What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

As the leaves cascade from the trees, we see 2012 coming to a close and traditional local events filling our calendars. Mission Hill Main Streets has planted flower bulbs again (with help from dedicated volunteers and local college students). The Boston Parks Department purchased truckloads of daffodil bulbs again this fall to compound the multiplier effect of the number of yellow blossoms observed throughout the city last spring. Mayor Menino confided that he was prompted to make these beautification expenditures after observing the dramatic display of blooms along Mission Hill’s Main Street district. During his frequent leg rehabilitation visits to Brigham and Women’s two years ago, he vowed to replicate the look across Boston neighborhoods, or so he told me. Whether he was pumping up my inflated ego or not, I give all the credit to Tom Menino for his vision of reproducing the beauty of the Common and Public Garden throughout every corner of the town. Those dedicated folks at the Parks Department are true unsung heroes at making Boston bloom.

We’re Savoring the Flavors of Mission Hill once again on Nov. 19! See our ad elsewhere in this Gazette for details.

At the Oct. 27 Crime Committee meeting, City Councilor Michael Ross and BPD Officer Jerry Smart awarded citation plaques to three courageous Allegheny Street residents on behalf of Capt. Davin and all the officers of District B2. John Kern and the Colon brothers, Michael and Peter, responded to screams from a woman being dragged into a doorway by capturing a large armed man with a long history of perpetrating assaults across the region.  Police described this capture as a “significant arrest” of this menace and commended the men for their selfless bravery and community spirit. Bravo.

While most children would rate Christmas, Halloween and Easter as their favorite holidays, I was well-disposed toward Thanksgiving. The annual harvest festival still ranks numero uno with me and as I close in on six decades living in this Hub of the Universe. I’m obliged to acknowledge just some of the many people and things for which I am deeply grateful.

To the readers of this monthly Main Streets column, I appreciate your comments, ideas and occasional constructive criticism. Everyone at Mission Hill Main Streets thanks those who once again voted us the best nonprofit agency in this year’s Gazette “Best of Mission Hill” readers’ poll. A pat on the back to Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, who says he will be convening legislative hearings on the recent meningitis outbreaks.  Mission Hill is blessed to have lifelong lass Jessica Barry, the best art teacher in Boston, right here at the Tobin School. Mossy Martin is a class act and I love sharing memories of our longtime friend, the late great Kevin Fitz.

Mike’s Donuts and Green T coffeeshop both serve excellent products, but more importantly, these two generous business owners never say no to anything needed by any group! Ditto goes to the Mission Bar’s Michel Soltani and the Penguin’s Dermot Doyne. While on the subject of liquor serving establishments, it is almost gospel that every neighborhood has some gin mill that plagues the neighborhood and the local police agencies. Not here. The two publicans previously mentioned, along with Tony O’Brien of Flann’s, Sharon and John O’Sullivan at the Crossing Bar, Dermuid and Sarah O’Neill of the Squealing Pig and Otto Hernandez at Montecristo all run pouring establishments that you’d be proud to bring your mother and your children to visit any time, day or night.

Two Mission Hill mainstays have recently completed their work in our neighborhood and we are all the lesser for it (but, richer for the memories for their kindness and dedication). I speak of Bruce Smith, community representative for the Harvard School of Public Health for decades, who retired, and Boston Police Patrolman John Ridge following 13 years of outstanding service as our local beat cop. Bruce’s gentlemanly presence lent a hand at whatever was needed at any local event or committee. Our neighborhood watchdog, John Ridge kept an alert eye open to any danger or person needing help. John is headed downtown to deal exclusively with sexually dangerous cases and offenders. We were lucky to have both men.

I am grateful to countless area college students who willingly donate their labor and enthusiasm to community projects and events. If they’re lucky, the most they receive is a slice of pizza, a doughnut or a T-shirt, and they bestow their time to “give back.” These good kids contrast nicely with the occasional loudmouth blotto bozo who annoys their neighbors.

The selfless clerics in our midst deserve our thanks, be they the Redemptorist Fathers at Mission, the imams at the mosque, the local rabbis and ministers, and especially the devoted nuns throughout this area. To the entire gang at the Flynn House at RTH, you are the best.

As Veteran’s Day approaches, all of us owe a tremendous debt to those who’ve pledged to “preserve, protect and defend” our Constitution. I owe the most to a girl I met on Longwood Ave. and fell madly in love with 37 years ago. My Susan is a psychiatric nurse working with extremely difficult cases at the VA hospital, in addition to giving me three great children and making me the happiest man in the world. Our son Charlie is an Army lieutenant deployed with the 4th Infantry Division in Afghanistan. He used to work in the bakery at Mission Hill Stop & Shop through high school, and our entire family and I appreciate the prayers and well-wishes of so many thoughtful friends. To everyone who makes this Main Streets job such a pleasure…Happy Thanksgiving!

The writer is executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

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