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Onto December

“That chill is in the air
Which the wise know well…
This joy I know
Will soon be under snow.”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

On Sunday, Hubby was able to remove the turkey electric light from the rose trellis and the candy-corn-shaped lights from the porch railing. It was just too cold and windy, however, for him to put up the Christmas lights. Our neighbors Jim and Maureen have a cute Christmas display in their front yard. It makes me smile when I go by it. I laughed when I heard Joe Mathieu on WBZ radio this morning. He mentioned that this year it costs $107,000 to get the items in “The 12 Days of Christmas” song, up six percent from last year. The most expensive items in the song are the swans. They cost $1,000 each.

Back to Marty Allen’s buffet luncheon for those who have gone on her trips: Marty always has some kind of trivia game, whether it is on the trips or at her celebrations. The one that day had questions about Massachusetts. A couple were really hard but someone at our table knew that there are 14 counties in Massachusetts. (Never would I have known that!) “What is the state muffin?” We all thought it was the blueberry muffin. Wrong! It is the corn muffin. What is the State dessert?” We had no idea. It’s Boston Cream Pie. Who is the State’s folk hero? Most in the room agreed that it’s Paul Revere. We were wrong; it’s Johnny Appleseed. We just guessed correctly at the year the Boston Tea Party was held (1773). I had heard of Mount Greylock but didn’t know it was the highest point in Massachusetts. We exchanged our answer paper with that of the neighboring table to correct. Our table was fortunate to win the trivia contest, which was amazing because of the difficulty of at least half the questions. Marty gave our table a gift bag with a dozen or so small items like hand creams and even several pins. I chose a pearl pin because I thought it would look nice on a jacket. The door prize was terrific: Sutter Home and Beringer wines. In addition to the wines, there was $40 in Stop & Shop gift cards. Hubby was delighted with the door prize because it was he who was lucky enough to win it. (He often wins “things” but he is never lucky enough to win money, as in the Lottery.) We will use the wines along with a bottle of Diet Coke for Thanksgiving.

Once we had eaten, Marty brought out the entertainer for the afternoon, Becky Lomar, a teacher at St. Brendan’s School. Becky is so fortunate to have such a lovely voice. She sang along with her exceptional keyboardist, Joe Micarelli. (Joe began playing at age four!) Marty mentioned that Becky’s Mom Theresa is very active in St. Brendan’s Parish. Becky proceeded to sing all types of songs, beginning with “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” She included “Walkin’ After Midnight,” Forever Young,” ”The Very Thought Of You,” “I’m Sentimental,” two beautiful Henry Mancini songs –“The Days of Wine and Roses” and “Moon River,” “Slow Boat to China,” “Blue Skies,” “Hallelujah” from the movie “Shrek” – so daughter Sue told me –, and “One More for the Road,” which Bette Midler sang to Johnny Carson on his second last “Tonight Show.” (Johnny had no guests on his last show.) Becky’s final song was, appropriately, “That’s All.” Both she and Joe received a standing ovation. They deserved it. They were terrific.

An interesting note: Bishop John Dooher recently presented the Bishop Cheverus Award to Deacon Dan Sullivan of St. Agatha’s Parish in Milton. You may know Dan. He is the owner of Sullivan’s or “Sully’s,” as we frequent diners call it, at Castle Island. I heard that Dan does many nice things for the public. I laughed as we walked to the back of our church after Mass last Saturday. Everyone was telling Fr. George Carrigg that Sully’s was closing the next day—and that hot dogs were half-price, 80 cents, until it closed. Speaking of Fr. George, he offered Saturday’s 4 p.m. Mass for the recovery of Mayor Thomas Menino. Sr. Elizabeth, from the Notre Dame Montessori School, even asked for us parishioners to pray for the improving health of the mayor in the Special Intentions section of the Mass.

I was sorry to read of the death of another neighbor, Mary (Sullivan) Brugman, wife of the late Frederick, on Nov. 15. I send my sympathy to their children: Mark Brugman and Ellen Foley. Mary was also the mother of the late Michael Brugman.

I saw that Fr. Dan Finn asked that his parishioners remember in their prayers five college girl students from UNI in Galway, four of whom were killed in a car accident on Nov. 17, 2009: Theresa Molloy, from Lettermore, Galway, Mairie Conneely, from Rosaveal, Co. Galway, Sarah Byrne, from Athenry, Co. Galway, and Sorcha Rose McLaughlin, from Milgannon, Co. Wexford. The fifth girl, Michelle O’Donnell, from the Aran Islands off Galway, survived but will need care for the rest of her life. How sad for all the families!

I was also sorry to read of the death of Patrick “Pat” Walsh on Nov. 14. Pat was the husband of the late Nappy (Feeney) Walsh. Pat served as mayor of Dorchester for one year. I send my sympathy to his children: Martin, Noreen McDonagh, Winnie Mulkerrin, and Mary.

I was sorry to hear, from my friend and former college classmate Agnes Smith, that she and her sister, Dolly Farquharson, lost their brother Robert “Buddy” Farquharson Jr. on Oct. 24. He was a corrections officer at the Charles Street Jail and later at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution (Cedar Junction) in Walpole. Buddy was also very active in his home town of Wrentham where he served on the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Health, and the Friends of the Fiske Library and other positions following his retirement. He was the husband of the late Marion (Butts). I send the sympathy of our family to his children: Robert III, Steven, Paul, Gary, and Kelly Munro. He was also the father of the late Jean. I also send our sympathy to his siblings: Donald, Dolly, Mary Borstel, and Agnes Smith. He was also the brother of the late Joseph Farquharson.

What a lovely time Hubby and I had at the Boston Teachers’ College Scholarship Luncheon at the Charles River Country Club in Newton on Nov. 4. We were all bright–eyed and bushy-tailed because we had gained one hour of sleep with the return to Standard Time. It was the most gorgeous day. From the parking area, we were ferried to the clubhouse by young men driving golf carts. The club has many windows and, on that beautifully sunny day, it was a pleasure to look out at the manicured grounds. We found my Cousin Janet and her school buddy, Jean McDonagh, whose last name is spelled the correct Irish way with an “agh,” not like ours with an “ough.” Our pal and classmate, Elaine DeCosta, came in a little later and sat with us. So did classmates Barbara (Hogan) Chinetti, Ginny (Humber) Donahue, and Mary “Barbara” Sullivan. It was a lovely table of friends.

The food, as usual, was magnificent, their potatoes au gratin to die for! The wait staff serves the meal so quickly. We listened to the scholarship recipients, Brenda Gonzalez (Class of ’13) and Cindy Rodriguez (also the Class of ’13). We then had the pleasure of listening to Chancellor Keith Motley, who had all of us laughing. Members of Janet’s Class of 1962 came to the microphone and presented the chancellor with a special gift of $12,000. Janet, by the way, won one of the baskets offered up on chances. Hers was the most sought-after basket because it had $100 worth of scratch tickets under the cellophane. Janet told me that she won more than $50, so we were all delighted. (Last year’s winner of the lottery basket didn’t even get a dollar.)

On the way home, Hubby and I stopped, as usual, at the New England Mobile Book Fair. He went in and purchased several books. I sat in the car and listened to WBZ,while looking out at the waning day. It was such a pleasant afternoon. We even did a little shopping at the CVS near the country club. It was dark by the time we returned home, because of Standard Time.

A bit of trivia: I can’t believe that it was 30 years ago tomorrow (Nov. 30) that Michael Jackson released his “Thriller” album. How I loved the “Thriller” video. I still have it on a special tape that I can watch. His dance moves in that video were spectacular.

I love this saying, which is so true: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that You and I can’t handle.”