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Giving Thanks

“We sit around the table
On this Thanksgiving Day,
Thankful for the blessings
That have come our way:
Turkey with the trimmings,
Homemade pies and cakes,
Candles light the setting
For the food we wish to take.”
By Loise Pinkerton Fritz

We have bought quite a bit of food for Thanksgiving. Our job is to bring Diet Coke, Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice (both red and white), and Hood’s Egg Nog (because Cousins Rockland Carolyn like Hood’s brand). We buy Garelick Egg Nog for our own home because it tastes the most like Cumberland Farms brand, which we starting buying years ago. Two containers of sour cream are in daughter Sue’s fridge because there is no room in our fridge. I bought them when they were on sale at Market Basket when we stopped there on the way home from the Cape. I have the packs of Knorr Leek Soup Mix in the pantry so that we can make the dip for the two bags of Lay’s (lightly-salted) chips. Knorr’s Leek Soup Mix seems less salty than other onion soup mixes. We bought Thanksgiving paper goods for the coffee and the desserts, with napkins and a paper tablecloth to match. Last year, I bought some “Thanksgiving” figurines at Walgreen’s. They were two-inches high: a Pilgrim man and woman and an Indian male and female. They are great because they take up very little space on the table.

If you enjoy listening to Morgan White Jr. on WBZ Radio, you will be delighted to know that he will have Mel Simons as his guest this Saturday. Morgan is now on WBZ from 10 to midnight on Saturday evenings. Perhaps now I will be able to stay awake to hear all of Mel’s trivia quiz since it will be on before midnight. When he was on with Morgan overnight, I was very seldom awake to hear the end of the quiz. This past Saturday, Morgan had a toy expert, telling the audience what the better toys were.

Sr. Elizabeth Calcagni, the director of the Notre Dame Montessori School at St. Christopher’s Church, told me in the summer that the 14th annual “Seed Planted; Harvest Begun” fundraiser for her school would be held on Tues., Nov. 19, at Florian Hall. “Barbara, be sure to put that date on your calendar.” I did as Sr. Elizabeth asked. That was months away. Before I knew it is was Nov.1st and I was writing a check for tickets.

When Hubby and I arrived at Florian Hall, it was quite early. Sr. Elizabeth greeted us as we stepped into the hall. We found a table that didn’t have a reserved sign on it. We noticed how pretty the floral centerpieces were, fall flowers with several roses included. I understand that Sr. Elizabeth always orders her flowesr from Stapleton’s in Southie. The flowers at her “Seeds Planted” celebrations have always been so beautiful that Hubby has taken photos of them each year. I heard lovely music being played as we walked into the main room. I went over to the pianist and found out that his name was Alex Buiel. There were items displayed all over the room, all on silent auction. Our friends Theresa Chatman and Chuck and Sharon Pace came in and sat with us. Fr. George Carrigg came over to greet us. Sr. Anne Malone came over to chat with me. She introduced me to Sr. Mary Mulligan, who has just begun volunteering at the Boston Home on Dorchester Avenue. I asked her to remember me to Sr. Bridget Haase, who has worked at the home for years. (She is one of Jordan Rich’s favorite guests on WBZ radio.) Sr. Joyce McMullen, who works in Harbor Point, also came over to chat with me.
Dr. Penny Haney, the mistress of ceremonies, welcomed all of us to the evening’s festivities. She introduced Evan Burton, a student at BC High. Evan related how his years in the Notre Dame Montessori School had shaped his life. He was doing well at BC High because he had such a good educational foundation attending the Notre Dame Montessori School, with Sr. Elizabeth, an Emmanuel graduate, and her teachers.

Fr. George Carrigg told us that he realized how necessary early educational intervention was for these three-, four-, and five-year-old children. He told the audience that he has been at St. Christopher’s for 42 years. In 1961, he began working at the Family Guidance Center. Fr. George said that when he arrived, Columbia Point had 1,500 families living in subsidized housing. He spoke of his predecessor Fr. Larry Wetterholm, who had a promising career in baseball until he was diagnosed with diabetes and had to forsake his sports career. Fr. George also told us that Columbia Point had been a war camp for Italian prisoners of war during World War II. It had also been a garbage dump. “They took the prisoners away but left us with the garbage dump,” he said.

Fr. George then presented the Seeds Planted Award to Dr. Jack Geiger, who, with Dr. Gibson, founded the first Health Center in the US, at Columbia Point. Dr. Geiger proudly told us that there are now 1,200 community health centers in the US. 22 million people have been cared for at these health centers. Dr. Geiger also said that the idea of community health centers began in Africa. These centers were usually put near a highway. (It was their “road out of misery.”) While Dr. Geiger spoke of his work in Africa and in the southern part of the US, in particular in Mississippi, I had goose bumps. If you want to read more on Dr. Jack Geiger, check him out on the internet. He is an amazing man.
Then Sr. Elizabeth came to the microphone. “Don’t worry about the number of papers I have in my hand,” she said. “The writing is in large print and I double-spaced my thoughts. She told us that this was the 14th “Seeds Planted.” The first honoree of the “Seeds Planted” celebration was Rep. Marty Walsh, now mayor-elect.

Also at the celebration was the boxer Kevin McBride, who beat Mike Tyson back in 2005. He and his wife Danielle were sitting with our pals Maureen Senuta and her daughter Maura. (Kevin and Danielle’s two children went to the Notre Dame Montessori School.) Kevin even helped pull some of the prizes. I am sorry that we didn’t win any of the prizes. Sr. Elizabeth is still accepting donations to the “Seeds Planted” Dinner so send them along to her. By the way, the food (stuffed chicken breast) was wonderful as is all the food served at Florian Hall. I told our waitress, Mary Ellen Cahill, that everyone was raving about the food.

My sympathy is sent to Fr. Richard Conway, of St. Ambrose Parish, who lost his brother, Dr. Stephen Conway, last week.

We have had quite a week. Hubby was able to get an appointment at the Neponset Health Center on Friday. In January of this year, he had a similar bad cold that turned into pneumonia. When we saw the nurse practitioner on Friday, he said to her, “I had the same type of bad cold in January and it turned into pneumonia. I want to stop this cold now so I don’t get pneumonia.” “Don’t worry,” said the nurse practitioner. “You already have pneumonia!” With two prescriptions in his hand, he left the health center happy that he was able to get medical help.

On Saturday morning, I let Hubby sleep late because he was sick. I was down in the kitchen in my robe and slippers cleaning up and I went to put away a large and heavy glass jar, filled with unpopped popcorn. It slipped from my hands and fell on the “hammer toe” on my left foot.
I saw stars because the pain was so intense. It soon subsided somewhat but I was sure that I had broken the toe, which by a half hour later had turned an ugly shade of purple and was still sending shooting pains up my body. I was fortunate to be able to see a podiatrist. So here we are, the walking wounded, one with pneumonia and one with a broken toe. What a great pair we make for Thanksgiving!

Speaking of which, all the McDonoughs wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day!