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"Moonshine and Snow"

“God makes such nights all white and still
For you can look and listen,
Moonshine and snow
on field and hill
All silence and all glisten.”
By James Russell Lowell

We still have quite a bit of snow around our home except near the cellar windows. It was outside the cellar window near the front stairs that we first found the tips of four daffodils last Friday. The following day, with temps in the 50s, these four were joined by 10 more tips. We remember that one year not that long ago, we discovered daffodils emerging on Christmas Day in front of that cellar window. Hubby has been trying to get rid of the snow in the side yard. He keeps chipping away at it. The backyard still has snow. Even our local cats, including our “good boy Louie,” won’t tread in that snow. It is still too high. Hubby keeps driving over low piles of snow left on the street so they will break apart and melt more quickly.

I must mention that, at the Mayor’s Valentine’s Day Party each woman received a long-stem rose. Mine happened to be a coral color. When I arrived home, I cut the stem so that it would fit into a small vase that I already had. Five days later, it is still beautiful.

On the Presidents’ Day holiday, Hubby and I met with our favorite tax preparer, Frank, a retired Boston schoolteacher. Hubby and he spent a few minutes speaking about mutual school friends. Then we got down to business. We walked out of his building with a smile on both our faces. We squeaked by with a $31 state refund and a little larger one on the federal side. So long as we don’t have to pay, we are happy. A few days after seeing Frank, we received an e-mail from him saying that our federal taxes had been accepted by the government. Deo gratias!

We had heard, on WBZ Radio, that there will be a little more snow on Monday and perhaps more on Wednesday of this week. Speaking of WBZ, we were delighted that Mel Simons was on the Morgan (White) Show last Saturday from 10 p.m. to midnight. Because I work the early hours that I do, it was difficult for me to stay awake to hear Mel when he was on WBZ after midnight. Hubby taped Morgan’s show for me last Saturday because we had had a busy day and I was fading in the west about 10:30 p.m.

I was so sorry to hear that a very well-known priest, Fr. Dan Finn, who is stationed at St. Mark’s Parish, has been sidelined with a broken leg. I am sure that I join members of the Dorchester community and members of the Irish and Irish-American communities in wishing Fr. Finn a speedy return to good heath.

When our friend Eileen Collins asked if Hubby and I would be interested in seeing a musical revue at the Common Market Restaurant, she explained that once a month the restaurant will be putting on a musical on the second floor of the restaurant. She offered to buy the tickets for our small group, including Hubby, Sue, and me. We were delighted with the date of the event, Valentine’s Day evening. The parking area was almost filled. Some people were dining on the first floor because of the ”Valentine holiday” and the second floor was almost filled with fans of our musical group, North Shore Acapella.

We found our group and settled in. There were some very nice gals with us that evening: Eileen, Marilyn, Terry, Caroline, Norma, and Peggy, plus the three of us. We saw some of the performers speaking with members of the audience. Someone tapped on my back. It was my long-time friend Richard Livingston, who was sitting right behind me. I haven’t seen Richard in quite a while so it was great chatting with him. I also had a chance to wave to Margaret Jenkins, whom I met when she was the representative from the Boston Gas Company to the Dorchester Board of Trade.

The lights dimmed and the five members of the group came into the spotlight. They began by singing “Beyond the Sea,” a beautiful song. As a matter of fact, all the songs they chose were beautiful. (It was amazing how quickly we forgot that that there was no musical accompaniment, just the men’s voices.) The second was “This Magic Moment.” Then it was (“Darling, Hear My Prayer) “Cara Mia.” This was followed by “I Only Have Eyes For You,” and “Chapel of Love.” The ladies sitting at the next table had some wonderful voices. They began to sing along with our a capella quartet.

The men then began to sing some of Sinatra’s best: “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “Come Fly With Me.” They sang “Happy Birthday, Baby” to an 82-year-old woman named Kay in the audience. Jimmy Martin, one of the singers, told us that he had met Herb Reed of the Platters but enjoyed singing even more with his fellow a capella group. We all joined in when the men began singing “Sweet Caroline,” thinking of our Red Sox. They finally finished with “Over the Rainbow.” Daughter Sue counted the songs and said the North Shore group wowed us with at least 26 songs.

Before we left the Common Market, Eileen Collins told me that she saw Dave and Robyn Mabel, from the Ice Creamsmith, in the audience. I saw where they were sitting and went over to speak with them. Dave recognized me from the Dorchester Board of Trade meetings. I wished them well in retirement. They both told me that they would still help their daughter Sarah and son-in-law Chris at the store. It was so good to see them on such an enjoyable evening.

Last Saturday, Hubby, Sue, and I were invited to St. Christopher’s Church. Hubby and I arrived a little early. Sue had physical therapy for the broken bone in her elbow just before the meeting but was able to come in on our heels. Louise, our pastoral associate, warned us to go over and have coffee, soda, and a bagel because we wouldn’t have time to take a break before concluding at 12:30 p.m. The reason for our group being there was to train new greeters, lectors, ushers, or Eucharistic Ministers or to review the responsibilities of those who already serve in those positions. Fr. George Carrigg introduced Fr. Michael “Miguel” Sheehan, who would assist us. Fr. Michael told us that he was a Franciscan of the Primitive Observance. There were just nine members in that group and they did not live in the Jamaica Plain home in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish like the regular Franciscans. They lived in Boston. Fr. George then gave us a short talk. He mentioned that he was from Brockton. He also noted that his parish was terrific in helping seminarians pay for their training. He was grateful that the parish helped both him and his brother, Fr. Bill.
We almost immediately broke into two groups, the Spanish-speaking and the English-speaking. Fr. Michael assisted the Spanish-speaking group, and Fr. George and Louise the English-speaking. We discussed the role of greeters first. Their job is to make visitors feel comfortable in church. Most of our greeters know the names of the people who usually attend their Mass. Sometimes there are visitors at Mass. Since our church is near the Doubletree Hotel, perhaps they might be staying there. Present them with the missal and put a marker in the book to show where the readings are for that Mass. Some are not even sure where to sit. The greeter could usher the person to a place where it is comfortable for them to sit. We were asked to make sure we passed out our flyers in the correct language. If the people are new to the parish, we could give them a card so that they may put their family’s information on it. Our group thought that the greeter should be at church 15 minutes before the Mass begins to get the missals and flyers ready and to make sure that all the various items at the rear of the church are neatly stacked.

The next position to be discussed was that of the usher. Since Hubby has been the usher for more than 35 years, he told us that he checks downstairs in the church to make sure the area is empty, particularly the bathrooms. We unanimously agreed that a parent or older child should accompany a small child to the bathroom. Someone thought it might be wise to give children 10 or 15 minutes before the Mass to go to the bathroom, as the Ursuline nuns do. The usher also tells Fr. George if there is a second collection and the reason for the collection. Another job of the usher is to get the collection baskets ready. We even thought that the usher might calm down noisy children. He also can check the temperature in the church. There will be a little more, this time about the lector, next week. I will also write about the late Robert Greene next week.

Beware: there is a terrible (teeth-jarring) pothole in front of the CVS on Morrissey Boulevard. There is also a tough pothole as you drive out the exit of the Dunkin’ Donuts “rotary: and begin your trip up Morrissey Blvd toward UMass and BC High. That is a scary one, also.

Here is a thought, by Lewis Carroll: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”