A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Kennedy painting drama
One of Farmington's most treasured artifacts, the famous Kennedy painting that hangs in Kristie's Restaurant, was surrounded by high drama last Friday night. The renowned work in oils, which ranks in importance alongside the Henry Wilson Cabinet, the Nutcarver's Baskets and Lefty Lee's Jacket, was fortunately unscathed when fire struck the wooden block comprising the restaurant, bar, and four upstairs apartments.
Oddly enough, when the cry of "Fire" was given in the eatery, no one thought to grab the Kennedy painting off the wall. Holly Smith, who helps Ron manage the restaurant, thoughtfully seized the money from the cash register and sped outside with the customers. Then, a well-meaning patron from the bar, charged past Kennedy, picked up the cash register and heaved it through the glass front door into the street, where it lay safe, empty...and busted.
Meanwhile, at the first cry of alarm, Ron Dumont had hurtled out onto the sidewalk, to see if his children in the apartment above were safe. There was no sign of them. Making a dive for the stairway, his path was blocked by a policeman who told Ron not to go upstairs.
"The building's empty," he added.
"No it ain't" Ron yelled and, pushing the cop on his back, headed up through the smoke.
"The landing was all flames, but I ran right through and booted the apartment door open. My boy Ron, who is seven, was trying to hide, so I picked him up and told the other two girls to follow me," Ron related a couple of days later underneath an unperturbed Kennedy.
He continued, "I told Wendy and Stacy that they would feel the flames but just to keep going. I ran through with young Ron, but when the girls felt the wall of heat they ran back into the apartment."
Mr. Dumont had the highest praise for part-time Farmington policeman, David Heisler.
"That guy should get an award for valor," he said and went on to explain that when the cop had realized kids were in the building, he ran in after Ron, rescued Wendy Dumont (15) and then went back through the blaze and brought out her friend, Stacey Day, daughter of Percy.
Ron Dumont also expressed his great appreciation for Farmington Fire Department, for the speed in which they responded to the call, and the careful and thorough manner in which they extinguished the fire, with little or no water damage to the property below.
Preliminary investigation of the blaze has caused officials to suspect arson. Articles in the hallway, belonging to an old tenant, had been apparently ignited.
While in the Farmington Police Department Office, getting fire details, I glimpsed an extremely well turned out Officer Legere, in a smart new police hat. It was regulation blue, of the ball cap style, and had a Farmington P.D. badge on the front.
"Excellent hat!" I said to Sharon, behind the desk, "Is that the latest design that Gerry's wearing?"
All she would respond was, "Talk to Archie Corson, he's in charge of foot patrols and head gear."
Speaking of Archie, his renowned red truck was off the road for repairs last week. He was a foot soldier when I met him in the Post Office, and so I asked him if he required a ride home. "Just leave a small donation on the seat," I told him. Archie, obviously preoccupied with Gerry Legere's hat, said nothing.
Winner of the $3 in the Christmas tree poetry contest was R.K., who turns out to be M.J., a Farmington schoolteacher, and a member of the Z.B.A. Her entry, in the style of Rudyard Kipling, beat out a bulging mailbag of two other entries to scoop the prize.
Names in lights
The Farmington Business Association has announced the winners of the residential Christmas lighting competition, after a tough time selecting the top four from almost 20 entries. (More electricians than poets, hereabouts.)
1. Rodney Waldron, Lone Star Ave. - $100
2. Kathy & Kerry Vickers, South Main St. - $50
3. Jerry McPherson, Cameron Drive - $50
4. Joe & Dee Whitten, Rte 11 - $25
Farmington Town & District Basketball League for Men experienced a fiery game, on Dec. 21. During the struggle between Farmington Raiders and the Community Center, four players were ejected from play for abuse and aggression. Strange how some men think that their dignity and standing in the community hinges on dropping a piece of rubber through a metal ring more frequently than the other guys.
At one stage, spectators were yelling, "Don't quit!" to the refs so frequently that it was like watching a film loop of Body by Jake. When kids behave like this they are banned from the Center for a period of time - I am not convinced that adults should be treated differently, voters or no!
It must be said that the other four teams in Sunday's games played in a spirit of friendly competition, as did several individuals from the first match, but the whole day was soured by the belligerence and rancor of the morning. A repeat performance will merit a lengthy disappearance of several so-called "star" players - the majority of men come out on a Sunday for an enjoyable game and a way of staying in shape, not to enhance their stature in town. Those who seek acclaim had best find other ways.
An unexpectedly huge turnout greeted the Davidson Rubber award winning locomotive and rolling stock when it chugged into downtown Farmington under police escort on the Friday before Christmas. Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., it is estimated that Santa and his helpers handed out candy canes and balloons to over 450 children, while the Dock Square restaurant got through 22 gallons of ice cream, as their donation to the kids.
New Year's Eve
If you are reading this on Tuesday, Dec. 30, there is cribbage tonight at the Community Center, at 7 p.m. All over 16 welcome! If you are reading this on Wednesday, Dec. 31, you missed cribbage yesterday. What a great night it was. No fights. No one ejected. Incidentally, winner of the Dec.16 was Wayne Spear. Next night will be Jan. 13.
The Farmington Planning Board is holding a public hearing on Jan. 13 (cribbage night) to consider amendments to the land use ordinance that, if voted through, will bring profound changes to a way of life enjoyed by townsfolk since 1798. It is proposed to outlaw the keeping of peacocks in the half-acre zone, thus setting the stage for a direct confrontation with the Farmington Peacock Breeders Association, which reputedly has several hundred members.
Under this proposed legislation, pigs, horses and other domestic livestock will also be prohibited. Will the people rise up and march 'neath waving banners to the Planning Board End of Meaderboro Road, where horses gambol and lambs skip? Watch this space!
Meanwhile, on Ten Rod Road, Stella Michaud has fallen temporary heir to a goat named Bill. He has joined her four dogs and miserly five cats. Seven other feline friends are on the missing list, with the worst suspected.
Dec. 30, 1986
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