Home / View from Pope's Hill /

Under the cloak of winter lies a miracle

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle…a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl; and the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
By Barbara Winkler

When Hubby and I were planting crocus and tulip bulbs last fall, we could only hope that the bulbs would bring some early color to our yard. On Tuesday, when we came into our walkway, Hubby and I looked to see if we could find the four crocuses that had already sprouted. We could only find one. We started laughing, telling each other that they must have pulled back into the ground because of the cold. Then we checked out the ground near the foundation of our home, just past the front stairs, to see if there was anything happening in that area. Much to our delight, we saw five tulips emerging from the cold earth. We think that they were encouraged to grow because they were near the warm foundation.

***

Last spring, near the end of the heating season, the hot-air blower in the back cellar room bit the dust after almost 30 years. The blower is great because it only works if the furnace is on to heat our living area. Now, when we go to the cellar with the blower fixed, the thermostat says it is about 60 degrees in that back room. This is where the soapstone sink and the clothes washer are located. Before we had the blower installed, one of the pipes down cellar, near an outside wall, froze on a very cold Saturday afternoon and we had a flood in that room. Now we have no worries.

***

Hubby, daughter Sue, and I are still in semi-shock over the Patriots’ Super Bowl defeat. I am sorry for owner Bob Kraft since this season was dedicated to the memory of his wife Myra, who was beloved by all who knew her. What a tribute it would have been to her memory if the Pats had won the Super Bowl. I did see one nice thing coming out of the defeat, thanks to an e-mail from Sue. Aruba has invited all Patriots players to an all-expense-paid vacation on their lovely island. What a kind gesture! By the way, Sue has offered to go to Aruba in case any of the Patriots is not able to make the trip.

***

Hubby and I always look forward to our Castle lsland Association’s Newsletter. The latest one, now sent out quarterly, has the date for the annual St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade in South Boston: Sun., March 18. The Sunrise Service on Easter will be held on Apr. 8, at 6:14 a.m., at the McKay Monument. Following the Mass, refreshments will be served. Author/historian Bob Allison will speak on the War of 1812 (two hundred years ago!) at the meeting on Sat., Feb. 18. The March meeting will include “Terry’s Travels-From Atlantic to Pacific,” featuring her photographs. All the meetings are at 10 a.m., at the Curley Recreation Center, the M St. entrance. The CIA is collecting hard candy and alcohol-free hand wipes to be sent to the troops. Bring your donations to the monthly meetings.

The best of the CIA news I have saved for the last. Sullivan’s/Sully’s will reopen on Sat., Feb. 25. Sully’s usually offers half-price hot dogs for the first few days after it reopens. About 10 years ago, Hubby, daughters Sue and Jeanne, and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, were at Castle Island on one of Sully’s opening weekend days. Because we could not all fit in one car, Sue, Jeanne, and the kids were in Jeanne’s car while Hubby and I were alone in our car. All of a sudden, the Heavens opened and it began to snow heavily. It was so funny that we all started to laugh. The snow was so heavy that we could not see into each other’ cars. Needless to say, we ate our hot dogs and fries quickly and retuned to our homes post haste.

***

Thanks to a heads-up from daughter Sue and a phone call from my friend Mary, I learned that Sister Ursulina O’Rourke, CSJ, had passed away on Feb. 9. Sister Ursulina was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 73 years. I first met Sister when she was teaching 8th grade at St. Ann’s School in Neponset. All three of my kids were fortunate to have been in her class. Her students loved her and so did their parents. When I called pals Ann and Eileen to tell them of her passing, both felt as bad as I did. After she left St. Ann’s, she served as secretary in the Guidance Office at Fontbonne Academy. Recently she had lived at Bethany in Framingham. She always kept track of her many friends in Neponset because she read The Dorchester Reporter every week. (Her pal Mary Wiegand shared her newspaper with Sister.) I am sure that I join Sister’s former students and their parents in sending our sympathy to her sister-in-law Gertrude and her many nieces and nephews. She was a very nice lady and a good teacher. By the way, Sister Ursulina is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery, close to her many Neponset friends.

***

I was also sorry to hear, on WBZ radio, that Dave Maynard had passed away in Citrus Hills, Florida, at the age of 82, after living with Parkinson’s Disease for about 10 years. In the 1980s, I was fickle and listened to all the morning hosts, Carl De Suze, Jess Cain, and Dave Maynard, and enjoyed them all. I loved seeing Dave in the TV commercials, promoting his radio show. The many compliments paid to Dave by his former co-workers, like Gary La Pierre and Gil Santos made it sound as if he was a great, down-to-earth guy. My sympathy is sent to his wife, children, and grandchildren.

***

Hubby and I don’t usually watch the Grammy Awards because we know very few of the performers. We did, however, watch this year’s show mostly because we knew that there was to be a tribute to Whitney Houston. We had seen the movie “The Bodyguard” and loved the way she sang “I Will Always Love You.” Her voice was beautiful. How sad she is gone. I was very impressed by the way that LL Cool J handled his emcee role at the awards. (We only know him from watching him each week on the “NCIS Los Angeles” TV show.) He was terrific as he opened the show with a prayer for Whitney. We had never heard of Bruno Mars but his dance moves were spectacular as were those of the dancers who accompanied him. We wanted to see and hear the reunion of the Beach Boys. We, however, were a little disappointed in their singing. We had seen them in concert some years ago and we never sat down throughout the whole two hours as we sang along with them. (Hubby even has a Beach Boys’ baseball cap from that concert.) I enjoyed seeing Sir Paul McCartney but was not thrilled with his new Valentine’s song. I was amazed that Glen Campbell was as good as he was. I was sorry to read that he now has Alzheimer’s. We saw Tony Bennett in the audience but did not stay up long enough to hear him sing. We did, however, tape the whole Grammy show so that we could see what we might have missed.

***

I just read an article on the Girl Scouts, probably precipitated by the sale of Girl Scout Cookies at this time of year. The first meeting of the Girl Scouts was held in Savannah, Georgia, organized by Juliette Low, just 100 years ago, Mar. 12. More than 50 million women are alumnae of the organization. Among famous former Girl Scouts are Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, Katie Couric, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, Venus Williams. Mary Tyler Moore, Carrie Fisher, Mariah Carey, Joan Rivers, and Sandra Day O’Connor.

During the past few weeks, Hubby and I have bought a few boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. I always ask Hubby to buy the ones for our home because he puts them away so I cannot see them, “the near occasions of sin.” He usually buys one box of his favorite, the Carmel Delites. He then gives in and buys a box of Thin Mints so I can have a taste of my favorite kind. (He gives me a small piece of a Thin Mint Cookie when we have coffee after dinner.) Last year, the Girl Scouts sold $760 million worth of cookies. They are big business—delicious, too.

***

In honor of Presidents’ Week, here is something attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; and go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but, my friend, these, I reckon, will give you a good life.”
Be sure to fly your flag on Monday, Presidents’ Day.