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August Musings

“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

Hubby and I did have many apples this year but these were strewn all over our yard, where they fell before they were ripe. Some had teeth marks in them, thanks to the squirrels. On a cool evening last week, we picked up the apples with a few pears, filling three plastic bags. It took time for our backs to get back to normal.

I mentioned, last week, that I would write about the deaths of two dear friends this week. Patricia “Pat” Foley, who, with her husband Marty, owned Foley’s Flower Shop on Gallivan Blvd. from 1976 to 2003, died of cancer on Aug. 7. I first met Pat and Marty through the Dorchester Board of Trade. Pat was president of the DBOT while Hubby and I volunteered to help the group. Often, Hubby and I were late going into the meetings because we were working at the registration desk. Pat and Marty almost always saved two seats for us at their table. We loved that, because it was so easy to chat with them through the luncheon. To thank us for helping at these functions, a few years ago, Pat made the most beautiful black and white quilt for us. Just the black and white color scheme was eye-catching. I did miss them when they moved to Oak Point in Middleboro, a senior community. Hubby also missed chatting with Marty over at Castle Island. They did come to a couple of DBOT functions after Pat retired as president, but they then became busy with all the activities at Oak Point. Pat even became president of the Quilters’ Club. Pat loved being president of the FTD, Florists’ Transworld Delivery. When Hubby and I were invited to Pat’s 70th birthday party in 2006 at the Old Dorchester Post, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful flowers at her party. One member of the FTD had sent her 70 long-stemmed red roses that were magnificent.

When we arrived at the MacKinnon Funeral Home in Whitman on Sunday, the building was filled with people. We found Pat’s husband Marty quickly; he was so happy to see us. I commented on the beautiful quilt that had been placed over her casket. I knew that Pat had sewn it because it was so well-made. Marty also pointed to the lovely watercolor paintings in the room. I never knew that Pat was quite an accomplished artist too. Marty told me that she had received an art scholarship when she was a young girl. I had always hoped that Pat and Marty wouldn’t like their home in Middleboro and would want to return to Dorchester, but that was not the case. They loved their retirement in the Oak Point community. I know I join many in the Cedar Grove/Neponset area who mourn Pat’s death. Our sympathy is sent to her husband Marty and to their children, Tim, Regina, and Vicki, and to their grandchildren.  She was a lovely lady who will be missed by many.

Last Friday, I had a very enjoyable experience. I met two of my high school classmates at the Main Library in Copley Square. My friend Mary was already there. Our friend Fran came almost immediately on the bus. We hadn’t seen each other since our last reunion. No, I take that back. I had seen Mary when I attended her husband Pedro’s wake two years ago. As we stood on the steps of the library, we saw a huge Farmer’s Market in front of us. The three of us headed for the Farmer’s Market. There was the most wonderful assortment of vegetables. There were jellies, baked goods, and many assortments of flowers. Some just had magnificent sunflowers in bouquets, which were gorgeous. The prices for most things were a little steep but we certainly knew that everything was fresh.

It took us about an hour just to walk around the market. Fran knew that there was a cafe to have lunch inside the library. The small restaurant, known as the Map Room, was inside the front door and to the right.  As we sat down, we could hear there was a concert on the quadrangle outside. Most of the remaining seats outside were in the sun so we decided to stay inside the Map Room. The three of us ordered sandwiches at very reasonable prices. We chatted as we ate, recalling our days at Girls’ Latin. We spoke about staying in touch with our friends. We admitted that we were more friendly with those gals whose last names were closer to the end of the alphabet because we sat for most classes alphabetically. Fran’s last name began with “P”; Mary and I sat next to each other for 5 years because our last names began with “S.” We all agreed that the training we received at GLS stood us in good stead for all these years. I was sorry that I had to leave my friends at 1:30 p.m., when Hubby was going to pick me up outside the library. Fran also hoped to pick up her bus at 1:30 p.m. I wished both of my friends well and we promised to meet again very soon.

