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Irish Village

If you’d like to see some great red leaves, check out the trees in the parking lot of the Stop & Shop at the corner of Freeport St. & Morrissey Blvd. They are gorgeous. Our two big pots of geraniums on our front porch are still flowering beautifully. It was not cold enough last week to hurt them. Our red roses are, once again, flowering and look positively spectacular against the white siding of our house. Hubby even took out the camera and took several photos of the large rosebush in the front of the house and the shorter rosebush near the side porch. Our impatiens plants are less hardy and are not standing up well to temps in the high 30s. We have found our rolled-up scatter rugs once again and put one along the back porch door and one along the front door each night to stop cold air from seeping into the house. We had no choice but to turn on our heat. My nose felt like it had been residing in the freezer compartment of our fridge.

I mentioned, in last week’s paper, that I had met Virginia Cunniff Hutchinson and her sister Esther at the Irish Village. They are friends of our trip coordinator Eileen Collins, who invited them to join us. We met Ginny in a very strange way. About eight years ago, while on a Castle Island Association trip to the Canadian Rockies, Hubby and I were sitting outside our hotel in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. While we were sitting, we saw three elks foraging for food just across the road from us. Three women came out of the hotel. I asked them if they would like to see elks up close. They, of course, said, “Yes!” We pointed toward the elks and we all watched this amazing sight. Then one of them said to me, “Are you from Jamaica Plain?” I said, “Yes!” “I recognize you. I’m from J.P. also.” As we spoke, we discovered that she lived on the same street as Hubby, who also was brought up in J.P. This gal was Ginny Cunniff Hutchinson.

Later on, during our trip to the Canadian Rockies, we met Ginny once again, as we were dining with our travel companions, Mary and Kay Hayes, at Chateau Lake Louise. As we chatted, we discovered that our pal Mary also knew Ginny because they had gone to St. Thomas’s High School in Jamaica Plain together. A little later, we discovered that Hubby’s sister Peg was also a member of that class. It is, indeed, a small world.

I mentioned, in last week’s column, that our friend Eileen had seen a coupon in one of the Cape Cod books for the Cape Cod Super Buffet on Route 28. That is where we went for our evening meal. We saw several buses outside the restaurant but it didn’t seem that crowded inside. As we went up to the buffet, we saw that there was a curtained area on the other side of the building. Behind the curtain were all the people from the buses, who were being entertained by a comedian. What a nice deal for them, a buffet and a show!

After we had eaten, we all drove back the short distance to the Irish Village. We met, a little later, in the dining hall to hear the McTeggarts for the last evening. Both Mike and Jim seem to draw energy from the crowd so they were just as lively on the third night as they were on the first night. As they did during the previous two nights, they invited Mike, the bartender, to come to the microphone and sing. They told us that Mike had sung on Broadway and I can believe it. He had a great voice. He sang some wonderful old songs: Ain’t Misbehavin, Over the Rainbow, and Rock Around the Clock. The evening passed quickly and we were back in our rooms.

The next morning we arose for our final full day at the Irish Village. It was a lovely day, although a little cold. The sixteen of us gathered in the outside patio while Hubby took our photos. We even coaxed Tom McCormack, the dining room manager, to come out and pose for photos with us. I must confess that we all pitched in and bought Tom some fudge, which he loves, because he was so nice to our group. After the picture-taking session, Hubby and I took off and did a little more shopping. I bought some stamps at the Dennisport Post Office to mail the Pope’s Hill Association’s newsletter. I did get to Staples and purchased an ink cartridge, with a coupon that was almost ready to expire. We did accomplish a few things that had to be done so I was pleased.

