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The Waning Summer

The year now turns to August;
A glimmering gold array
The golden month of sunshine
When blooms add rich display.”
“Golden Month of August”
By Elizabeth Weaver Winstead

Our apple and pear trees are still depositing their fruits over our year. Hubby spent some time last week picking them up. He has been caring for our tomatoes, which are coming in fast and furiously, especially the cherry tomatoes. Hubby even has some potatoes growing along the foundation of the house. Usually, when he digs them up, the potatoes are quite small. We have tiny grapes on our vines. They won’t be ready for at least another month. Our whiskey barrels are doing well this year because there hasn’t been too much heat this summer. In the next few days, he will be applying the last application of rose food to our bushes. He begins around the first of April and continues to do it once a month until September. 

What a great time Hubby, daughter Sue, and I had at the annual BBQ and celebration of Father George’s birthday. The party had been postponed from Aug. 3 to Aug. 10 because of the threat of bad weather on the third. The day was quite warm as we drove up to St. Christopher’s. The bilingual Mass was still going on when we arrived. We found a table under a tree next to our friends Sharon and Chuck and Theresa and her daughter-in-law Marisa. Jean came in a little later. We sat with our pal Joan. Once the Mass was over, a large number of people from church joined us. We were each given a lei of multi-colored artificial flowers. The leis looked so festive on everyone. Each person was also given a numbered ticket to be used in the drawings.

After everyone was seated, the music began. We all loved the music because it was music that everyone could dance to: “The Macarena,” “All Night Long,” “Celebration,” and “The Hokey-Pokey,” as examples. Even though some of us did not get up on the dance floor (put together by Tony and Yoryi), we danced, sang, and moved in our chairs. Our pastoral associate, Louise, brought out a pinkish-orange “Octopus” head dress. The first drawing was for the person who would have to wear the “octopus.” Louise called the number several times but no one claimed the prize. Finally, someone asked Fr. George to check his ticket. Wonder of all wonders, his ticket was the winning one. Being the good sport that he is, he put the “octopus” head dress on immediately. (Hubby has a couple of great photos.)

 Then it was time for food. The adults went up first, for themselves and their children. The young children and young adults were kept busy with volleyball, softball, soccer, and kickball. The younger children were able to ride the pony. There was even a horse for adults. Dr. Anthony Oliva provided the pony rides. There were some children who passed by us with their faces painted beautifully. There was even a table for arts & crafts. We watched the Musical Mango Game. When the DJ stopped the music, whoever was holding the “mango” in the circle had to leave the group. The younger children (ages 3 to 10) were then asked to find all the seashells that they could find, hidden around the grounds. The observant ones saw that there were shells in the sand of each little dish, with two little umbrellas, that were the centerpieces at each table.  The prize went to the one who found the only starfish. There were tugs of war. We watched as the kids and young adults pulled with all their might.

Then all the festivities stopped. It was time to honor Fr. George on his birthday. (I did see his sister Mary in the crowd.) There was a big cake that was cut up for all of us. Our pal Shawn was one of the volunteers giving out the ice cream sandwiches so he came over to us almost immediately.  On that warm day, the ice cream was appreciated. I am sorry that we did not see the water balloon burst or the hula contest because we had to leave to attend Pat Foley’s wake. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, with lots of fun for everyone.

I was sorry to read of the death of H. Russell Carney on Aug. 13. Russ and his wife Joan lived on Pope’s Hill Street for quite a few years with their 10 children: Russ, Joanne, Steven, Mary, Karen, Brenda, Dan, Jim, Linda, and Donna. They were also the parents of the late Kevin and Patrick. I did not know Russ very well but I loved his wife Joan, who passed away before the family moved from Pope’s Hill. I attended Russ’s wake at the Dolan Funeral Home last week. All the children were there. I couldn’t get over how tall most of them were. I had to stand on my tiptoes every time I was hugged. (I don’t know what Joan fed the kids to have them grow that tall.) I remember when Joan passed away, how devastated our neighborhood was. My family and I join many of our long-time neighbors in Pope’s Hill in sending our sympathy to all the family.
I was delighted to see Paul and Joe Juliano at Mr. Carney’s wake. I hadn’t seen either of them in years. I caught up on all their family news. Their Mom is doing well as are their sisters and brothers. Paul is still into ham radio. That is how he met our son Paul when they were teenagers. I told Paul that our son Paul is still into radios also. Paul mentioned that his brother George is working in the Sexual Assault Unit of the Boston Police. Hubby and I used to see George in at Arch Street. I was so glad to see the Julianos.

I was sorry to hear from my friend Phil that Police Officer Mike Keaney’s Dad, Leo T. Keaney, had passed away on Aug. 8. Mike, as most people know, is a Community Service officer in District C-11 in Fields Corner.  Leo, a resident of South Boston, was the father of Mike, Joseph, Kelly, and Tricia. We in the Pope’s Hill Association, send our condolences to the entire Keaney Family.

I was sorry to hear Jack Williams on WBZ radio last Monday when he announced that he would be retiring from the TV anchor desk on Aug. 31 after almost 35 years. Jack said that he had his first job in 1959, when he was a teenager and has been working in broadcasting ever since. He also mentioned that he would be 71 in Oct. He and his wife Marci will continue their work with Wednesday’s Child, which gives away $430,000 in grants each year. It was in 1981 that they began Wednesday’s Child, which fosters the adoption of special-needs children. Jack said that he would help out WBZ-TV whenever the station needed him so we know we will continue to see him. By the way, Jack mentioned that he was on the board of Phi Beta Kappa so he is probably a member. He must be a pretty smart man; of course, we knew that over all these years.

Both Hubby and daughter Sue saw the sign that said that Subway will be the new sandwich shop that will open where D’Angelo’s once operated, next to Dunkin’ Donuts on Morrissey Blvd.

I must go back and mention some of the nice people I met when I was at the First Parish Church watching as people purchased a $2 bag of fresh vegetables and fruits. I spoke with Jason Cammarata. Then I met Steve, Liz, Ronaldo, and Miss Betty. There was a lovely young gal named Sianni Neal, who was a big help in filling the bags. One woman brought her Lhasa Apso dog named Tashi with her. Everyone told me to watch the dog. The dog ate fruit and little veggies given to him.  I laughed because the dog was so cute. Don’t forget the phone number for Fair Foods: 617-288-6185. You may also check out fairfoods.org to see the times and places.

I must also mention that each person attending the wake for Doris Asci received a lovely scroll written by Doris’s niece Kim Kelleher. Kim called her aunt “a shining star” throughout her life. She taught Kim with her many talents, creative ideas, and endless patience. “She taught us to face our personal challenges with a positive and courageous spirit and valiant attitude.” I loved the ending of Kim’s tribute to her Aunt Doris: “How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed; but what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.” By D. Ferguson.