This month features Evacuation Day memorializing the liberation of Boston by George Washington’s Continental Army from the 11-month siege of the British Redcoats in 1776. Coincidentally, the holiday falls upon the feast day of Ireland’s patron, Saint Patrick. March also brings with it the liturgical season of Lent where Catholics throughout the world forsake something pleasurable for 40 days as an act of self-denial and self-discipline. Such is the annual dilemma facing Boston Irish Catholics…part-with or par-tay? As for me, I’m praying that the winter season ends early so that I will not be tempted to pamper myself and placate my urge to shovel more flurries!
Speaking of snowfall, the indisputable opinion is that Marty Walsh’s plowing efforts have radically improved during his mayoral tenure and citizens are paying attention. Count me as one of those cynical skeptics about the assurances that digitizing mounds of analytic data would have an amazing effect on removing mounds of white stuff. Too often I quote Mayor James Michael Curley’s words about plowing, “The Good Lord giveth; the Good Lord taketh away!” Well, consider me among the converted…I’ve become a true believer. Here’s why.
As a consequence of that calamitous “Snow-pocalypse” of 2015, Mayor Walsh gathered his brain trust to devise better ways to combat Mother Nature’s fury. Purchasing new and better equipment for plow drivers as well as route changes, new coordination points, and effectively utilizing the 311 app and phone responses bolstered the process. For the first time, the mayor tasked 25 Office of Neighborhood Services staffers to deploy in City vehicles throughout the storm inspecting and responding to complaints and oversights. Our newly minted ONS district representative Yissel Guerrero pronounced, “The mayor told us to ‘get out in the neighborhoods and help people’…that was his priority number one.” Marty’s efforts have borne fruit, and I’ve been hearing nothing but tributes throughout the city about his approach to this perennial municipal conundrum.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of New England Baptist Hospital’s partnering with the Boston Celtics as its “Official Hospital” and NEBH has designated March with “30 Days of Green” for its employees, many of whom live in or hail from Mission Hill. Visits by the basketball players and Celtics raffle prizes, as well as Shamrock Shakes in its cafe, are all meant to highlight our professional cage team “teaming” with the only hospital in New England that specializes in orthopedics and musculoskeletal care. This longstanding partnership is not just a once a year PR scheme. I’ve witnessed a number of our local seniors being treated to field days at the Celtics training facilities and the year round generosity provided by the Celts and NEBH to many worthy neighborhood and youth programs in Mission Hill. This is just another reason why Mission Hill is such a wonderful neighborhood.
Around 500 B.C. the “weeping philosopher” Heraclitus of Ephesus famously said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” As of March 1, there will be a change of location for the Mission Hill Main Streets office. Our new residence will be at 812 Huntington Ave., across from the entrance to Mission Park. The good news is that yours truly won’t have to go far to get my pants hemmed at Sofia’s Alterations and Cleaning, and the bad news will be the inevitable caffeine withdrawal from Maria Weinograd’s excellent coffee at Mike’s Donuts. (To my Greek readers, please note; that’s three Hellenic references in one paragraph, namely Maria, Sofia, and Heraclitus). We’ll shed some tears as Main Streets says farewell to our office mates at the Family Intervention Team and the Mission Hill Health Movement. Thanks for your many kindnesses.
Finally, since March 17 is a high holiday for many Bostonians, let me share with you something Irish… Bridie was driving home from one of her business trips to Northern Ireland when she saw an elderly woman walking along the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the woman if she’d like a ride? After some small talk after resuming the journey, the woman noticed the brown bag in the seat next to Bridie. “What’s in the bag” asked the woman? Bridie looked at the bag and said, “It’s a bottle of Irish Whisky, I got for my husband.” The woman sat silent for a moment, and with the wisdom of an elder she said, “Good Trade!” Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.