DO YOU EVER SUFFER FROM a malady that often strikes me in this active valley?
I call it “C.I.,” as in “chronic indecision.” I find it hard to choose from all the fun different ways we have to celebrate the best of the season, whether it's summer, fall, winter or spring.
I usually just punt and try my best to make it to as many events as I can.
That happened to me (per usual) last weekend.
LODI SALUTE: Last Saturday, it was off to the Omni Mount Washington for a joyous and poignant celebration of life for the late, irrepressible valley events promoter and onetime Gibson Center executive director Paul “Bosco” Lodi, whom we lost in March to cancer at age 72.
The celebration in the octagonal dining room of the hotel had a guest list of 265 people — and it was just the kind of event that Bosco would have loved, replete with music sung by his and Edie’s daughters, Louisa Simonds and Juliet Bentley, who brought down the house with their soaring rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”
Just about anyone who had ever been a member of his paid and volunteer events army was there, from Carol Westervelt, Karen Cummings, Jim Savoie and Nina and Sheldon Perry to David Cianciolo, David Fox, former New England Patriot/ex-MWV Hog Bob “Harpo” Gladieux, Skip and Carrie Sherman of WBNC, Suzanne Anderson, her mom, Marianne Jackson; Kim Beals, Bob and Annie Kantack, Chris and Lori McAleer, Alana MacDonald and Johnny Edge, Jeff Mandell, Chuck Henderson, Brian Smith, Ellen Keith, Kevin and Kimberly Clarke, Cronan and Penny Minton, Tessa and Andy Narducci, Dick and Ann Bennett, Nancy Stewart, Sean and Heath Doucette and so many more. Absent was longtime Lodi friend Peter Case, who could not be there, and, of course, the late Al Risch, whom Paul helped found the non-profit Friends of Tuckerman Ravine back in 2000.
It was like a reunion where you knew everyone, and everyone who was there was a good soul. Kind of like what I imagine heaven to be like — no jerks; just people who have made this valley a better place.
Putting the whole shebang together in a manner that was blessed by Paul himself were great old friends Vincent Vallarino, who served as master of ceremonies, and Paul’s longtime aide de camp, Steve Burdett, both of Hurricane Mountain Design Studio of North Conway.
From 12:30-4 p.m., Vincent — a former valley resident and now a gallery owner in New York, and grandson of Leon Bolduc (who built the Bolduc Block now being restored by Mountain Top Music in Conway) — handled the event, introducing Paul and Edie’s four children, with sons Charley and Peter sharing speaking duties with their sisters and their mother.
It was refreshing that no one sanctified the always bigger-than-life Paul, with Vincent and friends Kellogg Boynton, Kingdon Gould, photography mentor Jim Harrison and former New England Patriots General Manager Patrick Sullivan bringing him to life with their amusing stories.
Patrick noted that when Paul served as field activities coordinator for the Patriots, he had everything timed down to the second, from the players’ entrance onto the field until the end of the game. “The NFL is still using his template,” praised Patrick.
The most poignant tribute was from Paul’s younger sister, Lisa O’Laughlin, who said that in their family of seven siblings, her older brother was always there for her, sharing his love for music, photography and literature — he was a voracious reader, she said, despite the fact that as a young student he had been undiagnosed by the nuns as having dyslexia.
Rebelling as a result, Lisa said her brother had many run-ins at a young age with his teachers, who dealt with him by placing him in detention in the cloak room — which only gave the resourceful Paul free rein to sample the best of his classmates’ lunches!
Those troubles led to him leave school when he was 16, and coming to the Mount Washington Hotel, where he began his lifelong love of creating exquisite meals, especially Italian cooking.
Sportsman, chef, photographer, adventurer, event promoter, creative thinker, Montana outdoorsman for the past 20 years — Paul Lodi was all of those.
