A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 052

Ago, agoing, agon

The forthcoming Hay Day celebration on Aug. 23 has seized top billing for the third consecutive week, thanks to a recent committee meeting at the Community Center. A complete program of the day's events was worked out, is currently being printed, and will soon be available for your perusal. Here are the headlines: Dog Gymkhana (featuring Ignore the Cat) at 9:30 a.m. on Main Street

Young Huck & L'il Miss Hay Day at 11 a.m. near the Hay Wagon

Henry Wilson Horseshoe Tournament from 10 a.m. in Fernald Park

...and at noon, the event that has a million hearts a-pounding from Middleton to Gonic - the Long John Silver Agon.

Yes, folks, this historic occurrence has been upgraded to an agon, which, as we all know, is a conflict or struggle involving characters from literature. The following public-spirited Silvers have thrown their crutches into the ring: Nick Jolles of the Planning Board, State Rep. Kip Spear, Parks & Rec. Commissioner Ken Hoyt, Dog and People Cop Marshall Colwell and a guy from Kristie's with a musket. Mr. Lefty Lee of Lefty Lee and the Drifters has noble consented to play the Sailor's Hornpipe on the harmonica, prior to the commencement of the Agon, the start of which will be signaled by a cannon shot fired by Ellsworth Hancock with his field gun. (Ellsworth is going to fire it anyway so he might as well be written into the official script.) Mr. Lefty Lee is of the opinion that it will backfire and Ellsworth will land in the ballpark.

Anyway, pay attention, Silvers, this is what you must do. The strains of the hornpipe have died away, the cannon has exploded, Mr. Hancock may or may not be in view, and 20 Long Johns lurch forward along Main Street from the stating grid at the church. Up ahead, opposite Stuart Pease's flower barrel, are three planks over three padding pools. Hop along one of 'em and proceed to the Square where 20 coconuts are dangling from an overhead cable. Grab one, make holes, drink the milk and hobble onward. Scramble through some rigging and limp into Kristie's for a well-earned rum. (First one free.) Out again and encounter a cannonball. Roll same a short distance with your crutch. Then, as you draw near to Manny Krasner's, discover the elixir of life, a cup of switchel. Drink it, miraculously grow your leg back, throw away your crutch and receive your buried treasure map. Then the fun really starts...

After the Agon, comes the Kids' Olympics and the Sheaf Toss, followed by the Bed Race, at 2 p.m. Farmington Fire Department intend to repeat last year's success, but will face stiff competition from Davidson Rubber and Middleton F.D. The Hay Day committee also decided to send invitations to the fire departments of Milton, New Durham and Union so things may hot up. Festivities continue with a parade at 3 p.m., prize-giving at 4 p.m. and a block dance in the evening. Throughout the day the streets will be lined with booths and craft-stalls, and chickens will be barbecued from lunch-time onwards. Perhaps even the media will show up!

Library News: The Goodwin Library can now be found on Main Street behind the bank.

Lions Club News: The Lions Club International, at its annual convention, voted down a proposal to allow women to join, which leaves the Lionesses as a separate body. One is not sure of the wisdom of this decision, especially when one recalls the complicated relationship that existed between the Jaycee Men and the Jaycee Women. How many readers remember the Week of the Seven Santas?

Summer Program: When Mrs. Lopes dropped son George off at the park at 9 a.m. he was a neat, fully clad little chap. Then he went on a nature walk, had a swim, fled from a snapping turtle, got spooked by a water snake, and generally had a good time. Only, at some point he lost all his clothes. When mum came to pick him up at 1 p.m., all George could muster was a pair of trunks. I am happy to report that Mrs. Lopes has a sense of humor.

The kids from Middleton and Farmington, are split into smaller groups in the afternoon and are taken to Sunrise Lake canoeing, when the weather allows, on a rotating basis. Imagine the surprise when one youngster found a message in a bottle washed up on John's Beach which read

"Ode--r to a Skunk"

I'd rather hit a pothole than a skunk

That shakes my bones and makes my car go clunk

I'd send my car a-jitter

Just to dodge that furry critter

Than to smell the rascal's aromatic spunk (Bernie Nason)

It must have been bobbing on the waves for weeks.

Town Hall Siege: The stage was dramatically improved last week with the installation of new curtains and a front valance, at a cost of $1,600, replacing the old pair that had been hung in 1957. The cost has been met by a large grant from the Town Trust funds, a donation from Main Street School student body, profits from last year's circus, and $500 from the town through the budget. The time is now ripe for theatrically minded people to come forward and form The Farmington Players and to help organize a variety show for the winter. In this way the remaining $2,000 for the back and side curtains can be raised and a job be completed that can give pride to everyone. Step out, actors! Let's put on Treasure Island!

Show Business II: I received a call this week from "Alterations by Doris," who was delighted to read in this column of the sunny musical future that lies ahead fro Mr. Lefty Lee and the Drifters. Alterations asked me to pass on the news to Lefty that his new sequin strewn jacket (the one with Lefty on one sleeve and Lee on the other and a giant harmonica on the back) has been ready since February. I hope it doesn't get smudged by the cannon smoke.

Summer Institute: Barrington High School is hosting the Summer Institute, a month long problem solving extravaganza for kids drawn from throughout the area...over a dozen Farmington kids and three local teachers are involved. Main Street's Cheryl Bell has co-responsibility for a group of 12 whose particular task it is to publicize more effectively the Woodman Institute Museum in Dover, and to get the public to go along in droves for an open day on July 31.

Midway through their task, a panel was called in to assess their progress and perhaps to give a gentle push in fruitful directions. Panelists discovered that publicity was obeying the traditional rules -- press releases, calling radio stations and posters, with some emphasis being given to the fact the museum boasts a four-legged chicken. But not enough emphasis for one panelist, who exhorted the poor children to dress up in four-legged chicken costumes and parade around downtown Dover with a banner declaring "Woodman Institute -- We do Chicken Wrong!" This juror sound eccentric to me.

July 21, 1986

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