A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Peacock fans call foul
The proposal by Farmington Planning Board to banish peacocks from the downtown area is meeting with organized stout opposition from the powerful Farmington Peacock Breeders Association, led by local resident, Mr. Ramgunshoch.
(Hey, buddy, he was banned for four weeks, and they ain't up yet. - Ed.)
I hasten to add that this is not Rantin’ Ramgunshoch who was indeed banned from this column for four weeks, but his eminently respected brother, Angus.
The F.P.B. vs F.P.B.A. clash is expected to draw a large crowd to the public hearing slated for Jan. 13, 1987, at which several other amendments to the Land Use Ordinance will be considered. Most of these may be greeted with popular approval, dealing as they do with gravel excavation, frontage requirements, billboards and junkyards.
But it is amendment No. 5 that has the peacock breeders all riled up, and reads thus: "To prohibit in the half-acre zone farm animals such as pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, goats, PEACOCKS, and other animals usually kept on a farm or ranch, not including dogs or cats."
Ramgunshoch (Angus) has refused to form a political front with goat fanciers, poultry keepers, swine tenders, cowboys, horsewomen or sheepherders, saying that they should attend the public hearing and state their own piece. However, he was kind enough to pass on, for the illumination of the readership, a number of verses composed by local peacock breeders, all of whom, strangely enough, appear to be Scottish immigrants.
Fergus Farquharson writes: What follows is an extract from a ballad entitled "The Lay of the Last Peacock."
Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself has said,
A priceless treasure have I bred,
This peacock is my very own.
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
When from shoe factory he has turned,
To find the bird that he long yearned,
Forced from the coop and far off flown.
And poor old Ruary MacCrimmon is choking with rage:
"Live Free or Die" our autos read,
And bring to mind a noble creed,
Reduced to empty words indeed,
As proven by a banished breed.
Morag McTavish, in her verse, alludes to the economic hardship that will befall many local people who derive a portion of their income from the sale of peacock feathers. This verse has the additional merit of a Big Word.
Ye o' the wintenagemot,
That plead your neighbors' cause,
Aftimes ye do oppress the poor,
Tho' ay within the laws.
Duncan McDonald, in his lines of protest, goes with a seasonal theme:
On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming,
6 geese a-laying,
5 go-old rings
4 calling birds,
3 French hens,
2 turtle doves,
And a peacock in a pine tree.
On the ninth day of Christmas
The Planning Board sent to me
9 sheriffs shooting,
8 coppers clubbing,
7 troopers trapping,
6 baillies bawling,
4 men from Concord,
3 nasty letters,
2 phone calls,
And a copy of the land use ordinance.
To end, perhaps the finest poem of all flows from the angry nib of the head of Clan Peacock, himself, Mr. Angus Ramgunshoch, brother of that rogue, Rantin’. (Who is still banned - Ed) Yes! Yes!
Nae peacocks noo can townfolk see
A-struttin' round the Library
And frae the Congregational lawn
Their iridescent color's gone
Shimmerin' tail-fans, blue and green
Exiled - never tae be seen
Oor doleful bairnies cry "Ochone!"
All over the half-acre zone.
Athens of New Hampshire
Dorinda Howard, carrying on the tradition of Phyllis Kiligowski, announces that the 4th Annual Exhibit of Art and Crafts will be held in the Goodwin Library, running from the 9th to 14th of February. All local artists, from the keen novice to the talented hobbiest to the internationally celebrated, are encouraged to lend their works for this worthy week-long free show. In 1986, among the highlights were Joe Henry's photographs, Ed Demers' mountain dulcimer and carved loons, and many fine oils and watercolors. Further information from Dorinda, 755-2944, 2 p.m.-5 p.m., from Monday through Saturday.
Mrs. Jolles, readiness teacher at School Street, announces that her class designed, cut, sewed and tufted a nine-patch block quilt, which was then raffled. This has raised $192 for the special activities fund. Lucky winner of the quilt was Kelly Brown, a second-grader from Middleton.
Adventures in the bathroom
An occasional series: In the last episode, we learned that Wayne Spear of Spring Street got stuck in a bathroom in Indiana, and was eventually rescued by a thin motel manager squashing through a duct with a screwdriver. This week we discover that Marsy Robinson of Pleasant Street got trapped in a bathroom while at a wedding in Massachusetts. She was released after an eternity, when the local church minister answered her prayers.
Coming soon at the Community Center, by public demand: How to Go to the Bathroom Safely - a workshop dealing with all the pitfalls that lie in wait for the inexperienced lavatory user, and bringing everyone abreast of recent developments in plumbing that threaten to render the outhouse redundant.
Jan. 6, 1987
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