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We don’t need a seed catalog to see the fruits of our labors

“Wind raps, with icy fingers,
At the frosty window pane,
But I dream on, unheeding,
The seed catalog just came.”
“Seed Catalog” by Mrs. Roy Pfeifer

Hubby and I don’t need a seed catalog to see the fruits of our labors. Last fall, we put in a bunch of crocus and tulip bulbs along the side of our home. Last Tuesday, when the temperature was 54 degrees, we examined the ground near the front gate. There they were, four little crocuses coming up through the mulch. Their leaves were tiny but they looked just wonderful, a sure sign that spring is not far off.

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Of course, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I have been watching the Patriots play their last few games, The games have been thrilling, even the last one when both teams were not at their best. Last Friday, Sue’s students and faculty at her school were asked to wear anything with Patriots on it. I must get out my Patriots’ shirt for the Super Bowl. We have been trying to be good by eating just popcorn and drinking decaf coffee or Diet Coke (caffeine-free) while watching the games. Sue, however, has already suggested that we have chips and dip for Super Bowl Sunday. I am sure that Hubby and I can be persuaded. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., this Sunday, on Ch. 7 (on Comcast Cable in Boston). The half-time show had sounded wonderful. I first read that it would be a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Now I understand it will instead be Madonna.

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Last Tuesday, with the temperature up to 54 degrees, Hubby decided that it was a great day to take down the last of the Christmas lights and put up the Valentine ones. Hubby went down cellar and found our heart decoration, made of little red lights. He put that up on our rose trellis. Along the railing of our porch, he tied a string of vivid red LED lights. The porch looks great when the sun goes down.

Before we reach Valentine’s Day, however, there is the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon, 4710. While I was speaking with Sr. Elizabeth, the director of the Notre Dame Montessori School at St. Christopher’s Church one day last week, she told me that her little children were learning about Chinese New Year. Last Friday, she gave each of the children an orange, a sign of good luck. On the day that I spoke with her, she was giving each child a red envelope with a shiny new penny inside also a good luck symbol. The children were thrilled, especially with the shiny penny.

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Another thing that we accomplished around the house was turning both the mattress and box spring on our bed. We usually do these things on New Year’s Day but we were a few days late. Each year, both the mattress and box spring seem to get heavier or maybe we keep getting older and weaker. While the mattress and box spring were off the bed, I vacuumed under the bed and between the wooden slats. Then we turned both the mattress and box spring around. A few years ago, we foolishly bought a new pillow-top mattress. It is very comfortable but we cannot turn the mattress over and around as we used to do with our plain old mattress. Quite a few years ago, I read the directions about caring for your mattress and box spring. It said: “Turn the box spring once a year, Turn the mattress over and around also once a year.” It spreads the wear. Sometimes, in a hotel, you can feel an odd place on the bed closest to the phone. There is a big indentation in the mattress where everyone sits while on the phone.

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Niece Terri sent me an e-mail, letting me know that Centre Street in Jamaica Plain is 350 years old. If you were brought up in Jamaica Plain as Hubby and I were, you should be very interested. Centre Street was originally named Middlepost Road from Boston to Hartford. On May 9, 1825, it was renamed Centre Street. Both West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, where Centre Street is located, were annexed to the City of Boston in 1874. There was a photo of the old Woolworth’s, which was located at 678 Centre St. I can remember going there when I was a kid. J.P. Licks, the ice cream parlor with the terrific reputation, is now located in the former Victorian firehouse at 659 Centre St. The ice cream parlor even has an LED sign inside the store to tell you when the next bus will arrive. Some of the trolley tracks may still be seen on Centre Street. The trolleys were used for many years, then discontinued in 1985.

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What a good Pope’s Hill meeting we had on Wed., Jan. 25, at the Leahy/Holloran Community Center. Quite a few people turned out for the meeting. Judy Burke began the meeting by giving her treasurer’s report. Then President Phil Carver urged members to sign up for the PH E-Mail Alert, which sends out warning and updates should there be crime in our neighborhood.

