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A "Prelude to Autumn"

“The summer now is ending,
And the nights are getting cold.
The autumn thus is nearing
As time is growing old.”
“Prelude to Autumn” By Mary E. Harrington

The early morning temps this week are expected to be in the high 50s. At Hubby’s 12-year-old grand-niece Renee’s birthday party last Saturday, we noticed, as we sat in the yard, that a few leaves on the trees were beginning to turn color. The cooler evenings are such a blessing. We did not have to turn on the air conditioner. I am not, however, looking forward to the electric bill.

Last Thursday, because it was slightly cooler than it had been, Hubby decided to tackle the forsythia bushes along the side fence. He had already trimmed the spreading yews near the front gate on the previous day. There are three forsythia bushes, each one taller than the next. Some of the branches had shot up because it was just too hot for Hubby to go outside to trim them earlier this summer. He decided that he would do the middle bush first with our electric hedge-trimmers. After about 10 minutes outside, he came into the house, dripping blood. The trimmer had jumped when it hit a thick branch and went right to two fingers on his left hand. The ring finger had a little cut on it; the middle finger did not fare so well. The cut on the tip was fairly deep, and the bleeding would not stop. “I think we had better go up to Carney.” As I grabbed my handbag, I saw that the blood was dripping through the paper towels and hitting the kitchen floor.

Into the car we went and were at Carney in less than 10 minutes. It was just before school let out, so traffic was light. Hubby signed in and there were probably two people ahead of him. Because the bleeding wasn’t stopping, a nurse called Hubby directly into the “ER.” I was invited in also. A hospital worker named Victor was the first to treat Hubby, bringing in the supplies that would be needed a little later. Then In came a big, tall man, a physician’s assistant named Alan Armstrong. He kidded Hubby about using electric tools, so I told him how Hubby has been up to Carney several times over the past 30 years as he attempted to fix things around our home.

It was interesting to watch how they treated Hubby. I couldn’t see the name on the bottle, but I assume that they flushed out both fingers using a saline solution and a syringe-type instrument. The ring finger was easy to do because the wound was superficial. The middle finger was a different story: the saline solution had to go under the flap of skin on the tip of the finger to clean out the deep wound. After both fingers were cleaned, Alan injected Lidocaine into the tip of Hubby’s middle finger. He didn’t even wince and then he proceeded to put in three stitches before putting an H-shaped bandage on each of the injured fingers. With a warning to leave the hedge-clippers alone, Alan told Hubby that he should come back to the “Health Express” area to have the stitches taken out a week later. To access Health Express, Hubby will first go into the “ER” area from which he will be sent to the Health Express area so he won’t be detained in the busy ER area. We were home in just about one hour and a half. Thank goodness his fingers weren’t hurting too much when we arrived home. He took two acetaminophen tablets after the Lidocaine wore off. He watched TV that evening with his hand elevated. I didn’t wake him until after 8 a.m. the next day.

This past Sunday, the weather did not look too promising as Hubby and I drove through South Boston toward the Seaport area. It was the morning of the annual Simon of Cyrene Society’s fundraising breakfast at Pier Four. (The society works with members of the physically and developmentally disabled community.) As we walked up the stairs to the second floor of the restaurant, we could see a hubbub of activity. We checked in at the registration desk and went into the dining room. Sister Peggy Youngclaus greeted me and then “Hubby” by our first names. (She must read this column.) She told us to sit at any table that said “guest.” We were sure to sit at a table where we could see the harbor and the boats sailing in and out of the port. A nice lady named Pat sat with us. Then a woman named Mary Jo and her mother, Jean Chaisson, joined us. Mary Jo’s wheelchair fit nicely next to me. I complimented her on her sparkly shirt. “I only wear sparkly things,” she said. I told her that I liked sparkly things too.

