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Good showing at the Board of Trade

“The crocuses are grooming
Beneath the sequined snow
To make a dazzling debut
At Spring’s first garden show.”
“Canny Crocuses” by Ethel Turley

Hubby and I have crocuses coming up all over the yard. I must revise the number of snowdrops in daughter Sue’s yard. I walked down into her back yard to check them and saw at least 200 little flowers there. I can see our forsythia bushes turning yellow. Pretty soon they will be covered with small flowers. Our tulips are about six inches high. One has an unfurled flower that I can see. On Sunday, when we were outside checking on the bulbs, Hubby and I could hear the calls of three cardinals at the same time.
What a nice time Hubby and I had at the Dorchester Board of Trade meeting in the Somerset Room at Phillips Old Colony House on Feb. 28. As we walked in, we were welcomed by Dianne McBride, branch manager of the Mt. Washington Bank branch on Gallivan Boulevard. We told Dianne that we would be happy to sit at the registration desk while she went around the room greeting those who had come early.
John O’Toole, from Olde Town Real Estate, and Phil Carver, from UMass Boston, also greeted us when we entered. The Dorchester Reporter was well represented by Ed Forry, Jack Conboy, and Ken Donovan. Donna Finnnegan, from Finnegan Real Estate and the Fields Corner CDC, gave Hubby and me big hugs. Amanda Curley joined us from Rep. Linda Dorcena Forrry’s office. Dan Larner was present from St. Mark’s Area Main Street. When Barbara Couzens, from Carney Hospital, came in, I told her that Hubby and I would see her at the next Senior Supper at the hospital. Candice Gartley came from the Codman Square Health Center. My friend Mary Kelly, from Jack Conway Realty/Adams Village Business Assn., joined us that evening. I was delighted to see Nick Puleo from BC High. Joyce Jenkins joined us from Sapphire Productions. I had a chance to speak, once again, with Alan Saks, from Dorchester Tire Service. David Gonzalez represented Harbor Health Services. My friend Jim Cawley, from WORK, Inc., whom I had seen earlier in the day, was early for the meeting. I am always happy to see Derek Morad, from Morad World Wide, who is also a member of our Pope’s Hill Assn.’s E Board. I will look for Sonia Alleyne when I get to the Gallivan Boulevard branch of Sovereign Bank. Pal Nancy Lafoe was at the meeting. Dan Durant, from the MAFCU Credit Union, was also there. So was Michael Weinberg. Maureen Connolly, from Connolly Insurance, was only able to stay a few minutes before she had to leave for a class. I am always happy to see Pat O’Neill, from the Ashmont-Adams Neighborhood Assn. Pal Melissa Graham, from the Boston City Singers, joined us. I asked how all the wonderful members of her family were doing, especially Steve and Marie Graham. Councillor Frank Baker joined us a little late. He told us he had to go home first to spend some time with his kids. Jim O’Brien, from Resource Management, came to the meeting, as did Adam Gibbons, from the Dorchester Bay EDC. Hubby and I both went over to see our pal Barry Mullen, who was representing the Fields Corner CDC. Barry, once again, gave us two 2012 calendars, with magnets on the back. One of the calendars is now at my eye level on the metal cabinet over my desk. I enjoyed meeting Liz Carney from DOT ART and Brandon Guillermo from Diverse Elements. Hubby and I also liked speaking with a new member, Jim Burke, from J.B. Photography.
This business meeting also served as the annual election of officers and board members. Serving as president for 2012 is Andrew Wilbur, general manager of Phillips. Jim Cawley is the new vice president. Our wonderful treasurer, Dianne McBride, from Mt. Washington Bank, will remain in that post. Nancy Lafoe is now the executive secretary. Phil Carver is chairman of the board. Board members include: Sonia Alleyne, Maria Andrade of Mujeres Unidas, Jody Bulman of College Hype; Donna Finnegan, Sandra Kennedy, from Bowdoin-Geneva Main Streets; Derek Morad, John O’Toole, and Carlos Vargas, from Vargas & Vargas Insurance Company. I hope that my longtime friend Loretta Philbrick will soon join me in two new positions on the Board of Trade, that of Senior Advisors.
