• James Parry

Parrywinkle, February 2, 2017

There are days, dear readers - and this past Sunday was one of them - when I find it hard not to believe that this old world of ours is fast going to hell in a handcart.

The ink was barely dry on an executive order signed by U.S. president Donald Trump barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering his former 'Land of the Free', and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tweet, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #WelcomeToCanada,” was making headlines around the world, when the unthinkable happened here in Canada so close to home.

A 27-year-old student at Université Laval for heaven's sake, launching a barbaric attack on a Quebec City mosque. Killing six and injuring many others while they were peacefully attending evening prayers.

Horrific? Incomprehensible? Hate-fuelled? To be sure. A harbinger of future copy-cat attacks on fellow Canadians of a different faith? Who knows? But one can only pray not!

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COMPASSION AND PEACE - Meanwhile, let us give thanks to all those who - just the night before at our region's first and again sold-out gala ball of the year, Happening 2017 (Saturday, January 28) - proved beyond all doubt that there is still good in the world. Raising a staggering $406,000 and counting to help fund the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence (VSPCR) on Como Gardens in Hudson.

Which, in the words of this year's honourary president, André Gingras, who is also president of Groupe AutoForce, “is a shining example of what a great thing a community can do regardless of political affiliation.”

PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY

Taking time out from the dance floor at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Foundation gala on Saturday were Mireille Lemelin of Your Local Journal, Vaudreuil-Soulanges Liberal MP Peter Schiefke and his wife Paula Ruttle, Annie Brochu, and St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo.

With some 420 guests in attendance, about 50 new ambassadors stepping up on stage with their individual or family-pledged donations, the brilliant sounds of the Boogie Wonder Band, and all superbly orchestrated by Jasmine Sharma, who joined the foundation as director of communications and philanthropic development only six months ago, it was indeed a most positive, beautiful, and memorable evening at the Pavillon sur le lac du Château-Vaudreuil.

Said interim executive director, Jacinthe Demers, to great applause, “Since it opened its doors in 2010, the residence has been able to rely on a team that is qualified and devoted to its clientele and their families. The collaboration and engagement of each individual allows us to offer specialized end-of-life care in an environment where respect and dignity are paramount.”

Added Pierre Cyr, new president of the board of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Foundation, “The Residence came to exist thanks to a handful of visionaries, but its survival depends on our collective effort. Thank you for supporting us in what was originally a dream, but which has, for six years, now become a reality.”

On a personal note and sharing in that dream at the table of my beautiful Sunshine and I were Khobie Gibson, Lise Lefort, Michael Laventure, Madeleine Langlois, Terry Girouard, Sandy Brown, Kelsey Scotcher, Marc-André Brignone, and Jocelyne Laliberté. And for more coverage of Happening 2017, check out our Facebook page.

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THE JEWEL THAT IS NOVA – In a similar vein, may I suggest that you ink into your agenda right now another very special gala coming up on Saturday, April 29, in celebration of 60 years of public funded community-oriented health care service with no government funding whatsoever? Not only here in Hudson, but also St. Lazare, Rigaud, and Vaudreuil-Dorion.

I'm speaking, of course, of non-profit Nova Hudson, formerly the VON, which does such great work enabling those in need to maintain their independence at home in secure and familiar surroundings as long as possible.

I learned this week from gala organizing committee member, Wanda Smith, that she and her fellow volunteers have been working very hard planning the biennial event “to surprise, entertain, and delight guests” when they arrive at Whitlock Golf and Country Club on Côte St. Charles in Hudson.

Says Wanda, “Our theme is Diamond Reflections Diamant and in addition to a wonderful meal and fabulous entertainment by three-time Juno Award winner, Kim Richardson, part of the evening will be a tribute to the Nova nurses past and present. It will be a walk down memory lane of how health care was back then, and the methods needed in today's society. But the real jewel in our crown is the gift of Nova to everyone.”

Tickets are $150 with a partial tax deduction and for reservations or more info, go to novagala2017@gmail.com

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FOR FILM FANS - And now, with the Golden Globes just behind us and the 89th Academy Awards - forever known as the Oscars - fast approaching on Sunday, February 26, let's turn the spotlight on movies. And a real local treasure that has been screening some gems on a giant screen at Hudson Village Theatre courtesy of president Clint Ward and his team of cinephile volunteers at the Hudson Film Society (HFS) now in its 11th season.

Well, that tradition continues fellow film fans with the upcoming afternoon and evening screenings of two heavily-nominated Oscar contenders and Golden Globe winners. Namely, the drama Manchester by the Sea and the musical La La Land on March 20 and April 17 respectively as part of its super Monday Night at the Movies series.

And that's in addition to the upcoming two screenings on February 20 of the critically acclaimed romantic comedy, Maggie's Plan, starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, and Julianne Moore, that received its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Says Clint, “We had selected La La Land and Manchester by the Sea long before the Golden Globes were held last month and the Oscar nominees were announced. And we are so pleased to be able to bring them here to Hudson to a small, intimate theatre, with plenty of parking, and so close to home.”

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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO - For the record, the latter film - starring Canadian Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and winner of seven Globes - has picked up a staggering 14 Oscar nominations equaling the record previously held by Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950). For its part, Manchester - starring Casey Affleck who won the Golden Globe for best actor - is in the running for six of the little golden statuettes.

Named, I was intrigued to learn - at least according to one theory - by Academy librarian Margaret Herrick who said the statue resembled her late Uncle Oscar. Fact or fiction? Who cares? It's a good story. And, after all, that’s what movies are all about.

PHOTO COURTESY CLINT WARD Hollywood mega stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are coming to Hudson - via the Oscar-nominated film La La Land - on April 17 at Hudson Village Theatre.

Including the hilarious Florence Foster Jenkins, screened by HFS in December and starring Meryl Streep who extends her lead as the most nominated actor with her 20th nomination this time around.

Tell you film folks, it just doesn't get any better than this. And for more info, check out HFS's newly-designed website at www.hudsonfilmsociety.ca Monday movies are by membership but single $12 tickets, when available, will be sold at the theatre (28 Wharf Road) 10 minutes before the actual screenings at 2 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Clint and his team are putting the finishing touches to their annual Hudson Festival of Canadian Film to be screened the weekend of March 2-5. Passes for which are $75 single and, if booked before February 15, are $135 for two. Again, check out the website. And more about that line-up in a future column!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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