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August's Gifts

“Ripening fruit upon the trees
In the August sun;
Cornflelds swaying in the fields,
When the day is done.”
by Mary Boyd Wagner

Hubby has some potatoes growing beside the walkway toward the backyard. Across from the potatoes’ lush green leaves are our two new rose bushes. The peachy-colored one is in bloom, alongside the also blooming yellow bush. They are lovely to see. Even the vinca vine, on the trellis outside our front hall, is creeping up the side of our home with lovely lavender flowers. Our tomato plants are not too big because Hubby wasn’t able to plant them until the Fourth of July.

On May 17, Hubby and I were at Florian Hall for this year’s Parade of Seniors luncheon. I was delighted to help my pal Loretta Philbrick at one of the registration desks. The registration went well. The coordinators for the event, Joe and Carol Chaisson, were worried about the preparations because Joe had been ill just before the event. They’re such hard-working pros, however, that the luncheon went off beautifully, When we went into the hall, after the registration was over, we could hear our friend Michael Pratt singing to the large crowd. I was amazed that Mike could entertain for the full three hours, with very few breaks.

So many of the local politicians made an appearance at the luncheon. It was first announced, however, that our former City Councillor, Maureen Feeney, was in the hospital because of gallbladder surgery. We all wished Maureen big get-well wishes. Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry and Marty Walsh, along with Councillors Frank Baker and Ayanna Presley, were at the luncheon. Ed Merritt, president and CEO of the Mt. Washington Bank, received a huge round of applause because of the bank’s continuing support of the luncheon. Each of us received a wonderful boxed luncheon. Florian’s waitresses were wonderful, as usual, seeing to our every need.

Joe and Carol would like to thank all those who helped make the luncheon such a success: Loretta Philbrick, Paul Nutting, Joe Costa, Mary Shea, Steve Malley, Jill Baker, Millie Rooney, Marie Marshall, Marty Hogan, Carol Murphy, Christine Hogan, Eileen Boyle, Hubby, and me. We were happy to assist Joe and Carol in making this year’s Parade of Seniors so successful. I understand that it was Gloria Vieira who made the lovely afghan that was one of the prizes given at the luncheon. John Scannell sang “When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New” beautifully. Special thanks must be given to Michael Pratt for co-hosting the event with Joe at Florian Hall and for performing for the entire three hours. (He was positively wonderful!) All who attended the luncheon must thank, again, Joe and Carol Chaisson for all their work in putting together this wonderful event, attended by several hundred people.

I was heartbroken to read of the death of my friend Mary Cobb on Aug. 4. Although we didn’t bump into each other very often, it was always a joy to see and chat with her when we did meet. More often than not, it was at Gerard’s, with her cousin Corina. She would tell me about her terrific grandchildren. We had a little joke between us. Every time I would write about her, I would call her “the wonderful Mary Cobb.” For weeks after that, her brother Joe Gaffney would kid her about being “wonderful.” I remember that I met Mary through our mutual friend, Alice McDonald. (Alice was the first person I met, other than my immediate neighbors, when I moved to Neponset almost 50 years ago.) I have since discovered that Alice and Mary met at Gerard’s for dinner each Tuesday for 40 years. I send my sympathy to Mary’s husband George and to their children: Michael, Christopher, Stephen, Brian, Celeste, Jack, and Brendan. She was the sister of the late John and Joe Gaffney. She will be greatly missed.

Just over a year ago, I received a magnet, reminding me to put Matt and JoAnne’s wedding day (Aug. 4, 2012) on the 2012 calendar. I already had a 2012 calendar so I put a big circle on that day. The magnet went on the fridge. JoAnne’s grandparents JoAnn (Parodi) and Bill Leary have been my close friends for almost 50 years. JoAnne’s Mom, Lorrie (Leary) White, has been a good friend of my daughter Sue’s for most of their lives. At least three months ago, daughter Sue went on the Internet and made the plane, hotel, and rent-a-car reservations. She not only made the reservations for the two of us, she also made two more reservations for Ann Pearce and her daughter Julie. Ann had been the maid of honor at the bride-to-be’s grandparents’ wedding back in June of 1960. We would be traveling to Florida for the wedding as a foursome.

