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Ringing in the New Year

“Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.
Hark, it’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year!”
By Ogden Nash

As usual, I make a few New Year’s resolutions each year. First, I always promise to eat healthier foods. I also promise to clean some part of the house each day. I know that if I started cleaning the attic, it would probably take till July 4 to finish. We have too many Christmas decorations and too many clothes. I have already given some clothes that don’t fit me any more (too big, thank goodness) to Morgan Memorial. Hubby doesn’t change his size, so all his clothing still fits. We try to buy at least packs of white socks for the men at the Long Island Shelter for the Homeless. Thanks to the St. Brendan’s Church Bulletin, I learned that the shelter gives out an amazing 6,500 pairs of white socks each year. We have two packs of white socks by our front door, ready to take to Nancy at St. Brendan’s Rectory at 15 Rita Road.

Mea Culpa: My friend Barbara Sullivan, a wonderful artist, won First Place in the Oils Category for the State House Christmas Card Contest. She did not win the “Best in Show” Category. She has, however, won first or second place in the “Oils” Category for the last seven or eight years. My copy of Barbara’s card is still on our fridge. We will put it in a frame before we put it away in the attic for next year.

I was so sorry that I was unable to attend the Freeport-Adams Neighborhood Association’s Christmas Party on Dec. 11. It was held at Peggy O’Neill’s Restaurant at 1310 Dorchester Ave. I had a sore throat and wasn’t able to go so Hubby and daughter Sue went. We had been invited by Jane Matheson and Barry Mullen. Hubby and I had checked out the restaurant a few days ahead of time to see where we would be going. Hubby told me that he and Sue, with their unwrapped toys, were fortunate because someone had just pulled out of a parking spot when they arrived. Barry and Jane greeted both of them when they went in the restaurant. Hubby told me that the food was great at the restaurant. (Members had also brought pot-luck dishes to the party.) Hubby also mentioned that the place was nicely decorated for the holidays. When Hubby came in the house, he mentioned how much Sue and he had enjoyed the evening. He even brought home an energy-saving table lamp. What a lovely gift! I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to attend because I enjoy chatting with Jane and Barry. Hopefully I’ll be able to go next year.

In case you were wondering how Daughter Sue is faring after her horrible fall on our icy street: Her hands and sprained wrists have pretty purple bruises on them. Her thumbs are not very strong as yet. (She cannot open a “new” soda bottle.) Her fractured elbow is not so painful as it was. She has already had several visits with her orthopedic doctor. He stressed that she has to keep trying to make her arm straight. “You will end up in therapy and you don’t want that. Keep trying to straighten it out.”

Hubby and I had planned on going to the Pastoral Center’s Irish Luncheon out in Canton on Dec. 19. The luncheon closest to Christmas is always so pleasant. Eileen O’Callaghan, the Senior Program Coordinator, however, had wisely cancelled the event because walking was so dangerous after the storm earlier in the week. My pal Eileen Burke called to tell me that she had been notified by the Cultural Centre of the cancellation.

On Christmas Eve day, I had spent part of the day making potato salad. I had to make the entire salad because my co-worker was sidelined with a broken elbow and couldn’t cut up the potatoes or mix the potatoes with the Miracle Whip and spices, so it was up to me. Hubby didn’t make a face when he sampled the salad so I figured it came out OK. Hubby, Sue, and I piled into the car with Christmas gifts, plus the potato salad, on Christmas Eve. Traffic was light as we drove along Wollaston Beach, thank goodness. When we arrived at Cousins Margie and Janet’s home, we discovered that Janet had pulled her car far down in the driveway so we could pull in behind her. The girls greeted us at the door. Their brother Bobby was in the sun room. So were his son Kevin, daughter-in-law Dara, and their boys Ryan and Adam. The boys were looking at their hand-held electronic devices. Margie and Janet went back to the kitchen and checked the food on the stove-top and in the oven.

In came more family members: Cousin Bobby’s daughter Lisa, her husband Harry, and their kids Lisa and Danny, who was home on leave from the Army. We had learned some lovely news about Danny a few days earlier. He had just become engaged to his long-time girl friend Victoria. She proudly showed all of us her beautiful engagement ring. Bobby’s son Donald, his wife Tara, and their girls Elizabeth and Christina also joined us. We were amazed at how tall both girls were; they had grown quite a bit since this year’s “Third” of July party. Bobby’s son Kevin contacted his brother David, (Bobby’s youngest son), his wife Courtney, and their daughter Olivia via “Skype.” Kevin passed around his own iPad Mini so we could all speak with them. David and Courtney are currently stationed in Korea in the Army. They had Olivia dance for everyone, on camera. She is adorable.

Margie and Janet’s good friends Jean and Michael McDonagh (spelled the correct Irish way), came in, their son Michael joining them a few minutes later. Their daughter Maura Jean also came with her husband Patrick and their boys Jared and Paul. We all laughed as the boys played with their remote-controlled cars, gifts from Margie and Janet. This was quite an exciting evening for us all, especially for the kids.
I am not sure if I can tell you all the food that Margie and Janet had on their dining room table but I will try. There was a good-sized platter, filled with assorted luncheon meats and cheeses. There was a container with Willow Tree chicken salad (good stuff). There was also a container of ham salad. There was my potato salad, plus some cole slaw. There were all kinds of pickles and olives. Our family loves almost all types of pickles. (Margie and Janet had traveled to the Market Basket Store in Brockton to get their favorite kind of pickles, which is difficult to find.) Out in the kitchen, the trays of hot food were on top of the stove, in the oven, on a hot tray, or in a crock pot. There was lasagna and also mac and cheese, which went very quickly. (“I should have bought more mac and cheese,” said Janet.) There were meatballs, being kept hot in the tasty pasta sauce in the crock pot. Janet had made mini hot dogs, wrapped in bacon. Those went quickly. There were bowls of chips with onion dip in several places around the house. There were also wrapped chocolate candies and several dishes of cashews on the first floor. There were several coolers with cans of soda and bottles of water out in the kitchen. Jean McDonagh pleased all of us since she brought with her two dozen cream puffs from Lyndell’s Bakery in Somerville. (I had to check one of them out to make sure they weren’t poisoned; they are positively wonderful!) Before most of us went home, cousin Janet gave each family a store-sized bag, with containers of food that had not been eaten. We lived on her food and rolls for several days. Janet even put in a container of black olives for Sue, who loves them.

When we got home, we decided that the three of us would exchange gifts. I gave Hubby the gift I thought would please him the most, two DVDs, “Godfather I” and “Godfather II.” He had wanted them on the DVD format. We only had those movies on tape, so he was thrilled. Sue was thrilled with her LeSportsac Bag and her Vera Bradley Bag, complete with a matching wallet. I still haven’t come down off Cloud Nine because Sue found a gift online that I have wanted for several years. I now have my very own Patriots’ shirt, with number 54 and the name BRUSCHI on it. Several years ago, niece Terri took Hubby, Sue, and me to the Patriots’ Shop at Patriots’ Place. Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti were there signing their new book, “A View from the Booth.” As I was walking around the store, I saw a rack of Tedy Bruschi shirts on display, even though he had retired. I hemmed and hawed but thought that $80-plus was too much to spend, even though he was my all-time favorite Patriots player. I often kicked myself over the years for not taking out my credit card and buying it Now I have my shirt. I can hardly wait for a warm day next fall to wear it without an outer jacket. Sue also found the new Il Volo CD, which has some Christmas songs near the end. I really enjoyed them on Ch. 2.

This is a lovely Irish quotation, just perfect for 2014: “In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.”