A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 068

Coat of many colors

This is a story, not of Joseph, nor Dolly Parton, but of Mr. Lefty Lee of Lefty Lee and the Drifters. With your benevolence and sympathy, it may yet have a fairy-tale ending.

Early in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty six, Mr. Lefty Lee went to Alterations by Doris, and described the stage jacket of his dreams. It was to have embroidered on one sleeve the word "Lefty," with "Lee" on the other, and a giant harmonica would be transferred onto the back. Furthermore, this wondrous garment would be smothered in sequins that would gleam and sparkle a million shades of refracted light.

"Two hundred bucks," said Doris.

"Go ahead," replied Lefty, confident that musical bookings would materialize to cover this enormous sum.

Most days, Lefty would drop by Alterations by Doris, just to sit and watch the sequins be sewn on, and maybe he closed his eyes and remembered 30 years ago, when he once shared a stage with Johnny Cash and George Jones.

And then, the day before the Coat of Many Colors was finally ready, Lefty disappeared from Doris's world, and for many weeks she wondered what had become of the gray-haired musician. Then, on the 8th of July, he showed up in this very column, living in the Show Biz apartment on Main Street, Farmington, with "Sam on Piano" Mahoney, a recently recruited Drifter. Although unable to contact him directly by telephone, as he lacked that apparatus, Doris was able to follow his career in the pages of the Courier, and even pass messages by way of small boys answering the Community Center phone, 755-2405.

Following a musical spat of an obscure nature, "Sam" quit the Drifters and Lefty quit the Show Biz block, but continued to live in town. Taking advantage of this good fortune, I recruited Mr. Lefty Lee to play an important role in the ceremonies that preceded the Long John Silver Agon in August. He agreed to perform the Sailor's Hornpipe on the mouth organ, but did not appear at the starting line. Some say he feared that spies from Alterations by Doris may have infiltrated the crowd - other supporters say he got the times muddled up. Our loss!

Whenever I spoke to Lefty, he displayed a heartwarming optimism that $200 would be obtained from somewhere, even after his car was towed to Bob Park's garage. Things did seem to look up when he and the Drifters were booked to play a two-night stand in Kristy's, but unfortunately, this weekend coincided with the tragic death of the manager of the premises. The lounge bar was closed and the gig canceled.

And the wheels of justice grind inexorably onwards. Mr. Lefty Lee of Lefty Lee and the Drifters, will, according to Alterations by Doris, be obliged to appear at Rochester Small Claims Court on Dec. 17, only a week before Christmas. He bears no grudge, but describes Doris as a "lovely lady just doing what she has to do."

Dear readership, can we allow this to happen? Couldn't our nickels and dimes re-unite poor Lefty with the jacket of his dreams, and avert an unhappy legal process. Just a week before Christmas. (Not Xmas, Mrs. Flynn.) In this regard inspired by certain generous factions of the population, I have opened the Farmington Corner Christmas Fund, into which has flowed, as I type, $28.47 (see below for contributors) With interest payments due, perhaps $225 will be sufficient to settle the bill...any excess will be passed onto Farmington Welfare Department to assist their seasonal food parcel drive. All donations received will be acknowledged in this column. No amount will be considered insignificant. The address is F.C.C.F. c/o Farmington Community Center, Town Hall, Main Street, Farmington 03835.

Donors to Date: Bob Bennet - $0.02; Brownie - $0.20; Ann Chapline - $20.00; Pete Cosgrove - $0.25; Sharon Howcroft - $1.00; Mr. Ramgunshoch - $5.00; Trudy Pence - $2.00. Total to date - $28.47

Garbology News: Unlike Roger and George Farmington's best-known litter hobbyists, Mr. Charlie Welch of East Grove Street casts a wider net over a sea of aluminum cans that stretch from Conway to Dover. In a four-year period, Mr. Welch estimates that he has collected 100,000 cans weighing approximately 400 pounds with a value of $500. The cash must almost have paid for the gas required to indulge in this pleasurable pursuit.

Good News, Bad News: Mr. Belanger is a man of several hats, one being that of town chronicler. Roger has, as part of his records, retained every issue of the Farmington News since the mid-50s. He kindly put them at my disposal to research a story about the Little Green Men of the Sandbanks, and while this is still incomplete, the 1957 issues of the newspaper did prove interesting. In August of that year, it was revealed that Ronald Reagan had a son, and that in November, he was fined $15 in Farmington court for driving without a license.

No Room At The Inn: With all sorts of expansion going on this week in the area, our hearts go out this week to Marion Loper and her dedicated band of workers in the school cafeteria. Thirteen of them, at times, are jammed together fixing lunches for 1,200 students in a space deemed adequate 30 years ago to fix grub for a quarter of that number. It is estimated that each person has a personal working space of 14 inches square. Hmm. Friends of Big Cake deserve better facilities.

C For Cranks News: Mr. Scotty Redfield, a regular contributor to this column (and perhaps Lefty), from Denver, Colo., has had a run of bad luck. Shortly after being injured by a falling tree as he left a church service, Scotty's latest brainchild, the manufacture of papyrus from the mastications of cows, has been rejected by a local beef herd operator. All together...awwww! Scotty, you may recall, hoped that Farmington would become the tree stump carving capital of the U.S.A.

Community Center News: Cribbage returns for the winter on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. The first Monday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. Badminton takes place in the town gym on a Thursday evening from 7-9 p.m. and is open to people of all ages. Women's volleyball is played every Tuesday, starting the Nov. 18. It is hoped that frolickers in their hundreds will abandon television sets, Jamaican vacation catalogues, 1987 tax forms and hand-cranked washtubs to shuffle, shoot, smack and score their way through bleak weeks to come. 755-2405 for full details of these activities and much more.

Next Week: Hunting news and Farmington Corner Christmas Fund update.

Nov. 18, 1986

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