After most of the people had come in, I had the chance to look out the windows of the Somerset Room. The two new fire pits looked so pretty, blazing beautifully on that dark evening. Inside the room, the hors d’oeuvres were very tasty. The meatballs were scrumptious. There were beef and chicken pieces on sticks. There was a large assortment of fruit, with pineapple to die for. There were also crackers and cheese and even decaf coffee along with regular coffee. While I was enjoying my coffee, I had a chance to speak with Lou Pasquale from Phillips. I told him that, years ago, I had seen a photo of my late friend and neighbor, Mary Parodi with Lou who was showing her how to bowl. Louie and I figure that the photo had to be at least 45 years old. He had been working at Phillips even before that photo was taken. The Board of Trade meeting was such a pleasant evening.
I was so sorry to hear, on WBZ radio, that Angel Babcock, the 15-month-old toddler who was found in a field after she was picked up by a whirlwind tornado in the Midwest last week, had died from her injuries. Her parents, her brother, and her sister all died when the tornado hit their mobile home. What a sad story!
We took out our Irish CDs and put them in the car. I also brought out old tapes of programs shown on TV on St. Patrick’s Day in previous years. One was on the beginnings of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The program began by mentioned that corned beef is really not an Irish dish. At the turn of the 20th Century, Irish immigrants could not find their Irish bacon in the US so they began using the corned beef that their fellow immigrants, the Jews, were eating. The program also mentioned that St. Patrick was probably born somewhere in Great Britain, maybe Scotland. He was sold to an Irish chieftain and sent out into the hills to be a shepherd. It was such a lonely job that he found solace in religion. He escaped back to Britain and was then sent back to Ireland. He worked well with the Druids, incorporating some of their customs into his teaching of Christianity. (The shamrock was actually an ancient pagan symbol.) By the way, he did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. There were never any snakes in Ireland. (I didn’t know that.) He died on Mar. 17, 461 AD. The date of his death is considered his feast day. Because Catholics could not eat meat during Lent, they were given an exception to that rule on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during Lent. The Irish ate meat and drank on the 17th, while rejoicing in their heritage. The Potato Famine of 1845-1849, forced many of the Irish to emigrate to America where they soon realized that, by voting, they could wield some power. Although many jobs were kept from the Irish (“No Irish Need Apply”), they joined the army and distinguished themselves in the Civil War. Americans gradually thought better of the type of people the new Irish immigrants were and the Irish gradually were able to get good-paying jobs with the police and fire departments. Approximately 40 million Americans claim some Irish heritage today. Massachusetts tops the nation in its percentage of residents of Irish ancestry (almost 25 percent), much above the national average. How proud I am to be in that 25 percent!
Other info from the Irish tape was the fact that Harry Truman was the first American president to attend the St. Patrick’s Parade in New York. Some 40,000 people crowd into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC for the St. Patrick’s Day Mass. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley took delight in marching in that city’s parade. Those who marched close to Daley were usually those of political power in the city. Hubby and I, however, both noticed that the tall man marching on Mayor Daley’s right in a clip from one of the Chicago parades was Celtics’ star/movie star Chuck Connors. Daley also noticed that the dye, used by a local plumber to find leaks from the buildings abutting the Chicago River and polluting the river, turned the river water green. The water has been turned green on March 17 each year since Daley discovered it. The tape also told us about the wee folk, the leprechauns. They not only mended the shoes of other fairies, but they also guarded the crock of gold. The Disney movie of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” (1959) did much to romanticize the leprechaun legend. One of the stars in that movie was Sean Connery.
Last week, I was pleased to meet Karen Crowley at an Irish luncheon. She proudly told me that she and her husband Ed have become grandparents for the first time. Their son Craig and his wife Kara, of Dorchester, welcomed a daughter, Rileyanna Belle, on Feb. 28. This was the third grandchild for the other delighted grandparents, William and Pamela Goyette, I send my best to the entire family.
I love seeing the smiling faces of the Irish in magazines and books, but I should remember this old saying: “A smile is great in any language.”