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Snowdrops, crocuses in full bloom

“St. Patrick’s Day is here, you see,
We’ll pick some shamrocks, one, two, three.
We’ll count the leaves and look them over,
And maybe find a four-leafed clover.
I’ll sew green buttons on my vest,
Green for St. Patrick is the best.
I’ll wear a green hat, very high,
And dance a jig—at least I’ll try.”
St. Patrick’s Day

Hubby and I don’t have any shamrocks or four-leaf clovers in our yard as yet but we do have one snowdrop and at least nine crocuses. Hubby went to investigate the area where we had planted bulbs last fall. There were four yellow crocuses in full bloom and five purple ones just ready to open. The lonely snowdrop is in the ground across from the front stairs and looks so peculiar with no other flower near it. Daughter Sue proudly pointed out to us that in her back yard, there must be 50 snowdrops blooming near the fence.

We did have one casualty because of the strong winds last Saturday. The final section of an old tree in “Ma Penney’s” yard, next door to us, finished coming down. It fell beautifully and only hurt a little bit of a fence. A few years back, a portion of the same tree fell on top of our sun porch. God bless our friend Dom, the roofer, who came down the following morning and fixed the big hole. Thank goodness that part of the tree just missed our grapevine.

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I love hearing about Cape Cod’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on radio station WROL’s Irish Hit Parade. This year’s parade will be held on Sat., Mar. 10, beginning at 11 a.m. The theme of the parade is “The Arts of Ireland.” The organizers could not have chosen a better grand marshal. This year it is “Team Hoyt.” You all know Team Hoyt. It is the father and son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, who have participated in such races as the Boston Marathon, with Dick pushing Rick in his wheelchair. If our family gets down the Cape that day, we will certainly cheer loudly for Dick and Rick. I hope it is a beautiful day for the Cape’s parade.

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This past Sunday, I was up early and, as usual, I divided my viewing time between NECN, Ch. 6, on Boston’s Comcast Cable, and TCM, Turner Classic Movies, on Ch. 213. I just happened to see the weather on Ch. 6 and discovered that the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire had a reading that morning of 11 below zero, with a sustained wind of 89 mph. I admire the people who work in that observatory with its “hostile” environment. I think that Boston was in the low 20s at the same time.

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Hubby and I got a lot done during school vacation week. It was so good not having teachers’ and parents’ cars clogging our little neighborhood. We were able to run some errands and then find a parking spot on our street when we arrived back home. Hubby stopped in at Building 19 and made a great discovery: the store had cardboard envelope-folders with no separators inside. For many years, we have used these envelope folders, with an elastic band securing the flap, for our taxes. The only big folder-envelopes that we could find locally were the ones with seven separated sections inside. We had about five of the old type and would put a new name sticker on top of the old one, printed with the year of the taxes inside. We had just seen our tax preparer friend Frank the week before and put the 2011 taxes in one of these new envelopes. We know that we should keep our tax papers for seven years.

Another task that we performed during vacation week was to venture into the large kitchen cabinet near the back-porch door. Our friend Ronnie, at the last Irish luncheon, had asked if any of us had a cut-glass sugar bowl and creamer set that she could use for the Coffee Hour each Wednesday morning at the Irish Cultural Centre, in St. Brendan’s Rectory. (I understand that the Wednesday Coffee Hour is getting very popular.) We all laughed because those of us who were married in the ‘50s and ‘60s undoubtedly bought a set of these glass servers at $1 for each piece. I knew that I had bought a set but I wasn’t sure if I still had them. I knew what items were on the bottom two shelves in that cabinet. The lower shelf holds our vitamins and sugar packets, plus a little diet scale, used mostly to weigh a heavy piece of mail. The shelf above that one holds an old teapot, our extra bottles of vitamins, and a few empty little plastic bottles that we use to take pills on our trips. I hadn’t investigated the top shelf since I hurt my knees in a fall years ago. Hubby, however, doesn’t mind climbing on a ladder, a stool, or even a chair. He first unearthed a couple of tiny calculators on this top shelf. In the far corner, he even discovered a tall bud vase, ideal for one or two of our roses when they bloom in June. Finally, from the other corner of the top shelf, he discovered my long-forgotten cut-glass sugar bowl and the matching creamer. They were a little grubby from being in the cabinet for so many years. I first sprayed each piece with Fantastik and then washed them with dish detergent. By the time I got through with them, they sparkled almost as beautifully as Waterford Crystal. I wrapped them in newspaper so they wouldn’t get broken and gave them to Ronnie the next time I saw her.
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Daughter Sue spent a few days of school vacation week with her cousin Terri in Attleboro. Hubby and I told the girls that we would meet them at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant at the Wrentham Outlets on Tuesday, just about 11 a.m. (I had already been to the Coumadin Clinic at Carney earlier that day.) We found both girls shopping in the magnificent gift shop at the restaurant. We were all hungry so we timed our arrival at the restaurant for 11:30 a.m. when they start serving lunch. I was delighted to meet the girls there on a Tuesday because I was pretty sure that the featured meal was meatloaf, my favorite. When we went to the hostess, I saw that the featured meal was roast beef. Hubby’s eyes lit up; I was disappointed. When we sat down and looked at the huge menu, I saw that meatloaf was still the Tuesday selection. The waitress told us that the roast beef dinner was a second special that day. Even the biscuits, accompanying the luncheons, were delicious. When we finished our meals, we waddled back to the gift shop where I bought a few greeting cards. One was a very pretty one for daughter–in-law Alex, who was going to celebrate an extra-special birthday the following week.

When we got outside, the girls decided that they were going to a terrific store in Attleboro to buy some special baby clothes because Sue has been invited to the christening of her pals Bill and Louise’s twin grandsons. Hubby and I decided that we would go into the mall area to find the Sony outlet. Our wonderful Panasonic VCR that we have had for probably 20 years had just died. It would not rewind so the tape just became entangled inside the machine. Hubby took the machine apart and got the tape out. We were devastated about our old VCR. It taped at three speeds. While it was advancing or rewinding, it also showed a counter so that we knew where we were on the tape. That was great to find a second movie on a tape. We now have in place of the Panasonic, an old Panasonic that has a malfunctioning “eject door.” We have to tape the door open to get the VHS tape out of the machine. We went into the Sony outlet, knowing that a new VCR is now only available as a combination machine with a DVD player. Much to our dismay, we found out that Sony no longer sells the combination machine at the outlet. So we will have to stick with the VCR with the taped “eject door.”
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I was sorry to read of the death of my longtime friend, Sister Catherine Therese (Mary Katherine) Barrett, on Feb. 20. She was a Sister of Charity for 66 years. Locally, she was stationed at St. Margaret’s School and Msgr. Ryan Memorial High School. I first met Sister when Nancy Harrington and I began High School Information Day for the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association. She and Fr. Raymond Callahan from BC High encouraged us so often in getting the Info Day off the ground and running smoothly. Sr. Catherine would tell me all the testing information and dates for the entrance exams for parochial schools. Hubby and I attended her “retirement party” at St. Margaret’s Church a few years ago. The lower church was packed with her many friends. (I remember seeing Jim and Pattie Brett at the party.) I saw Sister Catherine a few years ago in Quincy, close to where she lived in retirement. We had a good chat. I send my sympathy to her many nieces and nephews. She was a wonderful nun.
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I love this saying by Levin Leman and William Pentak: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”