The date seemed so far away but suddenly, it was the week before we were to leave for the wedding. Hubby brought down my big suitcase from the attic. (He was going to stay home with our cat and Sue’s.) I thought I had done a good job of packing. I hadn’t, but more about that later.

I was up at 4 a.m. on Aug. 2. I called Sue and got her up. Hubby and I ate an early breakfast. He loaded our car with Sue’s luggage and mine and we were off to Logan just about 7 a.m. We saw Ann and Julie at Dunkin’ Donuts, near the Jet Blue counter. They had already checked in. Thank goodness Sue had printed our boarding passes so we only had to get into one line. I had to go through the “Body Scanner’ because of my “new” knees. Everything went well.

About 9:30 a.m., we were flying down the runway, on our way to the West Palm Beach Airport. Almost everyone on the plane dozed off for at least a little while. The flight was pleasantly uneventful. When we arrived in Florida, the four of us went to the Enterprise Car Rental desk. A mini-bus was made available to us Enterprise customers, ferrying us to the rent-a-car area. Sue had wisely ordered an SUV because of the four large luggage bags. I said to Julie, “I hope we get a pretty white SUV.” Along came Sue, driving a lovely white Ford Edge SUV. It was gorgeous. I dubbed it “our white chariot.” Julie had wisely brought her GPS with her so we had no problem finding our hotel, the Inn at Boynton Beach, formerly the Holiday Inn. The hotel was great, with a helpful staff. The lobby was beautiful. To get to our rooms, we had to walk over a tiny bridge that had gorgeous flowers on either side. The room had two big beds and a lovely bathroom.

After a brief nap, we four decided to attend the cocktail hour at the hotel. There were mainly pizza bites as appetizers. There were cans of soda and even beer (“only two, please”). The four of us decided that we would go for a drive to explore the neighborhood. With Julie’s GPS on the windshield, the four of us set out. We found Rte. A1A and started down that road. The beach was on the left and the intercoastal waterway was on the right. Never had we seen such gorgeous homes, almost like mini-castles. We tried to guess which one was Jennifer Lopez’s. We oohed and aahed our way through Del Ray and into Boca Raton. We did see the Del Ray Beach Club on the left. The wedding reception was to be there on Saturday afternoon. It had started to get dark, so we decided that we should go back to the hotel.

As we drove along, we decided to get something to eat. We saw a Panera Restaurant. Ann and Julie said that they liked Panera very much. Sue had eaten there once but I had never been in one. We were so pleased with the food. I had a tuna sandwich (all white tuna) on some type of honey bread that was positively scrumptious. The four of us were well fed as we left the restaurant. We decided to go back to the hotel. Just before we turn into the hotel’s parking lot, we saw several businesses with tiki-fires outside. There were also some businesses with the palm trees, the trunks of which were wrapped with tiny yellow lights, with green lights in among the palm leaves. They looked beautiful.

After we arrived at the hotel, the four of us were tired from the long day and would get to bed early. Friday would be a busy day, As I got ready for bed, I pulled out my glucometer, which I need to see what my blood sugar reading was. To my dismay, I had forgotten the strips that go into the meter. It was just a few minutes before 10 p.m. Maybe we could find a CVS open. Down Sue and I went to our “white chariot.” The CVS closest to the hotel had just closed. We said, “Perhaps the Walgreen’s that is open 24 hours could help us.” We drove to that store and discovered that the pharmacy closes at 9 p.m. even though the store is open 24 hours. (Perhaps the pharmacies stay open later in the evening during the winter when so many “snowbirds” descend on Florida but not in the summer when it is hot and humid.) We went back to the hotel. What should I do? There will be a lot more about our trip to FL next week.

I thought this was a wonderful thought, by Johannes “Meister” Eckhert, that I saw in a magazine: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.”