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Joy of Spring

“The sky warms, awakened by the breath of spring. Critters yawn, rubbing winter from their eyes, as tree boughs burst into welcome blossoms.” By Joy Shoppre

This past weekend, the warmer temperatures enticed Hubby and me to go out into the yard. Hubby fixed a finial on the front fence. A little wood glue and tightening of the screw that held it to the post did the trick. We are concerned about our roses because of the extremely cold temperatures this winter. Hubby will do some pruning to take off the dead branches in the next week or so. Gardening expert Paul Parent always said that you should not prune roses until the Opening Day of the Red Sox. We are delighted that we now have yellow crocuses near the front gate. That patch of ground is only warmed by the sun.

Speaking of sun, our outdoor cat Louie has now emerged from under the porch, or from the little shelter that Hubby made from an empty tomato box, and is now sunning himself on various sections of the porch floor. He follows the sun around the outside of house. The other day, he was asleep in the large flower basket that pal Loretta had given us, filled with lovely plants, on our 50th wedding anniversary. Hubby grabbed his camera and took several photos of Louie in the basket. It looks like we are growing cats. By the way, as I sit on the porch steps and pat Louie, I can feel the warmth of his fur after he has been sitting in the sun. He is such a good boy!
Where would Hubby, daughter Sue, and I be but at the St. Patrick’s Breakfast at St. Gregory’s Parish. We were quite early and were delighted to sit with our friends Mary Keeley, Pat Devilly, and Arlene Phinney. We were also joined by Bridget and Sarah Williams. We saw friend Gerard and his team bring in the food. Coffee and assorted juices were already up the back of the hall. Thank goodness, there was a container of decaf. We had a chance to chat with a long-time friend Vic Campbell. Peter Woloschuk came over to greet us. We saw Dolly Farquharson sitting across from us. Pal Elaine Doherty, Jack and Jody’s Mom, came to the breakfast with two of her granddaughters, who looked adorable with Irish decorations in their hair.

Fr. Vincent Daily, the pastor of St. Gregory’s, welcomed all of us to the breakfast. He mentioned that St. Patrick is the patron saint of the city of Boston. I saw my telephone friend Julie Hayes, the parish secretary, talking with people throughout the hall. After everyone had eaten, we were treated to the Irish step dancers from the Forbes School of Irish Step Dancing. The girls had the most beautiful costumes, both back and front, that I have ever seen. They were extraordinary. Also, they danced to the music of “Shipping Up to Boston,” one of my favorite songs, which is a big hit for the Dropkick Murphys. By the way, these dancers are so good that they were asked to perform on opening day at Fenway Park while the Dropkick Murphys were performing.

Then it was time for Fr. Daily, on his banjo, and Paul Devin, with his keyboard and bodhran, to shine. We could tell that Fr. Daily had been practicing because he added songs from last St. Patrick’s Day. The duo played and sang “Go, Lassie, Go,” and “Whiskey in the Jar.” Fr. Daily then asked Caoimhe Guirke to come up and sing and play the keyboard to “Caledonia.” He and Paul then began singing “The Fields of Athenry,” “The Belle of Belfast City,” “The Wild Rover,” “The Hills of Connemara,” “The Moonshiner,“ and “Finnegan’s Wake.” Near the end of the morning, a lady named Monica came to the microphone and sang “The Irish National Anthem.” Fr. Daily was quite pleased that some members of his family were able to attend the breakfast. His Uncle Bernie came all the way from Connecticut. Fr. Daily spoke about his late father, John Daily. The breakfast, with its good food and great entertainment, was a wonderful way to spend the day before St. Patrick’s Day, putting us in the right frame of mind for the “grand and glorious day.”

I must return to the Meatloaf Dinner Fundraiser for Dorchester Day Activities on Mar. 27. We were fortunate to have the two winners of the Dorchester Day Essay Contest at the dinner. Ed Geary introduced each of them. He told us that Aedan Harasymiw, the son of Lew and Kathleen and a student at the Tremont School, had written the winning essay. Lillian Nguyen, a student in Pope John Paul II Academy, also read her second-place essay. The topic of both was, “What advice would you give Mayor Walsh?” The two winners read their work beautifully.
I was delighted to see Richard and Maureen McKinnon and Richard’s sister, Kathy Coleman, at the dinner. I am always happy to speak with them. It was great to see Andrea Lynch there, too. Carol Chaisson came over to greet us. Her husband Joe had already told us that the Parade of Seniors would be held on May 15 at Florian Hall. He had mentioned that Millie Rooney and Paul Nutting were taking over the responsibility for the luncheon this year. Newly-elected Rep. Dan Hunt told us how happy he was to attend the dinner. Joe and Diane Zinck were also among the large crowd in attendance, as were Charlie Tevnan and his daughter Maryellen.

At one point, Ed Geary asked Kathy Harold, John’s daughter, to bring up the key to open the 25-year-old time capsule, which had been brought to the dinner. It had been planned about the time of the 25th annual Dorchester Day Parade in June 1988, and sealed on Oct. 3 of that year. Inside the capsule was a flyer noting that the Carney Hospital was 125 years old in 1988 and a photo of “Boston Billy” Melchin. (How we miss him.) There were flyers for Congressman Brian Donnelly and Rep. W. Paul White, even one from the annual Pope’s Hill High School Information Day, held at BC High and sponsored by the association. There was a flyer telling people they could travel on a trolley to the Adams Corner Election Eve Rally for a nickel, and a letter from Gerard. After a mention that the memorabilia from 1988 might be shut up again for another 25 years, and an announcement that Erin Murphy was running for mayor of Dorchester, the enjoyable evening ended.
I was sorry to see, in a recent Patriot Ledger, that Thomas Clegg Sr. passed away on Mar. 27. Tom was a year or two ahead of Hubby and me at State Teachers’ College at Boston, or Boston State as we now call it. Tom had been a principal in the Boston public schools and had served as president of the Boston Association of School Administrators and Supervisors. He was a Fulbright Scholar (he taught in New Zealand from 1959 to 1960) and also a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard after serving for 33 years. He leaves his wife Isabel and their children: Thomas Jr., Michael, Christopher, Francis, Gerardine, and Mark. He also leaves two brothers, his twin John and his brother, my friend Steve Clegg. My husband and I send our sympathy to the entire family. By the way, Tom died a few days before his and John’s birthday, on Apr. 3.

Speaking of the Boston schools, I just happened to see that Edward J. Winter had passed away on Apr. 2. Edward served as Secretary of the Boston School Committee for many years and was held in high esteem by employees of the Boston schools. I am sure that I join the school department in sending sympathy to his family, and, in particular, to his daughter Priscilla, who lives locally.

Because Hubby has mentioned that he is going to plant the shamrocks that he bought for St. Patrick’s Day out in the yard very soon so they will continue to thrive, I thought this was a great saying, by horticultural pioneer Luther Burbank: “There is only one job where you can start at the top and that is digging a hole.”