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Gifts of late summer

“Ripening fruit upon the trees
In the August sun:
Cornfields swaying in the fields
When the day is done.”
“Gifts” by Mary Wagner

Hubby was so pleased as he came in the house, holding a beautiful tomato from the garden. Most of the tomato plants are still too small to bear fruit. Hubby also has some potatoes growing near the side door of the house. They have very pretty leaves. The impatiens remain in the containers that we bought them in two months ago. My left arm is almost completely better, unless I turn it the wrong way, so I am taking it easy with it. This past Sunday, with the cooler temps (“TG”), Hubby took out the electric whip and cut down some weeds that were in the rocky part of the yard, under the porch windows.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, Daughter Sue, friends Ann Pearce, her daughter Julie, and I were invited to the wedding of JoAnne White and Matt Bernstein in Florida on August 4. JoAnne is the daughter of Jack and Lorrie (Leary) White; Matt is the son of Mitchell and Ellen Bernstein. Sue was thrilled to go to the wedding because she has been friends with the Bride’s Mom Lorrie since they were little kids. Ann, Julie, Sue, and I have been friends of JoAnne’s grandparents, Bill and JoAnn Leary, for almost 50 years. As a matter of fact, we had all been friends with JoAnne’s great grandparents, the late Al and Mary Parodi, who lived behind us for almost 40 years. It was like going to the wedding of someone in our own families.

As I also mentioned, we had a wonderful first day in Boynton Beach. The flight was wonderful; the hotel, beautiful; and we enjoyed looking at the gorgeous homes all along Route A1A. We ate at Panera and enjoyed the food. We decided to get to bed early because the next day would be busy. It was then I realized that I had not done a good job of packing. I had forgotten to pack the glucose testing strips for my machine. Sue and I went out at 10 p.m. to find a pharmacist to help me. There was only one 24-hour drug store near our hotel but the pharmacists had gone home at 9 p.m. “Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll go to the CVS down the street from our hotel at 8 a.m. tomorrow,” said Sue.

The next morning, we went to the dining area of the hotel early and had a wonderful breakfast. There were two types of juice, toast, bagels, small muffins, yogurt, four types of cold cereal, packets of oatmeal, an egg omelet with cheese, and bananas. Who could want more! We told Ann and Julie that we were heading to the local CVS to see if I could get some test strips. The difficult thing about the strips is that I need the micro chip, included in the box, to read the results in the meter. I could not buy just six or eight strips; I would have to take the entire box.

We couldn’t have met a nicer pharmacist, Mai Nguyen. She understood my plight. “You can buy a box of strips over–the-counter for $138.” (I think that was the cost; the price blew my mind.) I would have to charge it. Then Mai said to me, “ I don’t want you to pay that much money. Let me see what I can do.” She called my CVS in Boston and spoke with the pharmacist there. The druggist told Mai that there were no refills left. I would need my doctor’s permission to renew the prescription. The pharmacist gave Mai the phone number at Carney where we could call my doctor Deborah O’Keefe for the refill. Sue called the doctor’s number and explained the situation on Dr O’Keefe’s voice mail. She left her cell phone number. God must have been with me because Dr. O’Keefe called Sue back within two minutes. She was, fortunately, the doctor on call that morning. She spoke first with Sue, who restated the problem. The doctor then called the pharmacy and gave Mai permission to refill the prescription. After thanking Mai for her help, we drove back to our hotel, with the box of strips securely in my hand. I have seen Dr. O’Keefe since we returned from Florida and I thanked her profusely for her quick help. I also must write a thank you note to Mai at the CVS in Florida for being so kind. There were no other problems, just pure enjoyment, for the rest of the trip.

When we got back to hotel, I grabbed a cup of coffee in the dining room and we went to our room. We joined Ann and Julie in getting our clothes ready for the evening. I set up the ironing board in our room. (My ironing board at home probably has cobwebs on it.) We all wanted to look nice because Groom Matt’s parents, Mitchell and Ellen, had kindly invited us to the dinner following the wedding rehearsal. (The invitation to the rehearsal dinner was just beautiful, with pretty lavender flowers on the corners of the invitation card.) After we ironed our things, we set out to find the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was to be held. With the help of Julie’s GPS, we found the Sundy House in Delray Beach. (The restaurant is named Sundy after the first mayor of Delray Beach.)

