at the Pope’s Hill meetings so I bought several packages of them. The store even had Tootsie Pops, which I love to get for Halloween treats because I won’t eat them. I bought four packages. If these were four packages of milk chocolate candy, I would probably open at least one bag long before Halloween. There will be more about our trip to the Irish Village in next week’s column.

I was sorry to read of the death of Alan Dary, at age 89, in Merrimac, NH, on Oct. 2. He participated in the invasion of Normandy during WWII. In 1950, he began Station WORL. He also worked at WBZ and WHDH. He retired to Londonderry, NH, in the late 1980s. It takes me back to my youth just hearing his name.

I loved this saying that I found in a Building 19 ad: “Middle age is when you’re faced with all kinds of temptations and you pick the one that gets you home by nine.”