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Happy New Year

Hubby and I have two beautiful poinsettias in our home. Last Sunday, at the Open House in the lower church, our pastor, Fr. George Carrigg, gave a very pretty red one to each family who volunteers at the church. We sat with our friend Joan Hill, who has just been able to return to church following a long bout with painful sciatica.

Years ago, gardening expert Paul Parent gave some hints to prolong the life of a poinsettia. Rule #1: Do NOT put the plant on the TV set. The heat from the TV will dry out the roots and will make the air around the plant too hot. Poinsettias do the best in temps under 80 degrees. He dispelled the rumor that poinsettias are poisonous. To be hurt by the plant, according to Paul, a person must eat his body weight in poinsettias. He strongly urged his listeners to punch holes in the plastic and foil wrappings of the flower pots because the plants do not like “wet feet.” He also recommended that the plants be fertilized once a month. I have some artificial poinsettias in the attic. I must bring them downstairs to decorate the house. One year, many moons ago, we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Cousin Carolyn, at that time, was working part-time for Ben Tankle’s Neponset Florist Shop. She sent us an arrangement for the dining room table. It was so lifelike that I watered it. WRONG! It was a beautiful artificial arrangement. Was my face red!
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I was so happy that I was up early last Tuesday morning because I heard Dorchester’s own Ron Della Chiesa as he chatted with Bob Lobel, who was hosting the overnight program on radio station WBZ. Ron was speaking about Tony Bennett, who has just returned from touring in South America with his daughter Antonia. Ron is such a good friend of Tony’s that he and his wife Joyce are like part of the family. Antonia considers Ron and Joyce her uncle and aunt. When Antonia was studying at the Berklee College of Music, Tony asked Joyce and Ron to watch over her since she knew no one in Boston except them. I had a chance to speak with both Ron and his agent Paul the other morning. They were on their way to Marian Manor, in South Boston, to sing for the residents. Ron told me that Antonia will be married in the spring and that he and Joyce have already been invited to the wedding. (I hope they take lots of photos.)

Last Thursday, Hubby, friend Eileen, and I drove to the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, for the monthly Mass and luncheon for seniors. There were quite a few cars already at the Centre. When we walked in the hall, we were shocked at the number of people seated. Usually we are so early so there is just one table filled with the most needed volunteers. Eileen, the senior coordinator, welcomed us to the hall. Most of our friends came in quickly: Lucy, Ronnie, Ann, Barbara, plus the three of us. The hall filled in quickly because this was a special luncheon-in honor of Christmas. Some of the attendees were dressed in holiday attire. Our friend Ronnie had on a festive sweater and a lovely jacket. Pal Tess, who writes nametags for the attendees, had on an adorable sweatshirt with several snowmen on the front. Pal Eileen had on a Christmas scarf. I wore a Christmas ornament pin and a red shirt.

Fr. John McCarthy, our Irish chaplain, began Mass by saying that he would be heading home to Ireland the following day. “I have to get away from all the girls in the office.” he said, with a laugh. We all giggled! “However, I’ll be back.” We all applauded loudly to that statement. Eileen O’Callaghan, the Senior Coordinator, was the next to come to the microphone. “I am going home to Ireland tonight, and I am happy to get a break from Father.” Once again, we roared with laughter, including Father. This banter back and forth set a happy tone for the luncheon, even with the tragedy from Newtown, CT.
Fr. John then asked us, “Whose name has been mentioned in the last three Sunday gospels?” Several people, including Hubby, knew that it was “John.” The Mass went very quickly, even with the large crowd receiving Communion. At the end of Mass, Senior Coordinator Eileen invited us to the next Senior Mass and luncheon on Jan. 24, 2013. The final speaker was Susan Doody, the coordinator for the Irish Senior Connect Service. The service provides seniors with a listening ear and a response that conveys empathy and respect. The line is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 2 to 4 p.m. Call 855-249-5146. You may also use the internet: seniorconnect@ciic-usa.org.
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On WBZ, at 9:30 a.m., last Friday, I listened to one of the bells, in Newtown, CT, ring 26 times for those who perished exactly one week ago. The bell had such a slow, mournful sound that it took at least five minutes for it to end ringing. It still gives me goose-bumps when I think of the tragedy.

I must mention some of the neighborhood homes decorated for the holidays. I can see the bright lights at the Ciampoli home, behind Stop & Shop, from my home. Some of the homes down the end of Houghton St., near Victory Rd, look great, also.
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I must mention an amazing sight that we encountered as we drove to daughter Jeanne and son-in-law David’s home in Rockport on Sunday to celebrate our family’s Christmas. As we neared Grant Circle in Gloucester, we saw three of the biggest turbines or, as I like to call them, windspins, that we have ever seen. Niece Terri, who was with us, said that they were being built earlier in December when she and Jeanne went on the tour of some of Rockport’s inns. When we asked Jeanne about them, she told us that granddaughter Erin had walked to the base of one of the windspins and was overwhelmed by its size. There will be more about our family Christmas a little later.
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Two suggestions for next Christmas: Be sure that you beep at Santa as he stands outside Phillips (scrumptious) Candy House. When we drove by the candy house this week, Hubby beeped at Santa and we all waved. Santa, in addition to waving, did a little Hokey-Pokey Dance for us. We laughed half way up Morrissey Blvd. The second suggestion is just perfect for Christmas. Daughter Sue went on the internet when we were in Rockport and pulled up on YouTube the most wonderful video. It is a “Flash Mob” performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” at the Seaway Mall in Ontario, Canada. Sue said that, if you type in the words “Hallelujah Chorus Food Court” you should be able to see it. The members of the chorus have magnificent voices. You will love it.

Daughter Sue and I have crippled hands from making three batches of potato salad for three separate parties before Christmas. (Hubby also helped.) Because daughter Sue had a head cold, Hubby brought over plastic gloves to her home so she wouldn’t actually touch the potatoes. We also cut up the potatoes into small pieces so Sue wouldn’t actually handle the potatoes too much.
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With daughter Sue home from school for the week, we hope to get to see the new James Bond flick, “Skyfall” sometime over vacation. She and niece Terri hope to see “Les Miz.” If Hubby and I have time, we would like to see “Lincoln,” also.

Be sure that you put some money outside your home before midnight on New Year’s Eve. If money is the first thing through your door after midnight, money will come through your door throughout that year. I heard this saying on the Bob Raleigh Program on WBZ many years ago.

My family and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2013: Happy New Year, Bonne Annee, Gutes Neues Jahr, Felice Ann Nuovo, Prospero Ano Nuevo, Gelukkig Nieuwjaar, Gott Nytt Ar, Chuc Mung Nam Moi, Hasau’oli Makahiki, and Athbliain Faoi Mhaise!