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The Month of St. Patrick

“’Top of the morning’
Is what we say
On March 17th,
St. Patrick’s Day.
Wear your green
And I’m told,
If you catch a leprechaun,
He’ll give you his gold.”

I’ve already heard the Irish music on Ch. 533 on Boston’s Comcast Cable outlet. The channel is called “The Sounds of the Season.” Hubby has already put Mitch Miller’s Irish CD and one of Daniel O’Donnell’s CDs in the car. Yesterday, we heard Kate Smith sing an Irish song on the radio. Although she is now almost forgotten by most Americans, she can still thrill people with her wonderful voice, and she does a grand job to any Irish song. By the way, her first radio program aired on St. Patrick’s Day, 1931.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, son Paul gave Hubby and me a copy of Roger Moore’s book “My Word Is My Bond,” a very enjoyable book and very easy to read. Among the photos included in the book is one of actor Christopher Lee, who played the villain Scaramanga in the movie “The Man With the Golden Gun.” The caption on the photo mentions that Lee was a cousin of the author of the Bond novels, Ian Fleming.

I also wanted to tell you more about Father George’s celebration in honor of the 56th anniversary of his ordination. I mentioned that the food was excellent. After everyone had a piece of Father’s lovely anniversary cake, it was time to have fun. The young children had already been having a great time doing arts and crafts in the middle room. Louise Tardif, pastoral associate of St. Christopher’s, then came to the microphone. “Now it is time for musical chairs, with a different twist.” The participants were all given a particular item to get, while one chair was taken away each time. The first item, which I thought was extremely difficult, was a Massachusetts quarter. The second was a pen. (I hid mine because I was taking notes with it.) The third item was a scarf. (That was relatively easy because it was a cold evening.) The next was a hairpin or barrette. Number 5 was a hat – also easy on a cold night. The next was easy: an elastic. The next was a ChapStick. The next, a piece of gum. The next, a size 9 shoe. The next, a tie, and finally a blue sweater. Our pal Sharon almost had her blue cardigan taken off her back. (She removed it quickly.) It was so funny watching the participants trying to get the required item; we laughed a great deal.

The final game was also hilarious. Each team was given a banana. The first person on the team peeled the banana, put it on a paper plate, then transferred it to the small plate of the next person without dropping it. I think there were about six or seven people on each team. It would have been much easier if the banana had not been peeled. It was a slippery little devil! When the banana reached the final person on the team, that person had to eat the whole banana quickly. The first team to finish the banana won. That was also fun to watch, especially trying to push a whole banana into the last person’s mouth. Both games were really enjoyable to watch.

I always enjoy reading Larry DiCara’s annual letter. This year, he began by telling us that each of his triplet daughters is in a separate school. All three are playing squash this winter. This means a great deal of driving for both Larry and his wife Teresa. All three girls are doing well academically. As he wrote this year’s letter, his eyes moved to the photo of his mother and father, both wearing their caps and gowns. How proud Larry is of them. “Because of their savings, their diligence, and their work, their children went to Harvard, Bowdoin, and Simmons.” (Teresa and her siblings went to Williams, Harvard, UMass Amherst, and Bowdoin.) Their three young women will have marvelous opportunities.

Larry mentioned that he is finally entering the 21st century. Teresa and their girls gave him a Kindle for Christmas. He especially appreciates it on trains, planes, and at the beach. He spoke of Teresa’s work at Isis Parenting and of her teaching at Harvard Medical School! I laughed as he noted that Teresa said, “Having adolescents is like having newborns; nobody gives you a manual.”

Toward the end of the letter, Larry praised the late Kevin White, who served as mayor of Boston for 16 years. Larry served 10 years on the City Council while White was mayor and he was a member of the honor guard at White’s funeral. Larry ended his letter by noting that he would say nothing about his usually beloved Red Sox after their disappointing year. I loved the photo of Larry, Teresa, and their girls, Catherine, Sophie, and Flora, included in the letter. They all look so nice that it might have been taken on Easter Sunday. The photo on the back page of Larry’s letter was of the girls only. (They are gorgeous.)

On Sunday, Mar. 3, Hubby and I were at St. Christopher Church for a Mini-Lenten Retreat. We were joined by our friends Sharon, Joan, and Jean. Sister Elizabeth sat in front of us. The guest presenter was Father George Evans, M. Div., STL, STD, pastor of St. Julia’s Parish in Weston, and a native of Somerville. He was a graduate of St. John’s Seminary and was ordained in 1977. He also taught and served as the spiritual director at Blessed John XXIII Seminary. Father Evans explained who St. John of the Cross was because that saint was the topic of his talk. The little-known saint was a 16th Century Carmelite priest, a poet, theologian, and master of the spiritual life. He told us that St. John had great devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Hubby and I unfortunately had to leave after his talk. (And Father himself had to get back to his parish for the 5 p.m. Mass.) After the talk, there were to be presentations, quiet time, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, confessions, and Mass, followed by a buffet dinner. We are sorry we missed these.

Thanks to St. Ann’s Bulletin, I was able to see the names of deceased parishioners and how long it has been since they passed away. My friend Kay Basius, a lovely lady, passed away 10 years ago. I will never forget Mary Bielecki, who was killed so tragically 31 years ago. The Neponset neighborhood was devastated by her death at such a young age. Her dad Ed passed away 17 years ago. … I was sorry to read of the death of our longtime friend and neighbor, Ethel McPherson, on March 3. Ethel and her late husband John, who died last June 4, were very active in St. Ann’s Parish for many years. They were also longtime members of the Pope’s Hill Association. I would sometimes see both of them as I walked home from work when our office was on Neponset Avenue. I send the sympathy of our family to their children, some of whom when to school with my kids: John, William, Robert, Pat McInnis, Joanne Dooley, Mary Grout, Michael, Theresa Burnley, Kathleen Stern, and Christine Donovan. Ethel had 28 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

I loved reading the story of the Blue Hill Observatory in the March 3d Boston Sunday Globe that was written by Patricia Harris and David Lyon. (Hubby brought it to my attention.) Abbot Lawrence Rotch set up the observatory on Great Blue Hill in Milton because it was the highest peak on the East Coast, from Boston to Miami, where the Atlantic Ocean was visible. On a clear day, a person can see 90 miles and four states. A few years ago, daughter Sue climbed to the observatory as part of a field trip with about 40 other Boston schoolteachers. They were given papers as part of a scavenger hunt when they reached the observatory. They were then invited to make kites because the wind is very strong atop Great Blue Hill. The teachers did not get a chance to fly their kites because a fierce rainstorm arose, complete with thunder and lightning. That was quite scary! The torrential rain made the trip down slightly treacherous because the rock path down was somewhat slippery. By the way, did you know that WGBH-TV is called that because it is named G for Great, B for Blue, and H for Hill.

There is so much going on in the next two weeks. We already have the Carney Senior Supper, complete with Irish step dancers. There is the monthly Irish luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre, the Irish Senior Supper at the Leahy-Holloran Community Center, the St. Patrick’s Mass and Breakfast at St. Gregory’s Church, the Meatloaf Dinner at the First Parish Church, a fundraiser for Dorchester Day activities, the Pope’s Hill meeting, Gerard’s for a corned beef dinner, the talk at the Adams Street Library on Mar. 25, and finally a day in bed, suffering from sheer exhaustion from all these events. Truly these are all wonderful functions! They make me very proud of my Irish heritage. Enjoy St. Patrick’s weekend!