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A Time for Celebrations

“A mighty brain, a will to endure,
Passions subdued, a slave to none.
A heart that was noble, brave, strong, and pure,
A soul that was noble and great, and sure.
A faith in God that was held secure-
This was George Washington
By author unknown

With the Presidents’ Day holiday this Monday, this seems like a most appropriate quotation on George Washington. When I taught first grade, we made a great deal of both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. Of course, we had a big celebration for Valentine’s Day, with a huge box, decorated with red hearts, to hold the children’s Valentines in between the two presidents.

Our church, St. Christopher’s, has been a very happy place recently. We have had several celebrations. One was the Hour of Prayer a few weeks ago. On Feb. 6, we had a big celebration for the 54th anniversary of ordination of our administrator, Fr. George Carrigg, on Feb. 2. On Feb. 2, the year before, Fr. George’s brother, Fr. Bill Carrigg was ordained. The two brothers concelebrated the bilingual Mass at noon on Feb. 6. Hubby and I had been to Mass on Sat. afternoon so we went straight downstairs. It was Fr. Bill who proclaimed the Gospel. We are always amazed that Fr. Bill is able to recite the Gospel without looking at the written word. The Gospel book is held in his hands as he speaks. When Fr. Bill began to preach on this special Sunday, 55 parishioners walked down the aisles, each carrying a lit candle for his 55 years as a priest. It was most impressive.

When we sat down, we could hear Glenda Landavazo sing the “Ave Maria” once again so beautifully. At the end of the Mass, the entire congregation thanked the Lord for having Fr. George’s and Fr. Bill’s dedication to service for all these years (109 years total).

Then everyone came downstairs to the hall. Almost every seat was taken. We sat with Sharon and Chuck Pace. In came our friends Joan Hill and Alice Redford. Then we were thrilled to see our longtime friend Helen Bradley come in with her daughter, Joan Abban. Helen is now in a rehabilitation home but didn’t want to miss this wonderful afternoon at church. I was fortunate that Helen sat next to me all afternoon so we had a good chance to chat.

Pastoral Associate Louise Tardif welcomed us to the celebration. The youngsters from the Notre Dame Montessori School said “Grace.” Fr. Bill said the Invocation. Then it was time for dinner. I knew that our friend Dorothy had made her wonderful lasagna so I headed for that. There was also “store-bought” food, more than enough for the large crowd. There was a huge cake for both priests. There was even a smaller cake. After people had eaten, Glenda, our songstress, sang two more selections, accompanied by Joanna Vasquez. The first was an operatic song; the second, “Summertime.” Chris Guerrero then presented both priests with a stay at a nice hotel in Boston. The closing song was “Thank You, Lord, for Fr. George and Fr. Bill.” It was a lovely way to spend a cold February afternoon.

I was delighted to hear of the safe arrival of Stephen Joseph McCleary on Dec. 10. The happy parents are Michael and Christine McCleary of Stoughton. The proud grandmothers are Linda McManus of Dorchester and Joanne McCarthy of Dedham. I send my best to all.

One of the most interesting magazines that I receive is called Reminisce, the Magazine That Brings Back the Good Times. In the February/March issue there is a very interesting article on McDonald’s Restaurants. The article is written by Jim Vance, who was just a teenager when the first McDonald’s opened in San Bernardino. The chain had begun in 1937 when Patrick McDonald opened the Airdrome Restaurant at the Monrovia, CA, Airport. His sons, Mac and Dick, moved the restaurant 40 miles away, still in San Bernardino, renaming the business McDonald’s Barbecue in 1940. It had a drive-in and a 25-item menu. It quickly became a teen-age hangout. In 1948, the restaurant closed to install an assembly line for burgers. The restaurant simplified its menu: just burgers, fries, shakes, soft drinks, and apple pie.