Phil also mentioned that UMass Boston had invited 60 under privileged children from Lawrence to Boston to have day of skating at the UMass rink. None had helmets so Phil made a call to Community Service Officer Dennis Rorie at District C-11. Dennis gave Phil 30 safety helmets for the kids. The helmets were left over from the Children’s Rodeo, held at District C-11 each June. Phil publicly thanked Dennis for helping to keep the children safe.

Then it was time for Dennis to speak to the members. He first thanked the Pope’s Hill Association and Rep. Marty Walsh for contributing to the annual District C-11’s Children’s Christmas Party. More than 450 children attended.

Then Dennis began speaking about the number of incidents in the area. There were 21 incidents up to Pope’s Hill Street, and 21 for the adjoining area, making a total of 42 for the combined area. Dennis warned people using fitness centers about leaving anything of value in their cars while they were inside. One woman lost a $10,000 ring while she was exercising at a fitness building on Neponset Avenue. (We all gasped at the value of the ring.) There were also problems in the Manor and Rosemont streets area. Police arrested three teens who were wandering in that area at 10 a.m. when they should have been in school. They were charged with attempting a break-in on Rosemont Street Outside a home also on Rosemont St., Dennis told us that a statue of the Blessed Mother had been decapitated. A man, known to the Drug Unit, was arrested for dealing drugs on Neponset Avenue. Finally, police arrested a man for rolling a tire down the street near L’il Peach. When the police came to question him, they could hear metal hitting the ground. It was the tire’s lug nuts. Police looked around the immediate area and found a car that was minus a tire. Dennis gave us the direct phone number that calls the Boston Police from a cell phone, 617-343-4911. If you call 911 from a cell phone, the call immediately goes to the State Police.

At our Pope’s Hill meeting, we also met our new liaison from the State Police, Trooper Jim Gordon. Trooper Jim told us that he has been assigned to the South Boston barracks for seven years and had been a member of the Boston Municipal Police before that. He told us that he would be working the 3 to 11 p.m. shift. The phone number to the barracks is 617-740-7710. He urged us, as Dennis had earlier, to report anything that we considered suspicious. Before Trooper Jim spoke, I had asked him his name. When he said, “Gordon,” I told him that the part of my family that is “a wee bit Scottish” belongs to the Scottish Clan Gordon. (My great grandfather, Alexander Mills, was born in Dundee, Scotland.) Jim said his family was Scottish, Irish, and even Nova Scotian. So was my family, Jim. When Jim left our meeting, he said, “Bye, Gordon,” to me. We’ll get along great. We are probably related way back! I will write more about our Pope’s Hill meeting next week.

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I send my love and prayers to my new friend Lorraine, who used to live on Pope’s Hill and who enjoys the Reporter newspaper. (She is a long-time friend of my pal Anne, who used to live on Neponset Ave.)
I was sorry to hear, from pal Eileen Collins, that our friend at Keystone, Winnie O’Malley, lost her brother on New Year’s Day. Tom, who lived in Quincy, leaves his wife Mary and their children, Ann Marie Forde, Kathleen McAleavey, Thomas Jr., Mary Ryan, and Patricia Fleming. In addition to his sister Winnie, Tom leaves brothers Patrick and Joseph and sisters Theresa McDonough and Bridget Gallagher.

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If you love good music, keep watching Channels 2, 11, and 44. All last weekend, they were playing the new Celtic Woman show, “Believe,” that was just wonderful. They also played Tony Bennett’s new Duet II program with Natalie Cole and Andrea Bocelli. Then there was the Andrea Bocelli’s concert in Central Park.

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Did you know that the Boston Public Health Commission is offering, for the first time, free nicotine patches to help those who want to quit smoking? Residents 18 and older should call 1-800-quit-now.

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Here is a wise saying from The Old Farmer’s Almanac: “The man who rolls up his sleeves seldom loses his shirt.”