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Glimpses of Spring

“If there comes a little thaw,
Still the air is chill and raw,
Here and there a patch,
Dirtier than the ground below,
Dribles down the marshy flood;
Ankle-deep you sink in mud,
In the meadows while you sing,
‘This is Spring”
by Christopher Cranch (1813-1892)

Hubby cleaned up some small patches of snow on our street by kicking the piles with his feet and spreading out the snow. Within hours, the snow was gone. He also put up our green electric shamrock on the rose trellis. He also was able to put up the little green lights on the porch railing. He usually walks on the ground around the porch so that he can make sure that the lights are spaced equidistant between the drapes. Because the ground around the porch was partially snow-covered and also muddy, he had to hang over the railing to tie up the drapes.
We have been checking the progress of the crocuses that are flourishing near the foundation of our home, on the sunny side of our yard. Some of the sprouts from the bulbs are up about three inches. We are delighted to see some crocuses coming through the ground near the front gate. They are being heated by the sun only. They are too far away from the foundation of the house to get any heat from that source. At the bottom of our front stairs, we have one lonely snowdrop that has flowered. The Irish Pastoral Centre chaplain, Father John McCarthy, told us that snowdrops are called “the footprints of St. Brigid.” We laughed as we agreed with each other that “St. Brigid must be standing on just one foot.” There may be more snowdrops in the patch of ground near the front gate. I know we planted snowdrops there years ago.

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I must mention how I first met Steve and Marie Graham, about whom I wrote in last week’s column. Their son, Steve Jr., served as president of our Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association for a year or maybe two, more than 30 years ago. He still holds the record as being our youngest president; he was perhaps in his late teens or early twenties when he served. Steve and Marie would attend our meetings to support their son. I must also mention that, at both Steve Sr.’s wake and at his funeral, we were so pleased to see former Mayor Ray and former First Lady Cathy Flynn. If I have assumed correctly, I think Ray joined me in shedding a few tears as Steve’s daughter Peggy gave the eulogy at the beginning of her Dad’s funeral Mass at St. Ann’s. Speaking of St. Ann’s, I must compliment Faher Sean Connor on how beautiful the church looked. It sparkled. I must also compliment Ann Hayward, the soloist at the Mass. She sang beautifully. So did the “back-of-the-church” choir, including Ann, who responded to Father Sean during the service.

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On Sat., Feb. 23, Hubby and I listened to the weather forecasts quite closely. Our pastor, Father George Carrigg, was to be honored on the 56th anniversary of his ordination. The celebration, which had already been postponed once because of a snowstorm, began with bi-lingual Mass at 6 p.m. We had been to Mass that Saturday so we went right downstairs and found a seat. Our pal Sharon sat with us. We were sorry that her pal Theresa didn’t feel well and was unable to come. Our friend Lennie came down and also sat with us. Lennie had not eaten and was hungry so he asked what was good. I told him that Dorothy’s lasagna is always wonderful. There were all types of salads and even meatballs. We all ate very well. Hubby kept checking the weather outside. The weathermen kept predicting snow. Thank goodness it didn’t materialize during the celebration. Hubby went over and took photos of Father George cutting his beautiful cake. I had a small piece. Hubby thought that there was marshmallow in the frosting. I didn’t have a big enough piece to tell. There will be more about the celebration next week.

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Proud Mom Angela Durkin gave me an article at the last Irish Pastoral Centre’s luncheon in Canton on Feb. 21. The article said that Angela’s daughter Aine and her partner, Seoirse O Dochartaigh, will represent Ireland in the Pan Celtic Song Contest, which will be held in Carlow from April 2 to April 7. Aine and Seoirse won the preliminary contest by playing their own song “Le do Thaobh,” which Seoirse sang. I am sure that proud Mom Angela will be in Carlow in April to hear the duo compete in the song contest against entrants from Wales, Scotland. Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man. Aine and Seoirse are based in Buncrana, Co. Donegal.