I had to leave by 1:30 p.m. because I had promised friends Liz and Eileen that I’d be at the First Parish Church in Meetinghouse Hill for  food distribution at 2 p.m. People were able to purchase a bag filled with vegetables and fruits for just $2 per bag. Hubby and I sat on the stairs of the church as we watched people from the neighborhood, buying bags of produce. A nice volunteer worker named Ronaldo even offered me a bag. I was amazed at how much I received, for just  $2.

Liz, one of the organizers, tried to tell me the locations where food is distributed other than the First Parish Church each Friday afternoon from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Other sites included: on Charles St., at the Vietnamese building each Wed., from 3 to 4 p.m.; on Dix St., each Thurs., from 3 to 4 p.m.; at 1 Devine Way, in Southie, on  Fri., from 1 to  3:30 p.m.; on Tues. from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Orton Marotta Way in Southie; on Talbot Ave., from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tues.;  at the Global Ministries at the corner of Euclid and Washington Sts., on Sat. from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; at the Senior Centre  near the Dorchester Y, on Sat., from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; and at the Kit Clark House, on Dorchester Ave., every other Wed. from 1 to 2 p.m. There are other sites both in Dorchester and South Boston. Call the Fair Foods organization office at 617-288-6185.

When we arrived home, Hubby and I checked out our bag of produce. We had some potatoes, a bag of small carrots, two onions, quite a few bananas, a small bag of red potatoes, and some tomatoes. I can’t remember all the things that were in the bag. Hubby, before we ate dinner, had a few small red potatoes cut in quarters.  He had read that we could cook the potatoes in the microwave for a little more than five minutes. Take them out, put a little butter and a very little salt on them and enjoy. They were delicious. Try them and take advantage of the $2 per bag of produce at sites all over Dorchester.

The second woman who passed away last week (on Aug. 8) was Doris Asci, the mother of my good friend Sue Asci, with whom I worked for years. I felt an affinity for Doris because she was a teacher at the Brookfield Elementary School in Brockton for 37 years. Hubby, daughter Sue, and I went to the wake at the Conley Funeral Home in Brockton. Daughter Sue knew the way so we found the funeral home in no time. It was a lovely home, quite spacious. A woman ushered us inside. I told her that the flowers on the grounds were beautiful. She told me that the water bill showed how often she had to water the plants to keep them flourishing. I told her that Hubby was always outside watering our plants and tomatoes, also.  We were both hoping that the rainstorm on the following day would actually come and saturate the ground.

We saw Sue and gave her a big hug.  We told her how pretty her Mom looked. The room in which Doris was waked was positively beautiful. The floral arrangements just added to the beauty. By the way, there was a beautifully-made quilt covering Doris’s casket. I found out that Doris loved quilting and was quite expert at it. She was also quite a good pianist. I finally met Sue’s brother Tony. Daughter Sue had seen him with his sister many years ago at a concert. We found our way home from the wake easily because there were many signs that said, “TO BOSTON.”

The following day, I arranged to get out of work early so that Hubby and I might attend Doris’s funeral Mass. We followed directions but ran into a snag. Many of the streets in Brockton had no street signs.  We went up and down a few streets but we couldn’t find Christ the King Church. Just as we were about to give up, I saw the funeral procession go by us. We attached ourselves to the end of the cars. When we parked our car, we told the funeral home employee that we wouldn’t be going to the cemetery. The grass might be slippery with the heavy rain and I was afraid of sliding. By the way, while we were waiting to go into the church, we had a chance to speak with Jim Brett, who is a good friend of Sue’s. We both commented on how nice the funeral-home ushers looked in their beige suits. I also told Jim about the lack of street signs in Brockton, and that we almost didn’t make it to the church.

Doris’s Funeral Mass was lovely. I particularly was impressed with the voice of the woman singer. The church itself was beautiful. There was an exquisite “rose window” over the altar. As soon as we got into our car outside the church after Mass, the funeral home worker told us when we were cleared to get out of the procession. We thanked him. We were so glad that we were able to attend the Mass.

I saw this lovely thought in a catalog” “Friends who take time to care are really angels unaware.”