A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 029

The Language Of Flowers

Once upon a day, flowers were the words of a rich and delightful language, only fragments of which remain in the consciousness of the general public. Modesty, benevolence, falsehood, revenge, constancy, reconciliation, even drunkenness, crime and war had their special flowers whose meanings were perfectly understood by giver and wearer. On St. Valentine's Day, millions of red roses and carnations are transferred to signify the sentiment "I Love You," and in the case of Main Street School, white blooms to intimate "I Like You."

Why not dare to be a little more expressive? Take your first faltering steps in an ancient form of communication by presenting your chosen one with Cariopsis - Love at first sight, Ambrosia - Love returned or Honeyflower - sweet and secret love. Broaden your vocabulary and rekindle an old and beautiful custom. As my wee book puts it, "Tell the wish of thy heart in flowers!" This has been a message on behalf of the Stuart Pease Botanical Empire.

Peach Blossom - I Am Your Captive: While on the subject, one should perhaps mention the definition of love so thoughtfully provided by cuddly Ambrose Bierce: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Flowering Fern – Fascination: Currently on display in Phyllis's cabinet at the library, are a display of old subs. These are not, as you might be forgiven for thinking, rapidly aging sandwiches, but memorabilia belonging to Maynard Freeman from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Pennants from 50 launchings between 1938 and 1944 are on view - an unusual and delightful collection. This exhibit will gave way, on Feb. 14, for a set of very fine old Valentine cards belonging to Beulah Thayer. The curious onlooker will be thwarted from peeking inside these intriguing pieces of mail by virtue of a lock on the cabinet, but maybe Beulah will give a hint as to their origins by wearing a flower. A periwinkle would mean "The pleasures of memory," a snowdrop would signify "Adventurous friendship," and vernal grass, "Poor but happy". Watch that buttonhole. In the words of the Siberian crab-tree blossom, "Deeply interesting".

This week, the Goodwin Library 3rd Annual Art Exhibition is also being held, and will naturally be reviewed in a future column. Meanwhile readers must be agog with anticipation regarding the Kennedy painting. Will this precious icon temporarily leave its moorings in the Kristie Gallery and put in a celebrity appearance? Only, I imagine, if assurances can be given for its safety. One recalls with embarrassment that last year the library kindly purchased an oil that plummeted from its ledge. Now it shares quarters with the one-armed nut carver's baskets.

Creeping Cerus – Horror: Just when the Puddledock Press was expecting a new lease of life under newly installed editor Heidi Colwell, it has been dealt a savage blow. If one is to believe rumor, Mr. Ramgunshoch is preparing to inflict one of his monstrous crosswords on the March issue. The theme is sheep.

Common Milfoil – War: The only new business of the selectmen's meeting of 2/5/86 turned out to be a time-honored business - the pushing of snow onto other people's property. Percy Day, commander of the government forces, pointed out to Selectmen that it was against a town ordinance for a private citizen to push snow on or across a town property. He said that the sidewalks on Main Street had come under particularly heavy attack from swashbucklers plowing their driveways. It was decided that a warning letter would be fired over the bows of the individuals concerned to be followed up with the torpedo of a $25 fine for an ensuing infringement.

Mr. Alan Spear, a private citizen, but no swashbuckler, then drew attention to the fact that Town forces under the command of Admiral Sprague, had pushed a large amount of snow from town property, into his garden, Ooops!

Sweet Pea - Delicate Pleasure: The big attraction in an action-packed week at the high school is girls’ arm wrestling. Organizer Mike Lee, bravely sticking out his neck, predicts the winner might well be Danielle Vachon. A report next week.

Hyacinth – Games: The winter carnival committee, well pleased with the recent snowfall, are forging ahead with the organization of events at the Country Club on the 16th. Betty Mros will be in charge of the Nearly Hotte Snack Bar, Davidson Rubber Social Committee have things well in hand for the judging of Little Miss Snowflake and Master Jack Frost. Ernie's Gas has generously supplied inner tubes for the sliding race, Cameron's the stakes for marking off the greens, Wild Bill Vachon his gusto and expertise and Selectman Berry has made available himself and a snow machine for safety purposes.

Michaelmas Daisy - Cheerfulness In Old Age: Several readers have mentioned that Monday, Feb. 10 is the birthday of local celebrity Biff the Mailman, although no one is sure how many candles are on his 1986 cake. A glance at my Osgood Pharmacy Almanac reveals that the 10th is also the anniversary of the delivery of the first singing telegram in 1933. I wonder if these two events are somehow intertwined.

Burns Night: This does not refer to the previously mentioned article on spaghetti, but to the cultural soiree put on by Farmington Robert Burns Appreciation Society (Membership - 1). Highlights of this stupendous occasion included the ribald Toast tae the Lassies by Mr. Vanderbeck of Boston Latin Academy, the scholarly address by Mr. Elliot, late of Glasgow University, on the persecution of Scots Venacular, the excellent bottle of Highland Park (from the Orkney Islands) supplied by Mr. Watt, and the many hours of singing that included Riddles Wisely Expounded, Sweet Rose of Allendale and Parcel of Rogues. The Fire Brigade did not attend, as the company elected to have the haggis medium rare.

Think Tank: All underground storage tanks, whether in current use or not, that are of a non-residential nature, must be listed and a report sent to the state. Town officials will help bill Fraser in his search. Public-spirited moles would be appreciated.

Feb. 11, 1986

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