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Edith Morgan – always in style!🎉❄️🎉

The Games We Play

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🎁🎁🎁

It was all the rage this Christmas – and boxes were snapped up quickly. I had not really expected to get a copy, as I stay away from crowds due to OMICRON and generally wait until prices and availability are in my range.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I received a brand new, sealed copy of the Worcesdter Edition of Monopoly. I had been following the controversy about what and who was included in this pay to play Monopoly game. I was curious about the details. All of us have probably played the regular Monopoly at some time in our younger years, but I never thought about why this game and its form.

What do the choices of games tell about a people or its culture? I got to thinking about that when “Trivial Pursuit” swept out nation. Do the games we play really say anything about us?

Games involve considerable time sitting around a table with others. We can learn much about the strategies our opponents use to win the game – winning, after all, is the main idea of most games.

But does it make a difference whether you play checkers, which involves planning ahead a limited set of moves, versus Chess, which can involve planning many and intricate maneuvers, to trap your opponent’s King? And which can involve international contests with world champions?

I imagine by now some university has studied the relationship between a nation’s values and the games played there. What does it say about us that our games are such as “Trivial Pursuit” and “Monopoly”? Is “Trivial Pursuit” a comment on the way many of us spend our lives? And is “Monopoly” a commentary on our brutally acquisitive economic system? Both are partially games of chance but also of strategies to acquire your opponents’ wealth or property.

As children we played simple card games like “Hearts,” Old Maid, Fish, UNO and, even before that, we did interminable “tic-tac-toe” until we always ended up without a winner. Playing games begins so early in a child’s life; many teach them and us adults so much. But it also says something about us, as we develop preferences.

I fear some of that information and the skills in both strategy and socialization are being lost as so many of our children pursue the constant lure of computer games with all their flash and excitement and their constant pursuit of ever higher levels of achievement. Often that “achievement” is the destruction of others.

So, if your life is a “Trivial Pursuit,” how about making a 2022 New Year’s resolution that this year your life will take on more important meaning? And, if you are involved in cut-throat competition, trying to achieve a “Monopoly” in your field, how about working for cooperation and peace in your pursuits?

What’s YOUR game for 2022?

This holiday season, a pocket full of memories!

By Rosalie Tirella

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St. Paul’s at night. Photos: R.T.

The downtown Worcester space that I especially love this time of year is not the Ice Oval or the Hanover Theatre or the lit-to-the-max Worcester Common. It’s a much quieter, simpler space located on Chatham Street. It’s the St. Paul’s quadrangle, bounded by Chatham Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral Rectory and the old St. Paul’s High School. The buildings are set around a grassy yard, all fenced-in, but the wrought iron parameter isn’t forbidding – it’s no higher than my shoulders! The yard has trees, bushes, park benches, a stone walkway and statues of the saints. It is all a lovely anachronism. This is the Worcester of the 1940s, my late mom’s beloved city, home to Italian, Irish, Polish, Lithuanian and Swedish immigrants who lived in our three deckers and aspired to be AMERICAN. It is the movie “set” straight out of the Bing Crosby movie GOING MY WAY: deeply Catholic, august yet approachable, priests walking to their nearby Cathedral, brick buildings with leafy vines clinging to their walls, a green space in the inner-city. The benches, set by the statues of the saints, beckon you to sit awhile, calm down, breathe, be prayerful. This Worcester nook soothes me, makes me smile.

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Old school saint, St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus.

I visited gal pal “Vo” today, director of the church’s elder outreach agency, now located in the old high school. I walked Jett and Lilac today around the saints; Jett peed by the Virgin Mary. He is 15 years old. I am sure the Blessed Mother excused his weak bladder … I had never noticed that Mary and baby Jesus stone – new to me, something I had missed during our previous visits.

The rectory – home to four St. Paul Cathedral priests – is all stately brick and set back from Chatham Street. Across the street sits the old Worcester Girls Trade School (now the revitalized Fanning Building). My late mom Cecelia went to “Girls Trade” – and loved it! A pious Catholic girl, she also must have loved going to class right across the street from the beautiful St. Paul’s quadrangle, just yards away from the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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St. Paul’s rectory, left, and the old St. Paul’s High School, now home to church offices and church food pantry and radio station.

