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Time to Give Thanks

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have everything ready for Thanksgiving. Daughter Sue has the fixings to make a chocolate pudding pie but waits to put on the whipped cream until just before serving. Sometime before Wednesday evening, we will find a frozen Mrs. Smith’s Mince Pie and bake it to have on Thanksgiving. The cans of cranberry sauce are in the fridge. There are also containers of sour cream in the fridge. We have the Knorr Leek Soup mixes ready to make dip. We have the low-salt potato chips and all types of soda.

Hubby and I, with our friend Eileen Burke, always enjoy the Irish Pastoral Centre’s luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton each month. In October, Fr. John McCarthy, the celebrant of Mass each month, said that he had just returned from Lourdes with 100 others from Limerick. They spent six days and five nights at the shrine. One evening there was even a torchlight parade. He told us that the weather at Lourdes was wonderful. He even immersed himself in the baths at Lourdes but said that the water was very cold. Also in his sermon, Fr. John mentioned that when (Saint) Bernadette was not in good health, she asked others to pray that she have patience in her suffering. We all agreed when Father said that, “Good health is so important.” He also advised us to, “Take each moment as it comes.” Father asked that we remember Bridget Conroy, a resident of Marian Manor, who had just passed away at the amazing age of 108 years. He also asked us to keep in our prayers four young people who were killed in Killarney, County Kerry.

When Father John returned to Ireland, he noticed again how bad the economy had become. He said that this day’s Mass for us would include the anointing of the sick. (We then knew why there were so many attending the Mass that day.) Almost everyone in the room went up to Father for the anointing.

Following Mass, the chicken luncheon, served by volunteers, was served to us. It was very good. After the luncheon was finished, Gerry McNally played great music for dancing for the rest of the afternoon. It was a lovely time.

I still think back to the four weeks that I spent at the Bostonian Nursing and Rehab Home on Neponset Ave. One very warm day I was so happy to see Sister Teresa, from the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, come pay me a visit. She is always such a joy to speak with. Sister Teresa and her nuns live in St. Ann’s Convent. She presented me with the most beautiful pink rose that had to be at least 24 inches tall. “It’s from our convent’s garden.” The only thing tall enough to hold the rose was a two-litre soda bottle. She also gave me a beautiful single decade rosary and a prayer card of Divine Mercy, to whom my brother was very devoted. I love speaking with Sister Teresa and was so happy she had the time to visit me.

I already wrote about the Barn Baby Animals that come to the Bostonian once a month. That was one of the highlights of my stay. I was also serenaded by Jackie Brown, who came to each of the rooms to play his guitar. I was also happy to see Margaret Lydon from Gerard’s Adams Corner Store. She came in after visiting her Mom Mary and chatted for a while. I also was delighted to receive some get well phone calls from my cousin Jo, who lives in Syracuse, NY, and from Hubby’s brother and sister–in-law, John and Joe Ann, all the way from Virginia. I was also pleased to receive a vase of flowers from my sister-in-law Peg and niece Terri and another vase of flowers from our friends the Kenneys.

When I was at the Bostonian, Dr. McGuirk asked that I come to the Orthopedic Clinic at Carney Hospital so he could check my “new” knee. I was happy to see my friend Tim Grinnell, PA, who was at Carney when I had my first knee replaced in 2007. Tim just became a Dad for the second time, a son named Tyler (their second son). I also had a chance to speak with the secretary who kept the clinic running so smoothly, Mel Hunter. She loves the historical facts in the birthday column in The Reporter. Mel is now on my big birthday calendar and will be included in the column at the time of her birthday in May.

