A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 014

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

After the Passover, the Israelites took off from the Pharaohs, heading for the Promised Land, and made sure that they carried their dearest possession, the Ark of the Covenant, along with them. But some millennia later, right after the Great Schism, when the Chosen Ones quit Farmington Jaycees and headed for Farmington Lions, they left behind the most precious artifact - the Dunkin' Booth.

The Dunkin' Booth is an ingenious contraption which induces citizens with a grudge and loose change to fire balls at a target. When a bullseye is recorded, a lever is tripped, causing some public enemy like a school principal or police sergeant to be suddenly dropped into a trough of cold water. The Dunkin' Booth is entertaining, lucrative and - to thwart recapture - housed at a secret location, known only to the Jaycee high command.

This impasse suits no one. Those with a good eye and a score to settle wander the streets listlessly, while two organizations, whose chief function it is to raise money for charitable purposes, are deprived of a highly effective tool with which to do so. To return to the religious theme, if Jerusalem can be shared (sort of) by Christians, Jews and Moslems, surely a wooden apparatus can be operated by the Lions and Jaycees equally. I humbly offer my services as mediator in any ensuing negotiations and wish to thank Father Martineau for confirming the Biblical component of this story.

Endangered Species

A warm sunny spell at the start of the month coaxed the lesser or spotted Puddledock out of a six-week hibernation. "Happy St. Valentine's Day", it wished everyone politely, if belatedly. This pleasantry cut little ice with crusty old Mr. Ramgunshoch, whose crossword solving date had expired before the paper delivered by Nancy Bibbo in full armor, had reached the crossword solving public.

Ramgunshoch, who pronounced his Scottish self "fair scunnered" and who called it a "dreich day for philology", should cause editor Nora Goodwin little concern, people having given up on his convoluted clap-trap some time ago.

Flourishing Species

Every day in America, according to authoritative statistics, dogs bite 12,000 people. (Included in this figure are 20 mail carriers.) With all this biting going on, and some of it unprovoked, it is essential that dogs receive a rabies shot every three years. This year the clinic will be held on Saturday, March 16, in the Community Center, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Dog licences will be sold at this time.

Marshal Colwell also wishes to remind the readership that they can provide friends and loved ones with endless hours of fun and mirth by giving ’em helium balloons tinted emerald green. Ah, what St. Patrick missed!

Language Barrier

There is a Scottish poem that runs:

The top o' Louden hill always clad wi' weans

And some are picking daisies and some are flinging stanes

Wi' the calling of the cuckoo and the roaring of the bull

It fills my heart with pleasure on the top of Louden hill.

So much better than that Keatsian Romanticism for invoking a nostalgic longing for spring, suggesting as it does a moving of Chaos outdoors, and away from the Community Center (which last week experienced record-breaking crowds.)

Not realizing that this bird was confined to Europe, I inquired of boondocker Harold Butts if he had heard any cuckoos so far this year, up on the mountain. He looked blank for a few seconds and then responded, "Oh, you mean the Husseys?" Before 200 "Hatfields" mutilate one "McCoy", it must be added that he had a bright twinkle in his eye when he asked the question.

C.A.P. news

The initials B. & C. set some hearts a-fluttering in anticipation of a Bridges and Culverts snippet. To these citizens I say, "Hush thee, good people, 'tis only a Butter and Cheese statistic." In 1984, a typical B. & C. distribution served 374 Farmington households, with 1,102 folks eating their way through dairy produce valued at over $7,000. Multiply this by four (the number of distributions) to arrive at a grand total of $30,000.

Fuel assistance helped 310 households and 920 dwellers therein remained free of frostbite at a cost of $155,534.

Weatherization, the last of the Big Three, improved 29 homes, housed 100 people and cost $33,600.

Ambrose Bierce, the nineteenth century wit, remained strangely silent on butter, cheese and fuel assistance. He took it upon himself, however to define Weather as: "The climate of the hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned." It would be a brave man that recited that bunk to Percy Day after a hard night's plowing.

School News

Ken Jackson, a member of the School Board, has donated five fish aquariums to the elementary school. The school is now asking anyone, who needs them not, to donate even more fish aquariums and important accessories like fish. Pumps and fish aquarium bric-a-brac would also be welcome. The Guinness Book of Records does not reveal which school has the most fish aquariums at this time, but Farmington could well become a World Record Holder with your help.

Miss Hathaway and Mrs. Brady are immersed, not in a fish aquaria, but in a Children's Book Unit project, that involves seventh graders writing, illustrating, binding and presenting books to the Elementary school. The eighth grade newspaper unit, about to hatch another newspaper next week, costing 15 cents, is looking for advertisers. They have a circulation of 200 copies.