Girls Trade was also right down the street from the back entrance of the iconic Denholms Department Store, and it was a 10-minute walk from the gorgeous Chancery of the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and the WASPY old boys Worcester Club on Elm Street. It was who we were back then – not vulgar or money-grubbing or artisan beer-slurping. But religious, industrious, serious, with good fashion taste! Those few city blocks reflected our early- to mid-20th century values and dreams. The buildings are all beautiful and meant to be permanent, just the way God, education, home/family life were meant to last …

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The old Worcester Girls Trade School is now the revamped Fanning Building

It was a city space for everybody: Catholic church goers, poor Worcester girls like my mom learning a trade so they could cook or sew or keep house for a living. My mother worked for the Bishop of Springfield as a housekeeper/cook during the Great Depression – her pots and pans and housekeeping know-how all sprang from her Girls Trade classes. She was a poor girl when she was a student at Trade, but she could visit the iconic Denholms just like anybody else could. And when my mother started making money from her full-time job at the Bishop’s house, she became quite the fashion plate and visited Denholms whenever visiting Bapy and Jaju in Green Island. Now she was a young woman – and a Denholms patron buying her Elizabeth Arden makeup at the Denholms makeup counter.

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St. Paul’s quadrangle is located right in the middle of downtown Worcester, on Chatham Street.

In the wonderful film GOING MY WAY you see Bing Crosby, as Father O’Mally, walking his church’s quadrangle, which looks a lot like our St. Paul’s… These church quadrants must have been all over the country: a little Catholic church, the “heart,” and all the veins and arteries that pumped life into the community: the little church school building, the church rectory, the nuns’ convent, too … an immigrant’s haven, her touchstone.

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Jett and Lilac sniffing by a few St. Paul’s benches.

In GOING MY WAY you see Father Bing eating supper at the rectory with the old priest he is supposed to prop up … You see the grand old church, hear the youth choir practice for their Christmas Mass concert, you see the rectory’s housekeeper carve the turkey … and it’s my old Worcester, too – St. Mary’s church on Ward Street five decades ago! With its pretty young nuns and strict unsmiling middle-aged nuns, our youth choir, our Polish organist, our church picnics and May processions down Richland Street … a whole world.

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A beautiful stone honoring the birth of Jesus and the Virgin Mary can be found nestled in the middle of the inner-city!

I know the times were racist back then, and smart women like my mom had few career choices … The guys ruled. Catholicism, unlike Jesus, could be unforgiving! Cruel even! But Worcester’s factories were plentiful and hummed, and the old man from Poland who lived on Lafayette Street and only spoke three or four sentences in English was so proud as his son entered Holy Cross college (to become a high school history teacher) and his daughter bought the family’s first ever modern washing machine! America!

Worcester, we must not become indifferent to our homeless neighbors!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

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Thanksgiving Day 2021: Park Ave, Worcester.

WE ARE ALL INTER-CONNECTED! We must care for our homeless because it’s the Christian thing to do – and it’s what COMMUNTIES DO for their neighbors. This scene (below) must NOT be WORCESTER’S NEW NORMAL! We must have empathy. Our political leaders must build more affordable housing. They must connect with Washington DC to GET MORE APT VOUCHERS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVT/HUD. Last time we got 10 vouchers! Ridiculous!! We’re a city of 200,000+!!! The second largest city in New England!! HUD must step up!

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Today: Worcester, heading up Jefferson Street.

Worcester MUST BUILD TINY HOUSES, create unique housing, repurpose train box cars…create tiny home communities! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, Worcester!

… This afternoon: heading to the Canal District – on Jefferson Street. I took the photo and the tears flowed. Don’t pretend you don’t see this suffering, Worcester! In the richest country on earth! In our beloved city we have people sleeping on sidewalks, in parks, near railroad tracks and by shopping malls. I never saw this much despair as a kid or teen growing up in Green Island – and we were the poorest of the poor! We cannot become numb, indifferent to our neighbors’ suffering! CHANGE, WORCESTER!

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Worcester: Millbury Street lined with homeless folks and their gear, from Kelley Square to Endicott Street.

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Worcester: the Canal District, Green Street, by the bridge: 15 or so homeless folks sleeping, eating, sheltering there every day. WORCESTER NEEDS MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING!

I left out a glass of oat milk for Santa this Christmas (and vegan cookies, too!)

