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Leaves of gold and brown

“Oh, look! The leaves of gold and brown
Are swirling, twirling, coming down.
The wind is shaking every bough.
The ground is nearly covered now!
“Leaves” by Cherri Franks-Turnbull

It was amazing how many leaves fell from the trees after our heavy rains last week. The rain took off all the little tomatoes that were still on our vines. We will practically have to put tomatoes in our cereal to use them all. The heads of our sunflowers are so big that they lean over. Hubby has tied them up but the strings cannot support the huge heads. Soon, the seeds will be ripe enough so that Hubby will be able to cut off the heads and save the seeds for next year. When we walk down to the back yard right now, we are very careful that we don’t get hit in the face by the heavy sunflower heads. They would give you a headache if you came in contact with them.

Back to our trip to the Indian Head Resort in New Hampshire: On Thursday morning, Hubby and I played cards with our friends, Irene, Ann, and Joe and Ann Mazzone. It was easy to see that none of us were card sharks. We were not very adept at shuffling cards. Hubby probably shuffled the best because he played lots of cards while in the service. Next time, we must bring our card shuffler. Then our trip organizer Marty Allen had us play “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” It was a competition between tables of players. I really was afraid of this game. I had watched this TV show while I was in rehab for my knee and I couldn’t answer even some of the fourth and fifth grade questions. If I heard correctly, I think that our table came in second.

After the games, we went back to our rooms to freshen up for dinner and the entertainment. We met our pals Gregory and Sarah once again for dinner. We all tried to be good when ordering our dinners because we had over-indulged the previous two evenings. Following dinner, we moved into the Thunderbird Lounge once again to be entertained. Cile and Norm came out to sing and play music for us. Cile sang several songs just like Patsy Cline. Then she sang one of my favorite songs, Misty. I must confess that the movie Play Misty For Me, however, with Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walter, is not one of my favorites; it scared the devil out of me. Cile then invited members of our group to the dance floor to learn a new dance, the Cupid Shuffle. Our crowd, for the most part, learned the dance very quickly and could have been eligible for “Dancing With the Stars” after practicing a few minutes.

When Cile and Norm’s set was over, Cile introduced the feature attraction, ventriloquist Pete Byers and his dummy “Howie.” Pete asked one of our group what her heritage was. She said, “Irish and Italian.” He quickly responded, “Gaelic and Garlic!” We all laughed. Pete was an amazing ventriloquist. He was so quick to respond in Howie’s voice.

When Cile and Norm returned to the stage, they played Sweet Caroline so we Red Sox fans sang that song with gusto. Cile also led everyone in The Macarena, The Chicken Dance, and, once again, the Cupid Shuffle. After Cile and Norm finished their set, quite a few of us bought their CDs. Cile also had a CD of her own. She sold so many that evening that I was put on a waiting list. Within a few days after we were home, I received the CDs in the mail.

While we were up at Indian Head, the hotel was preparing for a big weekend. The hotel was to be filled with people who believe in UFOs. Hubby took a photo of the explanation of the UFO experience that happened 50 years ago. It was on a metal plaque in front of the hotel. It says: “BETTY AND BARNEY HILL INCIDENT” “On the night of September 19-20, 1961, Portsmouth, NH couple Betty and Barney Hill experienced a close encounter with an unidentified flying object and two hours of ‘lost’ time while driving south of Rte. 3, near Lincoln (NH). They filed an official Air Force Project Blue Book report of a brightly-lit, cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not public with their story until it was leaked in the Boston Traveler in 1965. This was the first widely-reported UFO abduction in the United States.” I didn’t see the plaque until I saw the photo that Hubby had taken of it after we arrived home. I am sorry that we were not able to stay for the weekend to hear all about this UFO incident.

I must mention that Hubby was lucky enough to win the first prize in the raffle of four baskets that Marty had assembled. He chose the Autumn Basket. It contained an autumn tablecloth, napkins, and plates. A bag of Goldfish crackers, a box of biscotti, a box of butterscotch candy, a box of Anna’s gingersnap cookies, about 20 little packs of candy corn, and a pretty fall centerpiece were also included. Hubby is very lucky at winning things. Sad to say, he has no luck in the Mass. Lottery.

We had to have our suitcases ready for the bus trip home by 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Thanks goodness we didn’t shop too much because the bags seemed heavier going home than they were when we arrived. Of course, Hubby took quite a few pamphlets of the various attractions around Lincoln, NH. Our pal Gregory had walked down the road several times and purchased some Boston newspapers, which he shared with us. Those were in my suitcase. I read them after we arrived at home. We were sorry to leave Indian Head at such a beautiful time of year.

On the way home, our bus driver Joanne drove us to the Kellerhaus, in the Weirs Beach area of New Hampshire. We all got off the bus to shop. That gift shop has the most beautiful items. There was a group of Irish gifts. They had Annalee dolls that were gorgeous. There was a Christmas area that I stayed away from because we have so many Christmas decorations. I did go into the Candy Room but resisted buying anything after eating so well at Indian Head. Then it was time for the “piece de resistance,” the Ice Cream Room! Some of our group skipped all the other rooms and went directly to that room. There were many flavors of ice cream plus all kinds of toppings. (Hubby never saw the butterscotch topping or he would have ordered that.) They even had “no sugar added” ice cream so I had a scoop of that. Hubby indulged in terrific maple walnut ice cream. (He gave me a spoonful with a nut in it.) As we ate our ice cream with our pal Gregory, we could look out toward Lake Winnipesaukee. I still remember the summer I spent in Meredith, NH, on the shore of Winnepesaukee, as a camp counselor. I loved the lake’s water, It even made my hair wavy! How that happened I’ll never know. That was a wonderful summer!

I must mention a Mass of Remembrance and Healing that Fr. John McCarthy, the chaplain for the Irish Pastoral Centre, will celebrate this Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m., in St. Brendan Church. When Fr. John was visiting a family in his parish in Limerick City, Ireland, he casually asked the mother of the family how many children she has. He was shocked when she said she has three living children and then she pointed to three small crosses in her backyard. She continued, “and three of my children are buried out there.” She told Fr. John the story of her husband’s having to bury the children who had died prematurely; the babies were unable to be buried in the cemetery because they were not baptized. Father promised that he would hold a service in Limerick for the families who had lost children early in life and that those children would be remembered. The service drew parents, families, and friends of all ages. He discovered that when a mother suffers the loss early in pregnancy or when the child is an infant, the whole family is touched. Often, the death is silenced and parents have not been able to express their grief. Whether the event happened in the past year or many years ago, the parents are deeply touched by the loss and they feel this loss throughout their lives. Father will offer a Mass of Healing and Remembrance this Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m., in St. Brendan Church. A reception will follow in the Irish Pastoral Centre (the former St. Brendan Rectory). All who have lost children are most welcome. We had two stillborn daughters, one in 1963 and one in 1969. Both were the victims of deadly RH difficulties. Hubby and I will be at the Mass.

I was sorry that Hubby and I were not able to attend the annual Dance and Reunion of Boston’s County Mayo Association. I had a swollen right foot and did not think it would be wise to sit for three hours at the reunion. I did miss seeing the association’s President Evelyn Fennessy and the former President Paddy O’Malley and his lovely wife Peggy. I must drop them each a note.

Here is a wise saying: “If you can’t laugh at your own mistakes, you have no right to laugh at others.”