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July Delights

“Now the summer came to pass
And flowers through the ground joyously
By Walther van der Vogerlweide

There are still plants bursting into flower right now, even in the heat. Yellow day lilies are all over the neighborhood. In Dorchester, lovely hydrangeas are in bloom, from light blue to deep purple. The hydrangeas in our front yard are a medium blue. I know there is some type of soil additive that will make the blossoms a deeper blue but I cannot remember the name of the additive. Yesterday, I saw a red gladiola standing proudly in the corner of a front lawn as we traveled through Quincy. I think that they are usually in bloom at the end of August. I can remember, many years ago, that my Aunt Theresa made me a little corsage of gladiola flowers because I was attending my first family wedding (my Cousin Sonny’s wedding around Labor Day).

On Wednesday afternoon, June 13, Hubby and I were in the cafeteria of Carney Hospital for the Carney Senior Supper. We sat with our pal Margaret Buckley and her friends. Barbara Couzens, from External Affairs and Community Advocacy, welcomed the good-sized crowd to the hospital. She introduced the hospital’s new president, Andy Davis, to us. The president told us that he had grown up in Florida. He promised to improve service at the hospital. (I heard a rave review of Carney’s Emergency Room and its staff in the past week.) We were also introduced to Lori Pigeon, a nurse practitioner, who is the director of Geriatric Excellence at Carney. The geriatric program at Carney has received national recognition. The program’s aim is to help seniors remain in their homes.

Then we were treated to some wonderful music. Jordan Lloyd, a lovely incoming senior at UMass-Boston, came to sing for us. She was accompanied by a terrific keyboardist, Nancy Conray. Jordan began with the lovely song “I Believe,” and then sang “Oh My Papa,” in honor of Father’s Day. She continued singing songs that most of us knew quite well. Almost everybody sang “America, the Beautiful,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “Over the Rainbow.” We ended with a rousing version of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You.” I am no music critic but I thought there were some great voices among the seniors at the Supper. Just before the end of the Supper, Barbara Couzens told us that the next Senior Supper would be held on Wed., Sept. 12.

We thank the Carney personnel who helped in making the Senior Supper go so smoothly: Sr. Paula Tinlin, Sue Kelliher, Mike Stack, Ann Hart, Roy Contreras, Laura Vasconcelos. Keith Colavita, Bernice McNeil, Kathy Heffernan, Kathy Baker, Scott Trip, Bob Angland (the cheery man at the front desk), Jane Dunlap, Bill Howland, Kathleen Kileen (the pleasant gal, who works on the first floor), Chris Kandera, and the terrific kitchen and facilities personnel. I must compliment the dietary department. Everyone, including Hubby and I, raved about the food served at the Supper. (The chicken, fish, and mashed potatoes were terrific.)

I was sorry to read of the death of long-time Neponset resident Richard “Dick” Pollis on May 27. Dick served in the Korean War. He also worked, for 40 years, with the Naval Sea Cadets. I send my sympathy to his wife Elizabeth “Betty” Pollis, and to their children: Michael, Regina Kendrick, Ann Ratta, David, and Joyce.

I was stunned by the death of Thomas “Tom” Mannion after a very short illness. Fr. John McCarthy, the Irish chaplain, told us about Tom’s death at the Irish Pastoral Centre’s luncheon on the morning after he had passed on June 20. Tom was originally from Rosmuc, County Galway, where some of Hubby’s family lived. Tom owned the T. J. Mannion Construction Company for more than 30 years. He and his family were and are very active in St. Ann’s Parish. I went to Tom’s wake just before O’Connor’s opened to the public. The line of mourners had already reached much of the way down Saranac St. It took about 35 minutes just to get in the funeral home. As I was leaving, Cardinal Sean O’Malley came into the wake. I had wanted to go to the funeral Mass at St. Ann’s the following day but I had a 10:30 a.m. appointment with my dentist. As Hubby and I drove home along Neponset Ave., we had never seen so many cars outside the church. The mourners were double-parked along Neponset Ave. and up Ashmont St. Tom was well thought of in our neighborhood and in the Irish community. Vinnie/Hubby and I send our sympathy to his wife Julia “Esther” (Lakes) Mannion, to their children, Patrick, Thomas Jr., Michael, Gerald, and John, and to their grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.

Back to the Irish Pastoral Centre’s luncheon on June 21, at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton: Hubby and I enjoyed sitting with our pals Ronnie, Lucy, and our pal from Canton, Kathleen White. Our friend John Walsh was sitting at the next table. On the other side of the room sat our friends Eileen Collins, Mary Scarborough, Nell Joyce, Peggy Gorman, Sis Keeley, Barbara Sullivan, and Pat Devilly. Fr. John McCarthy, the Irish chaplain, told us about a very interesting Irish custom. When he was home in Waterford, Ireland, very recently, he presided at the wedding of Brian and Lee Ann. The couple chose Claddagh rings as their wedding rings. He told us that at the time of exchanging their rings, the couple starts by putting the ring first on the thumb. They then move the ring to the first finger, then onto the middle finger, and finally onto the ring finger. I thought that was fascinating. He also mentioned that a local man name Tom was on his deathbed. When the family began reciting the rosary for him, Tom began moving his lips. He was able to hear what was happening.

We had one sad moment at the June Irish luncheon. We had to bid farewell to Catherine Moloney, who had served as the Senior Coordinator for the Irish Pastoral Centre from Oct. to June, who was returning to California. Her husband’s job was taking the couple back. Catherine certainly had a tough job in the nine months that she served us. She had big shoes to fill. The former Senior Coordinator Cora Flood, who was so well-liked, had just resigned after the birth of her third baby. Catherine filled in admirably. We will miss both Cora and Catherine.

Here is an Irish saying: “If the tongue slips, it often speaks the truth.”