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October Irish Luncheon

“I like the woods in Autumn
When dry leaves hide the ground,
When the trees are bare
And the wind sweeps by
with a lonesome sound.”

“Autumn Woods” by James S. Tippett

Hubby was out in the yard last week to clean out the whiskey barrels before the frost hit the plants. We want to get that yard waste ready before the Yard-Waste Collection ends on Dec. 4. The pots of geraniums on the front porch should be O.K. for a few more weeks because they are up off the colder ground. The red ones, in particular, look so pretty now that most other plants and trees are bare. Hubby brought the two pots of pansies up onto the porch to protect them from the cold for a few more weeks. One pot has just green leaves. The second pot had one pansy two weeks ago. Now it has five. Pansies love cool weather. One year I nursed a pot of pansies on the porch through the winter to the next spring. I think, however, that that particular winter was quite mild. We also have several sunflowers blooming around the porch area. One must be over six-feet tall. Speaking of the front porch, we have decided that we will put LED lights on the front porch at Christmas time because they are so much more energy-efficient.

I read how the tradition of the Presidential Pardon for the National Turkey came to be. President Lincoln was given a turkey while in the White House. Lincoln’s son Tad took a liking to the bird and made him his pet. He even walked the bird around the White House grounds. When Tad discovered that the bird was to be used for dinner, the boy disrupted his father’s cabinet meeting to protest the killing of the bird. President Lincoln wrote a note for the boy to give to the “executioner,” sparing the bird’s life. This is how the tradition of the Presidential Pardon for the nation’s turkey began.

Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I always look forward to the monthly luncheons for seniors at the Irish Cultural Centre, sponsored by the Irish Pastoral Centre. On a half-way-decent day, weather-wise, we arrived in Canton about 11:15 a.m. Cora Flood, the senior coordinator for the Irish Pastoral Centre, was just unloading her car so Hubby helped her in with her supplies. Cora was just back to work after being out on maternity leave. I asked about the new addition to her family. Brian Crosse and Cora welcomed Killian Patrick Crosse on Aug. 13. Killian weighed in at seven pounds, six ounces. Killian has an older sister, Orla, who is two years old. The proud grandparents are Pat and Noreen Crosse of Limerick City, Ireland; and Paddy and Maura Flood of Graignamanagh, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Everyone was happy to welcome Cora back to the monthly Senior Luncheon.

Hubby, Eileen, and I headed for our usual table. We were joined in a short time by Kathleen, Lucy, Celia, Ann, Claire, Eleanor, and Pat. The table was so filled that our usual table companion, Peggy, had to sit at another table. Eileen was the first one to spot our mutual friend Mary Norton. Mary sat at a neighboring table and came over to chat with us. It was so good to see her.

Fr. John McCarthy, the Irish Chaplain, came into the center and began setting up the altar for the noontime Mass. When he began Mass, he told us of Thomas Pointon, from Ireland, who immigrated to New Zealand in 1828. When his first child was born, Pointon had to send his wife and baby 1,200 miles to Sydney, Australia, to have the child Baptized. He petitioned to have a priest sent to New Zealand. His petition was realized when, on Jan. 10, 1838, the first Catholic Mass in New Zealand was celebrated in the Pointons’ home.

Fr. John announced that this Mass, because it was the month of November, would be a Remembrance Mass. Cora then read the names of all those to be remembered that had been given to her by those attending. Father began the Mass by asking those in attendance to remember the four girls who had been killed near the Galway-Mayo border the previous evening. There were five extra candles on the altar. The first three candles were lit for all those names read earlier in the Mass. The fourth candle was for all our people, parishioners, and even the homeless. The fifth candle was lit for those who are unable to go home. He asked for prayers for those in the armed forces, those who are ill at home, and those in the hospitals. Father then said the Our Father in Gaelic. I was amazed at how many were able to join along with him. Almost everyone in the room received Communion. We were reminded, again, that the December luncheon would be a week earlier than usual.

At the end of Mass, the volunteers began serving the pork with cranberry chutney dinner. While we were waiting to get in line Cora Flood came to our table. We asked about the new baby. Killian, who,at three months old, now weighs 16 pounds. She told us that she was delighted to be back as Senior Coordinator for the Irish Pastoral Centre. She also told us about the Open House at the Irish Cultural Centre on Sat., Dec. 12.

Our whole table always takes chances on the raffle because the proceeds are given to the Irish Pastoral Centre. Hubby took three dollars worth. So did I. We had seen the array of prizes displayed on a large table out in the hallway while we were in line for our dinners. Hubby nudged me when the first number was picked. “It’s yours,” he said. I walked up to the prize table in disbelief. I very seldom win anything. When I arrived at the table, the gal helping with the prizes showed me the biggest prize, a large basket filled with many items and wrapped in festive Christmas plastic. I took that one, of course. When I got back to our table, we wished our friends at the table a Happy Thanksgiving and headed for our car. There was quite a bit of traffic on the way home. By the way, John Connors and the Irish Express played music for us all afternoon. Maureen McNally sang for us during the Mass.

When we got home, we decided not to unwrap the raffle basket until daughter Sue came home from school to see how pretty it was. She helped us unwrap it after we had taken photos of the basket. We couldn’t believe the many things included in it. The wicker basket contained: a date planner, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, an “Absolutely Irish” DVD (from the PBS channel,) four rolls of wallpaper border (green, of course), a framed print, two nutcracker dolls, a bottle of Arbor Mist Chardonnay, a six-pack of Magner’s Irish Cider (from Tipperary), a Magner’s baseball cap, and a Magner’s polo shirt. What a great prize!

Mary “Sis” Keeley, treasurer of St. Gregory’s 60 & Over Club, sent Hubby and me an invitation to the group’s meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in St. Gregory’s auditorium. I was delighted to accept for us but warned Sis that I had a dental appointment at 10:30 a.m. for deep –gum scaling. I was a little apprehensive about the procedure but figured that I would be O.K. for the senior meeting. The scaling was much easier than I had expected. The only problem was that my mouth was filled with novocaine. When we arrived at St. Greg’s, we spotted Sis at one of the tables and checked in with her.

Our friends Eileen Collins, Norma Conley, and Della Melchionda invited us to sit at their table. Also at the table were Wanda Madjek, Marilyn Ferrara, Joan Lovett, and Sheila O’Donnell. Fran O’Keefe, mother of my friend Denise Doherty, sat down and mentioned that today was her great grandson Patrick Doherty’s first birthday. Connie O’Reilly also sat with us. I had a chance to greet my pal, Mae Allix, who was sitting near the stage. My longtime friend, Dolly Farquharson, came over and asked me how my “other” knee was doing-not my new knee.

Then we were all asked to sit down and some of the members passed out a delicious boxed lunch to us. I understand that Pat’s in Lower Mills catered the luncheon. Because my mouth was numb from novocaine, the only thing I could eat from the box was the bag of potato chips. I had the tuna salad and chicken salad sandwiches later in the afternoon when my mouth “unthawed.” I thank all those at our table, in particular Sheila, who helped us with the Bingo game. We play Bingo so seldom that we don’t know the names of the different games. There was a model of the Bingo Board on the stage so that helped a lot, also. Hubby and I thank President Peggy Zaremski. Vice President, my pal Gilda Groves, and the Treasurer Mary “Sis” Keeley for inviting us to the luncheon and Bingo.

To make you feel like Christmas: check out the National Grid gas tank, our Rainbow Gas Tank, on Morrissey Blvd. The red and green Christmas lights now adorn it!

This is a terrific thought that I saw in St. Mark’s Bulletin: “We are born with two eyes but with only one tongue in order that we may see twice as much as we say.”