Back we went to our hotel, after making a stop, once again, at Panera Restaurant for lunch. Julie went out to the pool to do some reading. Ann, Sue, and I went back to our rooms and snoozed. Grandma JoAnn had told Ann that we should be at the restaurant just about 6:15 p.m.
Just after 5 p.m., we began getting dressed in our newly-pressed clothes. We put on a little makeup and finally proceeded downstairs to the lobby. We decided to take photos before we got all wrinkled. There was a lovely rattan chair with a live plant behind it, in the corner of the lobby. That looked so Floridian that we decided that it should be the setting for our photos. That was the perfect place to take our photos. We looked like we were seated at a hotel in the Caribbean. The photos came out great.

It was just a short ride to the Sundy House. We went in and were delighted to see JoAnn’s cousin George and his wife Diane. Also joining us were the bride’s uncle Joe (Dad Jack’s brother) and his wife. We sat at the bar until the wedding party joined us. We hadn’t seen Bill and JoAnn as yet so it was like old home week, with hugs and kissees. Mom-of-the-bride Lorrie sought us out and we received big hugs from her. Lisa (Leary) Grandovic, aunt of the bride, asked the four of us to sit at her table. We also had a chance to see two of Lisa and Gary’s 14-year-old triplets (Ashley, Nicole, and Samantha). Sammi was at her play.

The food at the Sundy House was wonderful. Included in the buffet were lobster ravioli, pasta, salmon, and beef. The wait staff was just terrific in taking care of our needs. The hit of the evening’s meal was the dessert. Almost all of us devoured the fruit tarts, which were delicious. After dinner, everyone moved around the pretty room to chat with their families and friends. Before we left, we went on a tour of the area outside the restaurant. The grounds were beautiful and well lit. We saw a lovely pool area. There was also a hotel on the grounds. I looked the Sundy House up on the internet and saw the gorgeous rooms. We said, “Goodbye” to everyone and told them that we were looking forward to the wedding the next day. There will be more about the wedding next week.

These past few days were special ones. First, on Saturday, we visited Dot Philbrick so that we could wish her well on her 102nd birthday-- WOW! Dot’s daughters Dotty and Loretta and her grand niece Susan were there to greet us. We didn’t stay too long because we were too early for the Open House. Loretta showed me the beautiful birthday cake. We wished Dot a very Happy Birthday. Dot, herself, even sang, “Happy Birthday to me.” We all laughed. Before we left, Loretta gave us three chocolate bars (the third for Sue) with two of Dot’s photos on the wrapper. One was a photo of a young adult Dot, with her birth year 1912 printed, and on the other side of the chocolate bar, a photo from 2012. She also gave us three bags of “penny” candy.

The second event started with a phone call from Brendan. “HI, Grandma. You’re home. Erin and I will be down by 6 p.m.” I asked if they had eaten. “No,” was the answer. We decided to meet at Gerard’s for dinner. While we were waiting for the kids outside Gerard’s, we had a chance to speak with pal Mary Madden, who told us all about the new babies in her family. Then along came friend Della Costello to chat with us. No sooner had Della come, than Brendan and Erin came walking toward us. I was so glad that Mary and Della had a chance to meet Brendan and Erin. The kids preceded us into Gerard’s and went directly to our “usual” table. We all had a wonderful dinner. After dinner, we went outside and took photos of the kids with each of us. Brendan, especially, gave us big hugs because he was leaving on Saturday for college in Vermont. I told him that we would see him again at Thanksgiving. We gave big hugs to Erin also before they left for home.

John “Joe” Fahey wrote to tell me that Dorchester’s own Harvey Robbins, founder of the Doo Wop Hall of Fame, appeared in a recent BNN TV show. Joe had the program put on YouTube under the John J. Fahey Show. Take a look if you remember Harvey.

I loved this Irish saying: “A new broom sweeps clean but the old broom knows the corners.”