By Heather Moore

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Drink and cook with oat, almond or soy milk – vegan milks – so cows don’t suffer on factory farms! Especially good if you’re lactose-intolerant!

I didn’t want coal in my Christmas stocking, so this Christmas I offered Santa vegan milk — never cow’s milk!

Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do — to feed their babies. Cows naturally produce only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves, but genetic manipulation and, in some cases, antibiotics and hormones are used to force each cow to make more than 22,000 pounds of milk a year.

On dairy farms, both organic and conventional, female cows are forcibly impregnated every year so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for humans. The calves are torn away from their mothers soon after they’re born, which causes both mother and baby extreme distress. Mother cows bellow for their babies for days.

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Most male calves end up in barren feedlots, where they’re fattened and then killed for beef — meat from cows on dairy farms makes up about 20% of the U.S. ground beef market. The calves raised for veal are chained up in small crates and fed a formula that’s low in iron so that they’ll become anemic and their flesh will stay pale. They’re sent to slaughter when they’re only 3 to 18 weeks old.

Female calves are treated as milk machines, like their mothers. Some are forced to spend their lives standing on concrete, and others are confined to crowded lots, where they must live amid their own feces. When they’re too sick or worn out to produce much milk — usually when they’re around 4 or 5 years old — they, too, end up at the slaughterhouse, bloodied and dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.

Even the Grinch wouldn’t support such cruelty to animals!

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Most coffee shops offer vegan milks for your java!

Vegan milk is delicious, healthy, humane and environmentally friendly, which is important if you’re dreaming of a green holiday season. University of Oxford researchers found that producing a glass of dairy milk results in about three times more greenhouse-gas emissions than vegan milk and consumes nine times as much land. That land is used for pasture and to grow the animals’ feed, which causes them to belch out massive amounts of methane.

If you want to get on Santa’s “nice” list for next year, take it from me: Drink vegan milk! Cook with it, too! As the researchers pointed out, choosing plant milk over cow’s milk is much better for the planet, not to mention for animals – and you! Happy New Year!

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Substitute vegan options for milk, eggs, butter this holiday season!

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It’s a Wonderful Life!

By Rosalie Tirella

We’ve all watched this Christmas classic…some years we’re more attentive than others. This year I am paying very close attention:

The movie IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE was released in 1947 and was directed by the Italian-American great, Frank Capra. It begins with prayers for protagonist George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart. The prayers are whispered to God in the depth of a winter’s night right before Christmas. They’re murmured by George’s wife, whispered by his mother and his long-time friends, blurted out by his distraught little children. They are praying for George’s life. He’s in trouble, he’s done something terribly wrong, he sees no way out of his terrible trap and despairs. …He plans to kill himself – alluding to his life insurance policy, he says, “I’m worth more dead than alive!” – thus throwing away, as the head angel explains, God’s greatest gift: life. His life.

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James Stewart as George Bailey.

Enter “Clarence,” George’s dimwitted guardian angel – wingless, clueless, hanging on to the original copy of Tom Sawyer and extolling Mark Twain’s “new” novel, he’s more goofball than godsend. But as anachronistic as he is, Clarence is the perfect angel for George: he’s as innocent and open to life as a child. He will help George realize IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Plus, it’s the assignment that could earn him his angel wings! Finally! It’s been a few centuries already!

The childhood scenes of this movie are quaint and show that George Bailey is outstanding, even as a little boy. He has a strong moral code, he’s wiser and more sensitive than his friends. He saves his kid brother from drowning in a frozen pond, bravely dives into the frigid waters and loses his hearing in one ear as he rescues his kid brother. In another heart-wrenching scene the young George saves another life when he refuses to deliver the prescription pills that druggist Mr. Gower mistakenly fills with … poison. Mr. Gower has been drinking, upset at the telegram he just received: his son, a soldier in the US Army (it’s pre-World War II ) has just died of influenza. When Gower gets the telephone call that the pills weren’t delivered to the customer by delivery-boy George, an enraged, inebriated, violent Mr. Gower slaps George in the face over and over again. It’s a harrowing, realistic scene: the enraged old man pulling the child into a back room to do the unspeakable: physically abuse him. George, around 12 years old, begs Gower to stop hitting him, his “bad ear” is bleeding. He screams: The pills were poison! “Poison, I tell you!” Gower breaks open a capsule and gingerly places a finger in it and brings a smidgen of the white powder to his tongue to taste. He immediately realizes he put the wrong chemical in the capsule – and George has saved his life (ruined biz, possible jail time for the unintentional death of the customer) – and the customer’s life.

