Old Home Days:  Supersized and Super-Fun

Seen Through the Eyes of a Hudson Youth

by Doug Robinson

Makayla Fisher age 5, Lauren Bureau age 6, and Chelsea age 3, with fancy faces.

The bright lights ahead lit up the sky above the tree line.  The line of cars stretched down the street with their taillights bright red and their blinkers on as they entered onto the giant field of grass.  Ahead of us was a big van with the license plate Tax-Z-Mom, and they had to stop because the policeman was helping people, lots of people, cross the street.

We drove onto the large grassy field, and a really nice man in a Lion’s Club vest took our dollar for parking.  He said thank you to us and told us that the dollar would help with their fundraising events.  He also said that they help graduating seniors from high school with scholarships. 

There were cars everywhere.  This perfect day was not humid, not cloudy, and everywhere I looked, other parents were parking their cars.  There were kids in strollers, kids on dad’s shoulders, kids walking hand-in-hand with grown-ups, and everyone was smiling.  Everyone was smiling, because, like me, they too were at Hudson’s Old Home Days.

Every year since I was a little kid, I have come to Old Home Days.  But this year, something was different, something was very different.  Everywhere I looked there were rides, food booths, craft booths, organization booths, bands playing, people laughing, and people having a great time.

As we walked past the old house, there was a helicopter parked on the grass to my left.  There were lots of fire trucks, a smashed up car, and a racecar that was turned on, filling the air with noise.  The engine was really loud.  I thought it sounded like a racecar engine or a jet engine it was so loud.

Then, I turned my head, and I could now see why the sky was so bright.  The carnival was alive with lights flashing, spotlights shining, and huge rides that shot way up into the sky.  I saw rides that I have never seen before at any other carnival.  Old Home Days was supersized!  Mom told me that everything that I saw, everything that I did was due to a few special people in town.  While the Historical Society partnered with the owners of the carnival, Fiesta Shows, mom told me that “the movers and the shakers that made this carnival happen were Priscilla Clegg and her family.  If we see her we will have to thank her for all she and her family did.”

A Fireworks Spectacular by RS Fireworks of Hudson.

And then it happened … I got past the historical society food booth, it smelled great, and to think, there were more volunteers directed by Dave Alukonis.  I walked onto the huge fields.  I was dwarfed by the huge rides.  Every year that I have come to Old Home Days, I always make mom ride the Tilt-A-Whirl with me.  It’s a tradition, and it is always our first ride.  So, after mom got me my own ride bracelet so that I could ride the rides, we zig-zagged through crowds to take our first ride.  It seemed faster this year, and the ride seemed bigger.  Had this been supersized, too?

“Come on Mom, hurry up,” I kept yelling to mom.  We rode the Crazy Bus, Spider-Mania, Sea Dragon, and Bumper Cars next.  (I don’t ever remember the carnival having bumper cars.)  Next, we ran past all the craft and business booths to the other end of the field to hop on more rides.  These rides were at the top of the hill.  From up there, you could see way off into the distance.  The view was beautiful.  I can remember mom screaming as we went through the Haunted House.  We skipped the Orient Express ride because that was for little kids.

In the middle of the field was not only a cow, but also a huge pile of sawdust.  Lots of people were standing around the cow just waiting and looking at it.  Some people were cheering for the cow to do something.  The sign said “Cow Pie Bingo”, and when I asked mom what that meant, she said, “Never mind, dear.  Your father will explain it to you.”  Then, all of a sudden, everyone cheered for some reason, and the crowd of people went away.  Very strange!

The sawdust pile was really cool.  I got to dive into the pile and to my luck, I found candy and games hidden beneath the sawdust.  I felt like I was at the beach as the sawdust, like sand, got in my hair, ears, nose, shoes, and everywhere else on me.

