• James Parry

Parrywinkle, February 23, 2017

Despite the seemingly tropical weather this week with temperatures on the plus side, s'now joke folks. To parryphrase The Bard, I've just about had it with this winter of our discontent!

Sure, in our neck of the woods, the white stuff looks fairytale-ish on the evergreens. Ditto for diamonds of freezing rain sparkling on the branches. Like the Sword of Damocles, icicles droop dagger-like, one day threatening to decapitate us and then splish-splashing from the roof the next.

Privately-contracted snow crews and individuals here in Hudson working all hours doing their best. And then watching on local TV news, cars in Montreal literally buried under snow even before the plows have gone by and interviews with their hapless garageless owners some of them - and I kid you not - armed with household dust pans clearing the windshield and putting on a brave face.

Declaring, “Yeah, my Tempo has been crushed and the roof of my house is caving in, so I'm going to be two hours late for work. My boss will understand. He will probably be late too. And then I have to drive home before the rush hour, find a parking spot, and perhaps start all over again tomorrow. But this is winter in Quebec, eh? Just love it.” Yeah, right!

Meanwhile, kudos where kudos is due. The town's contracted snow-clearing crews obviously went on a blitz last week widening streets and clearing those dangerous corners. Long may it continue. At least until spring!

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HUDSON'S NEW QUEEN MUM – And now let's switch from white to 50 shades of green. And a touch of orange. To be more specific, to all the fun and celebrations leading up to Hudson's 8th Annual Hudson St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 18, that kicks off this Saturday, February 25, with The Queen & Court selection night and coronation at Whitlock Golf & Country Club when, at press time, it was confirmed that eight young ladies were vying to be Queen of all the Irish - and wannabe Irish, if only for a day - in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.

Whoever wears the crown, however, their Queen Mum has already been selected. And what a wonderful choice it is! For she is none other than Carol Laws, a long-time dedicated volunteer in Hudson and environs along with being founder, and still president, of Le Pont/Bridging Food Bank now celebrating its 20th anniversary of helping those less fortunate in our community.

Says Jim Beauchamp, of Cunninghams Pub fame and president of the parade's organizing committee, “Carol is a shining example of a selfless volunteer and dedication to others in the region and we are so proud that she has accepted to be this year's Queen Mum.”

Says Carol, whose duties will comprise attending all the parade's many events - including the big one in Montreal - and to watch over the Queen and her Princesses throughout, “I am very happy to represent the Irish in this year's parade and, after researching my ancestry, I was so proud to discover that I have Irish blood on my father's side of the family.”

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A TIRELESS VOLUNTEER - And here's what else I learned about Carol. Upon moving to Hudson in 1977, she immediately began volunteering her time with the Hudson YMCA working at their pre-school and then starting a pre-kindergarten cooking class.

She would go on to give of her time with the Hudson Canada Day celebrations for many years, volunteer at Mount Pleasant Elementary School as class mother, and contribute to their Home and School Association. She then moved on to Evergreen School in St. Lazare, becoming a volunteer in the school office. And it was here that she first got the idea of starting a food bank.

Recalls Carol, “There was a family that attended the school, with three children, and the father lost his job. They had no money and I helped feed them for six weeks before his unemployment kicked in. It was then that I saw a great need for a food bank in the area and, after that, the Le Pont/Bridging organization was born. Today, 20 years later, we are a Registered Charitable Organization with an income tax number, a board of directors, and nine dedicated members.”

Bravo Carol. Or should I now say, Your Majesty!

Tickets for the coronation night, by the way, are still available I do believe. They are $25 and include a choice of three Irish-style meals, the pageant, and the great music of Salty Dog. For reservations call Whitlock Golf & Country Club at (450) 458-5305, extension 200. And hope to see you there!

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FIGHTING CANCER - And what a fabulous night it was at Bar Chez Maurice in St. Lazare this past Saturday, February 18, when a jam-packed fundraising show for Montreal-based Hope & Cope and one of its programs called CancerFight Club - which supports young adults living with cancer and their families - raised some $11,000 in both ticket and raffle sales.

Starring on stage as it did, local group Exit 22, headed up by Hudsonite Daniel Vincent in a brilliant tribute to The Tragically Hip and their lead singer, Gord Downie, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour last May. And a tough act to follow after Double Take got the audience really in the mood with a great set.

Said Daniel after the show, with five-time cancer survivor and co-organizer, Deborah Bridgman, “We would sum up the evening as an unqualified success on so many levels. And we do hope that it will continue to raise awareness of this great cause.” Way to go guys and gals. T'was a night to remember!

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ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE - Speaking of fundraisers, the stage at Hudson Village Theatre was packed to overflowing this past week with not an actor in sight and absolutely nobody in the audience. They were all volunteers busily stuffing envelopes being sent out to help raise donations for new challenges that the theatre wants to tackle this year in celebration of its 25th season. Namely, painting the exterior, hooking up to the town's sewer system, and continuing to provide quality live theatre year-round.

Explains HVT president, Kalina Skulska, “As with most not-for-profit theatres such as ours, box office revenues only cover a portion of the costs and the rest comes from individuals or patrons who believe in what we are doing. Not only to be enjoyed by residents but by so many others from throughout the region. Over 18,000 patrons go through this old train station's doors every year and in 2016 our theatre was active for 265 days!”

Adds Heather Markgraf-Lowe, HVT founder, “It is so heartwarming to see the theatre today and realize the way it is part of the life-blood of our community. Through generous donations last year, it was able to replace the roof and dormers. Also, upgrades to its technical equipment, allowing the theatre to do more challenging and higher quality work.”

Obviously believing in its future, an anonymous donor has come forward to match every dollar donated up to $50,000. Which means that every donation received from individuals can be doubled. And it is tax deductible. For further info, call HVT at (450) 458-5361.

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MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS - In closing, another classified ad that purportedly appeared in a U.K. newspaper recently, according to YLJ wag, Jane Kirkwood.

WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE.

Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.

Don't you just love it?

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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