For those of you who did not know him, I hope you will now have a sense of him, a man who brought flair to such events as the U.S. Handicapped National Ski Championships, the World Nordic Disabled Cross Country Ski Championships, the New England Patriots Rights of Spring and the Attitash Equine Festival, to name a few.
Short of P.T. Barnum, there was no one like Paul Lodi, and there probably never will be, at least in this valley. This past Friday would have been Paul’s 73rd birthday — we hope he had a rocking good one in the big circus of the sky!
AFTER PAUL’S celebration, I headed to Tuckerman Brewing Co. late Saturday afternoon, where Rustic Overtones performed at a well-attended return outdoor engagement. Again, great to see so many living it up in these fleeting days of summer!
ON SUNDAY, I drove to Tamworth to pick up my Vietnam veteran brother David L. Eastman to head on over to the closing ceremonies of “The Wall That Heals” replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Ralph W. Shirley American Legion Post 46 in Conway.
It was special to be there with David, who is turning 76 at the end of this month. Author of “Outlaws in Vietnam: 1966-67 in the Delta” (available on Amazon.com), Dave was awarded the Silver Star as a helicopter pilot for his actions in saving troops in a “hot” (under fire) landing zone in South Vietnam on Easter Sunday 1967.
At the wall, Dave and I ran into many friends, including his University of New Hampshire classmates and local community supporters Sut and Margaret Marshall of East Madison. Legion officials John Kiesman, Ken McGovern, Buddy Nicholas and Sheila Gormley told us attendance was good for the display, with about 3,000 attending, Aug. 8-11.
Kudos to all members and volunteers who worked to make the event a success, including Rick Breton and his Sons of the American Legion who cooked up the tasty burgers and hot dogs throughout the event.
I FEEL like I have been in a time machine this summer, having written about the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy; then covering the Grand Hotels exhibit from the 19th and early 20th century now on display at the Museum of the White Mountains on the campus of Plymouth State University through mid-September; then the 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods Economic Monetary Conference; then about the Vietnam War; and in today’s edition, about the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.
I hope readers have enjoyed taking the time-tripping journey with me.
ARTS JUBILEE concluded Thursday its 37th season rain-free for all five shows, with the bluegrass/folk trio of Danny Barnes, Grant Gordy and Joe K. Walsh. performing in the last show. Local musician Jeremy Holden opened the show.
ROCK THE REC: Next up at Cranmore, on Aug. 22 is the second annual Roc the Rec concert, featuring local bands Junco, Riley Parkhurst Project, Rek-lis and Shark Martin. Tickets are $15 at the gate; 12 and under free. Gates open at 5 p.m., with music at 8 p.m. Proceeds benefit the MWV Rec Path.
NICE TO SEE M&D drew a big crowd for their ribbon-cutting at their newly renovated quarters at the historic Eastern Slope Playhouse at the Eastern Slope Inn Thursday night. Bravo!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one and all, including Leo Ryan (belatedly, 8-10); and to the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Kathleen Driscoll, Erin O’Sullivan, J.O.P. Barbara “Babs” Tetreault and M&D’s Ken Martin (all today); Danielle Dion (who just met rock star Alice Cooper with friends Becky Armstrong and Lauren Basile-Carr), and the Laura Foundation’s Amy Mahoney (8-18); blues drummer Alan Phenix, the Ledgeview Grill’s Deb Knapp and artist Marty Sage Gilman (8-19); the Shannon Door’s Tommy Mulkern and Julie Weston James (8-20); Davey Armstrong of Dennis and Davey, Susan Whipple and Tom “Santa” Roberge (8-21); history-loving logger Steve Morrill and Laura Riggs Mitchell (8-22); and Catherine McDonald (8-23).
SEE YOU AT CEILI RAIN at the Theater in the Wood in Intervale tonight, and at the White Mountain Boogie and Blues Festival Sunday to see Elvin Bishop. As I said, that “C.I.” can be difficult — but only if you let it slow you down!