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Song birds and more

“Under a blue silk sky,
under a golden sun,
birds are coming
back to sing-
it’s spring for
everyone!”
by Marion Schoeberlein

In our neighborhood, we are blessed with two wonderful song birds. A cardinal is seeking a mate with his beautiful call. (We saw him, with his red coat, perched in one of our trees last week.) We also have a mockingbird. He was sitting on top of our neighbors’ chimney last Friday. It is amazing to hear how many different bird calls he can imitate.

More on Easter: Hubby always loves buying little things for the World’s Greatest Grandchildren. In one of the dollar stores, he discovered a long, narrow bottle of bubble liquid. (It looked almost like a scabbard.) The bubble wands were long and skinny, to fit into the bottles. They could, however, be stretched wider so that the wand would make big bubbles. The kids had a ball playing with the bubble liquid. Brendan had his bottle out on the back deck with his friends. Granddaughter Erin brought hers out in front of the house where we were sitting on the steps, looking at the beautiful ocean. (It is right across the street.) We had more fun breaking the bubbles. The only bad feature of the long, skinny bottle was that it did not hold a great deal of liquid. The kids even went into the kitchen and appropriated some of their Mom’s dishwashing liquid.

We stayed sitting on the front stairs because it was such a lovely day. Hubby came around from the backyard with his camera and started taking photos of us. Jeanne, Erin, niece Terri and I were in the first photos. Then Jeanne got up and made her Dad sit in for the photos. Everyone one of the photos came out great. We were only sorry that Sue was upstairs asleep, with a fever, and wasn’t in any of the photos. Both Walgreen’s and CVS had a wonderful sale on prints from digital cameras at Easter. Daughter Sue, when she felt better, took the memory card from Hubby’s camera and ordered prints from the best photos for all the family. Niece Terri got her binoculars and Hubby got his binoculars out of our car. Passing the binoculars from one to the other, we began looking at the ocean and at the boats that were moored in the cove. Son-in-law David came from the backyard and saw us with the binoculars. He accused us of being “Peeping Toms.” That set us all laughing.

Later, as we sat on the stairs, the wind seemed to change and the temperature went down. We went inside and Jeanne made coffee to warm us. Jeanne had made little pineapple-upside-down cakes in egg-shaped aluminum foil forms. Pineapple-upside-down cake is Hubby’s favorite. We also had Sue’s chocolate pudding pie. Jeanne had also bought two quarts of Brigham’s ice cream, vanilla and strawberry. Sue, by then, was able to eat a few meatballs and a little ice cream. With the grandkids and the neighbors’ kids joining us adults, we polished off the ice cream. I must confess I had some of the Brigham’s strawberry, which I hadn’t had in years. (It is still wonderful.)

Just as it grew dark, Hubby and granddaughter Erin went out on the rear deck and began looking at the sky with binoculars. They spotted little Mercury and big Venus in the early evening sky. They had a wonderful time checking out the sky. A little before 8 p.m., we got ready to go home. We wished Peg and Terri a safe drive home (probably a two-hour trip). We thanked Jeanne and David for inviting us and gave big hugs to the grandkids. Traffic was fairly light so we were home in a little over one hour. By the way, Jeanne and David’s brook, to the side of their home, looked beautiful with just a little water in the bottom of the bed on the day of our Easter celebration. A few days earlier, the brook was overflowing its banks and spilling into their cellar.

