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Irish Village and Josh Groban

“Now is the time of the illuminated woods…
every leaf glows like a tiny lamp;
one walks through their lighted halls
with curious enjoyment.”
By nature writer John Burroughs

I hope that you are collecting your leaves and putting them out each trash-collection day for the composting collection. The trees in our yard seem to be very slow in losing their leaves. The leaves on our trees seem to fall in December. When we are our driving, we look for the beautiful leaves. There are some pretty trees even as close as on Morrissey Blvd., near the Kokoras Insurance Agency. Our geraniums are still living, even with the cold. We must bring them up on the porch so they will last one or two weeks longer than on the ground.

If we guessed correctly, it was the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan who led the crowd in singing “God Bless America” on Red Sox Parade Day at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. I love Ronan Tynan. He seems like such a nice person.

A little more about our mini-vacation to the Irish Village: Hubby and I had a ball shopping at the wonderful stores on the Cape. We visited four Christmas Tree Shops. I bought a second pair of toaster tongs to go with the one that pal Sarah Ashe bought for us when she was down the Cape. We either break the tongs or misplace them. I also bought my Halloween candy at one of the shops –Tootsie Pops. Hubby found Green Tea at one of the shops for pal Eileen, who enjoys it. (It is not recommended for those taking Warfarin, a blood thinner.) We tried to stay clear of the tee-shirt and sweatshirt stores. We heard that the prices were not yet down.

I must mention that our group enjoys joking with Tom, the manager of the dining area at the Irish Village. He is awfully good to us. Our trip organizer, Eileen Collins, collects a few dollars from each of us near the end of our stay to buy fudge at the Stage Stop Candy Store in Dennisport to thank Tom. He loves fudge! I saw a photo of Tom in his costume at the Halloween party on Saturday evening, thanks to my pal Barbie. He was “Fonzie” from “Happy Days.”

Not every meal during our stay at the Cape was supplied by our hotel so we drove in the rain down the road to the Asian Buffet on Wednesday evening. There were eight of us. Hubby had bought that day’s Cape Cod Times newspaper and saw a coupon for the buffet. Because we had the coupon, each of us received $2 off our meal. How nice! There is such a variety of food available at the buffet that we all had plenty to eat. I loved that I could make a salad without green veggies: tomatoes, carrots, beets, cheese, and a little iceberg lettuce, which is not too high on the harmful level for Warfarin patients.

On Thursday, the evening before we had to leave, after we had eaten dinner at the Irish Village, we, of course, stayed in the dining area so we could hear Norman Payne. A lady named Sheila came in to hear the music along with her relatives from Ireland. We knew that Sheila was a great professional singer from hearing her other years. Eileen prevailed upon her to sing for us. She agreed and moved to the stage with Norman. Her first song was terrific and beautifully sung: A River Runs Through It. She also sang the tribute to Our Lady of Knock (“Golden Rose”) and The Fields of Athenry. Eileen told me that Sheila’s CD is for sale in the Irish Village Gift Shop. Eileen then prevailed on another great singer to step up to the microphone. It was Tom, the dining room manager. I am sorry that I can’t name his songs; they were in Gaelic and beautifully sung also. Finally, on that last evening, Eileen prevailed upon our bartender, Brigid, to perform for us. She does the best cartwheels. She started out with one set of three cartwheels and then graduated to four cartwheels twice. By the way, we met a lovely couple, Kathy and Tom, from Saugus. Kathy had won the stay at the Irish Village in a raffle. They joined our group and had a good time.

On Friday, our group had a lovely breakfast before we departed for home. It was during breakfast that Eileen presented Tom with his delicious fudge. We returned to our room to get ready to leave. On Thursday evening, we had packed our suitcases for the trip home, except for the clothing we needed plus some cold food in the fridge. That made Friday very easy for us. There was little to pack. We discovered that work on the Sagamore Bridge had been cancelled on that Friday and traffic was flowing easily. We breathed a sigh of relief. We were so early leaving the Cape that we decided that we would stop at the Market Basket Store in Sagamore. What a store! We got milk and bread, among other things, to replenish our fridge. That store always seems to have a sale on boxes of tissues so we piled the bag of tissues on top of all the other things that we had purchased during the week. And then we headed up Route 3 for the hour-long trip back to Boston.

Two weeks ago, our phone rang. It was our friend Ann. She was not feeling well and wanted to know if we could use her tickets to see singer Josh Groban at the Garden. I almost dropped the phone because daughter Sue had tried to win tickets but missed out. I called Ann back and said that Sue and I would be delighted to go. It had been a while since we were in town at night. Hubby decided that it should be easy to take us in town as long as we left early. Within 15 minutes we were in town. He dropped us very near the door we were to enter. It is a little frightening to see all the security people at the Garden. Sue was much more familiar with the seating arrangements and found our seats easily. It was amazing how quickly the seats began to fill. The audience was a wide range of ages. There were very young people up to people older than I. There were even folks in wheelchairs who were seated quite close to us.

The gal who was the opening act for Josh had a beautiful voice. The announcer said that he had hoped she would be in Las Vegas very soon. She was so at ease singing as she walked around the stage that I think she is ready to go right now. (I am sorry that I never got her name.) She sang mostly the songs that she had written. She was wonderful.
Then it was time for Josh to come to the stage. Almost everyone in the Garden stood up and applauded. The sound system was terrific and it showed off Josh’s beautiful voice perfectly. He also walked around the stage, singing to all parts of the garden. I knew only two of Josh’s songs. I love his “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables.” When the concert was over, Sue and I walked down the staircases to the street. We walked out to the main street where we thought we could easily catch a cab. A Boston Police woman officer asked us if we trying to get a cab. We said, “Yes.” She ushered us across the street where there was a cab stand just up the street. (I told her that I was the “Bullpen Cop’s” cousin and she laughed.) Our very nice cab driver took us to Amrhein’s Restaurant in Southie where Hubby was waiting for us. We were home well before 11 p.m.

The Christmas Shoppe will once again be held this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Nov. 15 to 17, at the Laboure Center on West Broadway in South Boston. The shop benefits the Laboure Centre, Catholic Charities. The shop features thousands of Christmas decorations, gifts, ornaments, nutcrackers, and more. The hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I heard on WBZ that the Enchanted Village will open on Nov. 16 and will run to Jan. 5 at Jordan’s Furniture Store in Avon. Last year, Hubby, Sue, and I met Hubby’s sister Peg, his niece Terri, our daughter Jeanne, and granddaughter Erin the day after Christmas and toured the exhibit. It was delightful. We stopped several times and took photos with scenes from the Enchanted Village as backdrops. The photos came out terrific. Of course, on the way out, we bought six of Jordan Marsh’s famous blueberry muffins. Peg and Terri bought a whole dozen of muffins, some to freeze. Earlier that day we had met up at the IKEA Store’s cafeteria and had enjoyed their very-reasonably-priced luncheon. It was a delightful way to spend the day after Christmas.

Here is a lovely “Prayer for Veterans” that was in a recent church bulletin: “During these difficult times, we remember those family members and friends in far-away places. Let us lift in prayer the many men and women serving here and abroad in our Armed Forces. May they know of our respect and gratitude and be kept safe in the Lord’s love.”