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Celebrating the Emerald Isle

Having visited the Emerald Isle, I must admit that Heaven has kissed that beautiful country. Hubby and I still have memories of “the forty shades of green.” We remember the rolling hills and beautiful lakes. We think of the handsome and friendly people and the cutest kids. We tried to find my grandmother’s home. It should have been easy to find. It had half-doors and it was behind a small obelisk when Cousins Margie and Janet had visited our homestead years before. When we went to the area where we knew it should have been, there were no homes with half doors any more and we discovered that the obelisk had been moved. We asked one woman if she knew of our family. She did not but invited us into her home anyway. That is how the Irish people are: very friendly.

Hubby was finally able to put the small green lights along the porch railing just under the green electric shamrock and fastened to the rose trellis. He put the leprechaun sign on a pole by the front stairs. It bids people “Welcome!” Hubby took out his bright green shirt and Kelly green sweater and has them set to put on this weekend. My Kelly green blouse and sweater are also all ready to wear. We will be down Gerard’s for his corned beef dinner sometime this weekend. The Leahy-Holloran Community Center (the Murphy School) has already had its St. Patrick’s Dinner for seniors; we made our reservations for that. We have several TV tapes of Irish scenery from other years so we can watch them once again. We also have several tapes of Irish music, which Hubby taped other years on Channel #541 (“Sounds of the Season”) on Boston’s Comcast cable system. Hubby has his Irish CDs in the car.

I hope that you have already seen the Celtic Woman special called “Emerald” on either Ch. 2 or Ch. 16 on Boston’s cable. The women’s voices are positively beautiful as they sing and harmonize together. My pal Eileen and I were thrilled to see Chloe, the youngest singer, who has lost quite a bit of weight since the gals’ last show. She looks positively terrific. I still have not seen the last hour of the new show but Hubby taped it for me. I promise to watch the entire tape before St. Patrick’s Day, this coming Monday. St. Patrick’s Day is somewhat sad for us. My grandfather, Thomas J. Mills, a native of Newry, Co. Down, passed away in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day in 1944, 70 years ago. He was a “master painter” for the Copley Plaza Hotel. He was also a poet and a fiddler. I was the oldest grandchild and lived with both him and my grandma, along with my parents and other members of our family. (There were no apartments to be had during World War II.) He would cross his legs and then bounce me on his foot while singing Irish ditties.

On Thursday evening, Hubby and I attended the annual election of officers and the board of directors of the Dorchester Board of Trade. The meeting was held at Phillips Old Colony House beginning at 5:30 p.m. We were welcomed by Dianne McBride, treasurer of the group. When we entered the main room, we met our friend Charlie Tevnan. Donna Finnegan gave each of us a big hug. Jim Cawley came over to chat. He told us that he was scheduled to be married within a few days. We couldn’t believe his wedding day had come so quickly. It was at the Christmas party of the Dorchester Board of Trade that he and his fiancée, Elisa Birdseye, a librarian at the Adams Street Library, told me that they were engaged and were making plans for their wedding. I can hardly wait for them to come home from their honeymoon to see where they went.

Then pal Loretta Philbrick came into the restaurant and sat with Hubby and me. She told us that the fundraising Meatloaf Dinner at the First Parish Church will be held on Mar. 27. Pal Gail Hobin came over to our table and told us that we would be treated to an update on the plans for UMass Boston. The Board of Trade’s chairman of the board, Phil Carver, an employee of UMass, introduced the main speaker, who was Sue Wolfson, the Director of Campus Planning for UMass Boston. Sue began her speech by telling us that the total student enrollment is now 16,277, the highest ever. The university has a $600 million impact on our economy. She mentioned that there were 575 veterans enrolled in the university, up 47 percent from 2008. She mentioned that the Nursing Program is ranked very highly. (Our daughter Jeanne is a product of UMass/Boston’s Nursing Program. The number of UMass-Boston graduates who pass the Nursing Exam is extremely high.)

Sue spoke with pride about the new Integrated Science Complex that is currently being built. Research and cancer therapy will be done in that building. There will even be a small café. It is hoped that the science complex will be ready for use by this fall. There is much to be done on the UMass property. There will be roadway relocation, more pedestrian walkways, and improved bike lanes. There will even be expanded hot and chilled water pipes. There has been some erosion along the Harbor Walk, which will have to be fixed. There are no plans as yet for the Bayside Property. Sue certainly gave us a great deal to absorb when she delivered this overview of the master plan for UMass Boston.

The main reason that we were at Phillips with the Dorchester Board of Trade was the election of officers for this year. Here is the list: The president is Andrew Wilbur of Phillips; the vice presidenty is Jim Cawley from Work, Inc.; and the treasurer is Dianne McBride, from Mount Washington Bank. The chairman of the board of directors is Phil Carver. Other directors: Sonia Alleyne, Maria Andrade, Karen Diep, Donna Finnegan, Bill Howland, Derek Mourad, John O’Toole, Carlos Vargas, and Ryan Whitcomb. Loretta Philbrick serves as senior advisor. As we were leaving the meeting, we told Gail Hobin how much we were looking forward to the annual Robert Quinn Awards’ Breakfast because our pal Lou Pasquale is to be honored.

Daughter Sue sent me this bit of info that she saw on the internet: “What was the original name of Dunkin’ Donuts?” We are such fans of Dunkin’ Donuts that I thought we have been with them from the start but never knew another name. The original name was “Open Kettle.” The owner never liked that name and asked his employees for a new one. The story goes that one employee said to the owner, ”What do you do with a donut?” Of course, you “dunk it,” thus the name.

I was delighted to speak with Barry Mullen and discover that he is a new grandfather. Tyler James came into this world on Feb. 26, weighing eight pounds, two ounces. His delighted parents are Sean and Carissa Mullen. The proud grandmothers are Ann Morriello and Donna Burnell.

I must mention the duties of the Eucharistic Minister that we learned from our morning at St. Christopher’s Church several weeks ago. The main duties are to wipe the chalice after each use and to turn the cup after each use. We asked about dipping the host in the chalice but that should not be done. There is a possibility that the blood of Christ could drip on the floor. Before we ended our meeting, some of us received a booklet on our duties at church. I received mine on “Hospitality.”

I was sorry to read that my friend Gloria Vieira lost her mother Elaine (Blackman) on Mar. 8. Elaine was the wife of John Vieira Jr. In addition to Gloria, she was also the mother of Robert and the late John Edward Vieira. My sympathy is sent to the entire family.

Finally, here is a lovely Irish poem and blessing:
“May all the joy that echoes
Through a happy Irish song
And all the luck the shamrock brings
Be yours the whole year long.
May you have blessings, pleasures, friends,
To gladden all life’s way
And may St. Patrick smile on you
Today and every day!”