No. 056

Inanimate objects vs. the old man

As you read this, Farmington Hay Day is history for 1986, but as I type it is still a funnel-shaped cloud, black and dangerous, moving fast in this direction. Preparations to weather the storm have been going on for many weeks, with no one working harder than Betty Mros, former owner of the famous and sorely lamented Nearly New Shoppe. Behind-the-scenes story next week. Meanwhile, thanks alphabetically to Norman Barratt, Madge Barron, Judy Brownell of Union Telephone, Sandy Canney, Zeke Ghareeb, Dan Livenois of Davidson Rubber, Joyce Nutter, Stuart Pease, Jeanne Radcliffe, Barbara Spear and Carl Worster, among many others for the hours of organization.

Results of the Hay Day Quiz are as follows:

1. Changing Dash to Agon (possible solution): Dash, Mash, Mast, Past, Pact, Pace, Pale, Pall, Pail, Paid, Said, Skid, Skin, Akin, Agin, Agon. For those who were stumped, brush up on your Anglo-Saxon four-letter words for next year!

2. Bird & Beast Quiz: Stella Michaud's pigeon (now deceased) - Buddy; Mary Lapanne's dog (the one that says "Hullo!") - Smokey; Roy Roger's horse & dog - Trigger & Bullet; Kelly (the hatless) family dog - Seamus; Archie Corson's dog - Mitzy.

3. Anagrams: Ha! Rule the bay - Beulah Thayer; A.1. scorcher? No! - Archie Corson; Prudence? Ty? - Trudy Pence; Law Lender - Allen Drew; Stormy bet - Betty Mros.

All of these magnificent people and lower orders have been featured as some point in this humble column.

4. Mystery items: Ron's Discount - light bulb; Barratt's - feather; Marie's - a nail; Varney's - basketball adapter; Mill's Market - a dice; Tuttle's - pool cue tip; Sandy's Coiffures - marble; Cumberland Farms - golf tee; Farmington Gas - paper clip; Rufus's Barber Shop - elastic band. Winners to be announced.

Recent Visit: My father, another Mr. Nolan, has just returned to Scotland after an incident-packed, two-week stay in Farmington. This was his first visit to the U.S.A., and as his preconceptions were totally based on Hollywood movies, it was a somewhat puzzled old man who shuffled up and down Main Street.

"Where are de streamlined people?" he kept asking.

I greeted Pop at Logan Airport, and proceeded, like him, to stare blankly at Baggage Carousel No. 2, chugging round with a diminishing cargo of cases, none of which was father's. After 20 minutes of this futility, we went to a baggage claim, to be eventually told that it was for Northwest passengers, not those from Air Canada. "But try Carousel No. 1," added the claims clerk. When we got there, the Carousel was bare.

"De curse o' Jumping Jesus on ye, America, and Columbus dat discovered ye!" spat Mr. Nolan senior. Things like this never happened in Hollywood. Had the silver screen lied?

Happily, his suitcase showed up in the end, and his vacation began. Let me thank Bill Troutman, Wayne Spear Jr. & Sr., Charlie Clements and Micky de Palma for helping him forget his early setback, with the soothing balm of cribbage.

Father cheered up sufficiently to want to send postcards. A good sign. Off we went to Barratt's and after much discussion selected four views of Winnepesauke. Then I procured 5-cent, 25-cent and 3-cent stamps, so that, with simple arithmetic, 33 cents could be affixed to each card. But in the time it took to get back from the post office, his postcards had utterly vanished. More mutterings and mentions of Columbus. I went out and purchased four new cards, and rejoined my father back at the apartment. Naturally, by this time, he could only find the 5-cent stamps, and was mouthing unprintable things about postcards, Columbus, and the skunk that woke him up every night with its insufferable stench.

When he had calmed down, he changed clothes and off we went to Loudon for dinner with friends. A pleasant evening was punctuated by our surprised hostess discovering sheets of 25-cent and 3-cent stamps on the floor. These were locked and sealed into father's wallet. And next day, of course, within five minutes of mailing his postcards, the original four cards emerged from hiding.

Mr. Nolan, Sr. gave very high marks to Rufus for a $3 hair cut, and in doing so, reminded me that as far as barbers go, my father has a great deal in common with Sgt. Brown of the Farmington P.D. Father, during his seven years of trying to obtain his motorcycle license, had once, inadvertently, driven into a barber's shop. At first, he thought he was badly injured, but it turned out to be warm tea from a broken thermos flask that was dripping down his leg. Brownie fared rather worse when he momentarily dozed off in the police cruiser, one night, and drove through Rufus's shop window.

Construction News: A large crane appeared above the bank, last week.

"Gee, they're gonna move the Library right out of the way," I thought, but I was wrong. It was only to erect the steel framework of the money lending institutionís second story.

A Close Shave: Tiptoe, tiptoe, went Sgt. Brown last Tuesday morning, about 7 a.m. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Yup, Brownie had crept out of the cruiser and was stealthily sneaking up on an old red pick-up truck. At the wheel, fast asleep, was Mr. Archie Corson. Without a hat! And him the originator of Hatwatch Hotline! Whirr! Click! went the Police Department Polaroid camera, causing Archie to waken up with a fright. Unfortunately, the readership will be deprived of this fascinating scoop, as Brownie, to his great dismay, had forgotten to put film in the camera.

Quiz 1: Name the odd man out: Fred Astaire, Boy George, Henry Wilson, Brownie and John Wayne. Answer at end of column.

Quiz 2: Not a single reply to last week's literary question that was a preliminary to a champagne dance on a cliff ledge. And this despite a hint on my answering service tape. Spurned by 20,000 women in one go is a hard knock, I can tell you. Where am I going wrong?

Famous Dog Bites - an occasional series. It has been a bad summer for human legs. Paul Turner and Biff the Mailman are among dog-bitten celebrities, and they have just been joined by Betty Mros, nipped on the ankle by naughty Astro Corneau.

Paul's nerves have been so badly affected that he is alarmed by the least scuffling sound from behind. So startled was he recently that he leapt for safety onto the hood of a car, though it turned out to be a false alarm. Too bad that he slid off and broke his collar-bone, knocking him out of the Long John Silver Agon.

Answer To Quiz Question: Odd-man-out is Brownie - all the others changed their names.

Aug. 25, 1986

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