In 1953, Neil Fox opened the second McDonald’s, with the first golden arches, in Phoenix. (The San Bernardino restaurant was rebuilt with the golden arches later that year.) When Ray Kroc found out that the McDonald’s Restaurants were using his milkshake machines, he visited the McDonald Brothers and discovered that they were looking for a franchising agent. Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s, which is now a museum, in Des Plaines. By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger. It opened its 100th restaurant in 1959, in Fond du Lac, WI. The McDonald Brothers sold the rights to Ray Kroc in 1961. It opened its first restaurant with seating in 1962. In 1963, the company sold its one-billionth hamburger. The Big Mac sandwich was introduced in 1968. The chain now had 32,000 restaurants in 117 countries. What a success story!

In the same issue of Reminisce, there is a story about Red Skelton. The author, Jean Allen Brown, met Red when she visited an Army Hospital on base in Virginia. Jean had just been married and went to visit her new GI husband at the camp. The hotel owner where she was staying wanted the newly-weds to meet Red so Jean chatted with Red for quite a while. At a dance following the meeting, several soldiers asked Jean to dance, thinking she was Red’s wife. She told Red about the mix-up. He told her to continue dancing to give the soldiers a thrill because they were dancing with Red’s “wife.” When she was leaving the hotel, she once again met Red and wished him well. As he was walking away from her, he did one of his famous pratfalls. She has a lovely remembrance from her meeting with Red. She has his temporary dog tags, hanging next to an autographed photo of Red. My cousin Carolyn met Red Skelton when she worked at the Prudential building in Boston years ago. He couldn’t have been nicer to speak with when they met in a card store at the Pru.

I loved hearing Gerry Manning, from Capt. Parker’s Pub, with host Paul Sullivan, on the Irish Hit Parade on WROL last Saturday at noontime. Gerry was telling Paul about the Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year’s parade will be held on Sat., March 5, beginning at 11 a.m. The theme for this year is “The Music of Ireland.” The parade, which is two miles long, begins on Route 28, at School St. in West Dennis. It continues over the Bass River Bridge, ending on Route 28, at Forest Road (by the Dunkin’s Donuts and the Catholic Church). Last year’s parade’s Grand Marshal was former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. This year’s Grand Marshal will be “Irish” Micky Ward. Micky’s boxing career is portrayed in the new movie, The Fighter, with Mark Walberg. The Parade Queen will be Siobhan Magnus, who was a finalist on the “American Idol” TV program

I saw, in the Clam Point Newsletter, that the annual Dorchester Day Meatloaf Dinner will be held on Thurs., Mar. 24, 6:30 p.m., at the First Parish Church on Meetinghouse Hill. Dinner is $15 for adults and $7 for children, with a family of four @$30. Gerard and his crew will serve his tasty meatloaf. This is one of the nicest events that we attend each year. We just put it on our calendar. Thanks, Mike , for including this info in your newsletter.

Hubby and I were delighted to see John McGuire, our pal from Boston’s County Mayo Association, at the celebration for the feast day of St. Brigid at St. Brendan’s Church this past Sunday. He was so tanned that I thought he had been to Florida. When I asked him, he said, “No. I just came back from skiing in Bulgaria. Then I stopped at Istanbul.” I almost fell off my chair when he told us. He mentioned that both areas were wonderful. There will be more about St. Brigid’s celebration in next week’s paper.

I was so sorry to hear from my friend Loretta that our mutual friend, Ginny Biagiotti, has been injured. Ginny had gone shopping and pulled her car up into her driveway, close to the house so she wouldn’t have to go to far with the poor walking conditions. As she went to take the bundles from the car, she slipped on ice and fell, breaking both wrists. I’ve only broken one wrist and that was a few years back. I can just imagine how incapacitated Ginny is with both wrists broken. Loretta told me that Ginny’s fingers are loose so she has a tiny bit of motion with them. I spoke with Ginny and told her that the hardest thing for me when I broke my wrist was to shower with one hand. Ginny and I both warn everyone to be very careful, especially when the weather warms up and the snow melts during the day. Then the water freezes during the night when the temperature falls.

Take courage: Sully’s at Castle Island will open on Sat., Feb. 26, just a little over two weeks from now. The Icecreamsmith, in Lower Mills, owned by Dave and Robyn Mabel, will open on Tues., Mar. 1 for its 34th season. It will remain open until November Spring is coming!