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Cottage Cookouts and the Fourth of July

“Wherever you tread
the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish
Where you turn your eyes.”
By Alexander Pope

Most of our flowers are doing well. Hubby and I, however, have had damage done by someone who walked through our huge tomato plant that is growing in our front yard. It happened sometime during the past few day. We could see a footprint right in the middle of the tomato branches. Quite a few of them were broken off and are now in the waste barrel in the yard. We don’t understand why anyone would have reason to come into our yard.

On Wed. evening, July 3, I took nine pounds of potato salad from the fridge and got in the car with Hubby all set to go to Cousins Margie and Janet’s cottage. The reason that I think I had nine pounds of salad from the ten pounds of potatoes is that I make my peelings too thick. Years ago, when I was a kid, my grandmother said to me, “You’ll never have any money. Your peelings are too thick!” How well she knew me!

For years, my cousins have invited many of the family to their cottage for a cookout on July 3. Following the actual cookout, we always take our folding chairs and go down to the water, where we can see the fireworks from Wessagusset Beach in Weymouth.

When we got to the cottage in Quincy, my cousins Mary and John were already there. So were cousin Bobby, his son Kevin, Kevin’s wife Dara, and their two boys, Ryan and Adam. Janet’s school pal Marguerite was there also. Janet was manning the grill and had already cooked hamburgers and hot dogs. We began eating. This year’s food seemed to be extra good. The hot dogs and hamburgers were great. There was lots more food: meatballs, baked ziti, baked beans, potato salad, pickles, and olives. By the way, it was terribly hot that evening when we left Dorchester. As we sat at the picnic table at Margie and Janet’s cottage, we were amazed that there was a delightful breeze that came up from water and blew right across the picnic table, keeping us very comfortable.

In came daughter Jeanne and son-in-law David. David immediately took over as “Grill Master,” God love him. Grandson Brendan was working and granddaughter Erin was in Europe, having a blast. (Erin was in Milan, Italy, this past weekend.) We missed both of them. We were shocked when our cousin Tina walked in the yard, having driven all the way from Tom’s River, NJ, by herself. Son Paul and daughter-in-law Alex also joined us. They told us how bad traffic was driving to Quincy. Jean and Michael McDonagh came with their family. (They spell our mutual last name the correct Irish way, with an “agh” at the end.) Their daughter Maura and her husband Patrick had their kids, Jared and Paul, with them. Mom/Grandma Jean, much to the delight of everyone, had made a trip to Lyndell’s Bakery in Somerville and bought two dozen cream puffs earlier that day. I am not saying that the cream puffs were scrumptious but Hubby was seen taking a second one.

Long before dusk, the young people in the area began setting off noisy fire works. Cousin Janet gave each of us a light stick so that we could find members of our group in the dark. Pretty soon, it was close to 9:30 p.m. so we dragged our chairs to the water’s edge. The fireworks from Weymouth began going off as soon as we were settled. The show probably lasted 20 to 25 minutes and it was beautiful. People even clapped at the end.

When we got back to the yard. Janet had already put the extra food in bags and containers for the different families to take home. We always have food to eat for several days after the July 3 cookout. By the way, did you know that at least some of Deutschmacher’s hot dogs are now encased in plastic wrap. Janet warned me about the hot dogs when she gave me our bag of extra food. I knew our bag immediately because there was a small container of black olives in it. Janet always gives the extra ones to Sue, who loves them.

We thanked both Margie and Janet for inviting all our family. It is always great to see so many of our cousins. Being with them is such a nice way to begin celebrating the Fourth of July! As we drove out of Houghs Neck, we were amazed at how many young people were still heading home after the fireworks. Hubby drove slowly because the kids were wandering all over the streets. There were still lots of cars along Wollaston Beach.

I just noticed that “The Shadow” began airing over the radio on July 31, 1930. During World War II, when we were very young, my cousin Jimmy and I used to listen to that program every Sunday at about 5 p.m. Because our old radio had a big dial with a light behind it, we would take a towel and put it over the dial, making the room completely dark. The program was much more scary in total darkness, especially for two young kids.

I just wanted mention how fortunate we are to have two great nurses in the Anticoagulation Clinic at Carney Hospital. On Tuesdays, which is the day I usually go, I see Diane Iadonisi, who checks my coumadin level. Sometimes I would have Pattie Thorne. Both are wonderful and take such good care of us. Thanks, gals, for your efficient and speedy service to all of us Coumadin patients.

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Marianna (Doyle) Hannigan on July 13 at age 75. I first met Marianna through our mutual friend, Jean Hunt. In recent years, I would see Marianna at St. Mark’s Church, especially at the yearly healing Mass. Her death is even sadder since her husband of 43 years, Frank, had passed away two weeks earlier, on June 29. A graduate of Mount St. Joseph Academy, she graduated from Regis College in 1958 with a degree in sociology. She then received her master’s degree in social work from Boston College. Marianna was an amazing woman. She became a social worker in the State Adoption Agency, where she was promoted to Unit Supervisor. Later, Gov. Dukakis appointed her as an associate commissioner of the old MDC. Marianna was very active in St. Mark’s Parish, where she was a lector, eucharistic minister, and president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, among her other duties. I send the sympathy of our family to their children: Theresa, Francis III, Julie, and John. She will be greatly missed. She was a dear friend to many.

I was so sorry to read in the latest parish bulletin of the retirement of St. Brendan’s parish secretary, Nancy Leoncini. She has been at St. Brendan’s for 13 years and was a joy to see at various parish functions and to chat with over the phone. She always sent me the bulletin so that I could publicize parish activities. I wish her well in her retirement. Nancy, I will miss you.

Hubby and I were so sorry to hear, on TV, that Chief John Romero, of the Lawrence, MA, Police Department, will be retiring as of Sept. 3. Every time he comes on TV to explain something that is going on in his city, we listen very carefully. He always answers the reporter’s questions clearly and concisely. When we mentioned his retirement to pal Eileen Burke, she agreed with us and said that she shall miss him, too. Like us, she thinks he is terrific. At times, Chief John, who has been with the Lawrence department for 15 years, was on TV so often that we figured he must be a member of a TV union because of all of his on-the-air time. Hubby, Eileen, and I wish John a very happy retirement. He has certainly earned it, but we will miss him.

Here is a humorous thought, attributed to Walter Winchell, which is very appropriate with all the hot, humid weather we have had over the past few weeks: “It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do!”