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Gearing up for Winter

“It is time to offer thanks for autumn’s bounty and to start praying for an easy winter.”
Author unknown

It is not even winter officially and the past few days have been very cold. We brought out the little rugs that we roll up and put in front of the two outside doors to keep out the drafts. Hubby and I haven’t had time to get out our heavy jackets so we have been wearing layers of lighter clothes. We still have a couple of geraniums left on the floor of the porch that have survived the cold temps up to this week.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Hubby and I braved the cold and drove to Castle Island for our last luncheon at Sully’s for this year. We found a parking spot easily because it was not the best of days, cloudy, cold, and windy. Even the windsurfers were not out on the water that day. The hot dogs and fries tasted great. So did the hot coffee. Sadly, we drove out of the parking lot. Hubby, however, said that we shouldn’t be sad. Sully’s will reopen for the season on Sat., Feb. 26, just three months to the day from its closing. At least on opening day, 2011, hot dogs will be sold for 60 cents in honor of Sully’s 60th anniversary at Castle Island.

On Nov. 18, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove to the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton to attend the monthly Mass and luncheon of the Irish Pastoral Centre. Fr. John McCarthy, the celebrant of the Mass, had told us the previous month that this would be a Remembrance Mass. Father had invited some of the boys from Catholic Memorial, along with one of their teachers, Mary Ann Concannon, to help with the Mass. Two of the boys served as lectors and altar servers at the Mass. The rest of the boys sat at tables with the seniors throughout the room.
Fr. McCarthy told us how people dealt with the death of a loved one in Ireland. He said the neighbors were wonderful to the family, rallying around them to help with the death. They said the Rosary many times around the bed of the deceased during the night. The neighbors usually shed tears, which helped the family to grieve. At the cemetery, each person puts a shovelful of clay on the casket. Members of the family then pat the clay down, finalizing the fact that the person is dead.

During the Remembrance Mass, Father lit seven candles. The first was for those who give us life: Mother, Father, grandparents, and also foster parents. The second candle was for brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The third candle was for children who had died either before or after birth. This candle was also for grandchildren. The fourth was for our husbands, wives, fiances, and fiancées. The fifth candle was for friends, neighbors, teachers, and mentors. The sixth candle was in memory of those who died in the armed forces and also for street people. The seventh candle was for our deceased relatives and friends. The names of those deceased family members and friends, who had been listed by those attending the Mass, were then read. At this luncheon we were fortunate to have three musicians, Martin, John, and Jack playing all afternoon for us. Cora Flood, Senior Coordinator for the Irish Pastoral Centre, announced that the next monthly Mass and luncheon would be held on Thurs., Dec. 16.

On Mon., Nov. 15, Hubby, pal Eileen, and I drove to the Adams St. Library to hear former Senator William Bulger discuss his book, a Short Biography of James Michael Curley. The library meeting room was almost completely filled when we arrived. We were greeted by librarian Elisa Birdseye. When Sen. Bulger came to the front of the room, he said, “I really love politics.” He mentioned that he had spoken before the Charlestown Women’s Club the previous day. He told us that James Michael Curley and Tom Curley (not a relative) got into trouble by taking postal exams for others. James Michael was sent to the Charles St. Jail. He was mayor of Boston four times. Curley had hoped to be appointed either the Secretary of the Navy or the Ambassador to Italy because he had worked so hard to get F.D.R. elected. Roosevelt said, “No.” Curley was offered only the post of Ambassador to Poland. After the talk was over, most of the audience went to the back of the room to purchase the Curley book. It was very popular. Hubby even purchased another copy of the book, this time for his brother in Virginia.

Senator Bulger announced that this printing of the book was completely sold out and that there would be another printing soon.

