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Happy April

“I think the world was born one April day
With fragrant winds astir upon the deep,
With bursting blossoms and the first bright ray
Of sunlight, bringing life to powers asleep.”
“An April Morning” by Mary Lintan

The patch of yard beside our home on the sunny side has exploded with color. If you love purple, there are at least two dozen purple crocuses in full bloom. There are yellow ones also but not so many. We were amazed to see two yellow crocuses in the front patch of ground near the gate. The tulips near the ground by the cellar windows are about five inches high. I bought two containers of pansies last week. Both of them had several colors in each six-plant container. Some day soon, when it’s a little warmer, I will transplant these containers into a big pot and put the pot near the front gate so that people might see these colorful signs of spring.

The Me or ME TV Channel (The name is written both ways on Ch. 292 on Boston’s Comcast Cable.) will celebrate Doris Day’s 90th birthday by showing some of her shows this coming Sunday, beginning at 3 p.m. Doris actually picked the shows to be seen. Her real birth date is April 3,1924.

Recently, Hubby and I were fortunate to be able to attend the farewell luncheon for Eileen O’Callaghan, the coordinator for the seniors at the Irish Pastoral Centre. Eileen had served in that position for about a year and a half and we seniors all enjoyed her very much. Hubby and I came in a little late because I was working. Thankfully, Eileen Collins had saved two seats for us at the Florian Lounge at Florian Hall. In addition to Eileen, we sat with Maureen Ahern, Norah Lavelle, Tina Quinn, Marilyn Ferrara, Peggy Gorman, and Nell Joyce. Fr. John McCarthy, the chaplain for the IPC, came in after we did and ended up sitting at our table. Sister Marguerite came over to our table to speak with Fr. McCarthy. She presented Eileen with a gift for her excellent work with the seniors. Eileen was not able to extend her visa and had to return to Ireland. Thank goodness each one of us had a chance to wish her well. We hope she keeps in touch with the IPC.

While we were eating at the Florian Lounge, we began to talk about the bus trips to the Foxwoods Casino, which the IPC arranges periodically. I think that Fr. McCarthy might assume that we were all inveterate gamblers because we knew so much about the trips to both the Foxwoods Casino and the Twin River Casino. I told him my strategy for playing safely, and without losing the family fortune. I just take $25 or $30 in $5 bills. When that money is gone, I stop gambling. (One time, Hubby and I even took a book each to read because our luck was so terrible.) Fr. John said that he considered himself to be very unlucky. I told him that he couldn’t be more unlucky than I am. In all the years that I have been going to the casinos, perhaps three or four times a year, I have only won once, and that was not a large amount.

I hope you saw the raising of the Firefighters’ flag on City Hall Plaza last week. As I watched and listened to the ceremony commemorating the deaths of BFD Fire Lt. Ed Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy, tears welled up in my eyes. Mayor Marty Walsh did a good job at the ceremony, as did Richard Paris, the president of the firefighters’ union. Many businesses, both in and out of the city, lowered their flags to half-staff. I thought that was wonderful. The deaths of the two firefighters made me think of my Uncle Tip, who was also a Boston firefighter. He was injured in a fire in East Boston. If I remember correctly, the fire was down by the water. Uncle Tip and another firefighter fell through a floor. The other man was hurt quite badly, broken bones, and the like. Tip received a blow to his head and afterwards he could never look straight up in the air. Because of the injury, he was forced to retire. We live in the house that he once owned with my Aunt Ethel. One or two pieces of his uniform are still with us.

I received a phone call that the new “episcopal vicar” in charge of the parishes in our region was going to say Mass at St. Christopher’s Parish last Monday. Thank goodness the Mass had not started when we arrived at church. Our pals Sharon Shepherd-Pace and Theresa Chatman waved to us from one of the pews farther down front. Our friend Joan Hill was also there. Fr. George Carrigg was preparing the altar. Within a few minutes Fr. James Flavin, our new vicar, came out to celebrate Mass. Fr. Flavin has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert Deeley as the vicar over our area of the city. (Bishop Deeley was installed as bishop of the Portland, Maine, Diocese on Valentine’s Day.)