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Mr. Gower realizes he made a big mistake.

George does the noble thing again after his father dies of a stroke. He yearns to go to college, travel, leave his hum drum hometown, Bedford Falls, behind him … but he knows evil banker Mr. Potter will suck up his late dad’s Bailey Building and Loan Company and the tone and future of the entire town will change, for the worst. So George stays in Bedford Falls to shepherd the family business through a crisis. … He does the right thing again.

George’s life isn’t all self-sacrifice. He meets and falls in love with the pretty Mary (Donna Reed) who takes one look at the tall and lanky Stewart, with his beautiful open face and wide toothy smile and … knows … she will marry him, give birth to his children, live with him in love forever and ever in Bedford Falls.

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George and Mary fall in love at the high school dance

The screenplay may sound a bit preachy to you, but the actors and Capra make it all magical. James Stewart exudes warmth and romance and moral stamina. He’s sexy and earthy, too. The mid-20th century American man. Heroic. Beautiful. When he walks Mary home from the high school dance he is flirty and fun – and deeply romantic. My favorite lines of the movie? Spoken by Stewart: You want the moon, Mary? I’ll lasso the moon for you! And you’ll swallow it and moonbeams will shoot out of your face, your hair and your fingertips … Mary and George are looking into each other’s eyes as George speaks his American every man poetry. We feel his dreamscape … You can watch that scene a million times, and every time you’ll be slayed by it.

Stewart was Capra’s (and director Alfred Hitchcock’s) Every Man. In IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE George is you and me. Just regular peeps. He doesn’t go on to do great things, become an astronaut and swim among the stars, become a Carl Sandburg and write Chicago. He doesn’t become a scientist who creates the polio vaccine. He’s rejected by the army because of his bad ear and holds rubber tire drives in town. At one point he declares: “We’re broke!” Yet, like all of us, he’s given the opportunity to carve out a life, a most excellent life consisting of family, friends, community, love of spouse and children. Mundane – but it’s where we meet God!

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George and his father at the supper table

The close up of George’s face when the Building and Loan’s board of directors head tells him: IF YOU LEAVE, GEORGE, THEY’LL VOTE WITH POTTER!!! Heartbreaking! You see, writ large on George’s face, the guilt. The awareness. The entrapment. The responsibility, never ending. George knows his window of opportunity grows smaller by the minute, and yet, as his life becomes more circumscribed, George becomes truly heroic.

Give Capra credit: Everything in Bedford Falls and George’s life is so earthbound, so touching … his chat with his mom when she encourages him to “call on” Mary even though she’s dating the loud mouthed, coarse Sam Wainwright … such a sweet scene, as she points her son in the “right direction” and sends him on his way, with a gentle push, to Mary’s house.

Mary is home from college and waiting for her beloved. But George is balky: she’ll become just another tie that binds, another symbol of his inability to escape Bedford Falls, to realize his dreams of becoming a great architect, traveling the world as a free spirited explorer. But then the phone call happens. Boyfriend Sam Wainwright calls his gal back home (with a blond dame smooching his flabby cheek in Indiana), and Mary tells George to join the conversation about investing in plastics made out of soybeans. As George and Mary share the receiver end of the 1920s telephone, plastics is the last thing on George’s mind! The two young adults are literally face to face over the telephone receiver in a tight closeup but softly focused … dreamy looking. You see George smelling Mary’s hair, staring at her big brown eyes, eating up with his eyes the curve of her forehead, the tip of her nose, the waves of her chestnut hair. His lips long to touch hers! It’s a love scene, not a telephone conversation! Finally, George drops the phone, shakes Mary up and down begging No! No! No! all the while covering her face with passionate kisses – and accepting the inevitable. They marry a few weeks later.

Of course, their honeymoon to Paris and Barcelona is kaput after George takes their honeymoon money and uses it to stop a run on the Bailey Building and Loan. George loses the trip to Europe but saves his late father’s business and dream. It is so cute, the way Stewart and the other good do bees at the building and loan dance around their counter with their last one dollar bill after closing up for the day at 5 p m. On the nose!

