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"Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today"

I think back to some of the flowers that I knew as a child: the hollyhocks, the Japanese lanterns, the bleeding hearts, and the balsams (my grandfather’s favorite). Each fall, we would pop open the seed pods of the balsams and save the seeds for the following year. I still can smell the pungent odor of the geraniums when my fourth-grade teacher would pinch off the dead leaves from the plants in our classroom.

What a lovely time Hubby, Daughter Sue, and I had at the kick-off event for City Councilor Maureen Feeney’s campaign. It was held at the Venezia Restaurant on June 24, Sue’s birthday. What a lovely place for Sue to spend her birthday! As we entered the restaurant, we met our friends, Walter and Doris Pienton from Savin Hill. We were delighted to sit with them. As we went to sit down, our friend Eileen Collins invited us to sit with her, Norma Conley, Della Melchionda, Evie Dunn, and Mary Carney. Our friends Sister Elizabeth Calcagni, Dorothy Harris, and Loretta Martin from the Notre Dame Montessori School sat at the next table. They were joined a little later by Fr. George Carrigg and Louise Tardif. Our friend Joe Chaisson also sat near us. So did our friend from Gerard’s, Margaret Lydon, and also our pal Ginny Biagiotti.

As the evening went on, more people arrived. Our friends and neighbors Jim and Jean Hunt came in, with Jim serving as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, because he is the head of the Ward 16 Democratic Committee. Their son Jim III was also there. Mary Truong, from Carney Hospital, came over to chat for a little while. It was great seeing Charlie Gillen again. I spotted John and Janice Schneiderman, from our Pope’s Hill’s Executive Board, as we were leaving and spoke with them for a couple of minutes. I was delighted to see Renie Smith, who is taking time off to enjoy her family. Justin Holmes told me that he is now working for the Massachusetts Convention Center. Lauren Smyth, the City’s Dorchester liaison, was also there as were Connie Sullivan and Dan Cullinane from Maureen’s office.

When Jim Hunt, “the Elder,” came to the microphone, he introduced quite a few politicians: Clerk of Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County Richie Rouse and City Councilors Bill Linehan, Sal LaMatina, Rob Consalvo, and Steve Murphy. Dom Sacchetti from BASAS and Ed Doherty, from the American Federation of Teachers and former president of the Boston Teachers’ Union, joined the crowd for the evening’s celebration. Maureen was then introduced and thanked everyone for attending. She came around to each table, greeting her friends and telling us how much she appreciated our support.

I loved the musicians who were playing at Maureen’s time that evening. (Jim had announced that they were named Larry and Ray.) I was swinging and swaying in my seat. Then they played one of my favorite songs, Serenata, so I went over to tell one of the musicians that I loved that song. The man asked me how I knew the song because it was not very well known. I told him it was one of my favorite songs. He then asked me who the composer was. My first answer to the unexpected question was that it was David Rose. He said, “No, but who wrote Sleigh Ride?” That was easy. Of course, it was Leroy Anderson who wrote both songs. The musician told me that Leroy Anderson had been a good friend of his Dad’s. He also mentioned that he is one of the very few musicians that play Serenata. (I almost took out my Leroy Anderson/Boston Pops CD when we got home but it was little too late.) I asked the musician if he was going to play at the Mayor’s Garden Party on the following Tuesday. He told me to ask Angelo Piccardi, standing nearby, who is the host of the Wednesday Evening Concerts on City Hall Plaza each summer. I was delighted to go and speak with Angelo. I told him that we were looking forward to the concerts, which started, this summer, on July 22 for four Wednesdays. Norma Conley also came over to speak with Angelo. She had met Angelo about 20 years ago and still remembered how handsome his young son was. When Norma questioned Angelo he said, “Yes! He still has his beautiful eyes,” that Norma had remembered vividly. What a nice night we had at Maureen’s time!