Then we were back to the Irish Village to rest before the evening meal and entertainment. For our final evening meal, Hubby and I chose the meat loaf dinner. We had seen the menu for the previous evening and we could have chosen filet mignon that evening. I did see quite a few lobster dinners being delivered to the guests on several evenings. All the while we were eating, two men were playing music for us. The featured musician was Jackie Brown from Scotland. I told him that my great grandfather was from Dundee, Scotland, which brought a big smile to his face. The younger man was Paul Kenneally. He played the saxophone, the tin whistle, and the keyboard. We even saw our friend Betty Cook up on the dance floor, jitterbugging with one of the waitresses to their music. During a break in the music, Betty and her friend Della went over to speak with the second musician Paul. They asked where he hailed from. He said, “Neponset.” They yelled for me because they knew that I lived in Neponset. I went over and spoke with Paul. He had lived on Holbrook Ave., right next to the Neponset Health Center. I asked if he knew Phil Carver, the president of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association. “Of course I do,” said Paul. I found out, since I spoke with Paul, that he is a very good friend of pal Eileen Burke’s son Jim and he plays often with Noel Henry’s Irish Showband. Again, I say, “What a small world!”

What a nice group of people we had our trip to the Irish Village. They were Eileen Collins (our trip coordinator), Mary Scarborough, Norma Conley, Mary Coombs, Betty Graham, Betty Cook, Della Melchionda, Mary “Sis” Keeley, Barbara Sullivan, Carol Madden, Barbara Scarborough, Evie Dunne, and our longtime friend Ginny Hutchinson and her sister Esther Moynihan. Eileen laughed: we had three Marys, three Barbaras, two Bettys, and one Vinnie (“Hubby”). As we drove home, we were fortunate that there was little traffic going off Cape that morning. We made it over the Sagamore Bridge in just a few minutes.

When we arrived home, we spotted our outdoor cat Louie, who was happy to see us. Before Hubby did anything else, he ran out on the porch with a can of cat food for the happy feline. Hubby then dragged our suitcases up to the second floor so we could unpack. I put away the things that we had bought. I was so proud that I found a bag of gluten-free pasta for daughter Jeanne, who is on a gluten-free diet. I put the bag in Jeanne’s pile of things to take.

The following evening, Sat., Oct. 10, Hubby and I were once again listening to Irish music. We had been invited to Boston’s County Mayo Association’s annual dance by the Association’s president Evelyn Fennessy. The dance was held at Concannon’s in Norwood. Hubby and I had no sooner sat down than Evelyn came over to welcome us. We saw our friends Austin and Mary O’Malley out on the dance floor. They are, by the way, spectacular dancers. The music was by Noel Henry’s Irish Showband so it was a pleasure to listen to the music. I watched some more. I thought I saw a friend Mary Vinciguerra on the floor. I walked closer and it was indeed Mary. She was with her cousins, Sis Casey, Sister Mary Hannon, and Bea Keirns. Mary told me that they usually follow Noel Henry’s Band. We chatted for a few minutes. I agree that Noel Henry’s Band is terrific. Almost everyone was out on the dance floor. It was a great evening.

Because it rained last Saturday, the Castle Island Association had to cancel its Saturday Halloween Castle. It has been rescheduled and will be held this Saturday, actually on Halloween day, from noon to 4 p.m., with free admission. Costumes are encouraged but optional. Also on Halloween, this Saturday, the Queen Mary 2 will spend the day in Boston. If you go up the hill by the fort at Castle Island, I am sure that you will be able to see it. It is an amazing sight. The QM2 on the smokestack is wonderful to see. On Halloween evening, before you go to bed, be sure that you turn your clocks back one hour to Eastern Standard Time. (“Spring forward; fall back.”) While you are at it, why not check the batteries in your smoke alarms. This is the time of year to change the batteries.

During the month of November, the City of Boston is conducting a “Boston Can Share Drive” to help fight hunger in the city. The canned items may include: soup, beans, tuna, fruit, nuts, juice, pasta, and vegetables. The cans of food may be dropped off at your neighborhood library in November. Financial donations may be sent to:
Mayor’s Fresh Food Fund, Boston Can Share, Room 716, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA 02201. With Thanksgiving only a little over a month away, that would be a wonderful way to help those less fortunate.