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Brand New Year

What a lovely time we had at Cousins Carolyn and Rock’s home on Christmas afternoon. As we emerged from the car, we saw the pretty doll figures that move realistically in the front window. When we walked up the stairs to the side door, we remembered that we had to be careful going into the kitchen because their two Maine Coon cats, Kittery and Sanford, always try to get outside. Rock and Carolyn were busy putting the finishing touches on the food while their daughter Katie was washing dishes and pans in the sink. “What would you like to drink? asked Carolyn. Hubby and Sue chose Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice. I opted for decaf coffee. Hubby joined me later with decaf. Carolyn put out the low-salt chips with the onion dip, made from Leek Soup Mix. We needed no prodding to try this treat. I had brought down some of the See’s Chocolates that my friend and classmate from high school kindly sends to me each year. See’s Chocolates are very well known on the West Coast. I don’t know if there are any of their stores on the East Coast.

In came Cousins Richard and Diane and their girls Julianna and Emily. We wished Julianna a premature “Happy Birthday.” (Her birthday is Jan. 1, New Year’s Day.) Emily told me about her school, Boston Latin Academy. I told her that I had gone to Latin Academy many moons ago when it was Girls’ Latin School. Then our daughter-in-law Alex came in with her Mom Sara. We were delighted that Sara was able to join us this year. She loved Carolyn’s cats; she is an animal lover and has a dog herself. Coming in on their heels was our son Paul. We all headed for the hors d’oeuvres, which were in chaffing dishes beside the stove: sweet and sour meatballs and stuffed mushrooms. We also tried the See’s chocolates. Carolyn, Rock, and Katie put the hot food on the dining room table. There was ham, basted with Emeril’s sauce, home fries, and sweet potatoes. Rock made carrots for me because I shouldn’t eat green veggies. He bought “the best rolls,” the Alexia brand. He also made mac and cheese, which was very popular with us diners. For desserts, we had Rock’s Mom Lucile’s famous banana bread and pumpkin cheesecake. There were brownies also. I think it was Cousin Diane who made Rocky Road Fudge. Some of us even had Hood’s Egg Nog and/or the Welch’s Grape. Such decadence!

We exchanged gifts after we had eaten. Son Paul gave us the latest Boston Pops Christmas CD with the Tanglewood Chorus that was made over a period of two years of Christmas concerts at Symphony Hall. For years we have owned the original Pops Christmas CD with Arthur Fiedler, which we love. This new one, with the Tanglewood Chorus, is equally excellent. The choral voices are just wonderful. They even changed some of the lyrics humorously to add to the fun. This was such a good CD that Hubby kept playing it in the car, even after Little Christmas. Daughter-in-law Alex gave us the third season of the Borgias on DVDs, which we love. Carolyn gave all of us gift cards to Friendly’s, which we all use. Before we left for home, Carolyn gave each of us a heaping plateful of food. Daughter Sue confessed that she ate Carolyn’s leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the following day.
I was sorry to learn of several recent deaths. Winifred Beswick died on Dec. 31. She was the partner of the late Warren Stewart and the daughter of the late Woodrow and Dorothy (Macbeth) Beswick. In recent years, she lived in the Keystone Aptartments. I send my sympathy to her siblings: Beverly Stevens, Fred, Theresa, William, John, and Thomas. She was also the sister of the late Joseph Beswick. She was the late retired manager for Avon Cosmetics.

Thanks to a phone call from Sister Elizabeth, I learned of the death of Julia Ann (Houghton) Dempsey. Julia often attended the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Christopher’s Parish on Saturday afternoons with her son John. She grew up in Neponset and went to St. Ann’s School. She worked for New England Telephone Co. until her marriage in 1962. All those who attend the 4 p.m. Sat. Mass send their sympathy to her son John. Fr. George Carrigg, from St. Christopher’s Parish, presided at her funeral Mass at St. Agatha’s Church in Milton.

I was sorry, too, to read of the death of George Coleman on Jan.8. George was the father of our friend Nancy Lafoe, the executive secretary of the Dorchester Board of Trade and business manager of St. Brendan Parish. George was the husband of Carol (Lothrop) and the father of Joan Hagan, our friend Nancy Lafoe, Susan, and Pamela Kiley. He was a retired 37-year employee of the MBTA; late member of the MBTA Inspectors Union Local 600; Member, Knights of Columbus, 4th Degree Rose Croix Council #01331; and Class of 1942, Boston Latin School. I send my sympathy to his wife Carol and to his daughters and their families.

Our whole neighborhood and members of the Irish and Irish-American communities were saddened by the unexpected death of Patrick Mannion on Jan. 9, at age 46, I believe. Pat was the husband of Monica (Hutchinson) and the son of Julia “Esther” (Lakes) and the late Thomas Mannion. (Tom Sr. passed away just a year and a half ago, on June 20, 2012.) Pat was a graduate of Don Bosco High School, Class of 1985, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, Class of 1989. He was a longtime civil engineer for MassDOT. He was a member and past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Dorchester Council #107 and a coach for Dorchester Youth Sports. Our neighborhood and the Irish and Irish-American communities send our sympathy to his wife Monica, to his mom Esther, and to his brothers: Thomas Jr., Michael, Gerald, and John.
On Saturday, I received a call from a dear friend. She asked that I not use her name. She also asked that I write this warning to our readers. On New Year’s Eve afternoon, she went shopping at a supermarket in Quincy. She was surprised at how crowded the store was with shoppers. She left her purse in her carriage unattended for just a minute while she was looking at food, something she very seldom does. When she returned to her carriage, her purse was gone. It was a Coach Handbag, which, I think, begins at $400. Also in the purse were her charge cards, $200 in gift cards from Christmas, and her driver’s license. The supermarket says it doesn’t have surveillance film of the thieves but the T does. Two men were able to use her credit card to buy T passes. If the police could get the two crimes tied together, the amount taken, plus the use of the stolen credit card, would make this a more serious charge. Please, please do not leave your handbag unattended. Thieves are roaming through stores just looking for an opportunity to steal.
I was going to write about Marty Walsh’s Senior Brunch and his inaugural in this column for this week. I, however, have just found out about the death of former Massachusetts Attorney General Bob Quinn, whom I loved. He was always such a gentleman. I also had the sad task of writing about Pat Mannion this morning. I had the radio on in work and heard that the two children who had hidden in a hope chest had both passed away. It is a sad morning. I will write about the brunch and the inaugural, two happy events, next week.
My cousins Margie and Janet told me something that did make us feel much better. They heard this on the radio but have not seen it in print as yet. Mayor Marty Walsh said on the radio that a person does not have to give up his shoveled-out parking spot 48 hours after the end of the snow storm, as previously directed. Bravo, Mayor Marty! That didn’t seem fair, especially if you live near a school where the teachers park all over the neighborhood because the school parking lot is not big enough. I wish we all could see this in print.
Mea culpa: My fingers went awry as I typed the article about the new baby (Lena) of Aonghus O’Nia and his wife Lisa Courtney in last week’s column. Mom Lisa does not have a “d” in her name. Sorry, Lisa!
Here is a terrific thought, attributed to William Shakespeare: “No legacy is so rich as honesty!”