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Christmas season well underway

I hope that you are listening to many of the FM radio stations that are now playing Christmas music. Cousins Margie and Janet told us that 106.7 FM probably has the best holiday music. We also enjoy Channel 533 on Comcast Cable. I still enjoy hearing Kate Smith and Bing Crosby on that station. My Aunt Ethel told me that I could sing “Silent Night” when was I was 15 months old. I don’t remember all the words now, so I am amazed that I could remember them when I was little. Hubby has also learned that the movie “A Christmas Story” will be shown for 24 consecutive hours, beginning at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

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About a month ago, our friend Eileen Collins asked if Hubby, daughter Sue, pal Eileen Burke, and I would like to see Tony Kenny’s Irish Christmas. It was to be held at the Irish Social Club in West Roxbury on Nov. 30. The tickets were very reasonable at $20 pp. Eileen knew a woman who had tickets so we decided to go. It was a cold evening as we drove to the club. Hubby and Sue dropped Eileen Burke and me off at the door and started to drive down the street in hopes of finding a parking spot. Almost immediately, a gentleman pulled his car out onto the street and Hubby pulled into the now empty parking spot very close to the club’s entrance. Eileen Collins and her friends were already at their reserved table and they asked us to join them. We were quite early and watched as the club partly filled. Sorry to say, not all the tables were to be filled that evening because there were several big Irish functions being held around town. We saw a pretty lady in a long gold dress walk down the side of the hall and discovered a little later that she was Kathy Durkin, a songstress who was the first performer of the evening. She sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to put us in the right mood. She then introduced Tony Kenny, the star of the show. He continued the upbeat mood with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Come Home to Ireland for Christmas.” Tony introduced the Dublin City Dancers, who were terrific. The trio of two gals and one guy were in perfect step the whole time they were dancing. Featured singer Kathy then sang “Seven Spanish Angels,” a song made famous by Willie Nelson. (I had never heard of it.) She followed that with a song I knew well, “A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing.” She mentioned that her Mom was now 95 years old and the mother of 10 children. She also noted that man playing the button accordion that evening was Peter Browne, who has won many awards for his playing. His hand just flew over the buttons. I can see how he won so many awards. The Dublin City Dancers came out again and danced beautifully. Then out came the comedian George Casey, who kept us in stitches with lines like: “If I didn’t have stress, I wouldn’t have any energy at all.” We laughed and laughed. I understand that one of the women attending that evening bought George’s CD and roared with laughter as she listened to the entire recording. Tony Kenny then returned to close out his part in the first half of the show with “My Son” and “Oh, Holy Night.”

I was too busy getting refreshments during the break and didn’t get a chance to look at the CDs for sale. (The delicious Irish bread was from Greenhills Bakery.) I am so glad that I did go over to get coffee because I met one of my favorite traveling companions, Mary Hayes, who was serving refreshments on the other side of the room. She volunteers often at the Irish Social Club. She told me that her sister Kay, another of my favorite traveling companions, was also there, near the main door. She also volunteers at the club. I went over to see Kay before the second half of the show. I hadn’t seen either of them since we met at Foxwoods as we were getting ready to board our respective buses for home about a year and a half ago.

The second half of the evening began with the Dublin City Dancers. One of the gals danced to the music of “Riverdance,” my favorite CD. The young male dancer had a very powerful sound as he step-danced. We applauded all three of them vigorously. Then Kathy Durkin came back. She introduced one of the keyboardists, who harmonized with her the whole evening long, as her son Andreas. Is he ever talented for a very young man. Mom Kathy then sang “The Water Is Wide.” George Casey came out for a final time and made us laugh once again. He told us he was from County Cavan. Tony Kenny then was back on, singing about “Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake” with “plums and prunes and cherries and citrons and raisins and cinnamon.” He concluded the evening with some terrific songs: “Danny Boy,” which melts everyone’s heart; “Let It Snow”: and two more beautiful songs, “I Believe” and “Bless This House.” Tony then told us that he came from County Waterford. His final song was a Frank Sinatra winner, “My Way.” All the entertainers hung around after the show was over to sign their CDs for the customers. I must say that everyone in our group thought that every one of the entertainers was terrific. We are all glad that we had gone to see the show.

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Last Friday, Hubby and I drove to Keystone where we met Eileen Collins before we left for City Hall, by bus, for the annual Phone-a-Thon for seniors. Pal Irene Roman was already on the bus. Traffic was tough going in town. I think that Hubby said it took more than one-half hour to get to City Hall. We were ushered upstairs to the 5th floor where the phones were set up. I tried to get a phone number in Ireland but there was no answer at my cousin’s home. City Hall personnel treated the seniors to coffee and refreshments. I saw all kinds of muffins, bagels, donuts, orange juice, regular and decaf coffee, and even bottles of water.

When we came out of the phone area, we joined Eileen and her crew to visit the office of our City Councillor, Frank Baker. Frank was out in his district at an event but his staff chatted with us. I was delighted to see a good-sized statue of St. Francis holding a cardinal in Frank’s office. It is beautiful. Then Hubby and I took the time to go down to the second floor to get some taxi coupons. The lady in that office knew what we wanted when we walked in the door. We were in and out in no time.

We took the elevator back to the fifth floor and re-joined our friends. By this time, the staff was giving out small sandwiches for lunch. I had tuna, Hubby had roast beef. There were others: ham and cheese and Italian. The sandwiches were so tasty. We were also given a small bag of potato chips or pretzels. The staff had several flavors of sodas, including Diet Coke. There were also bottles of water. For dessert, we could have our choice of a big chocolate chip cookie or a big raisin cookie. After we had eaten, we went down to the lower floors where there was a small flea market. I bought a small gift for niece Terri. Our bus returned a little early to City Hall Plaza. We were all assembled inside City Hall, ready to return to Keystone, so we boarded it. Traffic was very light; we arrived back in Dorchester in about 20 minutes.

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Hubby and I have had an artificial tree for many years. We were always afraid of fire in both of our two 100-plus-year-old homes. Still, some 30 million US families will purchase a real tree. When the kids were small, we would walk through Lambert’s parking lot just to smell the trees. The states that produce the most live trees are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington State. I figured that Maine would be at least one of the six states. I think that the US also brings in some trees from Canada. One really nice thing: for every Christmas tree cut in the US, growers plant three seedlings to take its place.

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I was delighted to hear that my friend Barbara Sullivan, from Lower Mills, came in first place in the State House Christmas Card Contest this year. Barbara won “Best of Show” honor in the oil-painting division. Her card was positively beautiful. It shows a young girl, with lovely blonde hair, reaching for an ornament on a tree. There are four ornaments on this tree: on one there is a painting of the Old State House; the second ornament carries a painting of the new State House; the third, a painting of one of the Swan Boats; and the fourth, a painting of the Hood Milk Bottle, which is located near the Children’s Museum. Barbara kindly gave me one of her Christmas cards with the painting on it. I am going to frame it and bring it out every Christmas to help decorate our home. It is lovely. By the way, this is not a new honor for Barbara. She has come in first or second place in the State House Christmas Card Contest for the past seven or eight years. Oh, to be so talented!

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Remember: “You better watch out; you better not cry; you better not pout; I’m telling you why; Santa Claus is coming to town!”