I was sorry to read of the death of Jane Mullaney on Nov. 20. I had met Jane several times when her daughter Jane Boyer, who works for the City of Boston’s Elderly Commission, brought her to the Senior Suppers at Carney Hospital. I send my sympathy to her children, Jane Boyer, Mary, Robert, Richard, and Elizabeth. The family would like to thank their cousin Dotty (Madden) Freestone for all her care, support, and tenderness during her aunt’s illness. I also send my sympathy to George and Jean Ciampoli on the death of Jean’s mother, Sarah “Sally” Devlin, on Nov. 22. I also send my sympathy to Sally’s other children: James III, Martin, Catherine Feetham, Helen, and Deborah.

I hope that you have been watching Channels 2, 11, and 44 recently. Their programs have been wonderful. We recently saw “Celtic Thunder’s Christmas,” “Celtic Woman’s “Songs from the Heart,” “Celtic Woman’s Christmas Show,” and “Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular.” We also loved Andrea Bocelli and David Foster’s Christmas Show. Just watching as Andrea sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was spectacular. We also loved Lawrence Welk’s Memories Show. It was quite an emotional event for the Welk performers because it was the first time they had been together in years. Each of these shows was terrific. Our family, however, has had a very big disappointment this season. For years, red and green lights have appeared on our Rainbow Gas Tank the Saturday after Thanksgiving. As of Sat., Dec. 5, there are still no red and green lights. It doesn’t seem like the Christmas season without the lights. By the way, did you happen to see Meteorologist Tim Kelly on the NECN programs on Sunday? He told his viewers that Boston should expect between 45 and 55 inches of snow this winter season.

What a great time Hubby and I had at the Carney Senior Supper on Wed., Dec. 1. We sat with our friends Eileen Burke and Margaret Buckley. The cafeteria looked beautiful with a magnificent poinsettia on each table. Nancy Lafoe, director of Community Partnerships and Mission at Carney, welcomed us to the supper. She introduced Sister Marie Puleo, interim president of Carney Hospital, to the seniors. She told us that Steward Health Care had bought the Caritas Group of hospitals. She assured us that health care will continue at Carney. Sister Paula Tinlin then said Grace, noting that it was the first week of Advent.

Nancy Lafoe then returned to the microphone, telling us that there is now a Weight Watcher’s series at Carney. The “Express” meetings are on 12 Wednesdays, from 11:30 a.m. to noon, having started on Dec. 8, at a cost of $156. There is also going to be Yoga at the hospital either on a Tuesday or a Wednesday evenings. Call Nancy at the Carney at 617-506-2197 for info on either Weight Watcher’s or Yoga. Nancy mentioned that the poinsettias were purchased from the Cedar Grove Gardens. (There were big red leaves on each plant.) She also told us that we would be having gingerbread man cookies for dessert.

Following the chicken supper, the guest speaker for the evening was introduced. She was physical therapist Mayami Oyanagi, speaking on the “Benefits of Exercise.” (I was fortunate to have Mayami as my therapist following my knee-replacement surgery this year.) She told us that she had been at Carney for three years. She mentioned that there are benefits in exercising for those with arthritis and for those who have been injured. She advised us to listen to pain. She advised us to do exercise when pain medication is at its highest effect. She urged us to move our muscles as far as they can go. She repeated the old adage: “If you don’t use it, then you’ll lose it.”

Even if we are hospitalized, Mayami said that we can go back to our exercises. She mentioned that one of her patients, a 96-year-old man, was doing very well after returning to his exercises following hospitalization. All the while she was speaking, she was giving us fairly simple exercises to do. She even carried around the microphone while speaking to make sure we were doing the exercises correctly. (We had lots of fun doing the exercises because Mayami made it fun.) She even had us do the chin tuck to help with the neck muscles. In closing, Mayami urged us to wear comfortable clothing when exercising. She also told us to warm up and to cool down. Mayami made it such as enjoyable evening. Nancy Lafoe ended the supper by telling us that the next Senior Supper should be held in April, 2011.

Thanks to the bulletin from Arch St. Shrine, I learned that January 1 is not a holy day of obligation this year.

I loved this saying by Harriet Beecher Stowe: “Never give up for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn.”