A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 004

A mere two responses to the Christmas contest, which sought the best collective noun for Santa Clauses! This means that in Farmington, alone, Clauses outnumber responses by a ratio of 7-1.

One of the two replies was from an elderly lady, who did not suggest a collective noun, but gave me a stern admonition for using Xmas instead of Christmas. She felt that this season commemorated the birth of Christ, and somewhere along the line this fact had been obscured by razzmatazz. My X had helped not a jot. Our talk was brief, (she undoubtedly had many other calls to make) but friendly and I expressed a measure of agreement with her point of view. Mark me down, lady, as a small victory in your uphill battle.

For you, I include a verse from a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti taken from his book "A Coney Island of the Mind."

Christ climbed down from his bare tree this year

And ran away to where no fat handshaking stranger

In a red flannel suit and a fake white beard

Went around passing himself off as some sort of North Pole saint

Crossing the desert to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, back at the contest, the other responder was a shadowy figure, name of Ramgunshoch, who indicated a preference for the collective noun, "plague".

To you, Mr. R. of Farmington, the prize of $3.

Christmas Tree news

Talking of bare trees, who are the two men who tied a scraggy fir to a pole in Puddledock Square under cover of darkness? And is this act an expression of optimism, not shared by the authorities, who decided this year, against erecting a Christmas tree in town? Mr. Archie Corson, taking a moment out from appraising passing Santas, said that it was the poorest show in 65 years. On the bright side, it should also be remembered as one of the longest running shows of recent times.

"That tree's breaking all kinds of records," declared one Town Hall spokesman, referring to the lack of vandalism. The vandals, no doubt, felt sorry for it.

From another aspect, the townspeople can look back on Christmas with great pleasure knowing that the combined efforts of the Lions, the Churches, Davidson Rubber management and workers, the P.D., individuals and the great tribe of Pense, amassed, wrapped and distributed an enormous collection of goodies, to the poorer families in the area. Police Chief Worster could not recall seeing a finer mountain of toys and food baskets, and he can maybe go back further than Archie Corson.


Christmas Poem: Before the serious business of reporting the Selectmen's meeting, here are a few more lines of a seasonal nature. All true. Check the footprints.


1. Correspondent last looked out,

On the feast of Stephen,

When the snow lay round about,

Deep and crisp and even.

Brightly shone the moon that night,

Though the frost was cruel,

When a poor man drove in sight,

Spluttering out of fu-u-el.


2. Tailpipe, muffler? None at all!

Noisy? Yes indeedy!

Woke up creatures great and small,

(Except, of course, the P.D.)

Samaritans, a ragged band,

Three or four in number,

Stumbled out to lend a hand,

Although aroused from slu-um-ber.


3. They clubbed the driver to the ground,

No tender words of pity.

A wilder crew could not be found,

This side of New York City.

Yet, following these angry blows,

By the moonlight so clear-o,

They kindly dusted off his clothes,

And stuffed him back to stee-eer-o.


4. A push-start then; much puff and strife,

Until, (Oh, jubilation!)

The truck exploded into life,

Re-woke the population.

But soon, when 'twas a distant hum,

I thought of greater things -

Of bridges, culverts, Santas, gum,

Of cabbages and ki-i-ings.


Selectman's Meeting of Dec. 22, 1984

The meeting commenced with the opening of sealed bids for various services to the town. Town trash pick-up for 1985: Wilkins, William...$475; Wells, Ronald...$450. Contract awarded to Wells. Town fuel supplier (No. 2 diesel): Cardinal & Glidden...0.8325 per gallon; Ferns...0.8345 per gallon; Pittsfield Bottled Gas...0.8345 per gallon. Contract awarded to Cardinal & Glidden. Printing town report bids based on 650 copies of 130 pages: Ridings Press...$1540; Village Printer...$2605. Contract awarded to Ridings Press.

No News Is Bad News: Disappointment this week for aficionados of Bridges & Culverts. Supremo Percy Day was unfortunately otherwise engaged plowing highways and byways, thwarting the regular seminar. Twice as much next week, though. Hang on!

Fire Dept. News: Fire Chief Richard Moulton stated that with the present system of snow plowing at fire station, the tanks were likely to fill up with water. He made a reasonable case for pushing out to the back instead of the front and putting the middle out on the side. The selectmen then considered, with Mr. Moulton, the viability of making the Fire Chief's job a full-time position. Moulton explained that he was spending 20/30 hours per week on fire business at the moment and this was only due to an understanding employer. It would take almost three years work at 40 hours per week to get on top of the backlog of inspections for fire escapes, fire codes, etc., and he thought the creation of a full-time post was overdue, particularly in the light of increased building activity and population growth.

Selectman Plante pointed out that opponents (of civilization?) had scuttled a similar proposal last year and suggested a more marketable package of combining Fire Chief with Dog Officer and Building Inspector. Why not tack on Town Santa and the Easter Bunny, too, for an irresistible bargain? The discussion was halted by the sounding of the fire alarm causing the Chief and Selectman Plante (now Fireman Plante) to scuttle off and tackle a blaze in a chimney.

Barkers, Parkers, Boundary Markers: The public then entered, and took his place on the benches. Alan Spear (for it was he) raised three points, the first of which concerned that journalistic standby, dogs. What does the dog officer pay? (Answer: More than the Fire Chief) What are his duties? (Answer: Diverting the flak from everyone else) Couldn't we shoot 'em? (Answer: No) Through the window a small army of happy tailwaggers could be seen trotting obliviously past the Town Hall.

Point two focused on cars parked in the lane that separated the Town Hall from Alan Spear's property. It was re-iterated that parking would be restricted to the northern side of this narrow street.

Point three was in the form of an inquiry regarding the set-back requirements for a fence on his property. Mr. Spear's present fence is being adversely affected by the snow bank created by the plow. The snow bank is partly created by awkward parking and the fence is required to keep out dogs . Everything began to fall into place. A solution was speedily reached and went as follows: No one would park where they shouldn't. Mr. Spear would get together with the plowman and arrange to put a reflector strip on his fence post. The Town would find a Dog Officer.

Happy Ending II: The meeting drew to a close with the sampling of Mrs. White's delicious chocolate coated peanut butter drops. Mr. Ramgunshoch adds "A guid New Year tae ane an' a'", whatever that means. Away and hoard your $3, Mr. R.

Jan. 1, 1985

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