Letter to the editor 3, June 6, 2019
What would James Ratcliffe say?
Today is 14 years since James’ death. I walk through Hudson trying to see what James would think and say.
James was clearly destined to greatness in a life tragically cut short by human failures. Not an opinion: the facts were clearly stated in the CSST report: Hudson failed, James died.
James was taught by his parents and teachers that failure must not be defeat; failure must become an opportunity for growth and learning. James would have expected Hudson to learn, to aim higher, and to become the best it could be.
It took a long time for Hudson to accept the action required by the CSST report and spend the money required, but Hudson has built a fine, respected and safe Fire Department with well trained and professional leadership. James would be disappointed that it took so long to act, but proud of the end results.
James aspired to become educated and successful and then to live in Hudson. James knew beauty and had seen much of the world in his 20 short years. James knew that Hudson had the potential of an abundance of very special beauty and very special people. James had grown up as a child of the Hudson Yacht Club summers, a unique and special place in the world full of love for life, sports and the family of a community.
James would wonder why Hudson had allowed itself to become so shabby and poorly maintained. What has broken Hudson? Why didn’t Hudson recover? Hudson today is not the town that James so aspired to live in. He would be confused and disappointed.
James loved his grandparents who came to Hudson in their retirement. James would wonder why his octogenarian grandmother, in 2019 has such terrible sidewalks to walk on, why the town allows seniors to risk falls and injury walking anywhere in town in any season.
James would wonder where in Hudson his grandmother would move to when she needed more assistance. With decades old knowledge of an aging population, why haven’t more options become available in this town beloved by so many? We have so many seniors, yet we’re not senior friendly. How can we explain that?
We have the brains, we have the money, where is Hudson’s will?
James would wonder why the winter sand was still on the streets after another year of danger from horrid snow clearing. Why was Cameron so dangerous on winter mornings? Why was Pine Lake an unconcluded disaster? Why does Hudson lack the ability to manage contractors to perform the services we pay for? Where’s the accountability for public expenses and improvement from failure?
James would wonder why the center of Hudson hasn’t been repaved and beautified since we installed the sewer system. Weren’t we talking about that when James’ died? What happened to the Archer Report and all the talk? Where is Hudson’s will?
We’d eventually walk to the Hudson Yacht Club and sit by the water, sitting within a small circle that brought the very best of life and the worst early end of life to James. He’d be impressed and happy that the club members had come together after the flooding of 2017 and spent the money to raise and protect the clubhouse. Exactly what he’d expect of Hudson, see a problem, and just fix it.
James would conclude that Hudson is surrounded by the same beauty and opportunity that he loved in life. Hudson has the same potential he dreamed of. Hudson still has many great hearts and minds that inspired and nurtured him.
James would be disappointed that Hudson has never reached full potential to come together as a community that truly believes in itself enough to compromise where needed and to spend where needed to maintain and improve itself.
Hudson of today is nothing like the Hudson that James once dreamed of.
Peter H. Ratcliffe