Our friend Celia Coakley led us with the music during the Mass. All during the readings, I could hear Fr. Flavin cough due to what seemed to be a severe cold. At the end of Mass, I was speaking with my friend Joan Hill at the back of the church. Out came Fr. Flavin with our pastoral associate, Louise Tardif. When he came near me, I kidded him about his bad cold. I told him I could hear how congested he was during Mass. He laughed and told me that the cold only hit him on the previous day. He was walking around with a bottle of hand sanitizer. I told him go back to bed. I am sure he is too busy to heed my advice. Fr. Flavin seems very nice. I learned that he had been stationed at St. William’s Church for, I believe, six years. We look forward to his next visit. By the way, his office is located in South Boston. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to ask if he was related to Dick Flavin.

On Thurs., Mar. 27, Hubby and I drove to the First Parish Church for the annual Meatloaf Dinner fundraiser for Dorchester Day activities. How nice it was to see the church steeple back in its place of honor. Ed and Gretchen Geary were there tending to last-minute plans. I congratulated them on their second wedding anniversary. John Scannell came over to chat with us. Ed came over and asked John if he would lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and in singing the national anthem. Our pal Eileen Burke came in with her sister Lorraine Grier. So did our friends Loretta Philbrick, Mary Shea, and Ginny Biagiotti. Pal Karen MacNutt also spoke with us. She has inherited her father’s artistic talents. I congratulated her on painting her own Christmas card for the past few years. Pal Regina Hughes also spoke with us. What a great group we had at our table! Michael Pratt, our usual entertainer extraordinaire, came over to tell us that he had two entertainers to help him that evening, my friend and neighbor Ann Hayward and my pal john Scannell.

Rev. Art Lavoie, pastor of the First Parish Church, said the opening prayer for the dinner. We were there early enough to have seen Gerard bring in the trays with his wonderful meatloaf, with all the fixings. The coffee was already at the church. It was a cold, dark evening so Hubby went down to the back of the room, and got two cups of decaf. We were the second row to be called to the buffet. The Caesar salad looked scrumptious but I only took a little because of my Coumadin. The meatloaf dinner is my favorite at Gerard’s so I was delighted to get my food. Along with the meatloaf, there were mashed potatoes (with gravy) and carrots, with a roll and butter. Most people cleaned their plates. During the entertainment, several youngsters came around with strawberry shortcake for dessert.

As I mentioned, Ann Hayward and John Scannell joined Michael Pratt on stage. Mike played the keyboard while all three sang. They mentioned that this was the 384th anniversary of the founding of Dorchester. They also said that this was a great year because the mayor of Boston was from Dorchester. Then they went into songs. They sang “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Mary, “Harrigan,” “Over There,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and finally “New York, New York.” After the entertainment, Joe Chaisson, chairman of the Senior Salute for years, told the audience that he and his wife Carol are passing the reins of the Senior Salute to Millie Rooney and Paul Nutting. He told us that the Salute would be held at noon on Thurs., May 15, at Florian Hall. Paul then distributed the Senior Salute request forms to those who he thought were seniors. (He pegged me right away.) We seniors filled in the forms right away and gave them back to him. There will be more next week about the Meatloaf Dinner and the Time Capsule that was opened that evening.

I was delighted to hear from Alice Matchem the other day. Her grandson, Alex Preston, is competing on a TV show named “American Idol.” Alex, the son of Paul and Alice Philbrick, is among the eight finalists. Originally from Dorchester, Alex even writes his own songs. “American Idol” is on Ch. 25 on Wednesdays from 8 to 9 p.m., when the finalists perform and also on Thursdays, to see which one of the finalists has been eliminated. Bravo for being among the top eight finalists, Alex. I hope you win.

Please say a prayer for the deceased firefighters and their families as their funeral Masses are said this week. It is indeed a sad time in Boston.