As the room filled up, Mary Jo saw quite a few people that she knew. Sister Peggy brought over Ed Casey to see her. She was so thrilled to see him. I even had a chance to share a few words to him. Mary Jo also knew Sen. Bill Bulger, who kept everyone laughing with his jokes as he served as emcee. He sang some Irish songs with the musicians, one of whom was his son Brendan. I saw Mary Bulger but didn’t get a chance to speak with her. Mayor Tom Menino and his wife Angela were also at the breakfast. I told Boston’s first lady that I was delighted that she would be honored at the “Seeds Planted; Harvest Begun” fundraiser for the Montessori School in November. (The school’s director, Sister Elizabeth, was at the breakfast with Jack Shaughnessy.) My pals Mary Keeley, Barbara Sullivan, and Pat Devilly, from St. Gregory’s, were sitting across the room. Mary won one of the baskets that were in the raffle. I saw Sister Paula Tinlin from Carney Hospital and told her that Hubby and I would be at the Carney Senior Supper on Wednesday. Maura Hennigan, the recently re-elected clerk magistrate of the Suffolk County Superior Court Criminal/Business Division, came in and came over to our table. I introduced her to Mary Jo. It was so nice to see Jack Forbush, from the Mt. Washington Bank, at the coffee table. I loved seeing Maureen Feeney and her former aide, Connie Sullivan, at the event. Sen. Jack Hart took to the microphone to say a few words.

When it was time for the awards and raffles to be held, we all had hopes of winning some of the many prizes. Sorry to say, we didn’t, but we were very happy that Mary Jo’s mom Jean was the recipient of a large and lovely bouquet of flowers that was given to one of the mothers in memory of Sissy Devine. (It couldn’t have been given to a nicer mother.) The Simon of Cyrene breakfast is probably the most rewarding way to spend a few hours on an early September Sunday morning.

Last Saturday, we had a new priest celebrating Mass at 4 p.m., probably because Father George, the administrator of St. Christopher’s, was on a well-deserved day off. The new priest was Father Jeremy Paulin of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who serves as the vocation director for the order in Boston. During his homily, Father Jeremy mentioned that when he was in the sixth grade in his hometown of Athol, he won the Fire Prevention Poster Contest. His father was so proud of the plaque that Jeremy had received that he put it on top of all the other nine children’s awards and papers on a certain wall of the home, where the children’s good works were displayed. A little later, Jeremy’s Dad caught him and another child playing with matches in the barn. He immediately took down the award plaque. Father Paulin’s order staffs the St. Francis Chapel at the Prudential Center. They also have the St. Joseph Retreat House in Milton. We parishioners all enjoyed Father Jeremy. An added note: The first names of all 10 Paulin children begin with the letter “J.”

I had a chance to catch up with Sister Elizabeth Calcagni this past week. She told me that her Montessori School at St. Christopher’s is beginning its 39th(!) school year this month. (“Blessings upon ALL!”) She also asked if I could mention that the Sisters of Notre Dame have scheduled their Castle Island Walk for Sun., Sept. 23. The walk supports Notre Dame nuns who are stationed around the world. Sister Elizabeth will be walking that Sunday. If you would like to sponsor her, if you would like to participate, if you would like to donate, or if you would like to offer prayers, call her at the school (617-282-0101) for more info. If you are at Castle Island on that Sunday, watch for the nuns walking. The event is for a wonderful cause.

I must add a little bit to the wedding of Matt and JoAnne that I recently attended in Florida. The wedding cake was positively beautiful. On top of the cake sat the elegant Lladro figurine of the “Bride and Groom.” JoAnne’s grandmother, JoAnn Leary, had given the Lladro as a shower gift. JoAnne was thrilled because she and Matt will have it forever. By the way, the guests were treated to the cake as the dessert at the wedding. The Delray Beach Club, however, enhanced the cake by serving each piece with a big strawberry, covered with chocolate. (I dieted for three days after the wedding!)

I was sorry to read of the death of Julia “Julie” (Guerriero) Scannell on Sept. 1. Julie was married to my friend John for more than 64 years. John often spoke of her when we talked. Hubby and I send our sympathy to John and to their children: Julia, Diane, William, and Kathleen. Julia was a member of the Castle Island Choral Group. Father Joe White celebrated the Funeral Mass.

I chuckled when I saw this Irish proverb: “You cannot tell, from a man’s clothes, how much he is making; you must look at his wife’s.”