Another great Capra scene: Bert and Ernie coordinating George’s ride home to his honeymoon where Mary waits for him, their new old Victorian … The guys singing in the rain, the bit of sleight of hand as Bert’s “tip” is rain water from George’s fedora. They serenade the newlyweds and Ernie smooches Bert. Funny. Sweet.

Some call it Capra-corn. As in corny or cornball. I call it dreaming, art, magical filmmaking … wrapping harsh life in fairy tale to entertain, to point the viewer in the right direction: LIFE. BE OPEN TO YOUR WONDERFUL LIFE.

Of course, the evil Mr. Potter almost ruins it all when he flings George to the nadir of his professional life. Potter keeps – steals – the thousands of dollars George’s distracted Uncle Billy plans to deposit in their bank account but stupidly leaves in Potter’s newspaper. Potter takes the money, George faces disgrace, jail, loss of EVERYTHING. HE WANTS TO ESCAPE HIS LIFE OF TRIAL AND TROUBLES. HE WANTS TO DIVE INTO THE RIVER ON A SNOWY NIGHT HOPING TO LEAVE IT ALL… But then Clarence the angel appears and dives into the river first. Good hearted, noble George rips his coat off and dives in after him to save the hapless little angel …

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The miserable Mr. Potter

Then the film grows darker as a depressed George is led through the Bedford Falls that might have been if he never existed. Uncle Billy is in an asylum, Mary is an old maid, his mom is the rough hewn owner of a decrepit boarding house, the adorable Bedford Falls is an ugly, pornographic POTTERSVILLE.

Stewart is tremendous as a George looking at life without George. It’s frightening. It’s surreal. Not at all corn ball.

But then George declares I WANNA LIVE! TAKE ME BACK, CLARENCE, TAKE ME BACK. I WANT TO SEE MY WIFE AND KIDS, CLARENCE.

And just like that George is dropped back into his all too human Bedford Falls life. HE IS ECSTATIC! HE SHOUTS YAY! as he runs by the old movie house, the old oak tree, Mr. Potter sitting behind his ugly desk in his ugly office. A Wonderful Life, if we stop to think about it!
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George and his beloved Uncle Billy

Calling all CECELIA interns🙂!

By Rosalie Tirella

Christmas CECELIAs delivered!

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CECELIA in the city! photo: R.T.

Nice to hear: WE LOVE THIS NEWSPAPER. or: I’LL TAKE ONE!

Hoping to bring in some young writers – interns – in the spring. CECELIA needs youthful spirit! Yes, you can be “young at heart” – but up to a point! 60 is … well, 60! 90 is miraculous … but not 20.

A year ago we had a Doherty High School student write for us. She was born and raised (her early years) in Iraq. Sweet person, solid writer, who wanted to major in the sciences in college. I loved her story on her grandmother’s garden in Iraq, the growing and the eating of dates, what they signified back in her homeland. … Four years ago we were chatted up by the METRO counter girl while paying our cell phone bill on Cambridge Street and decided to make her our intern. She gushed: I WANT TO BE CARRIE IN SEX AND THE CITY!!! That sealed the deal for me!

“Mary” turned out to be the opposite of Carrie: poor, husband incarcerated, lived in a shelter with her kids for two years before ending up in an apartment in Main South. She had a fraught relationship with her mother … and yet she was Carrie! … young, pretty, romantic, deeply in love with her man, a deeply personal and open writer. Gifted! We jumped in to make it all better: Dorrie gave her bags of cute clothes. I gave her my new twin bed and mattress set (with new comforter and sheets) because Mary said her little boy needed his own bed.

The big-hearted Bill Riley, head of the St. John’s Food for the Poor program, drove up to my Vernon Hill three decker in his van and picked up my bed set and drove it to Mary’s apartment. We even pushed – former District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and I – for Mary to get hired by a local social service agency. Mary got the job and left her Mcjob behind for a CAREER, a position that paid more money and that she loved.

She never thanked me for her “good luck.” Not once. Ahh, youth!

So, if you’re young and want to write for me, send me two essays. I don’t care if you have a high school degree or plan to go to college. We can tell if you’re any good by your second paragraph. Don’t inundate me with your brilliance, please! – just email me two essays:
roseincity@gmail.com

Thanks.

