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Celebrating Irish

“May your days be as sparkling
As an Irish smile,
The dew on the shamrock,
And the Emerald Isle.”
From an old Irish blessing

Hubby, daughter Sue, and I had lots to smile about the past few weeks. There were so many Irish functions to attend. On Tues., March 6, just as we were leaving the Leahy-Holloran Community Center after we had voted, the door to the pre-school area opened and out came Lisa Zinck, the director of the program. “I’m glad I saw you,” said she. “I want you to know about the St. Patrick’s Dinner next Tuesday evening. I know that you have attended other functions here at the center.” She gave us a flyer with all the details of the dinner. We called our pal Eileen Burke and she was delighted to attend. I called Lisa and asked if it would be all right to invite the sisters of Our Lady of Mercy Order, who live in St. Ann’s Convent. ‘Positively,” said Lisa. I called my friend Sister Teresa and extended the invitation to the all the nuns.

Tuesday came very quickly. When we came into the center’s cafeteria, we saw that our friend Tom Leahy was playing the bagpipes to welcome the seniors. There were too many of us to sit with pal Eileen Collins so we sat at the next table. Long-time friend Peachy Galvin came over and asked if there was anything she could get us. I finally had a chance to meet Jill LaMonica, the administrative coordinator of the LHCC, in person although we have often spoken on the phone. We noted that the early birds were playing Bingo and winning prizes. Jean Lee came over and spoke about her son and his buddies, who were sitting at the next table and winning many of the Bingo prizes. I understand that Maureen Pennella was the wonderful baker who made the Irish Bread prizes. City Councilor Frank Baker came around to see everyone. Roseleen Weir, Sean’s Mom, was visiting all the tables to greet everyone. Dorothy Majeski, at age 98, was the oldest of the seniors playing Bingo. Della Costello came over to greet us. She was having a great time. Our friends from St. Ann’s Convent came in to join us. Sister Mary Clare, from County Clare, and Sister Teresa, from the Phillipines, were happy to be there. They saw the decorations on the table, green paper leis and green plastic derby hats. Someone had even made chocolate-covered pretzels. The table also had gold-foil-covered chocolate coins all over it.

There were so many from the neighborhood at the dinner. Rita Gillespie and Gemma Mariano were at the table behind us. Eileen Collins, Norma Conley, Nell Joyce, Marilyn Ferrara, Cathy Coyne, Patsy MacDougall, Jo Peters, Mary Sullivan, Carol Murphy, Terry Ryan, Peg Canty, Mary Burke, Terry Hunt Margaret Lydon, Carol Coakley, Claire Perry, and Ann Wallace were there, too, mostly from the Keystone Senior Apartments.

The food was supplied by the Butcher Shop/Mrs. Murphy’s Kitchen of Adams Village and was excellent. The corned beef was the gray type, which all of us liked very much. I was standing behind Sister Teresa at the buffet tables and warned her to be careful of the cabbage since she was not used to eating it. She told me that she had already been warned. There were so many veggies and so much corned beef on our plates that some took about half of their food home with them. We thank the members of the LHCC’s staff and council members who helped served the food. We also thank the teen volunteers who helped with the serving: Meaghan O’Sullivan, Brenna Galvin, Trinity Willett, Sean Connolly, Tim Flynn, Neil Tranford, Kalyn Leahy, Makenzie Broderick, Mike McCarthy, and James Verderico. The teens were wonderful feeding all of us and then cleaning up after us.

We were delighted to have step dancers from the Green-O’Leary School of Irish Step Dancing entertain us at the dinner. MaryKate Folan was the oldest dancer, at 13 years. Then came Julia May O’Toole, age 12. Sydney Queally, age 10, and the youngest, Delia O’Toole, age 7. They danced with their soft shoes, known as ghillies, that are very much like ballet shoes. They also entertained us with their hard shoes, like tap shoes. Their outfits were positively beautiful. What a nice way to end our perfect evening. We thank the Leahy-Holloran staff and council, the step dancers, the Butcher Shop/Mrs. Murphy’s Kitchen, and the teen volunteers for making the dinner so pleasant.

