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St. Patrick's Day and gearing up for spring

“I am so very happy.
My heart can’t help but sing.
Our God, in loving kindness,
Has sent another spring.”
“Another Spring”by Kay Hoffman

It’s not much like spring this week with temperatures in the 30s. I washed and put away our green shirts, blouses, and sweaters but still kept our sweaters and jackets, of other colors, downstairs to put under our winter outer jackets when we venture outside. (We have halted raking the flower bulbs patches until the weather is warmer.)

On Sun., Mar. 6, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I drove to Randolph to have dinner with my cousin Mary and her husband Chuck. We drove into their big driveway and were greeted by them both. We walked into the kitchen and saw that Mary was in the middle of making the meal. I watched as she made her own biscuits. She took the long strip of dough and “layered” it back and forth as if she were making ribbon candy.

Both Mary and Chuck have wonderful luck with plants. They have quite a few different African Violets. (I cannot grow those.) They also have some spider plants that are beautiful. At an outdoor party at their home a couple of years ago, we saw some gorgeous flowers in their spacious back yard. We told Chuck that we had some of our bulbs flowering, especially those close to the foundation of our home. We then watched some of the “Murder She Wrote” marathon on the Hallmark Channel on a big screen TV. Who doesn’t love Angela Lansbury! Then it was time for dinner.

Mary, I must tell you, is a trained cook and can make just about everything. She told us that she and Chuck had smoked the turkey in a cooker outside the kitchen door, using wood, earlier in the day. She made white and sweet potato home fries. She even made a broccoli quiche for us. The rolls that I saw being prepared were delicious. Mary and Chuck’s son Cameron brought down the dessert, the most beautiful-looking cake. It was a layer cake with coconut all over the frosting. Just before we left to go home, Mary gave us enough turkey to have for dinner on Monday evening. She even gave us some of the cake. In addition to doing all the cooking that day, Mary said that she was going to proofread their son’s paper for college after we left. Mary is an amazing lady. Not only is she a fantastic cook, she is also a writer and assists in proofreading and helping foreign writers with English at her work.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Hubby and I picked up our pal Eileen Burke and drove to St. Brendan’s Church. We arrived about 8:45 a.m. and discovered that there were already many people at the church. Daughter Sue drove herself and arrived on our heels. Our friend Bob Madden was sitting behind us. Our pals Bridie Kelly, Nancy Quinn, and Bill Shaughnessy were sitting in front of us. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. John Connolly, Fr. Sean Connor, Fr. Mark Bishop, and Fr. Michael Banks, OFM Cap. During the Mass, they blessed quite a few pots of shamrocks that they had to the side of the altar. Maureen Keady sang beautifully throughout the Mass, both in English and Gaelic. Fr. Sean Connor invited the youngsters at the Mass to come to the altar for the homily. The children were enthralled. It was quite a lovely Mass.
After Mass, we were invited downstairs to Fr. Lane Hall, where the Knight of Columbus Dorchester Council #107 had set up the refreshments and had decorated the hall for those attending the Mass. (Hubby thought there were well over 225 people at Mass.) Daughter Sue had run downstairs and saved us seats. Hubby and I stood in the coffee line. Sue then went over to get some Irish bread for our friend Eileen and herself. Also sitting with us were our pals Anne and Bob, plus another friend, Kay Seaberg.
Fr. Michael Banks, who was one of the concelebrants of the St. Patrick’s Mass, came over to sit with us. He told us that he helps out at St. Ann’s Parish. He grew up on Rosselerin Road so he is very familiar with our neighborhood. He mentioned that he lives in Our Lady of Lourdes Convent in Jamaica Plain with other Capuchins. (They are the same order as Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley.) Hubby told Fr. Michael that he grew up in St. Thomas Parish in J.P. and I told him that I grew up in the Blessed Sacrament Parish in J.P. Fr. Michael mentioned to us that St. Thomas, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Mary of the Angels, all in Jamaica Plan, have been combined into one parish. The new pastor of the three churches is Fr. Alonso Macias.

