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"There's no time like Spring"

“There’s no time like spring
When life’s alive in everything.”
“Spring” By Christine Rossetti

There are a few signs of spring in our yard. The crocuses are blooming. We see tulip leaves that are up about four inches. We have one snowdrop in our front yard, near the rose bushes. Daughter Sue has two patches of snowdrops in her back yard. We planted these many years ago when we owned Sue’s house. Did you know that the Irish call snowdrops “Saint Brigid’s Footsteps?” Saint Brigid’s feast day is Feb.1, which the Irish consider the beginning of their spring season. I wasn’t looking forward to the forecast of snow for yesterday. I already had taken my gloves from my purse, but I put them back.

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I mentioned last week that I would tell a little more about Tom Cheney’s 90th birthday celebration. We heard that Tom was born in South Boston. (Of course, the DJ had to play “Southie Is My Home Town.”) He went to Dorchester High School. If I heard correctly, he was first a sailor and then enlisted in the Marines. There were some wonderful photos of Tom in his Marine uniform and a map on the wall showing that Tom served all over the South Pacific during World War II. As a matter of fact, one of his fellow servicemen was present at the party and sat next to Tom the whole time. Another of the citations told us that he and Barbara have 15 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, with three more on the way.

I had already known Tom’s wife Barbara when she served as head of the Murphy School’s Community Council. I got to know Tom when he served for years as the president of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association. He was a terrific president who knew how to soothe ruffled feelings during meetings. He also knew how to get things done in the neighborhood. He made use of his favorite saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The celebration made for a delightful afternoon. Pal Eileen, Hubby, and I were so happy that we were invited to Tom’s party.
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On Wed., Mar. 12, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I walked down to the Leahy/Holloran Community Center to attend their annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner. We had no sooner sat down than pals Eileen Burke and Carolyn O’Connor came in and sat with us. Marie McDonough (no relation) sat at one end of our table. Loretta Philbrick and Mary Shea also joined us. Dolly Farquharson sat at a table near us and seemed to be enjoying the bagpipe music, played by our friend Tommy Leahy. (Dolly, like myself, is a wee bit Scottish.) At the next table we had Eileen Collins, Marilyn Ferrara, Peggy Gorman, Marie Schallmo, Terry Ryan, and Caroline Innello. While I was standing, my friend Della Costello brought over a lovely lady named Sally Feeney for me to meet. Our friend Peachy Galvin talked to us for quite a while. (We don’t see Peachy often enough.) Her son Craig is one of the officers on the LHCC staff. Diane Zinck spoke with us while her daughter Lisa was making sure the dinner was moving along well. We saw Roseleen Weir, who gave us a big wave.

We guests were then treated to the Greene/O’Leary School of Irish Dance. The girls, along with their young boy dancer, first danced in their soft shoes. Then they changed into their tap shoes. They were positively wonderful. I had to stand up to see them all, especially the little boy. They get better every year, if that’s possible.

During and after the meal was served, the Project DEEP kids were just wonderful. They asked if there was anything we needed. They came around with soda or water. They then brought around the dinner to each person. It was catered by Gerard so we knew it was going to be good. It was amazing that the food on the plate was so hot. In addition to the corned beef, we had potatoes, carrots, turnip, beets, and cabbage, and plenty of each of these. The kids even came around with mustard for the corned beef. The older kids brought around hot coffee. Then the kids helped us clean our dishes off the table. They brought around big trash barrels. In no time, the tables were cleared. “Many hands…”
The final part of the evening was a quiz about St. Patrick. We thought we were knowledgeable about the saint until we started doing the test. Patrick, according to this exam, was born in Wales. (Hubby and I had put his birth in France because we knew he was not born in Ireland.) According to legend, he drove the snakes from Ireland. What was Patrick’s birth name? It was Maewyn Succat. Which US city was the first to hold a St. Patrick’s Day Parade? It was Boston. Be proud! St. Patrick’s Day is an official holiday in which country: St. Lucia, US, Montserrat, or Denmark? (I laughed at “Denmark.”) By process of elimination, we figured out it had to be Montserrat, which was correct. An easy question was, “What does “Erin Go Bragh’ mean?” It means “Ireland Forever.” Another easy question was, “What is a leprechaun’s occupation?” Thanks to the movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” we knew he was a shoemaker. “Why does a leprechaun wear green?” It acts as camouflage and helps him blend in with nature. The next question bothered us: “What will happen to you if you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?” The answer was “ You will get pinched.” We all laughed again. Another question was: ”What was the national color during St. Patrick’s time?” Hubby and I guessed “blue, ” which was correct. Many chose green. ”Thanks to the movie “The Fugitive,” we knew the answer to the next question. The Chicago and San Antonio Rivers are dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador observe St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday.

We found out more about St. Patrick from the test. He was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, which is how he came to Ireland. He did his missionary work in Ireland for 30 years. He used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the Trinity. March 17 is the day on which St. Patrick died. Leprechauns live in the hollow of a tree. (I said “under a rock.”) Do not look away from a leprechaun. He will disappear. He is always male, is a mischievous trickster, and he is rich. If you think that the fourth leaf on a clover is for luck, you are wrong. It represents “God’s grace.” After we finished answering all these trivia questions, we were awarded prizes just for coming to the dinner.
There must have been at least 40 wonderful prizes. Before we left for the evening, we were given ice cream, either sandwiches or Klondike Bars. What a delightful evening! We thank the Leahy/Holloran staff and the Project DEEP kids for having us for such a happy evening.
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When the magazine Irish America (February/March issue) came through the mail slot, I broke out in a big smile. Who was on the cover but our mayor, Marty Walsh. Inside the magazine, there is quite a good-sized article about Marty, nicely written by Michael Quinlan. Michael mentions that Mayor Marty will visit Connemara, the place from which his family hails, in the near future. It is well worth the $4.95 for this issue. You will be so proud of Marty. Also in the issue is a one-page article entitled “The Quiet Man is a National Treasure.” You’d probably never guess that my favorite movie is Quiet Man. Hubby and I saw parts of the movie on an odd channel, not one of the usual channels, like Turner Classic Movies, on Mar. 17. There is a new movie channel up on Ch. 296 on Boston’s Comcast Cable that just plays movies. It is called the “Movie” Channel. I still could say some of the dialogue along with the actors while Quiet Man was being played so I am not getting rusty. We must take out our DVD copy and watch the whole movie sometime before the end of March. By the way, we often watch Ch. 292 on Boston’s Comcast Cable System, the ME channel. We watch the “Columbo” movies on Sunday evening, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on ME. I love “The Rifleman” and I think that Mark McCain (Johnny Crawford) is such a nice boy in the series. I love the new promos with Johnny as he looks today, which the ME Channel now plays periodically. Daughter Sue has been known to take her dinner plate into the living room and eat while watching Emergency on the TV. That was her favorite program when she was a kid. While speaking about TV, I must say that I am not so thrilled with “NCIS” as I once was now that Ziva has left the show.

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I love this quote from Phyllis Diller: “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”