The first holiday season with a new dog doesn’t have to be ruff!🐕🐶🐕

By Michelle Kretzer

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This autumn: Lilac at the dog park. Dogs love to have fun and roll in dessicated stuff! pics: R.T.

Last Christmas was our first with our rescued pup, Capone. He looked dashing in a candy cane–striped collar as we took videos of him tearing into wrapping paper, sticking his head into gift bags, fervently attacking his new plush sheep toy and testing the limits on the number of cookies he could persuade us to give him in one sitting.

The celebration was even more special because it was his first Christmas indoors — a far cry from the filthy porch he’d been tied up on for two years before he was rescued by PETA fieldworkers. But there was another reason our holiday was so relaxed, worry-free and joyful: Capone had already been with us for almost a year. He had settled in and felt comfortable with us. He was housetrained, and he was familiar enough with life at our house to take the added excitement of the holidays in stride.

Pet stores pull out all the stops to sell animals as “presents” during the holidays, and they bank on families falling for the picture-perfect appeal of a puppy or kitten under the tree. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned people get suckered in, forgetting their misgivings about supporting greedy breeders that supply pet stores with animals. They often find themselves underprepared and overwhelmed when holiday pandemonium and the new-animal adjustment period collide.

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Jett enjoying the great outdoors!

When Capone first joined our family, he couldn’t resist gleefully destroying slippers, shoes, washcloths and T-shirts. He loved marking the furniture legs in our guest room. And we were exhausted from the midnight walkies he required so he could relieve himself. I can’t imagine also having to prepare a giant holiday meal and host guests in the midst of handling all these new-dog challenges.

Travel, visitors, parties, shopping, cooking and the other hectic hallmarks of the season make it tough to provide the time, attention, patience and money that an animal — especially a puppy or kitten — requires. Without a calm atmosphere and a consistent routine to help

Without a calm atmosphere and a consistent routine to help them figure out the “do’s” and “don’ts,” animals are bound to make mistakes and may even be unfairly punished for it. Many are surrendered to a shelter, imprisoned for hours on end in a crate or banished from the house altogether and sentenced to a lonely life at the end of a chain — like Capone had been.

When I worked in an animal shelter, I also saw countless animals given up because caring for them cost more than had been anticipated. Giving a dog or cat as a gift is akin to handing your loved one a bill for tens of thousands of dollars, due in mandatory monthly installments for the next 10 to 20 years. As reported by CNBC, the lifetime cost of caring for a cat ranges from $21,917 to $30,942. A dog will run you between $27,074 and $42,545. When Capone was trying to get the hang of playing on our slick floors, he crashed into the baseboard and broke off a nail. Thankfully, we didn’t have a crowd of holiday guests to apologize to as we grabbed Capone and ran out of our blood-spattered living room. But our mad dash to the emergency vet came with a hefty bill.

If you are certain that your loved one is ready to give a dog or cat a lifetime of care, saving a life is the best present. Buy a soft bed and fill it with toys, treats and a stuffed animal — complete with a big red bow. Include a gift certificate to the local shelter to cover the cost of adoption so that your recipient can find the perfect new family member after the holiday whirlwind dies down.

Today, we’re excitedly gearing up for another fun Christmas full of shareable Capone videos. And his grandma has already bought him a festive new holiday collar.

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Jett, like all dogs, is so … life-affirming!

Holiday Cheer at the Pickle Barrel – always in style!🎄📬 Kids! Mail your letters to Santa at this Piedmont restaurant!

⛄❄️🎅📬CECELIA CHRISTMAS CONTEST FOR CHILDREN!🎄📬🐧

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A Santa’s Mailbox awaits all children at the Pickle Barrel, located in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood! photos: R.T.

The Pickle Barrel Restaurant and Deli in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood has the cutest SANTA’S MAILBOX! Perfect for the Letters to Santa from your kiddos!

Let them drop them into this cool working mail box! We’ll publish the sweetest letter in our January CECELIA – and award the child a $25 prize$. And don’t forget the young at heart, as seen here!

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The Pickle, at night …

– Rosalie🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Jett!!!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Jett loves to have fun! photos: R.T.

