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Heat wave musings

“The dear flowers!
Summer after summer,
they return to me
always young and fresh..
and beautiful!”
By Celia Thaxter

With all the terribly hot weather last week, our roses seem to blossom and then die very quickly. Hubby has been outside in the early evenings, trying to cut off the spent blossoms so that the plant’s energy will go into making new blossoms.

In front of our home, we have a huge tomato plant or maybe plants, plural. We never planted a tomato bush there so it had to be the birds dropping the tomato seeds in their flights. The bush is so big that we cannot see inside, down to the roots, to know how many stems there are. The bush has many little yellow flowers among the green leaves. We know that these will be little tomatoes in no time. Out on the side porch, we already have pea-sized tomatoes.

Hubby has been using Neptune’s Harvest Fertilizer on the container tomatoes. The plants in the containers are cherry tomatoes so they are growing well. I am really impressed with the beautifully blue hydrangeas that are all over our neighborhood. We have a small bush in our front yard but the flowers are a lighter shade of blue.

Last Sunday, Hubby and I drove to Wollaston Beach to go to the Beachcomber. Thank goodness I had called Eileen Collins on Saturday evening. She reminded me that there was to be an 80th birthday celebration on Sunday for our long-time friend, Mary Vinciguerra. The beach was not as filled as we had expected. Perhaps it was too hot for people to sit in the sun.

The Beachcomber was somewhat filled, mainly by those who were waiting to hear the Irish music, which is featured from 4 to 8 p.m. each Sunday. Eileen waved to us when we came in and so we sat with her.

The birthday gal was already there with a good-sized crowd, most of whom were her immediate family. Mary’s children were there: daughter Anne from East Boston, Jody from Melbourne, FL, and Mark from Mansfield. Five of Mary’s grandkids were there also: Suzanne, Angela, Christopher, Lauren, and Sean. Mary told me that each of her grandkids had Owen for a middle name in honor of their grandfather Owen Wynne, whom they loved dearly. There were also some cousins there and quite a few Beachcomber regulars, who came to honor Mary, The band, Inchifore, knew Mary well and kept the music festive in honor of her special birthday. By the way, Inchicore, the name group of musicians playing that day, is a district of Dublin where lead singer and guitarist Derrick Keane had lived. The other two members of his band are Tom Miller and Damon Leibert.

I was amazed that Mary was able to dance several times with friends in the terrible heat. One time, she grabbed a girl to dance to a really fast Irish tune. How they kept up with the music in that heat I’ll never know. I asked Mary who the gal was. “My daughter Anne, of course.” We figured that Mary and her daughter had to have been trained in Irish step-dancing to keep up the pace. I was hot just watching them. Eileen, Hubby, and I, after staying about an hour and a half, decided that it was time to go home. We wished Mary a very happy birthday. She told us to take some of the birthday sweets. I took two small cupcakes for daughter Sue, and the frosting melted before I got them into the car. Mary showed us a quick way out of the restaurant. Just as we got into our car, the rain began. Thank goodness it held off until near the end of the party.
Catch-up: I listen to the Irish Hit Parade on WROL every Saturday.
Hubby and I turn on that station even earlier than we should so that we can hear John Paul, the Car Doctor. He gives correct and concise answers to the questions that listeners ask him when they call the program. First on the Irish Hit Parade is Paul Sullivan from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then Matt O’Donnell from 1 to 4 p.m. Finally, there is Bailey’s Ceili, with Bill Bailey, from 4 to 7 p.m. I love all the hosts. Bill Bailey sometimes has very timely trivia questions. On the Sat. before Mother’s Day this year, he asked, “Whom or what did the Irish honor on their early Mother’s Day celebrations? Callers mentioned many women but Bill finally told his audience the correct answer: Mother Church!
I was so sorry to hear about this: Last Friday, my new friend Barbara thought she would take her three young grandchildren to Pope John Paul Park for an afternoon of fun. She parked her car in the parking area and locked her handbag in her trunk, just taking her keys. When she returned with the kids, her car window had been smashed and her trunk opened. Barbara figures that the thief or thieves saw her put her handbag in the trunk. She sadly lost about $40 but it was the inconvenience of getting a new driver’s license and canceling her credit cards that really hurt. Please don’t leave anything valuable in your trunk – or in the main part of your car – or you may become a victim like Barbara. Please be careful!
I don’t ever remember when I knew so many friends who have passed away in one week – last week, that is. I learned, from Gerard Adomunes, that Frank Hannigan had passed away on June 29, just after his 87th birthday. I met Frank quite a few years ago through his wife Marianna, to whom he had been married for 43 years. (He was also the husband of the late Rita McDonough Hannigan.) Frank was a master sergeant in the Massachusetts National Guard for more than 20 years. Over the years, I have seen him quite a few times on the altar of St. Mark’s Church, where he was a lector and an active parishioner. In recent years, he used a wheel chair. Frank was in World War II, where he earned a Bronze Star. I send my sympathy to Marianna, and to his children: Theresa, Francis, Joseph, Julie, and John. Frank was also a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, having taught English at Boston Latin School for 42 years.

I was also sorry to read of the death on June 30 of Joseph Reardon, a retired Boston firefighter. Joe was the husband of the late Jean (Galvin). I first met Jean when their daughter Mary and our daughter Susan were in the same dance class at Pegge Parker’s School on Neponset Avenue many years ago. (They were in Pegge’s first dancing class.) I used to see Joe and Jean in at Arch Street at the midnight Mass on Saturday evenings. Joe and Jean were members of Pope’s Hill for many years. Jean passed away three and one half years ago. I send my sympathy to their daughters Mary Hallin and Patricia Hughes, to their eight grandchildren, and to his sister, Louise Cusack.
On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend this year, I was happy to chat with Fred Tarpey, who had sat in the row behind Hubby and me at the County Mayo Mass at the Irish Cultural Centre. (He and I grew up in “J.P.” about the same time.) We had met Fred and his wife Kay (now deceased) on a Castle Island Association trip years ago. Fred told me on that Sunday that he was looking forward to making a trip to Ireland this summer. Thus, I was horrified to see, in the Boston Globe, that Fred had lost his 23-year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth Ann, in a hiking accident in Hawaii on June 22. Hubby and I send our sympathy to Elizabeth’s parents, Chris and Mary Tarpey, to her brothers Noel and Nathan, and to her grandparents Thomas and Rose McMullin, and, of course, to Fred. What a tragedy at such a young age!
Finally, Hubby and I were so sorry to read of the death of Helen (Brountas) Nichols on July 1. Helen was the secretary at the Hennigan School in Jamaica Plain while Hubby was assigned there. (She was probably there for 30 years.) Helen and he got along beautifully. She would leave for school early each morning when the traffic was light. Hubby would always call her first if there was “no school” so she wouldn’t start out in snowy weather. We would try to sit with Helen at school functions because we enjoyed her so much. Helen would always bake pastries for the Greek holidays and would bring some into school for Hubby to enjoy. The last time we saw Helen was at the Hennigan School last June when the newly renovated school library was renamed for the late school principal Eleanor Perry. (Everyone loved Eleanor, also.) Helen looked wonderful and we were delighted to see her at the dedication. We send our sympathy to her sons Arist and John, and her daughter, Maria Murphy. She was the wife of the late Peter and also the mother of the late Peter “Jr.” She was such a nice woman. By the way, if I remember correctly, Helen’s brother Paul Brountas was in the cabinet of Gov. Michael Dukakis.
I have one more Fourth of July prayer, which I will include in next week’s column when I have more room. Here is another thought: “Never let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”