Home / View from Pope's Hill /

A scene beyond compare

“Sweet September’s hand is touching
All the leaves with tender care,
Changing colors all about her
To a scene beyond compare.”
“Sweet September” by Carice Williams

As Hubby and I drove along Freeport Streetto the side of the Stop & Shop, we noticed that the “burning bushes” on the left side of the street are beginning to turn red. I read that burning bushes can no longer be sold in Massachusetts because they are very invasive. With the cooler weather and earlier sunsets this past weekend, I am sure that we will also see some leaves turning color along the Expressway and going down Route 3 toward Weymouth. We also noticed that quite a few leaves came down from the trees in our neighborhood during Hurricane Irene. Fall is coming in quickly.

I am still getting over the TV programs on Sunday with the September 11, 2001 remembrances. I saw some on NECN Channel. (I cried a few times.) I particularly remember the man with his son and his dog sitting on a bench at the 9/11 memorial at Logan Airport. He was interviewed by the reporter from NECN. The man pointed out that he knew two of the people who left Boston on the ill-fated planes. His voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of them. All the while he was speaking his thoughts about 9/11, he had his son close to him and he was petting his dog. He said that he comes fairly frequently to the airport to reflect. The memorial is mostly glass, with the names of the crew members and passengers who died on that day etched on two columns, one for each of the planes. I must look for the memorial the next time we go to Logan.

On Thurs. evening, Sept. 21, Hubby, daughter Sue, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove to St. Gregory’s hall for their yearly barbecue. We didn’t see anyone we knew when we came in so we sat near the back of the hall. Who spotted us but Gerard, who was catering the event. He was pretty well set up so he came over and sat down with us for a few minutes. He told us how much he enjoys the pastor, Fr. Vincent Daily, who gives his parishioners chances to get together socially. I did get a chance to speak, face to face, with the parish secretary, Julie Hayes, with whom I usually chat only on the phone. Julie was there with her daughter Claire. They were sitting with Bill Heenan, who is the Facilities Director for all the Pope John II Academy’s buildings.

At St. Gregory’s, we had a chance to chat with our friends John O’Toole, Vic Campbell, and Peter Woloschuk. Long-time friends Agnes Minihan and Pat MacNaught came in with Pat’s sister Katherine. We were delighted to see some more of our long-time friends, Sister Esther Garcia and Sister Laurie MacDonald, who, a few years ago, attended the 4 o’clock Mass at our church. Just before we left, we had a chance to speak with our friends Mike and Bobbi Skillin, who were with their daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth told me that she is engaged and soon will be married. Speaking of Mike and Bobbi, Mike sent me an email this past weekend proudly announcing the birth of their granddaughter Lila Rose, who arrived safely on Sept. 10. Lila is the daughter of Christopher and Sarah Skillin. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 5 ounces and was 19 inches long. The other proud grandparents are David and Robyn of the Icecreamsmith. I send my congratulations to all. By the way, I just realized that Lila was born on 9/10/11!

Just before we left St. Gregory’s, I had a chance to chat with Fr. Vincent Daily. I told him that Hubby, daughter Sue, and I often attend the 7 a.m. Mass at St. Gregory’s on the Sunday mornings when we are unable to attend Mass at our church. We are getting to know quite a few people at the 7 a.m. Mass. Our friends Don and Peter are usually there. There are quite a few people at the Mass. By the way the church is the one of the most beautiful in Boston.

I am always delighted to see the latest edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. In the mail the other day came the 2012 Almanac. Enclosed was the weather map for Winter 2011-2012. This coming winter for New England should be cold and snowy. On the backside of the weather map was one for Summer 2012. The Almanac predicts that summer will be cool and wet in the southern part of New England. The Almanac boasts that it is 80 percent accurate. The other day, daughter Jeanne came in with a second copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this one for her Dad’s birthday. Hubby refers to the almanac often during the year, especially for the dates of the full moon each month and for the meteor showers. Sue sent 300 photos to be printed at Walgreen’s for us. One of the photos shows a recent colorful rainbow. It looked like it was right over Tenean Beach.

Last Thursday, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I picked up our mutual friends Kenny and Mary and drove to the Keystone Senior Apartments where we waited for the bus to take us to the Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island. The rain that day was terrible as we drove. Eileen, who lives at Keystone, had organized the trip and we thanked her for letting us escape from rainy Boston. Twin Rivers is nice because it is less than one hour from Boston. I didn’t even get a chance to fall asleep as I usually do on the two-hour trips to the Connecticut casinos.

When we arrived, Hubby, Eileen, and I went directly upstairs to the non-smoking area. We checked in at the casino’s desk and while Hubby and I enjoyed coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, Eileen found her way to her favorite machines, the penny ones.

When we finished our coffee, I sat at a “Cleopatra” machine, “She won’t let me down, “ I said to myself. (“Cleo” was also a penny machine.) Well, “Cleo” didn’t let me win and I lost the $10 that the casino had credited to my card as a bus trip player. I left “Cleo” quickly after losing the $10. Then I saw a “Mermaid” machine. I figured that I would have some luck on that machine, which, I think, was a nickel machine. I love the ocean and all nautical things so I definitely will win on that one. My bad luck continued. The “Mermaid”was $10 heavier, when I left. I should never play the slot machines. The only luck I ever have when gambling is bad luck,

By this time, I had to find Hubby and Eileen for lunch. We knew where there were additional tables for the Johnny Rocket Restaurant on the second floor. We were waited on almost as soon as we were seated. Eileen was a good “Do-Bee” and ordered a chicken salad. Hubby and I each had a burger. Everything was very tasty. All the while we were eating, there was a group of men watching horse races at the bar area near us.

Then it was time to recoup my loss. I finally found a poker machine; this one was more costly than the other machines that I had played. This was a 25-cent machine. At least, with a poker machine, I’d have a chance to change my luck by playing properly. Well, my method of playing didn’t help me that day. I was out another $10. That is the most I have ever lost at a casino so I stopped right then and there. I realize, now, that I will never be able to write a book on “How to Win at a Casino.” Hubby found me and said that he had lost only $5, thank goodness. We found Eileen about 3 p.m. Hubby and I decided that we still had time to go to the Haagen Dazs Ice Cream parlor on the first floor of the casino. I had a small cup of no-sugar-added strawberry frozen yogurt. Hubby indulged in butter pecan ice cream. Friend Nancy Larkin was in the ice cream parlor with her pal Bernie. While Hubby was getting our treats, he noticed a sign that said that there is now a buffet at the large food court where we were seated. We will try that the next time we go to Twin Rivers. Hubby and I each enjoyed our ice cream and frozen yogurt. They helped ease the pain of having no luck at the machines that day. By the way, Hubby and I each brought home a voucher for one penny – to remind us of our unsuccessful day at the casino.

While we were at the casino, we discovered, from pal Maureen’s Boston Herald that our friend and classmate from State Teachers’ College at Boston, Class of 1956, Mary (Early) Kelly, had passed away on Sept. 5. Mary was always such a nice gal, both in school and also when we would meet her in these later years. A former teacher, Mary served as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Brendan’s Church and as Vice President of the K Club, Senior Citizens of Neponset. The widow of the late Austin Kelly, Mary leaves many nieces and nephews, and many, many friends. She was related to a great many families in the Neponset/Cedar Grove area. She was a great gal.

This is a wonderful quote from Thomas Jefferson (in 1786) and a perfect one for the opening month of school: “No inquisitive mind will be content to be ignorant.”