Jett!!! 15 years old and loving this never ending journey. Jett!!! The tumor was aspirated. Benign. Just adipose tissue. Jett!! He runs as fast and far as Lilac and play-fights her with the zest of a pup! Jett!!! 15 years means you’re geriatric in dog years! And yet when boarded you make pals and run your little heart out! You’re a celebrity at the Worcester Animal Rescue League. I adopted you from WARL almost 15 years ago…you were about eight months old and badly abused by men. You were trucked in from Appalachia. When I called your old Kentucky shelter, they read me your record: “He’s incorrigible.” Wow! Jett! The dog of my heart. My best dog ever – and I’ve had four or five.

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Jett at the dog park.

JETT!! Old but still my protector – still willing to get between me and the creepy guy coming at me. And didn’t the creep back down as you BARKED YELPED GROWLED…MADE UNGODLY NOISE. JOYFUL NOISE TO ME!

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Rose’s best boy!

Jett!!! Lilac, only 6, and me, 60, are tired, world weary. I have diarrhea…But you, Prince, eat heartily, drink plenty of water, have your normal daily bowel movements just like at home. I watch you poop and I cry! Jett!! My bonnie companion for almost 15 years! My lil’ man hater! My lil’ wild child…so close to the coydogs of the Faulkner novels! They called you a Mountain Feist in Kentucky. I call you my “Baby” and give you kisses on your small forehead, between your brown eye and your blue eye, leaving red lipstick traces on your rough husky fur. Your mom was a mill breeder full-blooded Siberian husky in Appalachia. You’ve got the husky way of vocalizing over every little thing and you’re a drama queen. But you’re fearless, smart, intuitive, high spirited, loyal, fun and loving! Plus you’re still gorgeous: people still ask me, WHAT KIND OF DOG IS THAT? IS IT A HUSKY? A SHIBA?

I say: It’s my Jett!!

To travel this far with a stalwart spirit…to watch Jett greet each sunrise with gusto inspires me. To keep on this road. To find truth in the situation…to look to Jett for unconditional love.

My Jett! My best boy!

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Jett enjoying his chewy.

Welcome 2022???

By Edith Morgan

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A new day in Worcester? In the Canal District: Millbury Street is lined with homeless people … sleeping in doorways from Kelley Square to Endicott Street. photo: Rose T.

Remember when we welcomed 2021 with such optimism, thinking that at last we might return to something like ”Normal”? We had a new President, Joe Biden … we were finally getting ahead of the novel corona virus … we had a chance to rebuild the wreckage done in the past four years by former president, Donald J. Trump. We thought it would be easy, and that virtue, goodness and honesty would at last triumph, and we would all together put our best efforts into fixing our crumbling infrastructure, clean up our waters, make sure that all our children had proper care right from the start. We even hoped, some of us at least, that the long nightmare of discrimination and hatred would now stop and we could really get along and respect each other’s points of view and become once again the living example to all nations of what a real live democracy looks like. What its people are willing to do to maintain it for future generations.

And so, here comes 2022. How close to that vision, those hopes, are we now? I am an eternal optimist, and so I will look at the brighter side first:

There is a lot of good in the pipeline that, when passed, will go a long way towards fixing our roads and bridges, maintaining our parks and public spaces. We also extended a helping hand to those most in need and temporarily supported those most impacted by the COVID 19 virus.

There is much still on the table, waiting to be voted on and funds distributed where it is most needed. And we have begun to become aware of the great problems facing us, in climate change, the need for better education, better treatment of workers, and better care for our children when mothers must work.

Unfortunately. most of those improvements are still just in the talking stage – held hostage by an unholy alliance between self-serving elected officials – all Congressional Republicans and “dinos” like U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Sinema, who have sold their souls for the riches to be had from corporate donors who regularly fill their pockets and their heads.

And while we have become aware of the ever-increasing gap between the very rich and the rest of us, slowly there seems at last to be an awareaness on the part of many workers that this gap is unfair and unjust. People are either refusing to return to their old poor paying jobs and organizing to get a more fair piece of the pie.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae) US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021. Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA - 23 Mar 2021 Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021.

So, if knowledge and information are the needed ingredients for any movement forward, I am hopeful that the age of misinformation is coming to an end. We will return to a time of facts, truthfulness and honesty. Those of us who are my age – I am 91 – do remember a time when such things were possible, when our elected officials were not necessarily perfect, but at least they did not use their power to enrich themselves and undermine the supports that we had built for ourselves.

As I said, there is hope …