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Last Wednesday morning, Hubby and I were up very early to take our friend Ann to Logan Airport. As usual, I turned on the kitchen radio when I came downstairs to the kitchen. It is always on WBZ, except for a few hours on Saturdays for the Irish Hit Parade, on WROL. One of the new hosts, on from midnight to 5 a.m., is Jennifer Brien. Jenn, between 3 and 4 a.m., played the audio version of “Sorry, Wrong Number,” with Agnes Morehead. Agnes was so wonderful as the bedridden woman. I also remember the terrific Barbara Stanwyck playing the lead in the movie. Jenn said another actress also played the lead. She called her Mildred Nate-wick. Easy to see, she is not old enough to know Mildred Nat (rhymes with “cat”)-wick, another fine actress. What a scary “Suspense” radio program that was!

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Speaking of WBZ radio, for years I listened to Lovell Dyett when he had a program on ’BZ. Then I found out why I enjoyed him. I am sure that it is because we were both born on the same day, or maybe a day either way of Sept. 18. (Another ’BZ host, Morgan White Jr., was probably born on that same day, or maybe a day either way, but years later.) There was a memorial service for Lovell at Roxbury Community College over this past weekend. I believe that Rev. Liz Walker, retired from WBZ-TV, presided over the service. My high school classmate, Sarah Ann Shaw, was also involved in the service. When Lovell passed away last May 29 at age 77, I spoke with Sarah Ann and told her how sorry I was that he had suffered so much before his death. Did you also notice that WBZ is now broadcasting both the weather reports and the traffic reports “on the 3s”? Traffic used to be given separately “on the threes.”

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Last Tuesday evening, daughter Sue called and said, “We must go back to Florida.” Mike Lowell was at the Red Sox Training Camp, helping Will Middlebrooks improve his footwork and throwing style at his third-base position. Dustin Pedroia recommended that Lowell come in to help. Mike had on his Number 25 jersey as he gave tips to Will. I always thought that Mike was a class act and a terrific player. Much of his time now is devoted to his young children. According to Nick Cafardo, in a Boston Globe article, Mike would love to coach sometime in the future. I hope so.

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As I mentioned earlier in this column, our radios are all tuned to WBZ radio, except for a few hours on Saturday. I was so happy that I was in the kitchen very early this past Thursday, Feb. 28, because I heard it was Diane Stern’s 30th anniversary at the station. I have spoken with Diane and she is a very personable gal. I “Googled” her on my computer and discovered that, prior to 1983 when she joined ‘BZ as co-anchor of the afternoon news, she worked at WEEI from 1978 to 1983. In 1978, she was working at WMEX, where she covered the Blizzard of 1978, broadcasting from a studio lit by candlelight. In addition to her work at ‘BZ, Diane is an ESL tutor at the Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, and volunteers for My Brother’s Table in Lynn. Bravo, Diane! You do a wonderful job!

The following day, Mar. 1, at WBZ and WBZ-TV, meteorologist Barry Burbank celebrated his 35th anniversary at the station. He came to ‘BZ just two weeks after the Blizzard of ’78. He mentioned that he called the April Fool’s Blizzard of 1997 correctly, when 25.4 inches of snow fell at Logan Airport. April of 1997 turned out to be the snowiest April ever in Boston. Congratulations on being at WBZ and WBZ-TV for 35 years, Barry!

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Since both Hubby and I are “James Bond” fans, it is no wonder that our kids enjoy those movies also. So do Hubby’s niece and nephews, particularly Steve. Son Paul gave his Dad and me a New York Times Bestseller, “My Word Is My Bond,” a memoir written by Roger Moore. For several weeks after Christmas, I saw that Hubby was thoroughly enjoying the book. The back cover of the book states that: “Sir Roger Moore has left nothing out – especially the naughty bits.” This summer, when our life is usually less hectic, I must take time to read the book. It seems like “an easy read!” An added note: on the back cover it also mentions that Roger found that Richard Kiel, who played the villain “Jaws” in the Bond movies, was “kindhearted.” That is such a departure from Richard’s role as “Jaws” in the two movies in which he was featured.

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I laughed at this observation that I found in Reminisce Magazine, which seems to be apropos after all the recent snow: “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; all the rest have 31 except January and February, each of which seems to have 80.”