Parrywinkle, August 11, 2016
'Tis good to be back, dear readers, after our three-week break here at YLJ. No, no, I'm serious. For to parryphrase that old adage, all play and no work makes James a dull boy. I mean, how much rest and recreation without a care in the world can one take without having to worry about pressing deadlines, researching stories, taking pics, and trying to cover the myriad positive happenings in our fair burg?
Of which there have been quite a few since we last appeared in print. Including the busy, bustling, two-day Hudson Street Fair plus the belated Canada Day fantastic fireworks display, the multi-faceted Hudson Music Festival that wrapped up on a happy note this past weekend, and Greenwood's annual Traditional High Tea on Sunday, August 7. (See photos on our Facebook page).
LIFE'S A BEACH - That being said, my beautiful Sunshine and I sure had a wonderful two-week vacation at our home-away-from-home in York, Maine, for the past 20 years at this time of year overlooking the spectacular and, with two tides a day, always pristine Long Beach between Portland just south of Perkin's Cove. And a beautiful little town very similar to Hudson in so many respects with its gorgeous homes, magnificent gardens, mature trees, and a dwindling commercial base albeit by the sea. Same room, same favourite restaurants, same… Ah, what can I tell you? We've already booked for next year!
A little different this year, however, with the current unfavourable exchange rate, certainly saw less Canadian license plates in the parking lots at factory outlets and at beach-side parking meters than in previous years. Although several hoteliers and guest house owners did tell me that a lot of regular visitors from here in Quebec have opted to still go but in the off-season when rates are obviously lower.
By which time, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be ensconced in the White House for better or worse. Our visit coincided with both the Republican and Democratic Conventions and have to admit that late of an evening I would tune in to Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper along with their guest talking-heads - who have been wrong so far in their predictions - on CNN for the latest sensational scuttlebutt. Sheesh, sure makes our federal elections here in Canada look boring in comparison. Not that I'd change them for the world.
The lesser of two evils was the consensus of my own unofficial poll at both my regular early-morning coffee caucus at the Long Sands General Store, as well as way out at sea aboard the good ship Bunny Clark out of Perkin's and again skippered by owner Tim Tower. Just as we were about to drop lines - as the only Canadian aboard together with my fishing buddy, frequent visitor to Hudson Luigi Cipriani, happened to ask the two American guys next to me, so what do you think of the upcoming election?
Next thing I knew there was a heated discussion going on between supporters of both candidates as well as undecided at the back of the boat while Luigi and I had more space to bait up and fish. Intentional? My lips are sealed. Suffice to say that we did catch several big 10-lb. pollock as well as numerous smaller haddock, all filleted and bagged for us before we disembarked eight hours later. Ah, you gotta love it!
ADIEU ANNALISA - Saddened to learn upon our return, however, that Annalisa Carlsson - to my knowledge Hudson's oldest resident but there again I could be wrong - passed away at the age of 101 and a half at her home on Ridge Road on July 14. Was hoping to write a story on her turning 100 years young but she didn't want it.
Have to be honest, I did not know her that well. In fact the only times I do remember meeting her was on several occasions in the parking lot outside what was until recently IGA Poirier carrying a couple of shopping bags. “Can I help you?” I would politely ask. “No, I'm fine,” she would reply with a look that left nothing to interpretation.
This week, to learn more about this truly remarkable but very low-profile lady, I spoke to her daughter, Katina Anter, who for many years has lived in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County in California and who will be here for the next little while doing what a family member has to do under such circumstances.
Was fascinated to learn that Annalisa was born in the small village of Hjältevad in Sweden on November 28, 1914. That she arrived in Canada from England in the fall of 1983 after her husband, Neil Gordan Maclean a civil structural engineer, unexpectedly passed away after somewhat routine surgery earlier that year. And that at one time she was studying to become a Home Economics school teacher and had started her training when she was struck with tuberculosis, and spent the following three years in a sanitarium recovering against all odds.
Said Katina, “When we decided to move to California, my mother had no plans to follow us. She was so happy in Hudson. She was a companion to the late John McDowell until his unexpected death. And although not personally involved in Hudson's social and volunteer life, as so many others are, she always enjoyed the trips put on by the Hudson Senior Travel Club, the exercise classes at St. James' Church, and the Hudson Garden Club plant sales.”
Added Katina, “As for her hobbies, her garden was her joy in life. Never one to sit still for very long she could be found even late in life with a blower or spade in her hand. She loved the house I found for her in Hudson. And she spent a great deal of her earlier Saturdays at Finnigan's Market, using her treasures to decorate her new home. In her married years, she was also a great cook. And together my parents often would have lovely elegant dinner parties at their home.
“Always perfectly dressed whenever she went out, my mother was always walking to the village and in the early years she would also walk home. She had a great love of clothes and had the figure to wear them well. And if she had a secret to a life long-lived, it would be to always look forward. Do not dwell on the past. Stay active in your physical being while eating natural unprocessed foods in moderation. As well as plenty of local McCaig honey!”
KUDOS TO CAREGIVERS - In later years and thanks to dedicated caregivers, Katina says she was pleased to keep her mom at home as she wished it to be. “In the earlier years, Judy Le Bel would pick her up and take her twice a week to her exercise class at St. James'. As time went by, it was for trips in the car to look at the Lake of Two Mountains that reminded her of her home on the lake in Sweden, and to listen to the car radio and classical music that she loved.
“Over the years, there were a number of caregivers. But to name some of them I think of are Helen Oldfield, Marie Louise Anderson who was also born in Sweden, Dilys White who managed to deal with my feisty mother and also get her to eat well and who this year made her garden bloom again.
Added Katina, “On behalf of the family, I would also like to thank Anne Van de Walde for her six years of continued unwavering dedication, care, and affection for my feisty and strong-willed mother. Without Anne, and her assistant Cathy Dery, I would have found the last few years of my mother's life almost impossible to manage from so far away in California. And to have kept my mother's wishes honoured to the end.”
She also extended a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Ronald Hryniowski of the Hudson Medi-Centre for his monthly home visits and his “ability to avoid flying fists on occasion.” To the BMO on Cameron for their kind staff who always took care of her. And to NOVA Hudson for the many helpful wheelchairs and such that they provided, as well as their foot clinic.
While no formal Hudson Life Celebration is planned, Katina tells me that next summer, the California members of her family will travel to Sweden and place their mother along the shoreline of the lake she grew up beside with a gathering of all her many relations still in Sweden in attendance.
And that's a wrap!