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April Showers

“Oh hush, my heart, and take thine ease, For here is April’s weather! The daffodils beneath the trees, Are all a-row together.” “April Weather” by Lyzette Woodwork Rees

We have no daffodils as yet. They are one of my favorite flowers. Our rose bushes are beginning to leaf out. The flowers on the Easter lilies that Hubby just bought are already opening. He puts them on the porch during the day and takes them in the house during the evening.

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I received a very nice e-mail from Lisa Zinck telling me that she had heard that local seniors were very pleased with the St. Patrick’s dinner that the Leahy/Holloran Community Center had hosted for them on March 14. She wanted me to know that a great many people were responsible for the tremendous success of the meal. She wished to thank the Center’s staff, the Leahy/Holloran Teen Workers, the Leahy/Holloran After School Program workers, the Project Deep volunteers, and the members of the LHCC Council, as well as Peachy Galvin, Craig’s Mom. Buddy Penella called the Bingo. The young dancers from the Greene-O’Leary School of Irish Step Dancing performed for us. The fiddler was Owen Cunningham and the bagpiper, Tom Leahy. The first Irish dancers were Mia McCarthy, Ava LeBlanc, and Cori Miller. I am sure that all those who attended the dinner join me in thanking the LHCC for the wonderful evening.

I must also mention so many friends who were at the St. Patrick’s Dinner at the Leahy/Holloran. We saw Jean Lee, Carolyn O’Connor, Alice Holloran, Pat Dennehy, Joan Callanan, Alyce Weydt, Phyllis Smith, Mary Maneikis, Peter Walsh, Peggy Canty, Nancy Quinn, Dolly Farquharson, Ann Hayward, Ginny Aveni, Rita (McKinnon) Gillespie, Gemma Mariano, Irene Duff, Ann Marshall, and Diane Zinck. Our neighbor Janie Cavaleri was helping also.

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I forgot to mention that Ann Hanwell, the wonderful lady who passed away last week, was voted the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association’s Woman of the Year some years back. She certainly deserved that honor for teaching so many local kindergarteners during her tenure at both the Minot and then the Murphy Schools.

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I thank Cathy Coyne for giving me the lovely St. Patrick’s tam of green, white, and orange yarn last year. The tam was made by her Mom Kay White, who knitted one for me and one for daughter Sue. I understand that Kay is in her 90s and loves to knit the tams. I felt so special when I wore her tam on St. Patrick’s Day. I thank both Kay and Cathy for thinking of us. My tam will now go away in a plastic bag so it will look like new next St. Patrick’s Day.

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I was sorry to read of the death of Rise Stevens. Although I am not an opera buff, I fell in love with Rise when she appeared with Bing Crosby in the movie “Going My Way.” I saw the movie when I was a kid. She seemed like such a delightful lady, not what I expected from a diva. I loved hearing her voice in the selections from the opera “Carmen” that she sang on her TV appearances.

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On Sunday morning, St. Patrick’s Day itself, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I picked up pal Eileen Burke and drove to St. Gregory’s for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass at 10:30 a.m. I had called the parish secretary Julie on the Monday before to see if there was room for four more to attend the Mass and breakfast following. “Sure,” said Julie, so Hubby drove to the rectory quickly and gave Julie a check for the admission cost. We knew that there were many people in the church by the larger number than usual of cars outside. We found one of the few empty pews and sat down. Father Vincent Daily, the pastor, was the celebrant of the Mass. We recognized some of our friends among the parishioners.

After the Mass was over, we walked across Dot Ave. to St. Gregory’s Hall. There were quite a few tables set up for the breakfast. On each of the table was an attractive little vase, filled with Bells of Ireland and Hydrangeas. There were multi-colored leaves, too, but none of us knew their names. I asked the parish secretary, Julie, who did the pretty centerpieces, just perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. She told me that Cedar Grove Gardens had supplied them. The food tables were all set up with chafing dishes, ready for the hot food. We saw Gerard, who was catering the event, when we walked in the hall. He was busy setting up the juice and coffee areas.

Father Daily then led us in “Grace.” Within a few moments, there was a long line for food. Hubby and Sue got in line quickly. I sat, chatting with the rest of our table companions. Just as I was about to get into the food line, Hubby brought me back a plate full of food; Sue, a plate of food for Eileen. There were scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, black and white puddings, home fries, and all types of pastries, including Irish Bread. (I’m a true Irishman because I love Gerard’s home fries.)

