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The Weather in February

“February can be wild,
With her storms of sleet and snow.
Other times she can be mild
With a preview of spring’s show.”
“February” by Carice Williams

What crazy weather we’ve been having. Last weekend was almost spring-like. Then this week we are supposed to have snow on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Our outdoor cat, Louie, has taken to lying in the sun on the glider on our porch on the nice, sunny days. He enjoys the warmth. I am watching our trees. Pretty soon their leaf buds will be swelling, making it more difficult to see through the trees.

On Friday, Feb. 12, Hubby and I received a call from our friend Loretta Philbrick. “Are you free this evening? I have one and probably two tickets to St. Brendan’s Voyager Club’s $10,000 Dinner/Drawing at Florian Hall this evening.” (Proceeds would be given to St. Brendan’s School.) We were free so we said we’d be delighted to attend. At 7 p.m. we were at Florian Hall. Loretta came in with her friend Ginny Biagiotti right after we arrived. Loretta showed us to our table. We were delighted to see our friends Maureen Connolly and Mike McGee already seated there. Bob Boushell also joined us. Fr. Clif Thuma, who had served at St.Brendan’s, joined us from his current parish in Littleton. Tom Whalen, whose children all went to St. Brendan’s School, also sat with us.

In addition to the dinner and drawing, there were baskets as raffle prizes. Grade KI made a basket with Easter goodies in it. Grade K2 had a basket with all items appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day. Pre K’s basket was filled with St. Valentine’s Day items. St. Brendan’s Guild gave a “Good Night” basket. The Guild also gave a wine basket. Grade 3 gave an “Around the Town” Basket, with gift cards for local businesses. Grade 1 gave a “Summertime” Basket. Grade 4 gave “A Night at the Movies” Basket, with $75 in gift cards to the Outback Restaurant, tickets to the Showcase Cinema, and popcorn and drink coupons. The final basket was given by Grades 5 and 6, a “Game-Night” Basket. I couldn’t see inside the basket but it must have held sports tickets. I complimented the gals that were at the table on the wonderful baskets. There was even a 50/50 drawing for all who wished to participate.

The meal for the dinner was wonderful, stuffed chicken breasts and roast beef, with mashed potatoes and green beans. There was also a salad, plus rolls and a slice of ice cream roll with chocolate sprinkles for dessert. While we were finishing up our dinner, Fr. Clif went off to visit with his many friends at the dinner. Maureen, Tom Whalen, Hubby, and I spoke about our growing up in Jamaica Plain.

Then the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Jack Ryan, came to the microphone. He mentioned that this was the 30th Dinner and Drawing. Our dinner friends Loretta and Ginny told us that they had attended all 30 dinner/drawings. Jack also singled out Mrs. Ellen Leary as principal of St. Brendan’s School. Mrs. Leary told us that she has been at the school for 23 years and has been principal for 11 of those years. She also announced that she would be retiring at the end of this school year. Jack also mentioned the late pastor, Fr. James Fratus, much loved by the parishioners of St. Brendan’s. Jack told us that Fr. Fratus had repainted all 14 Stations of the Cross in the church by himself.

Then it was time to begin pulling the 200 numbers for the drawing. We had a bet at the table, with $5 from each of us, as to which of us would be the first at our table to be out of the drawing. Tom Whalen had the dubious honor of being out first. I followed soon after. Hubby was fortunate in that his ticket was a special number and won $25 for Mary Shea, for whom he was playing. We all were thrilled that our pal Loretta was one of the last 10 standing. She was out of the running at Number 7, which we thought was so exciting. The last two people standing, Judy and Mike, voted to split the winnings and both received $5,000 each.

