A continuing tale of life in the boonies
As the Selectmen's meeting of Feb. 16, 1985 convened at 10 a.m., mailman "Biff" Silvia paused in mid-route to peer wistfully through the door and inquire of forthcoming business. In halcyon days, before Joel Plante went night-shift, meetings were held on Wednesday evenings, and Mr. Silvia's attendance was as faithful as that of Greyfriar's Bobby at his master's grave. The change to Saturday mornings, clashing with the delivery of U.S. mail, had almost robbed "Biff" of his raison d'etre.
"What's happening?", he asked.
"We're going to go back to Wednesdays!" chorused Selectmen Plante and Berry.
Biff, sensing himself the victim of sport and play, made a reply that translates into family newspapers as "Pray do not jest, sirs."
"It's true. I'm off nights," the chairman assured him, and at that, Biff withdrew to his mail route in a mixture of delight and disbelief.
Bridges and Culverts: The first tidbit of the year for B. and C. fans was offered by Road Agent Percy Day who reported that a citizen was pushing snow into a culvert on Ten Rod Road. Selectman Berry reported a loose limb on a Maple Street tree and Selectman Plante, continuing the arboreal theme, asked Percy to remove any trees that had fallen from town land into the River Cocheco. Plante said he hoped other responsible landowners would do the same and so prevent back-ups with ice in the Spring run-off.
Sand Storm: Town Administrator Bill Cooper told the board that the price of washed sand had shot up 37 percent or 75 cents per ton.
Double Feature: Mr. Stoll of White Birch Lane received an assurance from the Board that the property that he is currently selling can legally be the site of two mobile homes. Two trailers occupied this site from '74 to '79, and two septic systems continue to stake their claim.
Deja Vu: Mr. Antonio Marti then asked the selectmen to explain his rights as a taxpayer, claiming that he cannot walk Main Street. Police, he alleges, have also requested that he stay out of Bunker Street. During several minutes of complex testimony, Mr. Marti complained about two restriction orders to places he had not visited, gave a demonstration of law officers knocking and entering, pointed to a bruise on his leg, and categorically denied owning a dog. The selectmen stated that he had every legal right to the use of the courts and advised him to get a lawyer.
Gracious Goodness: Two members of the late great Jaycee Women, Joanne Doke and Cathy Hussey, then presented the selectmen with a check for $102.30, being the balance of their funds. They requested that this money be passed to the Community Center, an organization that they felt was doing a good job. Many thanks, ladies. Friends in need are friends indeed.
Goodness Gracious: Mr. Cooper revealed that a court order, placing a Farmington youth in a "structured environment" was going to cost the town about $19,000. As only $31,000 had been budgeted for such purposes for the entire year, it was necessary to increase estimated costs by $10,000, and ask that Town Meeting approve a provision of $41,000.
Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble: In a variant of "When shall we three meet again" it was decided that the next Selectmen's meeting would be on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. I closed my eyes and imagined a mailman skipping joyfully round his route and showering letters into the air like pink rose petals.
Police News: Following an orgy of assaults on police officers, in which fingers, arms, legs, knees and spectacles have been bent or broken, Police Chief Worster has sanctioned the purchase of a "hand-held personal self-defense device" called an XR-5000 Zapper. Surely a case could have been made for the purchase of a whaling harpoon instead of this simple electrical gadget, which looks as innocuous as a T.V. remote control.
School News: The School Board has confirmed Mr. Richard Smart to the post of janitor at the newly opened extension to Memorial Drive School. Until pupils and teachers are all re-housed, the appointee has had to work extremely long hours, earning his wife, Barbara, the sympathy of friends and neighbors, and the title Widow Smart.
Dog Watch: Marshal Colwell, the bane of canine existence, has, with his wife, Heidi, embarked on a business venture involving helium balloons which the citizenry visit upon each other on days of celebration. These inflatable rubber bags come in a staggering range of colors and sizes and may bear such legends as the purchaser deems appropriate.
Thus another blow has been stuck for the spirit of free enterprise and the small business man of America. However, I keep in the back of my mind, that like Lucky Luciano's flower shop, and Al Capone's second-hand furniture enterprise, it is just possible that Balloons Unlimited is a front. Could it be that the marshal has hit upon a mad-cap scheme to float stray dogs out of the area for once and for all, under cover of darkness.
According to the Guinness Book of Records the longest reported flight of a toy balloon (no mention of attached dog) was from California to South Africa, a distance of 9,000 miles. All sightings of dog-bearing balloons, especially balloons emblazoned with the words "So long, sucker" should be reported to this column.
C.A.P. News: As previously reported, new C.A.P. Outreach Technician, Gayle Richards, decided that on Wednesdays her office would remain open until 5:30 p.m. This meant that for the last 30 minutes she would occupy the building by herself, since the Community Center closes for supper between 5 and 6.
Not normally a nervous person, Gayle, at 5:30 last Wednesday, came down from her office into a darkened Center and was only mildly apprehensive of two men who were arguing furiously and about to punch each other, outside in the street. She was startled, however, by the telephone suddenly ringing out in the dark, and on answering it was obliged to listen to an agitated Antonio Marti who was seeking clarification about a recent newspaper article.
Then, out of the gloom, boomed the electronic command of a pinball machine - "Activate Embryon!" It was all too much. Gayle let forth an ear-piercing scream which caused Antonio to dive from English into Spanish and those two combatants out in the roadway to flee the area. During the coming weeks, C.A.P. will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Voters Of Farmington: The supervisors of the checklist, Lena George, Elaine Yates and Anne Hoage, will be in session in the Town Hall in Farmington on Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. until noon, to register new voters. This will be the last day to register before the town election on March 13.
Feb. 26, 1985
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