Once we all had eaten, we were in for a treat. The pastor introduced the step dancers from the Forbes School of Irish Dancing from Quincy. Many of them were dressed in bright red costumes that were so pretty. They all danced perfectly for us. They received a big round of applause when they finished.
During the break, I had a chance to chat with our friend Peter Woloschuk. I was also happy that Elaine Doherty saw me in the crowd and came over to chat. Elaine’s children are Jack Doherty and Jody (Doherty) Bulman from College Hype. I told Elaine that I had met Jody’s lovely mother-in-law Vera Bulman, in Building 19 a few weeks ago. By the way, Elaine’s son Jack was on WBZ radio with Dan Rea and Mayor Tom Menino the day after the mayor announced that he would not run for a sixth term. I spoke with Jack, who told me that he brought the mayor a brand new jacket, which says, ”All Roads Lead to Boston.” What an appropriate gift! I understand that the mayor already had one of these jackets but now he has fine new one. Jack also gave the mayor a “Nightside” t-shirt, which is the name of Dan’s radio program. Jack told me that his son (Nolan, I think) is involved in fundraising for animal causes. You should be very proud of him, Jack.

Then we had more music. Father Daily came to the microphone, sporting his banjo. I hadn’t been that close to a banjo since I heard the wonderful Joe Fahey in my youth. (His daughters, Mary Joanne and Pauline, were my friends many years ago when we were all in St. Kevin’s choir.) The singer who accompanied Father Vin was Sean Roper, who has a terrific voice. Father Vin mentioned that they had been practicing for the breakfast. They treated us to “The Rising of the Moon,” ”Black Velvet Band,” and “The Wild Rover.” Father Vin then changed from his banjo to his guitar, which he played with equal proficiency. He led a sing-a-long with Sean, which included “Our Lady of Knock.” As we left the breakfast, we all said that we were so happy that we were able to go to St. Greg’s for their St. Patrick’s Day Mass and Breakfast.

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I am amazed by how much is spent by Americans for the Easter celebration. The US total is almost $17 billion. We spend about $5 billion on Easter dinners, about $2.3 billion for candy (I think I spend about half of that amount for the candy for Hubby, including black jelly beans, the kids, and the grandkids), and $1.2 billion on flowers. Hubby has already brought home two Easter lilies, which are covered with flower buds. One has purple decorative paper around the pot; the other a bright pink paper around the pot. My pot of shamrocks is not doing well. I would love to put the pot outside on the porch but it has been too cold, especially overnight. Perhaps I should put the shamrocks in the ground. Hubby took some photos of our purple and yellow crocuses. The tulips are up about four or five inches but we haven’t seen any flower buds among the leaves.

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On Holy Saturday evening, the phone rang. It was daughter Sue. “Ten Commandments is on TV.” No matter how many times we have seen that movie, we always watch it. We love Charlton Heston as Moses. On Easter Sunday, we went to St. Gregory’s Church where we attended the 7 a.m. Mass. Friends Mark and Mary were several rows in front of us. (I had a chance to chat with Mary outside church after Mass.) My friend Don, former president of the Dorchester Historical Society, chatted with me for a few minutes about the flowers in our yards. He told me that he had lots of snowdrops. I told him that Father John McCarthy, the chaplain of the Irish Pastoral Centre, had told us that snowdrops are called “the footprints of St. Brigid” in Ireland. “I already know that, Barbara,” Don said. “I read it in your column.” We both laughed. I told Don that St. Brigid must have loved daughter Sue’s yard because “her footprints” are all over her yard. She probably has about 100 snowdrops, in little clumps, throughout the grass.

From church, we drove to Gerard’s, where we traditionally have our Easter Breakfast. As we were coming in, we could see large groups of people entering the restaurant. We knew, from former years, that these people had, undoubtedly, attended the Easter Sunrise Mass at Castle Island. We heard some of them speaking about Castle Island. Our friend Jenn came over to wait on us. We did see our cousin Julianna, who came over to chat for a second while serving the big crowds their breakfasts. Hubby and Sue started off by ordering French toast. (I had to help Hubby eat his.) We then filled our tummies with bacon, scrambled eggs, toast or English muffins, plus home fries. What a lovely way to start Easter Sunday.

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I loved this saying by Walt Disney” “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!”