HFD Lt. James Paquette at the mercy of Barber Tom Levesque for an MDA Fundraiser

By now, I was hungry, and it was time to eat.  My choices were numerous; then again, this year the fair was supersized.  Not only did they have fried dough, corn on the cob, hamburgers, and subs, they also had Dudley’s lemonade, and the firefighters were offering hot dogs, soda and bottled water.  I even got to go into the house trailer that created enough smoke inside, you thought the house was on fire.  The firefighters taught me how to crawl to safety and then crawl out the window.

One of the coolest shows at Old Home Days was the make-believe car crash that firemen from both Hudson and Litchfield had set up.  Over the speakers, someone said that they were going to do a make-believe car crash and make pretend that crash happened at 3 o’clock in the morning.  I heard the people in the fire station call out to the fire trucks; I saw the fire trucks coming with their red lights on, and the ambulance came too.  I could hear everything that was said over the radio to the men in the fire trucks.  Hudson Deputy Chief Rob Buxton was talking to the crowd and explaining everything as it was going on.  Men jumped out of the fire trucks, ran to where the wrecked cars were parked, and began to help the people inside of the car.  Good thing this was all make-believe because it was really scary.  Some firefighters cut the roof off the car to save the people who had blood on them inside the car, while other fire fighters stood by with a huge hose in case the car caught on fire.  Everyone cheered when the show was done, and everyone thanked the firemen for all they did.

When the make-believe car crash show was done, Akim, the Hudson police dog, showed us how he can locate drugs in a car.  He sniffed out some drugs that the police had hidden in the radiator. 

As mom and I walked through the area where all the booths were located, some people were dressed as clowns, while other people were getting their faces painted.  The lady was using an air brush to paint pictures on kid’s faces.  Even though I wanted to have my face painted, I did not want my friends to think I was a dork, so I did not ask for my face to be painted.

Then, we walked by a wicked big block of aluminum cans.  The sign said, “Guess how many cans are in this cube.”  The cube was huge.  I later learned that about 20,000 cans had been crushed to make this cube.  The cube was about as tall as me, 4-feet, and a lot wider than me, about 3 feet.  The nice man in the booth showed us some examples of what is done with the cans.  He showed us plastic bottles and some recycling bins all made out of recycled cans.

It was time for the fireworks.  They were the biggest, the best fireworks I have ever seen.  Then again, Old Home Days was supersized.  Mom told me that the company that put on the fireworks show was by a man who lives in Hudson, RS Fireworks, and wasn’t it “nice to have a Hudson resident help us out this way.”

As we walked back to the car, the sky was still full of light.  Kids were still laughing, kids were still in strollers, kids were still being carried on dad’s shoulders, and kids were still walking hand-in-hand with grown-ups as their busy day ended.  Everyone was still smiling, because, like me, they too had super-fun at the supersized Hudson Old Home Days.  

Litchfield and Hudson Fire Crews remove mock victim during an Old Home Days demonstration.

No Badge, No Gun and No Cruiser, Sues to be Paid

by Len Lathrop

Litchfield Police Chief Joseph O’Brion’s attorney filed a brief in New Hampshire Superior Court on August 14, asking that his 15-day suspension be revoked and that Litchfield “re-pay his lost wages, reimburse his attorney fees, and reimburse the costs of this action.”  In the filing, it states, “Chief O’Brion was suspended without pay for 15 days by a notice delivered to him by town counsel for the town of Litchfield on Friday, July 27, 2007.  The suspension notice purports to discipline Chief O’Brion for improperly releasing police reports concerning a criminal defendant, Timothy Keddie, allegedly in violation of RSA 91-A to Ms. Lynnette Cornell, a reporter with the Hudson~Litchfield News.” 

As reported in last Friday’s issue, questions began to surface after Chief O’Brion had spoken with a Hudson Selectman and commented that he had “no badge, no gun and no cruiser”, but would not comment as to his status with the town of Litchfield Police Department.  Discussions with Litchfield Selectman Ray Peeples last week never revealed the chief’s status, however, they did reveal that his cruiser was parked at the Litchfield Police Station.  Also, Lieutenant Gerald Millette was the acting officer of the department.

