Townie Tidbits


“We will open the book Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

  -Edith Lovejoy Pierce


  The above quote seemed so appropriate when talking about Tommy MacDonald, a Charlestown novelist who just launched his latest crime novel, “The Revenge of Liam McGrew.”

 I can’t figure out when he has the time to be such a prolific writer, after-all, he is the director of social ministries at St. Mary’s – St. Catherine’s Parish and runs the Harvest on Vine food pantry.

  His latest book is his third and follows “The Charlestown Connection” and “Beyond the Bridge.” I read “Beyond the Bridge” and found his lead character, Dermot Sparhawk an intriguing character, a part-time detective with street-smarts and a litany of his own flaws like many living around him.

 I think Dermot Sparhawk is a great character and Tommy does such a good job of bringing him alive on the page. I actually read that novel in one day because it flowed so well page after page and before I knew it  made it to the end and still wanted more. MacDonald writes with ease and readers ease right into his style and enjoy his written words.

By the way Tommy, if your flawed detective ever makes it to the big screen, I could see this part-timer actor playing  Dermot Sparhawk in the movies. I’ve already had roles as a gangster and a cop. Why not as Dermot Sparhawk from Charlestown.  I have a full head of hair, the Townie humor and the accent down pat.



  Back some 40 years ago, the aging crooner Perry Como recorded one of his last hit songs. There was one line in the lyrics that I still remember well, ‘The book of life is brief.” I was only 25 years old at the time. To young to understand what “brief” meant. Funny, how the older one gets the wiser one gets

  When I first heard the news that Dave Whelan had passed, it was difficult to believe. Whenever, I thought of him or saw him in person, he always looked happy to be part of life and part of the community’s life too. Always smiling and on the go.

 Like his dad before him, Dave just didn’t think of Charlestown as his address, but as his life. That sense of giving back to community is what the old timers call “Townie Pride.” Today most of us run through life without really seeing and appreciating life itself. In that way Dave was just like his dad and friend of mine Bud Whelan.

  Dave is no longer with us in person but his spirit will linger on for much time for all of us who met him. His journey of life was much too short but with age comes wisdom to understand the briefness we share with one another here on Earth.

 My good friend Cookie Giordano and I spoke about Dave and she informed me that she had been with Dave not that long before he passed and “although he wasn’t  his strong and vibrant self ,he was full of fight and humor.”

 So remember that quote by Edith Lovejoy Pierce at the top of this commentary.

All of us are the authors of our life story. Do not fill your book with dreams, fill it full of life as much as you can, because the book is far to brief to waste a single page.

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