Parrywinkle, Jan. 14, 2016

Sheesh, there's another Holiday Season come and gone! And it's back to the grindstone - er, make that 'puter - for yours truly and fellow scribes here at Your Local Journal. And I have to tell you, dear readers, it's great to be back!

For despite all the festivities, fun, parties, turkey dinners, and expressions of goodwill to one and all, I've been chomping on the bit - as it were - to get back in the saddle and take up where I left off three weeks ago.

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BIG BRAVOS - For a lot has been happening on the social scene in our fair burg that I do believe merits mention here in this first column of 2016. Such as the phenomenally successful Panto, Peter Pan, directed by Glen Robertson at Hudson Village Theatre (HVT) which added two shows to its already-long run, both of which sold out immediately. Without question, one of the best Pantos I've seen in recent years here in our little theatre by the tracks.

And a big bravo to all who contributed to this wonderful Christmas tradition that is unique in our belle province! Including little 'mermaid' Ryan Hill, the four-year-old son of David & Jill Reznick who live in St. Lazare and who auditioned for the role of his own volition. What a show stealer and what a true trouper!

Ditto for Visiting Priest, Rev. Carol Bateman, and all the volunteers at St. James' Anglican Church who, on January 2, welcomed over 100 local residents to a tremendous complementary turkey dinner with wine and all the trimmings and a brilliant performance by the multi-musician Greenwood Kitchen Ceilidh emceed by the irrepressible Frank Royle.

Who, when asked for the reason behind it, told me that not everyone in Hudson has big families with whom to celebrate. “So we invited those we thought might be in need of companionship, including many residents from the Manoir Cavagnal, at this very special time of year. And volunteers picked them up and drove them home so that they would not have to worry about transportation or possibly bad weather. ”

Including self-taught accordionist extraordinaire, 97-year-old Dorothy Blaise, who came in for thunderous applause when she did a couple of solos on her trusty Daytona squeeze box bought over 60 years ago, including a rollicking rendition of Roll Out The Barrel! T'was indeed a magical evening due, in no small part, to the terrific turkey cookers, David Langlois, Stevie Thom and Kathy Conway, as well as the beautiful Bromeliads on every table generously donated by Alistair and Wanda Smith of Planterra. Way to go guys and gals. It was brilliant!

As was the traffic-stopper ride along Main Road on Christmas Day by not one, but four Santas, all members of the 'legendary' - if only in their own minds - Hudson Boomers. All cyclists of - how can I put it? - a certain age who for the past five years have been getting together every week weather permitting and pedalling their little hearts out throughout the region. This time around, and all appropriately decked out, they comprised Bill Driver, Roland Schultz, John Sauter, and Fausto Sabatino. Ho, ho, ho!

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SENSATIONAL SYLVIA - And still in festive mode, must say that we have received many positive comments over the holidays about our front page illustration in our Christmas issue of December 22 featuring an original painting of an adorable snowperson seated in an armchair in the snow and reading our paper.

The artist, as mentioned at the time, was Sylvia Garland, who lives in Laval, who has been commissioned by several local companies for seasonal window paintings and murals and whose multi-faceted creations take pride of place in private collections throughout Canada and the U.S., as well as at the offices of the Quebec Delegation in New York.

What I was subsequently fascinated to learn, however, is that Sylvia actually created her first 'monumental' work at the tender age of four. When she discovered a self-inking rubber stamp and proceeded to mark the word 'paid' on the walls of her parents’ home. Despite the fact that they still had a mortgage on the house!

Says Sylvia, “I was working my way towards the kitchen by way of the main corridor when I was discovered. Needless to say, I was sent to my room. But, given a box of wax crayons, I was also instructed to draw to my heart's content providing I did so only on my own walls.

“Well, by inviting friends and cousins to participate is how I got my start in large scale murals and collectives. When we would run out of wall space, a sponge and some scouring powder would make room for more creations. And today, I am grateful for my parents' avant-garde open-mindedness. You never know where a little bit of encouragement, a few supplies and space with which to explore will lead. Shouldn't every child be given that opportunity?”

Couldn't agree more Sylvia. And if you would like to see more of her creations, check out her web site at www.sylviagarland.com or give her a call at (450) 419-1736. You will be amazed!

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VERY VERDI - If opera is to more your liking, HVT is the place to be this Sunday, January 17, when the Hudson Film Society screens its first opera of 2016 at 2 p.m. and with tickets at $10 a pop. Namely, Verdi's La Forze del Destino (Force of Destiny). Followed on Monday by the movie Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed at both 2 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.

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FEEL LIKE A FLING? - And if Scottish dancing is more your beat, but you have never tried it before, then you are invited to head on down to the Hudson Legion at 56 Beach Road at 2 p.m. this Saturday (January 16) for some free lessons with dyed-in-the-plaid enthusiasts showing you how to do the Gay Gordons, Eightsome Reel, and Dashing White Sergeant, among others. And no, you don't have to wear a kilt. It's a lead up, by the way, to the Legion's Robert Burns Dinner & Dance on Saturday, January 23 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and for more info, call (450) 458-4882.

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ON THE WILD SIDE - Meanwhile, on the birthday beat, a big happy 75th to Hudsonite and former Quebec wildlife officer, Denis Germain who together with his wife, Jean, and over 75 family members and friends from far and wide, celebrated the milestone in memorable fashion at Casa Grecque in Vaudreuil over the holidays.

And speaking of wildlife, what about those freakin' squirrels currently going nuts around town? Seemingly bigger and fatter than ever given the unbelievably mild winter so far. One chubby little chappie - now demised but certainly not missed - took out power in our immediate area last week after attempting a high-wire act on the transformer pole at the entrance to our driveway on Elm.

I heard the pop as opposed to a big bang, rushed out, and there he was at the foot of the pole. Dead as a doornail. “Oh crikey,” I thought. Here we go again. Another blackout! How long this time?

Well, guess what? The power was back on in about 40 minutes. All it took was a call to Hydro-Quebec at 1 800 790-2424, a concise explanation of what had happened and, before I knew it, Sylvie Dupuis and Guy Desgagne - both based in Valleyfield - were there with their truck at the door. Problem solved. And mission accomplished! So make a note of the number folks. With gazillions of the little critters still hopping around oblivious to their own safety, you never know when you might need it!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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