Parrywinkle, February 9, 2017

There's a kind of good-natured, tongue-in-cheek joke here in Hudson that one can never be considered to be a true Hudsonite until one has lived here for at least 40 years.

And 'tis a fact that long-timers, when perhaps discussing the arrival of new residents, will tell you that they bought the former Mrs. Smith's house or whatever, with no idea of the actual street address. And then they will tell you that the former owners actually moved to where so-and-so used to live but who passed on or is now living elsewhere and whose descendants are now living in the house formerly owned by… Still with me?

Guess it's true of small communities such as ours everywhere. Free from mega-development of apartments and condos in which, in many instances, residents wouldn't know the names of their neighbours if they bumped into them on the street or the local supermarket aisle. Wonder where I'm going with this dear readers? Well, read on.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST - For there are families, as profiled in a new book compiled, updated, and edited by proud Hudsonite and long-time author, Rod Hodgson - just put out by the Hudson Historical Society (HHS) - that have seemingly been here forever. For example, the Blenkinships, Parsons, Pykes, Shepherds, Viponds, DeLesderniers, Robinsons, and de Lotbinière/Harwood.

Superbly illustrated with vintage photographs and artwork, and titled Pioneer Families of Cavagnal, Hudson, Quebec, the individual chapters are true memories and recollections by local residents who personally knew many of those they have written about.

I caught up with Rod earlier this week to learn more about this brilliant blast from the past and was intrigued to learn that, in fact, it is a work that was initially done by the HHS between 1985 and 1990 in six separate volumes, now combined into one.

Explained Hudson-born Rod, who has written numerous books for the HHS as well as three novels and other volumes on local history to date, and who is descended from the early English settlers - Grahams and Hodgsons – who arrived in the region in the 1820s and 1830s from Northern England, “The original six volumes were produced by 15 different HHS members. But they were done in an era far different from today in terms of a final production layout.

“All photos and documents were photocopied so their quality at the time of printing was inferior to what can be done today. Also, over the past 30 years most, if not all, copies of the books were sold out leaving a tremendous void in the Society's publication list. This time around, photos were located and reproduced in the more modern way except for a small amount that could not be found. And the text is verbatim except for minor spelling and grammar corrections.”

Printed by Clo Communications Hudson and available at $29 per copy, Pioneer Families is on sale at the Hudson Historical Society Museum, 326 Main Road, May's Studio, 459 Main, as well as at the next HHS meeting at St. James' Church Hall, 642 Main, on Monday, February 13, starting at 7:30 p.m..

Oh yes, the book is dedicated to the memory of Phoebe E. Nobbs Hyde, Margaret A. Shepherd Peyton, Miss Marnie Clarke, and Canon E. Cecil Royle. And even though my beautiful Sunshine and I have only lived in Hudson for almost 40 years now, we personally found it truly both fascinating and educational about the history of our little community by the Lake of Two Mountains and the families who helped build it and whose descendants still live here. Check it out!

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GETTING ACT TOGETHER - And how's this on a historical note? You know how in past years, there have been sometimes three or four – and even more on occasion – must-see cultural events happening on the very same day and, in effect, competing for our valuable time, energy, and sometimes financial support here in town?

Well, Hudson’s community and cultural organizations surely made history recently on January 29 when representatives from 20 town-based organizations met to launch the 2017 season with a view to becoming much more coordinated.

For as Hudson's Communications Coordinator, Laura McCaffrey, told me, “This is the first time, certainly in recent memory, that so many organizations have come together to share ideas, contribute to a master calendar of events, and to explore the possibility of creating a corresponding webpage.”

A great initiative and their next meeting is set for February 28. Hope it all works out. It sure makes sense. And will keep you posted!

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SHIVER FEST FAMILY FUN - Speaking of welcome initiatives, Hudson's annual Shiver Fest-Festi Neige got off to a great start this past weekend with young and old alike joining in the fun. With family dancing and kids’ crafts, an extreme jigsaw puzzle tournament, as well as bingo - superbly called by John Sheridan and Joe Dineen incidentally - at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre. While outside at Benson Park, there was skating, a Canadian 'ninja' winter warrior obstacle course, and a fabulous chainsaw carving by Hudsonite, Tyler Bindon, who recreated the Fest's official logo, an awesome owl.

The fun continues at the Centre this Saturday, February 11, with a breakfast that also serves as a Westwood Senior High School Band fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with tickets at $8-$10 followed by what is being billed as a free Stitch for a Cause to which all knitters and crocheters are invited to create a sampler blanket for charity under the guidance, if needed, of local expert, Phyllis Sprigge, although you will have to provide your own 5mm needles.

The same evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a free moonlight snowshoe ramble - sponsored in part by Que de Bonnes Choses - at Le Nichoir that will be followed by hot chocolate and warming chili around a bonfire. All you have to take along are snowshoes and a headlamp. And for more info on this, and the other events, call (450) 458-6699 or go to www.hudson.quebec. And hope to see you there!

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FAREWELL MR. JONES - Meanwhile, down under the sun in beautiful Barbados and alerted to Montreal jazz pianist Oliver Jones' recent Swan Song farewell concert there by Hudsonite Betty Ifilise, John and Inga Lawson who live in Vaudreuil-Dorion immediately bought tickets for his concert.

Says Inga, “Little did we know that it would be a small affair of about 40 of his fans. Up close and personal. After the show we had a chance to chat with Mr. Jones and we were surprised that he remembered his performance here in Hudson and his good friend - and ours - Wanda Smith, who invited him to be the guest of honour at the 2014 Nova Gala Rhapsody in Blue. We wished him happy retirement and suggested that after 77 years of performing, perhaps a little Barbados sunshine and the blue Caribbean Sea was what he really needed.” He laughed and said he couldn't agree more!

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CRAZY CLASSIFIEDS - And now back this week by popular request on the part of many regular readers of this column, it's time for a little levity courtesy of YLJ wag, Jane Kirkwood, who e-mailed to inform me that the following classified ad was actually placed in a U.K. newspaper recently.

FREE PUPPIES

1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbour's dog.

True or false? Perhaps 'alternate facts' à la Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne-Conway? Ah, who cares? Read and enjoy and another in next week's column. Meanwhile, for our factual classifieds that can be substantiated this week, go to page 23.

And in closing, and be still my beating heart, a happy - and ideally most romantic - Valentine's Day to one and all this coming Tuesday, February 14.

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

PHOTO COURTESY CÉLINE PILON Hudsonite Eric Hope turned 90 years young this week with a surprise party at Whitlock Golf and Country Club with 50 friends, including his next door neighbour Céline Pilon. And immediately after the celebrations, he went curling with his team.

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