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August

“The swallows chatter about their flight;
The cricket chirps like a rare good fellow;
The asters twinkle in clusters bright
While the corn grows ripe and the apples mellow.”
“August” by Celia Thaxter

Our family loves fresh corn on the cob. Who doesn’t? I can hardly wait for McIntosh apples to come to the stores. Sometime this fall, we hope to get out to Wrentham to the Big Apple Barn and get a bagful of Macs. The barn sells other types of apples, Red Delicious, in particular, that Hubby loves. It has other fruits, candied apples, and wonderful cider. It also has the equipment to make donuts. Outside the barn, there is usually a barrel of small-sized apples. You can take one free. The past couple of years, we have not been able to get out to Wrentham so niece Terri has been kind enough to get the apples for us.

On Sat., July 23, I thought that I had heard that there was to be a fundraiser for the Irish Social Club, which is located in West Roxbury, the following day at Florian Hall. When I heard that Noel Henry’s Irish Band was going to play, I called pal Eileen Burke, who loves the band, and asked if she would like to go. Because I didn’t hear the entire promo on WROL’s Irish Hit Parade, I called our friend Kathy Sullivan, whom we see at the Irish luncheon each month. Kathy told me all about the fundraiser so Eileen and I decided to go.

Quite a few people were already on the dance floor at Florian Hall when we arrived. (Toward the end of the evening, there were proabably 300 in attendance.) Tom and Esther Mannion came in and chatted with us. So did Greg and Sarah Ashe. Alicia Connors, the new Executive Director of the Irish Pastoral Centre, also greeted us. (She is a great dancer!) John Walsh, our pal from the Irish luncheons, also joined us for a few minutes. While Eileen and I were watching the dance, we saw Jim and “Tess” Collins, whom we also see at the luncheons.

Eileen and I loved watching the dancers. All of a sudden, my pal Mary Vinciguerra waltzed by me. As soon as the dance was over, I stood up so she could see me. Over she came and sat with Eileen and me for a while. (I have known Mary since her cousin Ann introduced us, probably at a dance, many years ago.) We chatted for a few minutes. Eileen and Mary knew each other’s family so they chatted for while, also. Mary and her cousins always try to attend the activities at which the Noel Henry Showband plays because they enjoy the band so much. Pal Eileen even knows one of the band members, Paul Kenneally. It was a great evening. Just as Eileen and I made it to the outside door of Florian Hall, Hubby was coming in to get us. He had figured out we’d be ready to go home about 10 p.m. By the way, I heard that this dance raised about $1,500 for the Irish Social Club.

On July 27, we were again at St. Brendan’s Church, waiting for the school bus that would take us in town to City Hall Plaza for the second of the Mayor’s Wednesday Evening concerts. I was ready to have an extraordinary time because this was Disco Night. The City’s Parks’ Commissioner, Toni Pollak, welcomed us to the concert. Ryan Woods, the scheduler for the Parks Dept., also came to the microphone to welcome us. (Ryan is the fiancé of Lauren Smyth, our former City of Boston’s liaison to our neighborhood.) After speaking, we were pleased that Ryan came over to share a few words with us. There will be more about Disco Night next week.

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from College Hype and Jack Doherty that Jack has opened Irish Hype at the Derby Street Shopping Center in Hingham. The Irish Hype kiosk is located just outside the Paper Store in the plaza. It will feature Irish and locally-themed apparel and gifts. Daughter Sue often goes to Derby Street to meet her school friends for lunch. I am sorry to say that Hubby and I have never been to Derby Street. We will definitely get there now that we know that Irish Hype is there. Best of luck, Jack!

I was sorry to read of the death of Anne “Barbara” Holloran on July 22. Barbara was the sister of my friend, the late Joe Holloran. She worked for the City’s Dept. of Public Works. My pal Eileen told me that Barbara enjoyed the Dorchester Reporter so much that she used to come to Dorchester from her home in South Boston to get the latest copy of the newspaper each Thursday, when the paper came out. I send my sympathy to her surviving brothers and sisters: John, Maureen Monahan, Eileen Sordillo, Kathleen Joyce, Peter, Frances Rizza, and Margaret Geary; and to her sister-in-law, Alice Holloran, and her family.

Congratulations are sent to Hubby, who stopped smoking on Aug. 8, 1979. Our kids were the first to notice that there were no ash trays around and his pipe was nowhere to be seen. It has been 32 years. That is amazing.

I read a magazine called Country Extra every other month when it comes in the mail. One of the more interesting columns is called “Country Shortcuts.” The following item caught my eye because it mentioned an outdoor cat. Since Hubby and I have lived with “Louie,” our outdoor cat, for at least five or six years, I took special note. It said that if you needed a quick and inexpensive bed for an outdoor feline, purchase a 30-gallon rectangular plastic storage bin. In one end, cut a round hole big enough for the cat to enter. Put an old pillow inside to keep the cat warm and cozy. The cat also uses the top cover to sunbathe.

I really don’t like the heat, especially when it is as stifling as it was the end of last week. During World War II, on hot days, my mother would spend the day in the basement of our house, taking work downstairs with her. There were very few fans in those years (tough to get metal during the war) and, of course, no air conditioners, except at some movie theaters. As I sat in our air-conditioned living room, I thought of those who had to work outside. God bless our wonderful letter carriers, like Mike and Bill, who brought our first class mail on such terrible days as that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I commend them. I also thank our firefighters who have to battle blazes on terribly hot days. I also thought about the trash collectors because our trash and recycling collections are done on Friday, the worst of the three hot days. I commend them also.

Thanks to a call from Sister Elizabeth, I learned that James Costello had passed away on July 23. She knew that Hubby and I would want to know because Jim was the brother of our mutual friend Sister Carole Costello. Jim was a veteran of the Air Force, serving during the Korean War. Hubby and I were able to attend Jim’s funeral Mass on Thursday at the Sacred Heart Church in Roslindale. Sister Elizabeth and her friend Alice were sitting in the pew in front of us. The priest who celebrated the Mass told us that Jim was a real Irish man. Son Jim, at the end of the Mass, made us all laugh when he told us that his father introduced him to the joys of Castle Island. I send my sympathy to Jim’s wife Mary Ann, to their children Laurie, Patricia Sumner, James, Kerry Lally, and Christopher, to his sisters Margaret Cressman and Sister Carole, and to his brother Lawrence.By the way, Jim’s prayer card, given out at the wake, was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. The front of the card shows Christ embracing a person in the clouds, with a faint angel with big wings behind Christ, It is spectacular. On the back of the card, it gave Jim’s birth date and date of death; he was just 76. Below that was the Irish prayer: “May the road rise to meet you…” I shall treasure the card. I thank my friend Dorothy from church for saving this card for me.

I loved this great hint, given in a recent “Old Farmer’s Almanac”: “For long-lasting blooms, pick flowers in the late afternoon when the leaves and stems contain the most sugar.”