I was so happy to see many of our long-time friends at St. Brendan’s. Mary Kelley was seated near us. Mary and Bob Jepsen were also there. I saw St. Brendan’s Parish secretary Nancy Leoncini chatting with friends. All the while we were eating Irish bread and drinking coffee, Pauline Wells was singing for us. (I had heard Pauline on the Irish Hit Parade on WROL the previous Saturday.) Did you now that Pauline is a captain in the Cambridge Police Dept.?

There were quite a few little kids at the St. Patrick’s Day Mass in the church and downstairs at the collation. Twin girls happily posed for Hubby’s camera. (They were adorable.) There were also two small girls who were wearing little leprechaun hats, complete with orange pigtails. Rosaleen Weir sported one of those little hats as she walked around Fr. Lane Hall later in the morning. Before we left, Hubby hurried upstairs to the church and brought down pots of shamrocks, enough for each of us to take one home. It was such a pleasant time. As we walked toward our car after the St. Patrick’s Mass and celebration, we had a chance to greet Fr. John McCarthy, who is assigned to the Irish Pastoral Centre. (He had five different events that he had to attend on St. Patrick’s Day.) We told him we would see him at the Irish Cultural Centre later this month for the Irish Pastoral Centre’s monthly luncheon.

After we left the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at St. Brendan’s, we drove to Gerard’s Restaurant for our annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. We were a little early so our waitress poured coffee for us to tide us over till daughter Sue joined us. We could see that the crew from WROL (950 AM) was setting up their equipment so that they could broadcast from the restaurant. Bill Porter was going to be the on-air personality. In came our friends Gregory and Sarah Ashe, with their grandson Kevin Doherty and their friend Sarah Doherty. Kevin had a very special job that day. He was going to entertain the customers at Gerard’s with some wonderful Irish music, played on his fiddle.

When it was time to order, Hubby and pal Eileen ordered corned beef and cabbage, as did most of the rest of the diners. (Gerard had both red and gray corned beef. Hubby and Eileen both ordered the gray.) Daughter Sue was going to have a corned beef dinner at her aunt’s birthday celebration on Saturday so she ordered a pastrami sandwich. So did our pal Gregory, sitting at the table next to us. I was somewhat full from St. Brendan’s celebration so I ordered a Gerard Burger, my favorite. All the while we were eating, our friend Kevin went around Gerard’s, playing his fiddle.

As we started to leave, we saw the Graham family sitting at the long table. It was so good to see Steve Sr. and his wife Marie “out and about” and enjoying their food. They were sitting with their son Steve Jr,, their daughter-in-law Melissa, and their son, Steve the 3rd, called “Trip.” Trip told me how happy he is to see his birthday in the Reporter each year. All the Grahams were having a wonderful time at Gerard’s. I also had a chance to chat with Mary and Beth Reardon just before we left.

Daughter Sue went home after eating because she had a doctor’s appointment. Pal Eileen and I went into College Hype. (I almost always buy something with a shamrock on it.) This time I saw a handsome baseball cap. On the front, it had an embroidered circle made with the colors of the Irish flag, with a shamrock in the middle of the circle. I thought it was gorgeous so I bought the cap for Hubby. Hubby took photos of Eileen and me outside the story, standing next to the Irish leprechaun balloon. They all came out great. (By the way, Hubby wore his new Irish cap inside our home all evening.)

I send my best wishes to Fr. Vincent Daily, pastor of St. Gregory’s Church, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Mar. 8. Fr. Vincent, at the 7 a.m. Mass on Mar. 20, told parishioners that he was very pleased with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at the church.

Did you happen to see the full moon on Saturday evening, about 20 minutes after sunset? It was huge and very bright. In the Almanac, it states that this moon, the “Worm” Moon, is the closest moon of the whole year and the closest the moon has been in the past 18 years. It will not come this close again until 2016. We saw a very high tide as we drove along Morrissey Blvd. about 1 p.m. on Sunday. (Spring arrived at 7:21 p.m. on Sunday.)

This is a wise saying: “Winners watch for opportunities; losers wait for lucky breaks.”