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May Flowers

“This month it was the month of May,
And all along the pleasant way,
The morning birds were mad with glee,
And all the flowers sprang up to see.”
“The Secret of Arcady”
by Louise Moulton (1835-1908)

We have all kinds of birds outside our home although I am still waiting for a mockingbird to visit us this year. Usually we have one or two in our neighborhood. Outside our church, we have a mourning dove. All during Mass last Saturday, we could hear him cooing. At our friends’ cottage in Dennisport, I would often sit at the picnic table outside the cottage reading the newspapers while a dove was serenading me from its perch on the utility wires over my head.

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What a great time daughter Sue and I had at the wedding shower for Kris Heffernan, my cousin Kathy’s daughter. (Also invited was my daughter Jeanne, who was using the school vacation week to visit Washington with husband David and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, so she wasn’t able to attend.) The restaurant, the Chateau in Waltham, is easy to find because it was close to Exit 17, off the Mass. Pike. We were quite early and had a chance to chat with the Mom-of the Bride-to-Be. I remembered the day that Kathy and her husband Jim were married 30 something years ago. It was snowing quite heavily and I watched Kathy take off her boots after she came into the church. I felt so bad that the weather was terrible. The day for Kris’s shower, however, was perfect, a little cold but sunny.

After we had spoken to Kathy, her sister, my cousin Mary, showed Sue and me all the cupcakes that she had made for the shower. (Mary was trained as a chef.) One was strawberry flavored; another had a touch of Bailey’s Irish Cream; another, which was lime-rickey tasting, featured fresh raspberries in the center; and I can’t remember the fourth, maybe vanilla. There were easily 50 cupcakes. In came cousins Margie and Janet, for whom we were saving seats. At each place setting, we had a small jar of tiny candies. Some were Swedish Fish, some a type of Sweet Tarts, and another, held peach-flavored candy that looked like licorice. Each had a sticker on top of the bottle with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding. We were all happy to be at this happy event.

Cousin Mary came over to sit with us, as did cousin Philip’s wife Louise. Another of Kathy’s sisters, my cousin Anne and her friend Jane, sat at the main table with Kathy and Kris. Before we ate, I went to speak to Dad-of the Bride Jim’s Mom Shirley. Over the years, Shirley and I discovered that we were in the same grade and went to the same grammar school in Jamaica Plain. We reminisced a little about our teachers. We easily remembered the strict ones. Shirley remembered most of the other ones. Unfortunately, she has asthma and since the beautiful centerpieces were very fragrant, she had to leave before the end of the shower.

Then it was time to order our food. The waitresses came around with a modified menu. We could have our choice of one of three entrees: Italian Combination, with lasagna, chicken cutlet parmigiana, and a meatball; Caesar Salad, with broiled, marinated chicken, garnished with fresh fruit; or Penne Giardiniara, fresh tomato, roasted eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, and carrots, sautéed in garlic, butter, and romano cheese. Cousins Marge and Janet, Sue, and I all ordered the Italian combination. (It is easy to see that we are all related.) When we finished the luncheon, we went up to the dessert table and chose one of cousin Mary’s cupcakes. They went along with the cannolis that the restaurant had provided. We were all well fed.
Before the bride-to-be began to open her gifts, each of us was given a Bingo-type sheet of paper, each one different from the next. On the papers were the names of some of the gifts that Kris had on her Wish List. I had items like towels, kitchen items, and Red Sox paraphernalia on my sheet. (Kris and her fiancé Adam are “wicked big” Red Sox fans.) If Kris opened a gift that was on your sheet, you could cross off that square. The game went on for quite a while before someone called “Bingo” and that person received a gift card. There were a couple more almost-winners, who also received gift cards. Cousin Margie was an almost winner and was given the lovely floral centerpiece from our table. We discovered that Kris’s Mom and Dad have given her two tickets for the Red Sox game (they play the Washington Nationals) the day after the wedding, just before the newlyweds leave for their honeymoon. Kris was thrilled. As we got ready to leave, the restaurant gave us Styrofoam trays so that we could take home some of the cupcakes. I took a raspberry-filled one for Hubby and a second one to share. We said goodbye to Kris and Mom Kathy and told them we’d see them very soon, at the June wedding. Traffic was flowing well and we were able to get to the 4 p.m. Mass on time. Sue and I talked about the shower all the way home. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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I must mention a few more people who attended the Dorchester Board of Trade luncheon with Mayor Tom Menino as guest speaker. It was so good to see pals Ann Foley and Dan Grant from Foley Insurance at the luncheon, Michael Kerin and Jay Glynn, from the Carpenters’ Local #67 were there, also. My friend George Gilpin from EasCare Ambulance was able to come. Shauna Murray joined us from UMass Boston. Councilor Felix Arroyo came. We were pleased that Deputy Police Superintendent William Gross joined the gathering. Mary Ånne Warren, from Victory Human Resources, also was there. Susan Khan joined her colleagues from the Meetinghouse Bank. Karen Diep, from the Van Shabu & Bar, was present that noontime. Finally, Ivana Serret of Boston ABCD was in attendance. I must mention the musicians who entertained us at the Cesaria Restaurant: Ze Timas on the guitar and Tony “Baka Brabu” Lopes on the piano. We had a great crowd and a lovely meal.