Thanks to info from Eileen Collins, Hubby and I learned of the Spaghetti Supper at St. Brendan’s, sponsored by St. Brendan’s St. Vincent De Paul Society, on Sat., Mar. 10. Daughter Sue and pal Eileen Burke joined us. As we walked into Father Lane Hall, our friend Marty Allen greeted us. I saw Bob Dunford in the kitchen, working diligently. (I had a chance to chat with his wife Dottie later in the evening.) Former City Councilor Maureen Feeney and her husband Larry chatted with us for a few minutes. Norma Conley spotted us and invited us to sit with her. We could see that our pals Gregory and Sarah were on the other side of the hall; we had a chance to chat with them before they left. Charlie and Susan Tevnan were there with their girls. Father John Connolly, pastor of St. Brendan’s, came in and spoke with the people at our table. So did our friend, Father John McCarthy. Pal Jack Ryan was doing a great job, serving as emcee for the supper. His wife Jan was also chatting with everyone. Eileen, Norma, Dot, Evie, Mary, and Marilyn rounded out our table. Mary, Pat, Tom, Dolly, Irene, and Ann were seated close to us. Our friend Peter Woloschuk came in on our heels.

The food at the Spaghetti Supper was excellent. We had meatballs, ziti with sauce, rolls, Irish bread, and butter, along with coffee. Just as we were finishing our meal, Father Rich Putnam came into the hall. Hubby went over to speak with him because they had worked together at two different times. When Father Rich was still in school, he worked part-time with Hubby at Purity Supreme Market in Fields Corner. At another time, he practice-taught with Hubby in the Boston schools. He was unable to stay at the supper because he had another engagement in East Boston, where he is stationed.

While we were eating, emcee Ryan kept calling the names of winners of the raffles. We would have loved to have won the Irish bread. There were other winners of prizes offered by local businesses. Finally, the last two raffle prizes were to be drawn, and to our surprise, Hubby’s ticket was chosen for the St. Patrick’s/Easter basket, filled with holiday items. Finally, the 50/50 door prize ticket was drawn. We were all delighted that our pal Marty Allen was the winner. What a very pleasant way to end a nice time. By the way, there was so much food left over, we were told to take a dinner or two home.

When we got the huge holiday basket home, Hubby put it on the kitchen table. We decided that we would hold off taking it apart until we had photos of it. We already had a lovely photo of Jack Ryan presenting the basket to Hubby, thanks to an e-mail that Charlie Tevnan sent us before we even arrived home. We still wanted to get a photo of the basket intact. The following day, we dismantled it. First we saw three decorated egg ornaments hanging from the handle of the basket. We found a cute Easter Bunny face doorknob hanger. There was a shamrock night light, along with two oven mitts, one pink and one lavender. We loved the large Yankee Candle that had a Coconut Bay scent. We received a box of 100 Timothy’s Irish Breakfast tea bags. There was a 3x5 painted-shamrock photo frame, plus a matching 4x6 frame. We loved the 13x6 cracker/bread tray, which looked so much like Belleek. There was a green and white dish towel, with a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” shamrock embroidered on it. There were two pair of bunny socks, one adult size, the other, child’s size. (I think daughter Sue has already absconded with the adult socks.)

Also in the basket was a six-inch deep bowl, which also looked very much like Belleek, complete with painted shamrocks on it. There were three Easter coloring books, along with a color-your-own necklace. There was a set of large Easter decorative cutouts. We loved the Easter Bunny treat stand that can hold 16 eggs or mini cupcakes. There was an additional box of five Easter coloring books with paints and crayons. There was also a 12-inch Easter egg door decoration. Also included was a Disney Easter egg coloring kit. There were two packages of spring-motif paper plates with matching napkins. There were four more dish towels, two plain and two decorated with Easter eggs. There was even a large bag of jelly beans and a package of green Easter grass. All these things were in a beautiful 15x20 woven white Easter basket. I tried to lift the filled basket over the back of Hubby’s chair and couldn’t do it because it was so heavy. Our thanks are sent to the gal or gals who put the holiday basket together. It was magnificent! There will be more about the spaghetti dinner at St. Brendan in next week’s paper.

I laughed at this thought from Reminisce magazine: “He who hesitates is pushed!”