“In spite of winter’s skies of gray,
There’s color round about today,
With lovely snowbirds winging by
Mid bush and tree to catch the eye.”

“Snowbirds” by Mildred Jarrell

A few hours before the Super Bowl, Hubby made sure that our indoor recycling bin was emptied. Then he fed our outdoor cat, Louie. He didn’t see any birds around in the trees or he would have fed them, also. Nothing was going to interfere with his watching the game. He made sure that our portable radio was in the living room so that we could listen to the game on the radio while we watched the game on TV. We always listen to Gil Santos and Gino Çappelletti on radio station 98.5 FM and put the TV’s sound on “mute.”

We had already seen some of the Super Bowl’s commercials. I loved the car commercial with the big red-haired dog that could not fit through the “doggy door” at his home. The dog exercised, ate properly, and then was able to fit through the door. It was a VW commercial, probably showing off its cars’ sleek new looks. I heard one of the men who made the commercial say that he put a “fat suit” of reddish hair on the dog so he could not fit through the door. When he took off the suit, the dog was able to fit through the door and also able to run alongside the sleek VW. I thought the commercial was made with two different dogs. I also loved seeing Betty White in one of the commercials; ditto for the Coke commercial with the white polar bears. Hubby and I both laughed at the baby hanging in a slingshot and stealing the Doritos.


As I mentioned, in last week’s column, we had a great Pope’s Hill meeting on Jan. 25, at the Leahy/Holloran Community Center. Both Boston Police Officer Dennis Rorie and State Trooper Jim Gordon gave excellent reports. Dennis gave us his office’s phone number, 617-343-4524, and Jim gave us the barracks’ phone number, 617-740-7710. President Phil Carver then invited our new-elected City Councillor, Frank Baker, to come to the microphone. Frank told us that he was delighted to be at our meeting. He introduced Allyson Quinn, who is on his staff at City Hall. Phil then introduced Rep. Marty Walsh. Marty told us that there were some differences affecting him with the new redistricting plan. He has picked up a section of North Quincy called Montclair. The Keystone/St. Brendan’s area was also returned to him. Marty told us that he was pleased that our state senator, Jack Hart, was appointed assistant majority leader, which makes him the third most powerful person in the Senate. He noted that Dorchester Court now has a drug court and ended his talk with, “Go, Patriots!”

The featured speaker of the evening was Bill Walczak, now the president of Carney Hospital. Phil Carver praised what Bill had done at the Codman Square Health Center before moving to the Carney. Bill told members that he has lived in Dorchester since 1972, or 40 years. He was with the Health Center for 36 years. He noted that the Carney Hospital is connected with both the Codman Square and Neponset health centers. He warned us that without fixes health care costs will bankrupt this country.

Bill told us that his first day at Carney was on Valentine’s Day, 2011, which coincided with a holiday celebration focusing on ways to maintain a healthy heart. He proudly told us that the Emergency Room at Carney is now one of the best. He also mentioned that the psychiatric unit, with 50 beds, has been completely revamped under Dr. Peggy Johnson, who had worked at Boston Medical Center. He reiterated that you can get excellent hospital care at the Carney, which, with 1,000 employees, is the second largest employer in the city of Boston, second only to The Boston Globe. He also told us that there are currently 11 primary care physicians on staff. Next year there will be 15. Bill received a nice round of applause when he finished his talk.

The final speaker for the evening, Stu Rosenberg, chief of staff in Councillor Felix Arroyo’s office, reminded us of the upcoming meeting on the Clayton Street bridge reconstruction and the two scheduled Dorchester meetings on Feb. 1 concerning the fare-hike, services-cut plans the T is looking at.


On Monday evening, Jan. 30, Hubby and I picked up our friend Eileen Burke and took her to the Adams Street Library where we were greeted by librarian Elisa Birdseye. Elisa had told me that there would be a presentation by a Handel & Haydn Society quartet, a new groups that is part of the society’s Voices of America Outreach program. The quartet was to sing music illustrating the nation’s formative years up to 1880 and the establishment of the Handel & Haydn Society in 1815. One of its founders was Gottlieb Graupner, who was born in Europe, then moved to Canada, and finally settled in Boston.

The four singers, two guys and two gals, first sang a native American song. Resoun (from Dallas), Christian (from San Juan), Carrie (from New York), and Sonja (from Minnesota) sang while David (from Virginia) played the keyboard. The second song, “Sing Unto the Lord,” was sung in Latin. The group sang “We Shall Overcome” and a song written by William Billings, a composer who lived in Boston and is buried under the Common.

David told us that there would be a celebration for the society’s 200th anniversary in 2015 and in the conversations with the group that followed, we learned that:

• Spirituals combined black and white music.

• Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” also sang with the Handel & Haydn Society for 10 years.

• Mrs. Howe’s husband founded the Perkins School for the Blind.

• When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln, the society put on a concert, which included “The Allelulia Chorus,” from Handel’s “Messiah.”

• Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was born in Boston in 1803, was president of the H&H Society from 1827 to 1832.

• There are 50 people in the H&H Society, and all are classically trained.


When Hubby and I saw our neighbors Jim and Joannie Pierce last week, we were sorry that we did not know of the death of Jim’s mother, Pauline (Turner) Pierce, on Jan. 15. Pauline, formerly of Jamaica Plain, was the wife of the late James. In addition to Pauline and Jim, her eldest son, Pauline was also the mother of Paula and Michael McNichols, Susan and Michael Kelly, Brian and Judy Pierce, Sheila and Paul Wilson, Michael and Mary Pierce, Pamela Pierce, and Stephen and Noel Pierce. Pauline also leaves her sisters, Alice Donahue and Laurine Condon. The sympathy of the residents of our immediate area is sent to all the Pierces.


When I saw the name of John “Jack” Walsh in the obituaries in the Patriot Ledger, I read the whole obit because the name sounded familiar. Jack was the brother of Ellen Concannon, who worked at the Murphy Community Center in Dorchester for many years. Ellen would speak proudly about her brother Jack, who was a Secret Service agent. He was a Marine veteran who served in the Korean War. Jack leaves his wife Ann (Welch) and their children: Maura Walsh-Hammer, John II, David, and Matthew. In addition to his sister Ellen, he leaves his brother Joseph. Jack’s funeral Mass was held in the Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston, where he was raised.


Thanks to a notice in St. Christopher’s Bulletin, I saw that Boston’s Public Health Commission is offering Boston residents free nicotine patches to help them quit smoking. Residents who are 18 years and older may call 1-800-quit-now to receive the free patch.


It really bothers me that our cable network will not tell me what is coming up later on each channel. Two or three hours after the program you are currently watching is on, it says, “to be announced.” Hubby currently gets the monthly program guide of the Turner Classic Movies Channel and we receive the booklet a few days before the month’s programming even starts. Why can’t the cable provider put in all those movies that are all set for the next month? On Super Bowl Sunday, there were two movies that we wanted to tape. We began taping them and, part way though the first movie, we saw that the third movie (all costumed historical movies with actors like Robert Taylor) was one that our friend Agnes would also like. Hubby had to go into the program button and re-program the taping schedule. What a pain!


Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday. The stores are filled with all kinds of candy hearts and so many beautiful flowers. Take a look at the cards for Valentine’s Day. You can find the perfect one. Enjoy the day!