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View from Pope's Hill: Barbara's Back!

This is my favorite time of year. I love the colors of autumn. Hubby and I were fortunate to be in New Hampshire just as autumn officially began. Marty Allen had organized a trip to Indian Head in Lincoln, New Hampshire, near Cannon Mountain. There was a full busload of seniors assembling in Florian Hall’s parking lot early on Sept. 23. We saw Gerard pull up in a truck and deliver boxed lunches, water, and a large coffee urn to the bus, which we knew were to be our lunches for that day. Everyone in our group arrived early so we left Boston just about 15 minutes early.

The reason that I am telling you about the trip is that we were fortunate to see some wonderful color in the Lincoln, NH, region. Although it was not at peak color time, some of the maple trees were a magnificent red color. There were even some gold trees. Take a trip to New Hampshire even just for a day. You will be so pleased and be sure to bring a camera.

It is great to be back to work. The only thing that I will miss while being home was sleeping to about 7:15 a.m. each morning. My knee-replacement surgery was June 7 at Carney with Dr. McGuirk. I don’t remember a great deal right after the surgery but I heard that I caused a little concern because I developed A-fib during the operation. I was immediately put on coumadin.

I was kept at Carney for six days because of the heart problem and then transferred to the Bostonian. I was amazed that some of the employees still remembered me. I was there recovering from left-knee replacement surgery during most of July of 2007. No sooner did I arrive at the Bostonian than Hubby and Daughter Sue joined me. My room had quite a few trees outside my window so it was pleasant to look out. I thought that I would never have so pleasant and efficient an aide as Rosa, the aide I had back in 2007. I was wrong. This year I was fortunate to have a lovely aide named Lorraine. I wasn’t surprised when she said she was a good friend of Rosa’s. I did get to see Rosa only once during my stay at the Bostonian. She had to take off from work when her husband became very ill. Sadly, he passed away on June 24. Lorraine was able to attend the funeral. She told me that the church was filled with family and friends. I send my sympathy to Rosa and to their son Belmiro. There will be more about the Bostonian in next week’s column.

Just after I was released from rehab at the Bostonian, Hubby came home from church and said that, on the following Saturday, there would be a Mass in honor of our 50th wedding anniversary. (He handed me the bulletin with the date of the Mass.) I was surprised because we had not said anything about our anniversary since I was recovering from knee surgery. We panicked. Son Paul was not able to come that day. Daughter Sue was going to be in Florida on vacation. Daughter Jeanne was at a camp in New Hampshire, where she was serving as the camp’s nurse. None of the kids could be there. I made a hurried call to cousins Margie and Janet. Thank goodness they had nothing planned for that Saturday afternoon. They would come to church with us instead of going to their own church.

Margie and Janet were already at our church when we arrived. I did spend most of the Mass sitting. I did, however, get up for Communion, thanks to my walker, which was an invaluable aid during those weeks right after surgery. To thank Margie and Janet for coming with us, we asked them to join us after Mass at Phillips Old Colony House. They were delighted to come. We had no sooner been seated at the restaurant when the door opened. In came my friend and former co-worker Ginny and another friend John. They had been to St. Ann for a Mass in memory of John’s wife Florence. They were as surprised to see us as we were to see them. We chatted for a few minutes.

Out came our food and we began to eat. I happened to look over at the bar area and thought I saw Phil Strazzulla, who is one of the owners of Phillips, eating his dinner. I asked our waitress if it was Phil. It was. When we had eaten, I walked over to Phil and chatted with him. Cousin Margie had recently had cataract surgery, performed by Ophthalmologist Domenic Strazzula. I figured that the doctor must be a relative of Phil’s. When I asked Phil, he said that Dr. Domenic was his cousin. Phil then came back to our table and spoke with Margie, Janet, Hubby, and me. It was a very pleasant visit. How fortunate we were to choose Phillip’s for dinner. We were happy that we had the chance to speak with Phil.

Just after I went in the hospital, I found out that our friend and former traveling companion, Noel Hebard, had passed away on June 5 at age 88. Hubby and I really got to know Noel and his lovely wife Lucy on one of our trips and enjoyed being with them. Noel was an amazing man. During World War II, he served aboard the USS Ticonderoga. He was a retired sexton of St. Angela’s Parish, where he also served had been past president of St. Angela’s Holy Name Society. He was a member of the Quincy Council of the Knights of Columbus and Mass. Citizens for Life. He served as a lector and Eucharistic Minister at Arch St. He was the proprietor, for 30 years, of Duffy Furs in Boston, a family business. I send my sympathy to his wife Lucy and to their children Christopher, Jerome (B.P.D.), William, Herbert John, Grace Barry, Edmund, Margaret Hamilton, Mary, Anne Duduch, Theresa Lynch, and Hugh, their spouses and their children.

I must confess. I just purchased a greeting card for an athlete. I have, for years, liked the way Mike Lowell of the Red Sox handled himself when things were not pleasant for him. I was delighted in the past several years when he was not traded, despite many rumors to the contrary. He opted to stay in Boston without an increase in salary. He was always a class act. I am so glad that the Sox honored him last Saturday. I could tell from the roar of the crowd that all the people attending the afternoon game last Saturday definitely showed their appreciation for his five years of playing on the team. (He was, after all, the MVP of the 2007 World Series.) I loved seeing his kids at his retirement celebration. I wish him well in his future endeavors but I will really miss him playing for the Red Sox. I will write our card today.

I was pleased to read that B.C. High honored a friend, Brian Donaher, in June, at a tribute held at the school. (I met Brian through my friends, Bill and JoAnn Leary.) A graduate of B.C. High, he returned to the school after graduating from Holy Cross College. He taught the classics at the school for 50 years. Enjoy your retirement, Brian.

I am really looking forward to this Sunday. Last year, Hubby and I had such a great time at the Irish Festival at Adams Corner. We met so many friends that we hadn’t seen in such a long time. We bought some Irish items from the vendors. (How I love the College Hype products and, of course, the scones at Greenhills!) Hubby even bought an Irish Scally Cap. We also bought some Irish bumper stickers for our car. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Gerard’s. From the early weather predictions for this Sunday, Oct. 10, it is supposed to be just as nice as it was last year. We are definitely going to be at the festival. I don’t know how long my new knee will survive walking aroud but we will be there. I hope to see many of you there.