Santa and Friends Make Merry in Library Park

by R. Rodgers

Maddy Bowen was not quite sure who Santa was when he arrived at Library Park to turn on the tree lights.

Ho, ho, ho and Merry Christmas!  Who else would leave that indelible message, but you know who – Mr. Claus himself.  And so the merry man in the red suit swept into Hudson on November 24 for his annual kick-off to the holiday season by turning on the Christmas Lights at Library Park. 

He stepped off Engine 4 driven by firefighter Kevin Blinn -- who firmly established his place on the nice list -- and was greeted with the wonderful sounds of the Alvirne Band playing his favorite Christmas songs.  He was accompanied by brothers Gavin and Alex Demers, this year’s winners of the coveted prize of riding along with Santa.  The warm weather encouraged the largest crowd ever for the festivities.  The freshly painted soldiers, the cheerful waving Santa and the nativity surrounded the park all thanks to the Highway Department crew which does such a wonderful job preparing for the monumental arrival.

Once Santa accomplished his important task at the park, he again boarded the fire truck with the boys and was escorted to the Community Center by Lt. Bill Avery.  There he was met by another large group of his friends.  Santa quickly started his visit with all the children, young and old.  While waiting for a turn to sit on Santa’s lap and share their requests, the children enjoyed making ornaments with the Hudson Seniors.  They also decorated and munched on gingerbread men with the help of the Culinary Department from Alvirne and stamped a holiday card with the Nottingham West PTO.  The Nottingham West Lions once again provided cookies, pretzels and hot cocoa for all.  Even the birds benefited from Santa this year as the young ladies from the child care class from Alvirne helped the children make pinecone bird feeders. 

After a busy afternoon, Hudson families returned home with goodie bags full of treats and gifts provided by Senator Bob Clegg, his family and friends along with the Hudson~Litchfield News.  As the children, with their smiling, brightly painted faces, done by Memorial School Student Activities Club, waved goodbye it was official that Christmas was very near. 

Decorating the Gingerbread Man made by Alvirne High School’s culinary student was the focus of Georgie Gentile and Mom, Elaine, at the Community Center.

Kayleigh Lavoie was very proud of the Snowman on her cheek.

Olivia Gentile, 3, checks out face painting designs with Ashley Iannaco with some discretion from Mom.

Officier Sullivan tells Santa,that police dog, Akim has bitten only bad guys this year.

The Joy of Giving

by Lynne Ober

Dave Irving chats with Russ King after delivering his meals. 

Remember those childhood holiday dinners with everyone squeezed around the table at grandma’s house?  What happens when families spread across America and there’s no longer a crowd to cook for?  If you are lucky enough to live in the Hudson area, Hudson’s Fish and Game Club steps in and delivers a dinner to your door step.

“I just don’t want anyone to go without a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” said Karen Knox.  “Anyone who calls and wants a dinner delivered gets one.  Anyone.”

It’s a tradition that began 18 years ago and not only continues but grows each and every year.  Gil Knox, now deceased, and his wife Karen began the tradition.  “We just want everyone to have a good dinner and I know how hard it is to cook a turkey and all the trimmings if you are a couple or alone,” she laughed.

“Karen is definitely the glue that holds us together,” smiled Hudson Fish and Game Club President Dave Irving.  “Her phone must ring non-stop from the beginning of November until the last dinner is served.  Her organization skills and cheerful disposition are just as non-stop as the ringing phone.”

Over the years as the number of dinners cooked and delivered or eaten at the club house has grown, so has the expertise of club members.  They now have steam cookers that will steam 60 turkeys at a time and the meat from those steamed turkeys is juicy, moist, and tender.”

Can you imagine the effort required to clean 150 turkeys?  How about peeling 650 pounds of white potatoes and 600 pounds of sweet potatoes?  It’s a massive effort to prepare a turkey dinner with stuffing, two kinds of potatoes, squash, gravy, pie, and rolls.

According to Knox, a number of Alvirne High School students helped peel vegetables the night before.  “They needed community service hours and we needed help – what a match!  Phyllis Appler called me and asked if we needed help and I told her yes, so she arranged for the students.”

