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Rounding out August

“The swallows chatter about their flight;
The cricket chirps like a rare good fellow;
The asters twinkle in clusters bright
While the corn grows ripe and the apples mellow.”
“August” by Celia Thaxter

We now have little apples falling from our tree. Some pears are also falling. We will have to pick them up so our lawn crew can mow the yard without slipping. The bush that planted itself in our front yard is also yielding tiny red tomatoes. So are some of the plants on the side porch. Hubby and I have to restrain ourselves from popping the tomatoes in our mouths before we wash them.

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Thanks to a kind invitation from Mary Truong, we attended the semi-annual luncheon at the Dorchester House. It was a beautiful day and we found a parking spot near the building. As we walked in the door, Mary herself was standing at the front desk. She greeted us warmly and said that the luncheon was in the same place as previous times.

We were very early so we practically had our choice of tables. There was a vase on each table filled with summer flowers, plus one golden aster to remind us of the coming autumn. Mary welcomed everyone to the luncheon. She then asked Walter Ramos, the president and CEO of Dorchester House, to come to the microphone. He told us that the facility was 126 years old and mentioned the many services it provided.

While Walter was speaking, I looked around the room and saw City Councillor Frank Baker, his aide Jill Baker, and candidate Marty Keough sitting at a table near us. There were two uniformed men sitting with them. I discovered that both men were going to speak to us. Sgt. Mike Morris, from Boston’s MBTA Transit Police, told us that the jurisdiction of their department went all the way to Rhode Island with the commuter rail. Area 3 is the Red Line, from Broadway to Ashmont. He mentioned the Senior Pass, which may be obtained at the Downtown Crossing MBTA Station on the north side. He gave the seniors the phone number for general information about the MBTA. You can call that phone number to see if there are delays on your line. Sgt. Morris even gave informative hints to those traveling on the train. Hold onto your handbag. Don’t let it go, especially if you are sitting near the doors. Never put your bag or handbag on the seats. Don’t leave your Senior Pass in your hand after using it. Be sure you have your money ready in your hand so that you do not have to fumble through your pocketbook at the turnstile. Talk briefly on your cell phone if you must but do not keep the phone in your hand, especially if you are seated near the door. Someone may grab it. He gave the phone number for the Transit Police, 617-222-1212. He told us that robberies are down on the “T.” He warned us, “If you see something, say something. Call the police.” One of the seniors asked what age you have to be to get a Senior Pass. The sergeant thought it might be 62 years. (I Googled it and saw that it was 65 years.) Disabled people may also apply for a Senior Pass. The second officer, Tony Dang, repeated much of the information in Vietnamese for many of the seniors. Mary Truong also translated Sgt. Morris’s excellent hints to those who didn’t understand English. It was quite an informative session.

The next speaker was Dr. Megan Young, who specializes in geriatrics (65 and older) at Boston Medical Center. The focus of her talk was how to help seniors avoid falling. (I was extremely interested in this topic.) “Do you know what a fall is?” she asked. “It is an unintentional change in position resulting in coming to rest at a lower level,” she answered. She urged us to let someone know if we have fallen. Almost 40 percent of those over 65 will fall, causing some kind of injury. A fall can be caused by a number of factors. One might be a medical condition. Medications can be a cause, too. We should go over the list with our primary care doctors to see if some can be eliminated. Impaired vision or hearing may contribute to a fall. Such objects as fans, with long cords, can be hazardous, and inadequate lighting and loose carpets can be dangerous. Some should use their canes and walkers in their homes. Avoid clutter in the house and watch out for our cats and dogs. Dr. Young stressed that we should have bars in the tub and shower area to help us get in and out safely. She stressed that we should take Vitamin D, which is good for bones and muscles. Medicines like Fosamax are good to take. Water aerobics also helps to strengthen the body. She called a pool “The Fountain of Youth.” (The pool at the Dot House is being renovated and will probably not be ready till October.)

I must mention that Hubby and I sat with a very lovely lady named Bridget at the luncheon. We enjoyed chatting with her. We all agreed that this was a very informative luncheon.

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Hubby, Eileen Burke, and I were delighted to see Sue Asci and Denise Doherty at the Strictly Sinatra Concert on City Hall Plaza last week. I kidded Denise by calling her “Grandma.” She is so proud to be one. They were having just as good a time at the concert as we were. Denise’s husband Paul was holding their seats on the steps surrounding the stage.

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I was sorry to read of the death of Helen (McNamee) Murphy on June 10. Helen was the sister of the late Peggy Shaughnessy and the sister-in-law of Bill Shaughnessy. I know that Bill and Helen were good friends. I send my belated sympathy to Bill and to Helen’s nieces and nephews. I was sorry, too, to read of the death of Eleanor Barry on Aug. 19. I had known Eleanor for many years because our kids went to school with her kids. In recent years, I had seen her at the Notre Dame Montessori School’s celebrations because she had three grandchildren at the school and Sr. Elizabeth had invited Hubby and me to the celebrations. Hubby, when he was in charge of his school’s funds, said Eleanor was always lovely to deal with at her bank in Fields Corner. She was the wife of the late Joseph F. Barry. I send our sympathy to their children: Joseph E., Mary Ellen Keenan, Michael, Ann Marie Gaffney, and Brian.

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Speaking of Sr. Elizabeth, all of us at church were sorry to hear, from Fr. George Carrigg, that our friend, Sr. Elizabeth Calcagni, had lost her nephew, Brian Calcagni, a painter, suddenly on Aug. 13, at age 46. He was the son of Priscilla and the late Kenneth Calcagni. All of us at church send our sympathy to Sr. Elizabeth and to all the Calcagnis on his unexpected death. I was also sorry to read of the death of Margaret Wall on Aug. 6. Margaret, the sister of Mary Puddister and the aunt of Bill Puddister, was a longtime member of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association. I send my sympathy to both Mary and Bill.

I also send my sympathy to all the members of the Hebard Family on their loss of Linda Joy (Jesulaitis) Hebard on Aug. 17, at age 59. Linda was the daughter-in-law of my friend Lucy Hebard.

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I was happy to read that Fr. John McCarthy, the Irish Pastoral Centre’s chaplain, has agreed to serve as temporary administrator of St. Brendan Parish, beginning on Sept. 1. Fr. McCarthy has assisted at St. Brendan for years so he is well known to the parishioners. Father will be very busy with his new duties.

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I was very sorry to hear of the death of Wendy Rich, Jordan’s wife, from lung cancer, on Aug. 11. Jordan returned to the WBZ airwaves last Saturday at midnight. I kept waking up because I had turned on the radio. I heard Jordan say that Wendy had been a teacher for 34 years. She had just retired from Hudson High School where she taught special needs children. He also told us that they had been married for 31 years. Morgan White Jr. came in at 2 a.m. to help Jordan throughout the night but I never woke up again while they were broadcasting together. Hubby and I send our sympathy to Jordan and to their children, Lindsay and Andrew. I think I heard Jordan mention that Lindsay is also a special needs teacher, in New York.

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I hope that you saw the new species of animal just named by scientists at the Smithsonian and called Olinguito. The Olinguito is a member of the raccoon family but it has a bushy tail and a round face like a teddy bear. It is the first new species of animal to be found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. He is adorable.

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Here is a terrific hint from an Old Farmer’s Almanac: “For long-lasting flowers, pick flowers in the late afternoon when the leaves and stems contain the most sugar.”