Hubby and I were fortunate to be invited to the Luncheon Cruise, given by the City’s Elderly Commission, during the visit of the Tall Ships. We knew that we had to be in town on City Hall Plaza quite early. Hubby decided we had better drive through Southie rather than risk driving onto the Southeast Expressway with the possibility of getting stuck in a great deal of traffic because of the Tall Ships. As we drove along, I recognized our friend Eileen Collins’s car, with her political bumper stickers on it. As we came along side Eileen at a stop light, she asked where we were going so early. She told us that she was also going to the luncheon cruise and invited Hubby and me to come along with her and her group. We figured that we had better park in Southie and take cabs to City Hall. Also with Eileen were our mutual friends Norma, Della, Ken, and Mary.

Ken and Mary and Hubby and I shared one cab into town. The cab driver took us through the seaport area, which I thought was strange, but he was wise to avoid the busier roads. We were in town in maybe 10 minutes. The rest of our friends pulled up in two more cabs and we found seats in a part of the bricked area of City Hall Plaza. Hubby and some of the others saw Dunkin’ Donuts and off they went. It was so pleasant, on that gorgeous morning, to just sit and people-watch. Some of our pals went into City Hall to pay their house taxes; others, to chat with the Elderly Commission workers. As we sat outside, more senior groups came and found seats on the plaza.

About 11 a.m., the Elderly Commission workers came out and asked us to sign permission slips to go on the cruise. Then a large bus came into the plaza and we all boarded it. Commissioner Eliza Greenberg came onto the bus and welcomed us “on this beautiful morning.” She told us that we would thoroughly enjoy the cruise. Then the Elderly Affairs workers came on board the bus. They, along with the bus driver, Kevin, originally from Dublin, gave out a bagged lunch from Carlo’s Caterers from East Boston. We had our choice of either a roast beef sandwich or a turkey sandwich. Hubby’s choice was, of course, roast beef, while I chose turkey. Along with the terrific sandwich, there were included a bottle of water, a bag of chips, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Kevin, the bus driver, started up the bus and took us very close to the Long Wharf where we were to board the Majesty ship. We were given tickets to assure our getting on the ship. Within minutes we were boarding. Our friends Ken and Mary were seated at one of the tables and invited us to join them. At the adjoining table were Eileen, Della, Norma, Gwen, Peggy, and Carol, who is a budding photographer. Also joining us on the ship were Elderly Affairs workers Marybeth, Marie, Lorraine, Martha, and Kathy, along with the commission’s terrific photographer Eileen O’Connor. Eileen asked if she could sit with us. “Please watch my bag,” and off she went to take photos of our whole Boston group. We sat at a beautifully-appointed table with a white tablecloth and gold napkins. We had an attentive waiter who got us drinks, coffee, and kept our water glasses filled. We were on the second deck. There was a private party down on the first deck. We could look over the railing and see that the guests were dining on lobsters. (I think that we were having more fun.)

As soon as we finished eating our lovely lunch, Hubby took out his camera, took some photos of our group, and then headed for the front of the ship to take photos. Our friend Della went over to chat with her many friends from her years of living in South Boston. Some of our group joined Hubby outside in the sun. (I reminded him to put on his baseball cap.) Ken, Mary, and I sat chatting as we looked out the windows of the ship at the tall ships docked all along Boston’s waterfront. One member of the crew gave a running commentary on the ships as we went by them.

The first ship that we saw on our tour was the Irish ship, the Eithne. Thanks to our friend Ed, we finally found out how to pronounce her name. He told me that it was pronounced just like the insurance company, Aetna Life Insurance Co. I told him that I was a lot older than he and all I could think of when he said the pronunciation was Mount Etna. The LE Eithne is a helicopter-patrol vessel and was moored at Pier 4 in Charlestown. We, of course, took special note of that ship because it is Irish. It seemed odd to see the USS Constitution/”Old Ironsides” looking rather bare (no riggings) because she is undergoing extensive repairs. We were so proud to see the U.S. Coast Guard barque, the Eagle. We know that she is the Coast Guard training ship. There will be more about out Tall Ships’ luncheon cruise next week.

I still chuckle at this saying, which was sent to me by my late cousin Nancy a few years ago: “Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today!”