Thanks to this dinner, I was able to see some people I don’t often get a chance to see. Jack and Jan Ryan were the first people to greet us. The parish secretary Nancy Leoncini was also near the door when we went into the dining room. I also had a chance to see my friend Hannah Logue. I did see St. Brendan’s pastor Fr. John Connolly at the dinner. He stayed through the drawing. Fr. John McCarthy, the Chaplain of the Irish Pastoral Centre, also came in for a while. Fr. Sean Connor, pastor of neighboring St. Ann’s Parish, also came to the dinner for a little while. Our friend and former neighbor Sarah Ashe came over to chat with us. Her daughter Karen and her husband Kevin Doherty were sitting at the table behind us. Boy, can Kevin dance! So can our table companions, Maureen Connoly and Mike McGee. What a lovely evening we had, thanks to terrific company, along with a delicious meal. Hubby and I thank Loretta for inviting us.

The Trailside Museum, at 1904 Canton Ave., Milton, will show how to tap maple trees for sap on Sat. and Sun., Mar. 13 and 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children 3 to 12; ages 2 and under free. That sounds like lots of fun.

Last weekend, Fr. George Carrigg invited all those who had any type of illness to come forward after the Homily, so that he could anoint them. I think that everyone in church came forward for the blessing. Fr. George explained that the Sacrament was once meant only for those in danger of death. Now it is meant to help people heal from their illnesses. Fr. George also blessed all those attending the 10 a.m. and noon Masses on Sunday.

By the way, if you are not able to make Stations of the Cross on Fridays, Sr. Elizabeth Calcagni leads a group of people in reciting the Stations of the Cross on the Wednesdays of Lent at 5:30 p.m., at St. Christopher’s Church. Because of Conformation the following day, the Mar. 10 Stations is cancelled. Because Mar. 17/St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Wednesday, Sr. Elizabeth has changed the Stations to Thurs., Feb. 18 that week. Sunday this year, it would be lovely to go to breakfast at Gerard’s. We invited our friend Eileen Burke to go with us. Daughter Sue was spending Valentine’s weekend with her cousin Terri in Attleboro. Hubby wasn’t the only one with the idea of Gerard’s for breakfast. The place was mobbed. As we entered the restaurant, we saw our pals Loretta and Ginny, along with their friend Mary Shea, just finishing their breakfasts. Mary thanked Hubby for getting a special number in the $10,000 Drawing, so she received $25 from the drawing.

Just after we were seated, our favorite waitress Theresa Beswick came and gave us our menus. She was our waitress for the day. She is so nice. All the waitresses at Gerard’s are very nice. Theresa noticed that our daughter Susan was missing. She, however, came over with four chocolate lollypops that she had made. Three were cream-colored hearts; one was a pair of bright red lips. (All were delicious.) While we were eating our decadent breakfast of bacon and eggs, along with Hubby’s side order of French toast, we had a chance to greet Della Melchionda and Sissy Mullane, who came into the restaurant together. Just as we were leaving, we had a chance to speak with Dennis and Teri Mahoney, who also decided to start Valentine’s Day with breakfast at Gerard’s. As we got into our car to drive home, we had a chance to see our friend Alan Duffy. What a great morning!

I was sorry to hear WBZ’s Dan Rea mention that he had to put his beloved dog Charlie to sleep last Monday. Charlie used to accompany Dan into the ‘BZ studio most Friday evenings. Dan said that he would speak about Charlie’s death on the air when he was less emotional. He said that his family was devastated by Charlie’s unexpected demise.

I just read in St. Mark’s weekly Bulletin that all the churches and chapels in the Archdiocese of Boston will be open so that people may go to Confession on the Wednesdays of Lent from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This service is called: “The Light Is On For You.” Why not take advantage of this opportunity.

Last Friday, Feb. 12, Hubby and I visited our friend and tax man, Frank, at Feenan’s. Frank is a retired Boston teacher just like Hubby so we enjoy him. Our taxes are not involved so we needed just one visit. Frank said he would submit both electronically. We would be getting a refund from both the federal and state. Much to our surprise, we received our state refund six days later, on Feb. 18. If you know you are getting refunds, get your taxes done early and you will get your refunds back quickly.

As I was reading the quotes in various magazines because of Valentine’s Day, this one, by former First Lady Barbara Bush, made me laugh: “I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up.”