Every inch of the club is used.  Tables are set in the main area with the buffet table along the wall.  A welcoming fire burns in the large stone fireplace.  Anyone who wants to drop in for Thanksgiving dinner is welcome and will be served.

In the kitchen, squash was being mashed with a man-sized masher.  Turkey was being carefully pulled from all the bones, and vegetables were still cooking on the stove.  Potatoes and gravy were hot and ready for serving.

Back in the pool room, large steamers were set up, and more turkeys and vegetables were still cooking.  Members began cooking at 4:00 a.m. and were still cooking even as the first meals were dished up at 11:00 a.m. for delivery.

In the back of the club was a long table.  On one side were volunteers who helped package cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls, butter, and desserts.  These were put into a large paper bag with the hot meal in a large container and driven to homes throughout the area.

“This was the biggest year ever,” said Irving.  “We delivered over 765 meals and had about 200 people eat at the club house.”

Both Knox and Irving complimented all the volunteers who pitch in.  “Church groups, civic groups, Girl and Boy Scouts and just people who want to help come out,” said Irving.  “We couldn’t do it without so many helping hands.”

People from Hudson, Nashua, Litchfield and other towns come and help.  Parents and their kids line up in the buffet line to fill hot meal containers before hitting the road to deliver the food.  “It’s a tradition for our family,” said Sue.  “We do this before we have our own Thanksgiving dinner.  I think this is a great tradition for my children to help with.”

“We couldn’t deliver all these meals if we didn’t have people willing to get the meals out to the people,” chimed in Knox.  “It has just grown every year.”

“We want it to keep growing, but I did notice this year that we have maxed out our pots and pans, so we will have to expand some of our kitchen tools before next year,” said Irving with a large grin.

After the last meal is delivered and the last guest served, clean up begins.  “We’ll be doing this for days,” admitted Irving.

Students Visit Soup Kitchen

On November 21, the fifth grade students at Library Street School went on their annual trip to the Nashua Soup Kitchen to deliver handmade placemats.  Efforts were coordinated by art teacher Nancy Burnett and classroom teachers Eric Crivac and Kathrine Sherwood.  This year, students also brought in canned goods and were present when several shipments from other area groups were being delivered.  Kitchen director Doug was on hand to give an inspiring talk to the students, who all listened intently.  The central message was to get a good education and be willing to help others in need.  He tearfully accepted the children’s donations and said having children take the time to visit is one of the highlights of his job.

Permission for Four-Way Stop Sign Granted

by Lynne Ober

When the last stretch of Albuquerque Avenue opened, selectmen placed stop signs on Albuquerque Avenue at the Hillcrest intersection, but because Hillcrest is a state-owned road, they could not install a four-way stop without state approval.

This week New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray has given that permission.  Selectmen may proceed as soon as they like to install a four-way stop at the intersection.

“It’s been a long time coming and I’m very happy to get this permission,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Cecil Williams.  “Road Agent DeCosta is going to dig the holes for the signs this week while the weather is still warm.  We’d definitely like to get them installed before winter.”

Murray apologized for the length in response to selectmen.  She said that the engineer who had been assigned this project and who had done the legwork on the issues had left the department before writing his final report and it took a while for the issue to re-surface.  When it did, she took immediate action to notify selectmen that their request had been granted.

“I think the stop signs will improve the safety at this intersection,” said Litchfield Police Chief Joe O’Brion.  “We have had a number of serious, potentially deadly accidents at this intersection.  One of the accidents involved a small child.”

Williams did not know when the installation of the signs would be complete, but he was optimistic that it would be very soon.

“This intersection has been a safety concern of ours since it was opened.  I feel that the stop signs will greatly reduce the dangerousness of this intersection,” concluded O’Brion.

Proceed with Caution

Motorists should be cautious as a four-way stop at the busy intersection of Hillcrest Road and Albuquerque Avenue will go into effect on Monday, December 4.  The town recently received permission from the State Department of Transportation to make this change to Hillcrest, which is a state-owned road.

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