Dyer found

I have missed the columns of music critic Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe. But I was very pleased to read an interesting and long article in the April Opera News about the sopranos who had sung the lead in Donizetti’s “La Fille de Regiment” through the years. The article was by Richard Dyer, and was in four pages, and well illustrated, too. Singers included were, in the 19th century, Jenny Lind, Henrietta Sontag and Adelina Patti, and later, Frieda Hempel, Luisa Tetrazzini, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland and Lily Pons. Natalie Dessay has recently performed the lead at the Met.

At the end of the article was this answer to why I haven’t seen his byline in the Globe: “Richard Dyer recently retired from the Boston Globe after 33 years of writing about music there.”

I was delighted to be reading a review by Dyer again. He was my favorite writer.

Sox seen

Our son, Dan, who is a law professor at Tokyo University, attended one of the Boston Red Sox-Oakland games this week in Tokyo. That is very exciting to us, as we in this family are Red Sox fans here in Portland. We have recently read that the tickets for the games in Japan are going for very high prices. I’m glad Dan had bought his well in advance.

We’re also reading about the big reception that the famous Red Sox pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, is receiving in Japan, back home for this week with his team from Boston. They are very proud of him in Japan, of course.

Stone unkissed

I enjoyed my recent talk with Margaret Sanphy at Hair Deisgners in Westbrook. She is the mother of Mike Sanphy, the Westbrook policeman whom many know and enjoy.

I asked Margaret about the name “Sanphy,” and she told me it is Irish, and, yes, she has visited Ireland. Several of her friends asked her if she had kissed the Blarney Stone when there. She said that she “certainly did not want to be held upside down,” in answer to that question.

We’ve heard that expression about kissing the Blarney Stone, and here is the information about it from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Blarney, a village in County Cork, Republic of Ireland, well known for its castle, built bout 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy, lord of Muskerry, has walls 18-foot thick. Below the battlements on the northern wall is the ‘Blarney Stone,’ reputed to confer eloquence on those who kiss it, an operation performed only by hanging head downward. Unknown in the early 18th century, there is no legendary explanation of how the stone became invested with its remarkable properties. The word blarney has come to mean smoothly flattering or cajoling talk. The castle played an important part in the history of the area, being besieged both by Cromwellians and by the troops of William III.”

I would love to visit Ireland. I’ve enjoyed several visits to Scotland. My grandmother’s parents came from Ireland to the United States after the potato famine in the 1800s. They settled in Massachusetts, where he was a gardener, and they had two daughters born there. Sadly the parents both died, leaving the two young daughters, who were adopted by separate families. So my interest in Ireland is also personal.

Bread baked

From “A Treasury of Favorite Recipes,” 1976, from the first Congregational Church of Bristol, R.I., comes this bread recipe.


1-1/3 cups of milk, scalded

2/3 cup Grape Nuts

2 cups flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons shortening, melted

Pour milk over cereal and let stand until cool. Add egg and shortening, mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into loaf pan, greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Store several hours or overnight before slicing.


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