A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 069

Roaming in the gloaming

One of the more despicable aspects of British society down the centuries has been the savage persecution of common people, by the aristocratic class, with respect to the hunting of wild game.

Many a starving cottager, trying to feed his family, finished on the gallows for killing the "King's" deer. Thousands were put on transportation ships to the colonies, for like or lesser offenses, involving rabbits and game birds, "belonging" to rich landowners. Folk songs, which are an important, and often more accurate record of history than school text books, abound with such incidents - Johnnie of Breadislie, Geordie, Van Dieman's Land and Last Farewell to Stirling are but a few examples. A verse from the last mentioned runs thus:

No more I'll wander through the glen

To view the haunts of the pheasant hen

Or chase the rabbits to their den

When I am far from Stirling-o.

It was Australia for that poor laddie! I donít hunt, but having the right to do so is one of America's greatest freedoms - to be stoutly defended, when hunters conduct themselves within the spirit of Colonel Earcorn's fine Courier article last week.

News reached the ears, recently, that huntsman Proulx hoodwinked huntsman Bibbo, with the latter following a set of homemade deer tracks that petered out at the base of a tree. Huntsman Bibbo denies looking up into the branches. Two other deer-hunters in the headlines this week, are Bruce Welch and Ernest Jones.

Bruce has taken young Ernest out in the woods on a few occasions over the past couple of years, and reports that the latter is picking up the disciplines and tricks of hunting. Their last foray into the forest had not yielded any trace of deer all day, and so, with dusk falling, they decided to strike out for the road. In accordance with Bruce's teaching, Ernest was walking on the trail some 40 feet behind his mentor, and when Bruce suddenly stopped, Ernest, also, came to a halt. Bruce knelt down and examined the ground closely, although it was too gloomy for Ernest to get a clear view of what was happening.

Bruce waved him up alongside, and pointed excitedly to a small mound beside some deer tracks.

"Fresh droppings," he announced authoritatively to Ernest. Bruce picked one up and sniffed it - then to Ernest's utter disgust, he put it in his mouth and swallowed it.

"Yessir, fresh!" Bruce added after a pause.

Ernest almost threw up. Indeed he became so agitated that Bruce was obliged to confess that what he had pretended were droppings, were, in fact, chocolate Milk Duds. They walked out to the road in silence, after that.

Stage Curtains: Farmington Historical Society and Davidson Rubber Social Committee have each donated $100 towards the cost of the cyclorama curtains on the Town Hall stage.

False Hopes: Fans of Basketball Boulay were surprised and delighted to see his name on a list of volunteers of the Davidson Rubber Concert chorus. It was indeed a disappointment to learn that a scurrilous workmate had written it in as a joke. Boulay, a contributor to Lefty Lee's Jacket fund, denies plans for a musical career.

Hopes Grow: The readership is beginning to open its hearts and purses, with donations to the above-mentioned fund pouring in at an absolute trickle. Reaching the target of $225 before Lefty's court date of Dec. 17, now appears to be a real possibility. Almost every town department has chipped in (see below) and the fund stands at $63.98. Latest contributors: Courier staff - $4.00; Garbology Dept. - $1.00; George Haskell - $5.00; "Not a taxi driver" - $1.00; Marshall Colwell - $1.00; Senior Lunch Club - $5.00; Scott Roberge (Police) - $0.60; Basketball Boulay - $0.50; "Won a bet" - $1.00; Jeanie Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop - $0.50; "Happy ever after" - $1.00; Parks & Rec. Commission - $3.50; Community Action - $2.55; Kristies Restaurant (Ron) - $10.00; ˇKen Buttons (Police) - $0.13; Health Dept. - $0.62; Representative Spear - $0.25; Septic Lagoon Dept. - $0.15; Highway Dept. - $0.25!

Keep those nickels, dimes and dollars rolling in. Remember, any surplus goes to Trudy Pence's Christmas baskets for the needy.

Selectmen's Meeting Of 11/19/86: The Selectmen unanimously agreed to appoint Fire Chief Rit Moulton to fill the vacant spot on the road crew, created by the resignation of Donny Vachon.

Under the item "Citizen's Concerns", Selectman Scruton put an injured thumb on display, and Vic Lapierre, referring to the arrival of winter, asked if the Police had a key for the Septic Lagoon. This, readers may recall, is the Emergency Key to allow access in Emergencies, and thus prevent the horror of frozen sewage in a tanker, overnight.

Road Agent Clark Hackett said he had given the police a key but they had lost it. Health Officer Fitch stated that he also had given the police a key. This, too, had been lost. Fitch added that when he got caught for D.W.I., he hoped that the police would lose the paperwork.

Vic Lapierre congratulated Selectman Berry for a good job currently being done at the dump. Selectman Berry commended Health Officer Fitch. Health Officer Fitch gave Road Agent Hackett a pat on the back. Everyone seemed pleased with the dump. Just for once.

Athens Of New Hampshire: Pupils from main Street School walked up to Hattie's Place (run by Simone Tarants and Wayne Laroach) the other day, armed with Thanksgiving fruit, food and poems, for the elderly citizens who live there. The Press was also present in abundance, adding to the feeling of tension, with cameras and notepads. Eleven old people sat around the living room and the kids filed in with their teachers, the reporters and nursing staff. It was crowded but subdued, initially.

Some kids were nervous and elected others to recite their poems. Some of the elderly were nervous - when Ada Smart played a tune for the students on a piano she apologized for her mistakes on account of her timidity. One could feel hands trying to reach each other across a generation gap.

Gradually people began to feel at ease. Paintings were displayed by a resident. Old Maggie Perkins described a lifetime's battle with snakes. Scott Smith presented Alice Koski with the fruit basket. A warmth crept over all.

"How do you kill snakes?" a kid asked Maggie curiously.

"Hit 'em on the neck with a hoe," she replied vigorously, and her inquisitor's face lit up with respect.

Then tension, but of a different kind, returned. It was time to head back to school, and for a hush to settle on Hattie's Place. A couple of the old people began to cry. So did the kids. I guess hands had touched across the gulf, after all...maybe M.T.V. doesn't do permanent damage. Maybe the human spirit is more resilient. I hope so.

Lonely heart news: M - 6'2", 40, haggard, down-trodden alien seeks F of antipodean fortune. No dog lovers, fats, cranks or abstainers. Picky eh? Photo. Box 158, c/o Rochester Courier, P.O. Box 1600

Nov. 25, 1986

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