Salem Tree Lighting

December 20, 2013

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

An annual tradition of the Salem Lions Club, the town Christmas tree located in Veterans Memorial Common was lit recently along with a ceremony and music from the Haigh School Chorus.

Guest speaker Selectman Patrick Hargreaves spoke about a recent situation that told him of the true meaning of Christmas.

Hargreaves said a recent trip to North Conway with his grandchildren to ride the Polar Express was a moving experience for him when his grandson, Aiden, began talking to an elf named Holly when they reached the ‘North Pole’.  “My grandson started talking to her like they were best friends,” he said, adding Aiden is usually very shy.

“This is what Christmas is all about, watching my grandkids enjoy the holiday season,” he said.

Later, Hargreaves said, while waiting for a sleigh ride, his grandson was skating on a small patch of ice with another boy when they suddenly both fell.  He said the two were fine, but noticed the boy’s father had an English accent.  After talking with him, he learned he was from Yorkshire, England, where Hargreaves’ ancestors are from, and that there is a pet store the man visited called Hargreaves Pet Store.  “As parents we don’t interact,” Hargreaves said.

When the sleigh arrived, Hargreaves and his grandsons were with a new group of people and his grandson Evan began speaking with other children on the ride and eventually everyone was in conversation.  “We all had one simple communication,” he said.  “The grandkids, Christmas spirit and brotherhood.”

“My grandkids saved Christmas for myself, I did not know the true meaning of Christmas as an adult,” he said.  “We’re there to have memories of our grandkids, our kids.”