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The distant mowing drums

“Beyond the hills, the distant mowing drums
Announce the fragrant harvest barns will hold.
How sweet the world! And still more sweet to hear
The simple words: the crops are good this year!”
“Where Pearce Abides”
by Eleanor Graham Vance

Our tomato plants that are in the ground are doing fairly well. Hubby has already picked two ripe cherry tomatoes from one plant. The plants in the pots are not doing so well. I can only see one green tomato, about the size of a small ping-pong ball, on one of the plants. Hubby is faithful in watering the plants and the flowers on the front porch. We found a couple of 24-packs of bottled water several years out of date in the cellar. Hubby has been using those bottles to water the porch flowers. By the way, July 24 (this past Sunday) was supposed to be the hottest day of the summer, when the over-all temp that day should be 83 degrees. It reached that temperature easily. The 103 degree temp on Friday kept Hubby, daughter Sue, and me in our air-conditioned rooms.

On Thurs., June 23, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove out to Canton to the Irish Cultural Centre’s monthly Irish Luncheon. As our friends sat down with us, we wished Ann Connolly a “Happy Birthday.” Daughter Sue knew it was Ann’s birthday because Sue’s is the previous day. Fr. John Connolly asked us to welcome Seminarian Kevin Heery from Mullingar, County Westmeath. Kevin, 28 years old, was ordained a deacon in St. Patrick’s Cottage, Maynooth, on May 29 and will be ordained on Oct. 9 of this year. Fr. John kidded Kevin by saying that he brought Irish weather with him. Deacon Kevin, by the way, is well-travelled. He has been to southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. He will divide his time until mid August between St. Brendan’s and the Irish Pastoral Centre in Quincy, which is moving its offices to St. Brendan’s next month. Senior Citizen Coordinator Cora Flood announced that the Irish Pastoral Centre’s Banquet, with a turkey dinner, will be held on Fri., Oct. 14, at Florian Hall, with GAA announcer Micheal O’Muircheartaigh (Michael Moriarty) as guest. Dave Healey and Ronnie Cote played music for us throughout the afternoon.

In addition to our usual terrific table companions, we were delighted to see Tom and Barbara Cheney at the luncheon. Pals Eileen Collins and Mary Scarborough were also in attendance. The biggest surprise of the afternoon was seeing our longtime friends, sisters Mary and Kay Hayes. We first met Mary and Kay on a Castle Island Association trip a few years ago and bonded immediately. We stayed together through the trip, watching out for them, and they, for us. Throughout the intervening years, we have exchanged greeting cards filled with news. The longer we know Mary and Kay, we realize that they know more and more of our friends and acquaintances. It was wonderful to see them again. I hope that they make the monthly luncheon a must.

Our pal Kathy Sullivan passed out a flyer at the luncheon, urging us to attend a fundraiser to help save the Irish Social Club. The big fundraiser will be held at the Irish Social Club itself (119 Park St., West Roxbury) on Sat., Sept. 24, from 2 p.m. to midnight. Among the bands appearing will be Erin’s Og, Inchicore, Fenian Sons, Denis Curtain’s Band, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Dave Healy’s Band, and Erin’s Melody. There will even be Irish step dancing. The raffle prizes sound wonderful. The first is: a round trip for two to Ireland and a free car for one week (thanks to Crystal Travel and Delta Airlines); and a free house for two weeks, donated by Richie Gorley. The second prize is a weekend at the Irish Village. The third prize is Beleek China.(that is so beautiful.)

On Wed., July 13, Hubby, pals Eileen and Ronnie, daughter Sue, and I were waiting on the steps of St. Brendan’s Church for the bus that would take us into Boston for the first of the Mayor’s Wednesday evening concerts on City Hall Plaza, Motown Evening. Our friend Eileen Collins joined us. It began to rain lightly. We kept watching the menacing sky to our left. As we waited, the rain came down more heavily. Finally it stopped and the sun tried to come through the clouds. We felt better knowing, from a previous rainy evening, that the chairs on the plaza would be dried off by the staff before we arrived at the plaza. We picked up a few more people at Keystone and we were off. Traffic was quite heavy going in town. We were happy, however, that we were on our side of the Expressway. The other side was moving at a snail’s pace.

As we took our seats, near the back of the plaza where we usually sit, we could see very few seniors. Some were turned off by the rain. We also knew that the number of buses bringing the seniors to each concert had been cut back drastically. Hubby took off for his usual tour of Faneuil Hall. He came back with two copies of The Improper Bostonian, one for himself, the other for daughter Sue, who loves that magazine Commissioner Toni Pollak, from the City’s Parks and Recreation Dept. welcomed all of us to the concert. She introduced a music group from the Berklee College of Music. One of their songs was So Good, So Good. Almost all of the audience sang along with that tune.

After the Berklee College musicians finished, the Soul City Band came to the stage. (I believe the main performers were Chris Gagne and Amanda Brigham.) We had heard them in previous years so we applauded loudly. Out on the dance floor came some energetic people, who, for the most part, stayed dancing all evening. During the first song Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, quite a few of the audience including our little group sang along with this familiar song. The next song, Can’t Help Myself, was also well known so even more people joined in singing. (By the way, I must thank daughter Sue for helping me with the titles of these songs.) The next song, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, I didn’t know at all. The following song was the piece de resistance of the evening: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman. Our group of seniors and at least several thousand other people in the audience were singing along with this Carole King hit. We probably could have been heard inside Faneuil Hall.

We took a little break from singing and then resumed with Soul Man, Signed Sealed, and Delivered, and then the Stevie Wonder hit, I’m Yours. The last songs that we joined in on were: Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher, R E S PE C T, Aretha Franklin’s big hit. One of the last songs we heard was Billie Jean, one of Michael Jackson’s great hits, one that he himself wrote. The final song was James Brown’s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag. Just about 8:30 p.m., we had a few sprinkles of rain. Out came the umbrellas and the plastic raincoats. Then it began raining more havily. Hubby had five ponchos in his little bag so we were all O.K. We sat through another song but then we noticed that the buses to take us home were already waiting for us. All the way home we encountered rain showers. Traffic was light so we were back at St. Brendan’s in about 15 minutes. We thanked Eileen Collins letting us know about the concerts. The final concert is a Country Evening on Wed., Aug. 10, on City Hall Plaza.

I was sorry to read of the death of Richard Miller on July 14. Dick and his wife of more than 61 years, Dolores, lived in the Savin Hill of Dorchester for years. He was the father of Mary Ellen Miller and her husband, John Pearsall, Karen and her husband, Jeffrey Jackson, Doreen, and Robert. Dick served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He worked in for A.T. & T for more than 31 years and was a retired supervisor. I send my sympathy to the family.

I enjoyed reading this saying by Henry Ford: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”