The Lord-Meron French Connection in the Town Hall was a highly successful affair. Twenty-four pupils from Farmington and Nute High schools gabbled to each other in French, ate fromage and completed a Gaelic questionnaire that revealed among other things, that their favorite T.V. program was M.T.V. French volleyball was canceled because the bouncing caused havoc with a nurse's stethoscope down below in the Welfare Department. Quelle domage!

Selectmen's meeting of March 6

With Chris Kenyon still bedridden with the flu, it was the sole duty of Willis Berry to read a stirring and well-earned tribute to Chairman Joel Plante, whose last gathering this was.

A placid meeting then ensued. Debbie Welch of Bunker Street, who was self-confessedly naive about property tax, became educated overnight when she received a demand for $396 including a 12 percent interest penalty, with 11 days to pay. Mrs. Welch explained that she had not received a previous demand, as this had probably gone to the preceding tenant, and that although quite willing to pay, she felt that the $48 interest was an unfair imposition in the circumstances. The selectmen will ascertain if they have an option to abate this charge.

Fashion Note: Percy Day, smartly bedecked in red ball cap, green jacket, blue jeans, yellow boots and black pipe, then requested approval to hire a truck for five hours for the purpose of using her to remove snow from Main Street.

"It's gonna snow again, Friday," warned a mailman from the back of the room, in tones that suggested the exercise was futile.

"Let her snow!" yelled Percy, defiantly. Approval was given.

Ribbons: Biff then inquired of ribbons heading up, out, down, past and around Watson Corner. Water mains are coming, he was informed.

Biff III: Completing a hat trick of contributions (small potatoes compared to Town Meeting) Mr. Silvia then asked who appointed the Block Grant committee, and how many members did it constitute. The selectmen and seven, replied Joel, and then added mysteriously, "Interested?"

"Might be."

"The Chairman is gonna step down, and asked me to take his place," disclosed Joel, revealing that a vacancy on that very board was imminent. "I'll make a recommendation."

"What kinda recommendation?" asked Biff with intense suspicion. Plante waved a calming hand and pulled an assuaging face. It was then Chairman Plante's pleasurable duty to announce his very last Secret Conclave. It has been this column’s privilege to share his wit and wisdom.

Community Center news

The Community Center has been open for exactly one year, the first citizens having surged through the doors on March 8, 1984. Since then, 22,286 visits and participations in programs that include dances, roller discos, canoeing, rock-climbing, cribbage, soccer, basketball and over 20 other activities, have been recorded. Exactly 12,458 games of pool have been played, and two million tips knocked off sticks, 5,142 Pepsis have been drunk and more M.T.V. watched than is good for anyone. Groups of citizens who use the facilities include Keep Fit, known to friends and admirers as Fat Ladies, A.A., who recently celebrated their second anniversary, Committees for This and That, Food Co-op, Head Start and Defenders of the Dunkin' Booth.

Cribbage winners - Harold Butts and Joe Mitchell; runners up-Zeke Ghareeb and Micky DePalma.

Pool winner -Tad Thomas; runner-up - Steve Walbridge.

Chess champ (after a series of flukey moves) - Chris Harding.

Farmington Town & District Men's Basketball League, by the time you read this, will have concluded its very successful first season, the final being played on Sunday, March 10. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a stocky, curly headed man receiving a splendid trophy from Selectman Chris Kenyon.

Selectman Kenyon has kindly given the use of his land adjoining the Community Center for the construction of horseshoe pits, as he did last year. These will be constructed in April, enabling townspeople to play for a full season. Blackflies please note.

The canoeing adventure on the Isinglass River is tentatively planned for Saturday, March 30.

The next dance, following the record breaking affair on March 1, is scheduled for Friday, March 15.

Scout News: Dave Randall announces that there will be two sign-up nights for those boys interested in scouting - Wednesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 20. The location will be in the Legion Hall.

Dog’s Chance: A well-known Farmington dog, the one with the disconcerting starry white eye, pled No Contest to a charge of Unaccompanied Ambling. Judge Nute read a letter from Mrs. Mary LaPanne, in which this curiosity was described as a lovable collie that visited Mros' Variety Store for its daily hot-dog, and said "Hello" to everyone. Recognizing at once that dogs who say "Hello" could be the cornerstone of a tourist industry, wise Judge Nute waived a fine.

P.S. Keep those fish aquaria rolling in!

March 12, 1985

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