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Labor Day

“Let the farmer forevermore be honored in his calling; for they who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.”
By Thomas Jefferson

Hubby has labored in our yard and garden and is reaping quite a few tomatoes. This year, however, he did not plant potatoes. He was discouraged because they were quite small in other years. Perhaps he did not fertilize them well enough. We have bought tomato food and used it but we do not know what type of fertilizer he should have bought for potatoes. Our roses are starting to bloom once again. Our orange roses, with the pale yellow centers, are magnificent. The yellow rose, next to it, has lots of buds. The three pots of geraniums that now occupy the empty spots where the two upright yews once grew are magnificent. One has pale lavender blossoms, the second, hot pink, and the third, bright red. Hubby brought in three larger-sized tomatoes last evening. He washed them off and they are now in the fridge, ready for Sunday night’s supper.

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For the fourth time this summer, Eileen Burke, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I were at St. Brendan’s Church waiting for the bus to take us in town to City Hall Plaza for the Wednesday evening concert. We were in town rather quickly. It was so muggy that evening I thought I might be stuck to the bus seat. The Elder Affairs workers were right on the job when we arrived presenting each of us with a bottle of water. We found seats in our usual area and who should walk by but Dianne Kerrissey. We miss seeing Dianne, who retired last year from the city’s Parks Department. It was great catching up with her; she looked wonderful, lovely and tanned. We also saw another former participant in the concert series, Angelo Piccardi, with that lovely mop of white hair. Angelo was the master of ceremonies for many years and finally retired last year. (We were thrilled when the crowd could get him to sing.)

The crowd waiting to hear the Drifters was huge. Charlie Thomas, the spokesman and lead singer, began their segment by thanking Angelo for so many years as emcee. The group began singing a “goodie,” “There Goes My Baby.” He began doing a little light-hearted preaching by telling teens “to pull up their britches and turn their caps around.” Then they sang “Up On the Roof,” “Mustang Sally,” “Money Honey,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” and “Ruby, Ruby.” Many in the audience were singing right along with the group. We were amazed when Charlie said that he was 76 years old. What a strong voice he has for his age!
The group then sang more of their hits: “Magic Moment,” “On Broadway,” and “Under the Boardwalk.” I didn’t think I’d remember the words to most of their songs but I did, as did quite a few members of the audience. The group’s second last song was “ God Bless America.” Their final song was “Shout!” and it had almost everyone in the plaza moving their arms to the music. (The Drifters’ songs are classic!) There were so many people at the concert that we got all fouled up and had quite a little walk before we found our Dorchester bus. Most of us probably slept very well that night with all the exercise, both singing and walking. As we drove home after being dropped off at St. Brendan’s church, Hubby turned on a CD that was in our car’s CD player. What came on but two hits, sung by the Drifters. We all laughed.

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The last concert of the five of the 2013 summer was perhaps the most anticipated. We were going to hear Roberta Flack. Unfortunately, it was the same evening as St. Gregory’s Parish Barbecue. Three of our usual concert-goers from Lower Mills chose to go to the barbecue. (We missed them.) Our family has gone to the yearly barbecue often but we chose to go in town to see Roberta Flack. When would we ever be able to see her again? Traffic was light going into Boston. We assumed that many people were taking the week before Labor Day off from work so there were far fewer cars on the road. I think we might have been the first bus into the concert. We were shocked that the granite steps in front of the stage were already filled with people. It was, indeed, going to be a full house.

I had a feeling that my WBZ friend Mel Simons might be in the audience to hear Roberta. I got up just before the concert began and walked toward the stage. I saw Mel’s red hair and went over to see him. He was sitting with his friend Roberta, as usual. What a perfect name Roberta has since we were in town to hear another Roberta. Mel came out into the aisle to speak with me. (What a thrill!) He asked me how the other concerts were. I told him I thought they were all great. He had been to the Drifters’ concert two weeks before and thought that group was terrific. I agreed. He asked how Michael Dutra, the Sinatra “sing-a-like,” was. I said he was terrific. I forgot to mention to Mel that Disco Night was also great. (How I love Disco music!) It was so good to see Mel and Roberta once again. I look forward to seeing them next summer.

I returned to my seat just in time to see Boston’s Elder Affairs Commissioner Emily Shea come by our area to greet the seniors. Then Toni Pollak, the city’s Parks commissioner, came to the microphone. She introduced Mayor Tom Menino and his lovely wife Angela to the huge crowd. There was quite an ovation for them. The mayor proudly said that this was the end of the 41st series of summer concerts on City Hall Plaza. He invited everyone back in town on Saturday evening at 9 o’clock to see the fireworks over the harbor. The opening act for Roberta Flack was a man named Joe Arrayo, a singer from East Boston who entertained us for almost one-half hour. He was excellent. There will be more about Roberta Flack in next week’s paper.

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Included with this week’s column is a photo of our outdoor cat, “Louie,” who was already named when he adopted us. He belonged to a neighbor who moved and couldn’t catch him before she left. Hubby, with his soft heart, began to feed him. We thought she’d be back to get him. When she didn’t show up, Louie adopted both Hubby and me. He was outside for so many months that he became semi-feral. He has lived outside our home for about seven or eight years now. In the winter he goes under our porch and nestles near the cellar windows, which give him warmth from the furnace. In the summer, he is apt to be on our side porch, in the middle of our patio, or sleeping in the big flower basket that pal Loretta gave hubby and me filled with flowers on our 50th wedding anniversary. Hubby finally took a great photo of him in the basket and here it is with the column. He is very affectionate and loves to be petted. That’s our “good boy,” Louie!

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This was a very encouraging saying that I recently saw in a paper, attributed to “The Furrow”: “The darkest hour is only 60 minutes long.”