In memory of my brother Jack, who was devoted to Divine Mercy, Hubby and I attended the Divine Mercy Mass at St. Ann’s Church on Apr. 11. As we entered the church, we saw my friend Sister Teresa checking details of the Mass with Fr. Sean Connor, who was to be the celebrant. We found seats half way down the aisle. Across from us we could see Bob and Mary Jepsen. Kathy Coleman sat in the bench in front of us. Jim and Jeanie Hunt were sitting a few rows in front of us. Bob Finn was sitting near the front of the church.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy sang beautifully throughout the Mass. They even sang a song in honor of Sister, now Saint Faustina, a member of their order. Because of the high pollen count, I had to sing an octave lower, when I was even able to sing. Fr. Sean has a nice singing voice. My friend Ann Mazzone was a Eucharistic Minister at the Mass. It was a lovely Mass on an equally lovely day. By the way, it is very easy to figure out which Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday each year. It is always the Sunday after Easter.
Police meetings are always informative. The last Dist. C-11’s Police Meeting, on Apr.14, was not only informative, it was also lots of fun. The meeting was held at the Keystone Senior Apartment Building on Hallet St. Eileen Collins invited us to sit with her and Della Melchionda. Claire Perry was at the neighboring table. We were joined by Mary Scarborough, Barbara Scarborough, Carol Murphy, and Peggy Canty. In came Community Service Officers Dennis Rorie and Mike Keeney. The new Community Service Sgt. Jim Doyle also joined them. Sgt. Doyle introduced the topic for the evening, “Boston’s Crime Reponse Unit.” He introduced the CRU officers Mike Connolly and Terry Burke.

Mike and Terry said that their unit had been called the Identification Unit, mainly dealing in fingerprints and photos till 2008. They explained that even twins have different fingerprints. Starting in 2005, the Boston Police began hiring 15 to 30 people for this unit. They checked blood, saliva, even footprints. By the beginning of 2009, the name was changed to the Crime Response Unit. Currently there is usually a five-person crew on duty 24/7. TV shows like “C.S.I.” make people more aware of the crime scene.
Terry then took over and mentioned that he had worked with Sgt. Doyle in South Boston. He showed us the cones that are used to identify clues. At night, the police put a light under the cones so that they can easily be seen by detectives. He then displayed the “crime-scene tape.” Since our table was so rowdy, he declared us “the crime scene” and roped us off with the crime-scene tape. Throughout the evening, Hubby took photos but unfortunately couldn’t take us wrapped in tape because he was part of the crime scene.

Terry and Mike also came around with a can of spray, almost like Silly Putty. Some of the audience volunteered to have their fingerprints taken. The officers sprayed the pad of each volunteer’s finger with the spray. The people had to wait about 15 minutes till the putty hardened. They were then able to peel the off the putty and there, inside, was the person’s fingerprint. Fingerprints can have a “loop,” an “arch,” or a “whirl.” Loops are the most common. They also told us that fingerprints appear six weeks into a baby’s gestation. A fingerprint could, however, be changed with a scar. (Hubby was in the service so he had his fingerprints taken.) When a person is arrested, all ten fingerprints are taken. Their unit has even taken the fingerprints of the gorillas at Franklin Park. They are very much like human fingerprints. “Of course, the gorillas were sedated,” they said. By the way, the F.B.I. has, on file, the fingerprints of 80 million people. The officers also showed us magnetic powder.

They mentioned how they take photos of a crime scene. The officers also make a sketch of the crime scene. Back at the station, they refine the sketch with more details. They mentioned that they wear gloves and sometimes put on a coverall suit, complete with booties, so that nothing from their clothing might fall to contaminate the crime scene. Mike mentioned that he usually pats his dogs, “Stan” and Ollie,” before he leaves for work. Their fur, falling off his clothes, could contaminate a crime scene. The most forgotten clues are footprints. Officers, with very sophisticated equipment, can now retrieve a footprint from a rug. That statement floored us.
Mike and Terry also brought a full-sized dummy with them. The dummy had stab marks on his chest, complete with fake blood stains around the stab holes. Mike asked if anyone had an appropriate name for the dummy. Someone yelled out, “Whitey.” The men told us that the headquarters of their unit is on Dudley St. They also passed around a very heavy bullet-proof vest. “It doesn’t breathe so it is very uncomfortable to wear.” Both Mike and Terry grew up in Dorchester. Mike told us that he had lived on Lonsdale St. My eyes opened wider when he said that name. “I vividly remember the evening that the plane crashed into the house on my street. The next morning, one of Boston’s newspapers incorrectly gave my home’s street number as the house that was destroyed by the crash plane.”

Before the evening ended, John Walsh, whom we meet often at various functions, introduced us to his friend Janet Jones. Janet lives in the Savin Hill area. We all agreed that this was one of the most informative and most entertaining police meeting that we had ever attended.

I liked this thought by Sam Morris: “The smallest deed is better that the greatest intention.”