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Celebrating Dr. King and Welcoming our New Mayor

“Like poetry in motion
Snow falls to the ground,
One flake, then another,
But devoid of any sound.
Winter manifests herself
With snow and freezing rain
That look like pearls and diamonds
Wrapped around my windowpane.”
By Terri Johnson

Quite a few of our storm windows, mostly the kitchen and the bathroom ones, have frost on them. And because it has been so cold during the day, the frost never melts. We make sure that the storm door to the outside is tightly closed before we close the inside front door. We even roll up an old scatter rug and place it against the bottom of the outside door before we go to bed for the evening to keep out the draft. I am not looking forward to the new gas-heating bill. By the way, we thank our neighbor Jon for shoveling for us.

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As I mentioned last week, I was so sorry to read of the death of former Attorney General Robert Quinn on Jan. 12 at age 85. I have known Bob for quite a few years. Hubby and I were always delighted to be invited to the annual awards breakfast at UMass Boston in March when the Quinn Awards are given out. I always made sure that I had a chance to greet Bob sometime during that morning. I also loved seeing him and his wife Claudina at the “Seeds Planted: Harvest Begun” fundraiser for Sister Elizabeth’s Notre Dame Montessori School. Bob was always such a gentleman and he did so much for Dorchester. Both our daughters, Sue and Jeanne, received their degrees from UMass Boston, which Bob helped found back in the early 70’s. I send my sympathy to his wife Claudina and to their children.

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Hubby has a big smile on his face. The other day, just before the storm, we went shopping. As we came near the registers, Hubby took off like a shot. A young Girl Scout was selling Girl Scout Cookies near the doorway. Back he came with two boxes of Thin Mints in a bag. When we had a cup of coffee on that cold evening, I could hear the box being opened. I had half a cookie, which was a true delight. The only thing that bothered Hubby was that there seemed to be fewer cookies in the box.

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The uncertainty about the amount of snow plus temps in the single digits caused the city to call off school last Wednesday. When our street had been plowed and salted, and our sidewalks cleaned off, daughter Sue was able to cross the street to our home. We had welcomed at least six new families to the Pope’s Hill Association at the last PHNA meeting. Sue entered these families into the PH list and even fixed the labels to make it easy for me. They are up to date as of last Friday. By the way, the orthopedic doctor told Sue that her broken elbow is not yet completely healed but that she is making progress in strengthening the muscles of her left arm. Her Dad, however, had to help her carry two 12-packs of Diet Coke into her house. They were too heavy for her.

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I had seen, in one of the church bulletins, that the Black Catholic Choir of Boston would be singing at the Mass honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 19. The concert was to be held at St. Katharine Drexel Church on Blue Hill Avenue. My cousin Kathy is in the Black Catholic Choir and also is a member of the church’s choir. (She is the only redhead in either choir.) I called Kathy to see if she was coming to the MLKing Mass at 5 p.m. She said that she would be there with her husband Jim. She told me, however, that she was not going to be soloing or cantoring at that Mass but she would be doing both at the 10 a.m. that morning. Hubby and I decided that we would go to the 10 a.m. Mass rather than the one at 5 p.m. I must confess that the Patriots’ game, beginning at 3 p.m., had a lot to do with our changing the time that we would be attending Mass.

We were early getting to St. Katharine Drexel’s, so we were able to park in the churchyard. We entered the church and sat halfway down the aisle. We admired the church’s stained glass windows as we sat. Kathy and Jim came in on our heels. She went up on the altar to fix her music. Jim came and chatted with us until Mass began. Father Gerald “Jerry” Osterman was to say the Mass that morning. The singing and the music were wonderful.

At the end of Mass, Meyer Chambers, the musical director, announced that the parish would have its own MLK Jr. breakfast at 66 Ruggles St., after the 9 a.m. Mass on Monday. Meyer listed the different items that would be served at the breakfast. I was all set to go if I hadn’t had to work. When Meyer finally finished listing the food items, he mentioned that the breakfast would be $15 per person. A man from the back of the church said, in a loud voice, “How about my AARP discount!” We all laughed. On the way out of church, Fr. Jerry was standing near the door. I told him that I was a cousin of Margie, Janet, and Bob Short, whom Father knew well years ago. I also mentioned that Kathy was also a cousin of the Shorts.

When the Mass was over, many of us went downstairs to have coffee. Jim and Kathy came down right away. As we sat chatting, we heard about their young grandkids. They even had photos of them. Kathy had retired from school last June but filled in for her friend when the woman had to attend a funeral. She enjoyed the day at school last Friday. After we finished our coffee, Kathy and Jim were heading to their son’s apartment in Boston to watch part of the Patriots’ game before they had to return to the church for the MLK Jr. Tribute at 5 p.m.

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I was thrilled to see the face of Mayor Marty Walsh on the cover of Irish America Magazine for February/March. The article about Marty was the lead story in the magazine. The cover says, “Boston’s New Mayor, Martin Walsh, a Hero for the Working Man.” The article, written by Michael Quinlin, was very flattering. The five-page article gives Marty’s life story. It is also very up-to-date. There is even a photo that shows cellist Yo-Yo Ma turning in his chair on stage at the inaugural and winking at Marty’s Mom Mary as he played “Danny Boy.” The article is terrific and I praise Mike Quinlin for doing such a good job in writing it. The Irish America Magazine may be purchased for $3.95 at a good bookstore. I was told that Gerard’s carries it, also. By the way, I am proud to say that Hubby’s people are from the same town as Marty’s Mom Mary, Rosmuc, in Connemara, County Galway.

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On the Saturday after Christmas, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I drove to a small church in Attleboro, St. Vincent DePaul, where we attended the 4 p.m. Mass. The church, by the way, has an 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays in Portuguese and a noon Mass in Spanish. We had been invited to spend the evening with Hubby’s nephew Steve and his wife Judi for the McDonough Family Christmas. We got to their home just at 5 p.m. and the house was already filled with people. Hubby’s sister Peg was there. Steve and Judi’s kids, Steve Jr. and Ashley, were also there. So was Judi’s Mom Sheila. Hubby’s nephew David was there with his wife Mary and their daughter Renee. Judi was out in the kitchen cooking. She is such a good cook. Her husband, nephew Steve, also likes to cook, especially on the grill. He is also quite the gardener. In the winter, he has flourishing plants hanging in the windows.

Judi had put out all kinds of hors d’oeuvres so people were snacking on those before we arrived. I saved myself for the pasta dishes. Their daughter Ashley makes some great stuffed shells. I gave them an A plus. The meatballs were great, too. We had brought slices of assorted cheese cakes, which we had purchased that morning at BJ’s. Judi and Steve have a Keurig coffeemaker so we were kept well supplied with decaf.

Daughter Jeanne and the World’s Greatest Granddaughter Erin came in after we did. Erin sat between Sue and me on the sofa. We had a chance to ask her all kinds of questions regarding her first semester in college. She loves school and the courses that she is taking. She hopes to be a nurse like her Mom. Jeanne and Erin were happy that they were able to see all the relatives. They had to leave fairly early because it was a long drive back to Rockport from Attleboro. When we left Steve and Judi’s home, we spoke about the time two years ago when we were on Route 95 and ran over a child’s tricycle that had been dropped, with other toys, all over the road by a toy collection truck. It cost us $3,200 to fix the damage that was done to the undercarriage of our brand new car. Why couldn’t we have just run over a little Barbie doll? There were so many toys on the road that the State Police ordered the road closed until all the toys could be picked up. That was a harrowing evening.

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I loved this saying from a supermarket tabloid: “If, at first, you don’t succeed, you’re about average.”