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The Pope’s Hill Association is sorry to have lost one of its longtime members, Frances Conti, on April 14. Frances was the daughter of the late Frank and Adelaide Conti and leaves a sister Louise, to whom the association sends its sympathy.

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As always, Hubby and I are happy to receive our bimonthly Castle Island Association Newsletter. The one dated May 1 had some terrific news in it. First, it mentioned that there were 2,000 people at the Easter Sunrise Mass on April 8 where Father Robert Casey was the celebrant. Following the Mass, refreshments were served inside the fort. We have been at Gerard’s on Easter mornings for quite a few years and have seen participants from the cold Castle Island Mass come into the restaurant, delighted to get a hot breakfast in warm surroundings. The newsletter also told us that on Wednesday, the Fourth of July, the USCGC Eagle will accompany the USS Constitution/“Old Ironsides” on its yearly cruise through Boston Harbor, arriving at Castle Island at noon. “Old Ironsides” will then honor the nation with a 21-gun salute. At that exact time, the Navy’s Blue Angels will conduct a flyover of Boston Harbor. Hubby and I have been at the island when “Old Ironsides” has fired its guns toward Castle Island. I have goose bumps just writing about it. It is a wonderful spectacle. With the Eagle joining “Old Ironsides,” it will be that much more thrilling to see.

The newsletter also mentioned that the association will hold a ceremony inside Fort Independence on Flag Day, Thurs., June 14, at 10 a.m. at which worn or torn American flags will be disposed of properly, by burning. If you have an American flag that is in bad shape, you may drop it off at either of the two South Boston fire stations, the one at K and 4th streets or the one at D and 3rd streets before June 14. There was an item noting that six tall ships will visit Boston (from June 30 to July 4) to celebrate the Navy’s commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. They include the US Coast Guard’s barque, The Eagle; the Cisne Branco (White Swan) from Brazil; the Gloria from Colombia; the Guayas from Ecuador; the Russian Sedov; and the Dewaruci from Indonesia. How exciting! Another item noted that all are invited to the Old North Church (built in 1723) on Sun., July 1, when the Blessing of the Sails Ceremony will be held between 5 and 5:30 p.m. What a wonderful time to live in Boston!

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Hubby went outside our house last Saturday evening to see the spectacular “Flower Moon,” which was supposed to be the largest moon of the whole year. He came back quickly. It was much too foggy. We did see the moon on Sunday but it was later in the evening and it didn’t seem to be very big. We should have gone out earlier.

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Pal Alan Duffy sat with us at the annual Mayor’s Breakfast this past Sunday and showed me a quote by Cato the Elder that was published in the Globe the week before: “Wise men learn more from fools than fools learn from the wise.”