Perhaps the nicest thing that happened to me while at the Bostonian was on the last Saturday of June, the 26th, the day of the Pope’s Hill Block Party. I was so happy to have permission to leave the Bostonian to attend this annual party. Tom Lynch, the director of the Boston, pushed me in my wheelchair to the party, which was held on McKone St. Accompanying us were Hubby and daughter Sue. Hubby put me near the microphone so I could see well. And set us his folding chair and Sue’s on either side of mine. So many people came over to greet me: Pope’s Hill Pres. Phil Carver, V.P. Mike Juliano, Ray and Helen Johnson, Johanna Bartkiewicz, Bob and Barbara Genduso, Ginny Hanlon, Dottie Juliano, Joe O’Brien, Kathy Costello, Charlie Gillen, Judy Burke, Chris Whittemore, Steve and Carla Tankle, and Fr. Sean Connor.

I really wanted to attend the Lawn Party because my pal Jack O’Connor was going to be honored as Person of the Year posthumously. I knew I’d see his terrific wife Carolyn and their great kids; Mary, John, and Carole, with their kids: Jennifer, Michael, Jackie, Claire, Caroline, Hugh, and Audrey. Daughter-in-law Diane’s parents, Roy and Lou Ott were in Boston from Chicago and also attended the party. Also honored at the Block Party was Kathy Costello, a teacher at Pope John Paul II School’s Neponset Campus, who is also very active in the Leahy/Holloran Community Center. Pope’s Hill also chose to honor a business for the second time ever, the Bostonian Nursing and Rehab Centre, for their kindness to neighborhood activities. Tom Lynch accepted the award for the Bostonian. It was a lovely afternoon and the recipients of the awards were most deserving.

I must mention that, while I was at the Block Party, Mayor Menino came on to greet all those attending. Hubby had gone to get some food. The Mayor, who had reinjured his knee, sat down in Hubby’s empty chair. We were comparing our sore knees. The Mayor asked when I expected to get out of rehab. I told him that I hoped to be home for Hubby’s and my 50th wedding anniversary on July 2. The Mayor then looked up to Lauren Smyth, the Dorchester coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. “Put their names on the list for the 50th Anniversary Party, Lauren.” We discovered that the Mayor has a party for those married 50 years once a year, continuing a long-time tradition. We have since received a call from a woman named Sheila, making sure that we are able to attend this party. We are looking forward to it.

I was sorry to hear of the unexpected death of Lawrence O’Keefe Jr. at age 57, on Nov. 5. I send my sympathy to his mother, my friend Fran O’Keefe. I also send my sympathy to his brother Jim, and to his sisters, Joanne Wasznicky, Barbara Burns, Frances Callanan, and to my friend and former co-worker Denise Doherty. Larry was also the son of the late Lawrence O’Keefe Sr.

I also was sorry to read of the death of Daniel O’Neil on Oct. 20, at age 58, in St. Petersburg, FL. Dan was one of 12 children. The oldest, Lawrence, was a boy; Dan, the youngest, was the second boy. In between the boys, there were 10 girls. I lived on the next street to the O’Neil Family, in Jamaica Plain, when I was a kid. I loved seeing all 10 girls in their finery in the Boston newspapers the day after Easter throughout the years. Their amazing Mom made all the clothing for the girls, who showed off their Easter finery in Boston’s Easter Parade.

I saw that Paul Mullen passed away on May 26. Paul was a resident of Neponset for many years before moving to Weymouth. I send my sympathy to his wife Ann, and to their children: Patrick, Neal, Julie Cacciatore, Paula Mullen-Vraibel, Leslie Connolly, and Daniel. Paul was a member and current Service Officer for the McKeon Post #146.

Did you see, in the Stop & Shop ad, that their stores offer a Thanksgiving dinner for two for $25. We bought the dinner last year and it was more than enough for Hubby, daughter Sue, and me for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. (Son Paul and daughter-in-law Alex also bought the dinner for two last year.) If you are lucky enough to be invited out to Thanksgiving dinner, you still can have you own little Thanksgiving Dinner sometime the following weekend. It is a great deal.

With Thanksgiving coming in just one week, I saw this little poem, written by Edgar Guest, that made me laugh:

“When turkey’s
On the table laid,
And good things
I may scan,
I’m thankful that
I wasn’t made
A vegetarian.”

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.