With O’Brion’s law suit, his suspension status was confirmed.  The 20-page legal brief alleges the released documents that O’Brion had given to a Hudson Litchfield News (HLN) reporter were given to the Board of Selectmen Chairman Raymond Peeples by Lynne (sic) Ober. 

The HLN asked Peeples if he originally found out about the released documents from Ober, and Peeples responded, “I did not.  I was first called by a Litchfield resident.  After that phone call, I called both Lynne Ober and Lynette Cornell and asked them direct questions about the release.  I made it clear to both of them that I already knew about the documents being released.”

Lynne Ober, HLN News Editor, stated that, “Ray called me just as I was leaving the house one evening and specifically asked me what documents we had gotten from the Chief.  Ray told me he had been contacted by someone in Litchfield who had told him about the documents.  Since I had not seen the documents, I was unable to answer,” and “I did not have a copy of the documents either, so I was unable to provide them to him.  At his request, I did give him a copy of the e-mail that O’Brion sent to Lynette requesting that she not use the prior released documents that Lynette had forwarded to me.”

The documents were given to Cornell when she and Mr. Nick Martin were jointly working on an article about an upcoming court hearing in regards to Keddie’s case, involving the Litchfield Police Department.  As preparation for the story’s background, Cornell met with O’Brion to discuss the case.  That story about Keddie ran in the June 29 edition of the HLN.  After that meeting, Cornell told HLN News Editor Ober that O’Brion declined to meet with her on the fire and police operations story that she was drafting because he did not like the Keddie story that she co-authored.

The court filing does emphatically state that, “the police reports provided to reporter Lynnette Cornell were never released to the public.”  Cornell received an e-mail from O’Brion asking that the documents not be released and indicating that the documents should not have been given to her.  The e-mail did not ask for the return of the documents.  However, the HLN complied with O’Brion’s request not to release the documents.

There will be a hearing in Hillsborough Superior Court on this case. 

Alvirne High School Band Camp Begins

by Doug Robinson

132 Alvirne High School students take to the field to practice their marching skills as band camp begins.

The sounds of drums, trumpets, clarinets, piccolos, and saxophones can be heard from the fields of Alvirne High School as the Bronco Marching Band begins their summer band camp.

“We have 120 musicians and 12 students who will be participating with the color guard in this year’s band,” commented Gerald Bastien, Music Director.  “This is the 10th anniversary of the band, and the program has come a long way.”

Originally formed in 1997 with just 22 members, the Alvirne High School Marching Band has become a highly respected and widely known band.  Local communities such as Londonderry, Derry, Nashua, and Manchester request that the band participate in their community parades as well as community events.

This year’s band has 30 incoming freshmen.  Bastien, in cooperation with Hudson Memorial School as well as local professional music studios, has developed what he calls a “feeder program”.  This is where students who have reached their freshman year have already selected an instrument as well as have become somewhat proficient at reading music and playing various melodies.

While at band camp, students learn the lessons of housekeeping, punctuality, working as a team, and ensemble involvement.

Alvirne High School Principal Bryan Lane commented that band camp is the backbone to the marching band program.  Students who participate in band camp become a family, and it is just the beginning of a great high school experience.

The five-day camp begins at 7:15 a.m. and continues until 4:15 p.m. daily.  In addition to learning the music, which they will be performing at Alvirne’s home football games and parades, students also learn the fundamentals of marching in a band.  Upper body carriage, the roll step, back marching, and shifting are only a few of the necessary skills a marching band participant must learn.

“I am really fortunate that many alumnae of the marching band have returned this summer to help me run band camp.  Their help provides for not only more individual attention, but they also have the ability to share experiences and mentor the children.  Who would have believed that the marching band would have grown as it has,” stated Bastien.

The marching band has begun to practice to perfection Fiesta Del Toro, Toreador March, and Mask of Zorro so that come opening night of football season, they can take to the 50-yard line and execute their performances with passionate precision.

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