A Christmas Carol

by Lynne Ober

Back by popular demand, the dynamic duo from the Hampstead Stage Company presented Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Tuesday night at Windham’s Nesmith Library.

This timeless piece was delightfully presented by Ben Tylka and Amanda Maregolis.  They brought the magic of the Christmas season to life for young and old.  The tale about miser and holiday-hater Ebenezer Scrooge and his clerk Bob Cratchit, who enjoys life and his family, is a treat for all.

When Cratchit arrives precisely two minutes and 28 seconds late to work and gets scolded by Scrooge, the audience begins to watch with interest.

Tylka is an excellent Scrooge who managed to squeeze just the right amount of juice out of his character.  Profit is his goal, and profit he will have, and “bah-humbug” to anything else.

Thanks to visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Scrooge learns the error of his ways and is able to overcome his own foibles.  Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas and family and holiday joy.

In this charming tale, the audience is educated about the class system of Victorian England, and encouraged them to help others who are less fortunate than they are.  The time flies by as both Tylka and Maregolis, dressed in Victorian costumes, bring depth and life to the characters that they portray.

The Hampstead Stage Company is a non-profit organization that brings high quality theatre adapted from literary classics to children and adults in all 48 contiguous states.  Offering live theater for over 25 years, they perform thousands of performances each year.  This is the second time they have performed at Nesmith Library and both times they have held the audience spellbound throughout the performance.

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T’was Two Weeks Before Christmas

T’was two weeks before Christmas, when all through our town,

Not a light bulb was shining, TVs made no sound.

Generators were humming in garages with care,

With the hope that Public Service would soon bring warm air.

Each family stayed nestled as snug as they could,

While worries of freezing concerned all, as it should.

Papa in his long-johns, Mama in her hat,

Huddled together with the dog in their lap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter!

We sprang from our warmth to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

To peak from behind blankets I had hung on the sash.

The rain on the branches of ice covered trees,

Came crashing around us, as we fell to our knees.

When, what to my frightened eyes should appear,

But a mighty tall oak, I had always held dear.

With a crack, swish and thud, trees flew coldly aloof,

I knew that the next one might come through the roof.

More rapid than eagles the linemen they came.

And we cheered them and thanked them and called them by name: 

From Connecticut!  From Michigan!  From Canada!  and Ohio!

From D.C.!  and New Hampshire!  all bringing such brio!

To the top of the poles!  To the treacherous line!

Take good care!  And be safe!  You are brave and so kind!

As the wind ceased its howling and no ice fell anew,

The worst ice storm in history with relief for so few.

No power or water or everyday fare,

We shared anxious moments but did not despair.

In spite of no lighting, life’s kindness shone through,

With neighbor helping neighbor, building friendships anew.

Long lines for hot coffee, “D” batteries and gas,

Brought warm smiles and comfort which helped the time pass.

As the circuits repaired and we warmed up our homes,

I am sure our storm stories could fill many tomes.

Let us never forget one strong common theme,

The compassion of strangers and the work of a team.

The linemen who helped us from home and afar,

Along with their skill brought hope, bright as a star.

As they spring to their trucks, to their teams give a whistle!

As away they all fly, like the down of a thistle,

They should hear us exclaim, ere they drive out of sight,

“Many thanks to you all, and to all a good night!”

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New Truck Waiting on Town Vote

by Barbara O’Brien

If voters in Windham approve next year’s town budget, there will be a new truck doing duty at the town’s transfer station.

Selectmen have decided to follow Transfer Station Manager Dave Poulson’s recommendation to purchase a 2007 Mack truck from a dealership in Manchester.  The two-year-old vehicle has only 54,000 miles on its odometer, Poulson said, making it an excellent deal.  The cost of the truck was initially set at $90,000, plus approximately $5,200 in miscellaneous equipment needed to retrofit the vehicle for transfer station use.  $85,000 had originally been included in the 2009 town budget to purchase a vehicle for the transfer station.

“The truck is immaculate,” Poulson said, and comes with a three-year warranty.  “It will serve all our disposal needs,” Poulson continued.  The Mack truck originally cost in the vicinity of $125,000, Poulson told selectmen.  “We won’t find another one like it at this price.”

The 2007 truck will be replacing the transfer station’s existing 1990 Mack truck which currently has about 500,000 miles to its credit.

Poulson said the dealer was willing to negotiate, and that’s what was done.  As the result of further discussion, Poulson was able to secure a $10,000 trade-in on the town’s 1990 Mack and, through further negotiations, was able to reduce the price for the newer Mack to a cost of about $83,000, $2,000 less than originally budgeted.

The dealership has agreed to keep the 2007 Mack “on hold” for the town until voters cast their ballots next March.  Poulson said he felt that now was the opportune time to check into available vehicles, due to the poor state of the economy.  “I felt it was being proactive to check out the situation now, rather than wait until next spring after town meeting,” he said.

On Monday, December 8, selectmen voted 4 to 1 to reserve the 2007 Mack truck, contingent on passage of the town’s 2009 budget.  Selectmen Galen Stearns, Bruce Breton, Chairman Dennis Senibaldi, and Charles McMahon voted in favor of reserving the truck.  Only Selectman Roger Hohenberger voted in opposition, saying that he feels with the worsening economy it would be possible to get a better deal next spring.

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