No. 080

Ghost of Poor Farm Road

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Shakespeare (Hamlet)

During the height of the last blizzard, Farmington Road Crew was battling valiantly to keep the highways and byways open, plowing and sanding far into the night. To help them in their fight against the elements they decided, after a powwow, to bring the bucket-loader into play, rather like a hard-pressed army finally committing its largest artillery piece to front-line duty.

"Where is the bucket-loader, Clarky?" one of the crew asked of the road agent over the airwaves.

"Down the dump!" came the reply.

"Oh, no it ain't! We're there now, but there's tracks in the snow leading out."

"Follow those tracks, and I'll call the cops. The bucket-loader has been stolen," deduced Clark Hackett in a trice.

With little traffic on the roads due to the ferocity of the snowstorm, the crew was able to follow the large tire tacks over Route 11 and up Meetinghousehill Road, and by the clarity of the imprints, they reckoned that they were not far behind. The wheel prints turned right along Ten Rod Road and then left onto Poor Farm Road, a long narrow and winding forest track, difficult to negotiate in summer, and impassible to even Martin Stanley, Mudder of the Week, in winter.

But a bucket loader! Hmm. Possibly it could break through.

To offset this long-short, Plowman Morton, shot around via Four Rod Road and Meaderboro Road (P.B.E.) to block off the far end of Poor Farm, maintaining radio contact with the rest of the Crew the while, as well as (inadvertently) the phantom of the scanner-equipped bucket-loader.

With the Poor Farm Road sealed off, the Crew advanced and discovered, two miles down the track at the end of the plowed section, the Farmington town machinery in question. But it was an eerie sight. Both switches of the bucket-loader had been turned off, and it was neatly parked, but deserted. Without a single footprint in the snow leading from it! Well, sir. If that doesn't call for a Bud, nothing does.

Explanations of a supernatural nature now abound wherever men in ballcaps gather. Some say the bucket-loader may have been driven by the ghost of a Road Agent Past. Others that it was Percy Day who escaped on a puff of his pipe smoke! A mystery, indeed.

Monkey business II

What a town of animal lovers Farmington is. It seems no time at all since citizens turned out in droves to save that endangered downtown species, the peacock. Then came word that a well-known townsperson, who prefers anonymity, (and we respect and salute you, sir) struggled into a barn which had collapsed under the weight of snow on the roof, to rescue hundreds of chickens. It is not clear if kiss-of-life was administered to those luckless fowls which perished in the catastrophe.

But animal cracker of the week is undoubtedly the Man who saved the Monkey. Marshall Colwell, for it was he, Dog Officer extraordinaire, Party Balloons supremo and tollbooth collector, in his fourth role as Farmington Special Police Officer, who spotted the flames.

"There's an apartment building on fire, call the Fire Department," he yelled to fellow Officer Quinn, and bravely the Marshall rushed to the burning apartment block to arouse all the occupants from their blissful nocturnal slumbers. While Nick Quinn got on the radio, Marshall Colwell gallantly alerted every occupant, including his wife in the apartment below the fire.

"Save the monkey," called Heidi Colwell, deputy dog officer, as she pulled on her slippers. Megan, the rhesus monkey was grabbed from his cage, wrapped in blankets against the icy cold of outdoors, and led to safety as smoke spread through the building, for yet another happy ending, right on Main Street.

School news

Big news of the week is that a mirror has been placed in the men's bathroom, thus allowing the three males on Memorial Drive faculty to critically appraise their appearance before standing before their students. It reminds me of a Glasgow street skipping rhyme:

Our wee school is the best wee school

It's made o' bricks and plaster

The only thing that's wrong wi' it

Is a baldy headed master

He goes to the pub on a Saturday

He goes to church on Sunday

To pray to God to give him strength

To face the kids on Monday.

Bathroom News II

After a young girl accidentally dropped a hair brush down the toilet and flushed it half way round the bend, the custodians of Memorial Drive went into action. The daytime struggles of Willis Berry were taken up in the late afternoon by Dick Smart, and it was he who eventually snared the blockage with a "long wire thing." The taxpayers save again.

Birthday Girl

To Esther Parshley - a birthday, 29 and holding! For ages.

Principal Tim Woodward passes on thanks to Nick Jolles for organizing a successful book sale for P.T.A. funds, and to Bob Colpitt, for donations of books. Book lovers of Strafford County, incidentally, would do well to visit Bob's used bookstore on Main Street, Farmington. An incredible 40,000 titles make it the largest repository of knowledge in the area, with aisle after aisle of rare treasures, grouped by subject matter.

Carnival Date

Organizers are hoping for a large number of entrants in the snow sculpture contest this year, what with there being no shortage of building materials. There are two categories - one for businesses and organizations, and the other for households, with attractive trophies to be won by the winners and runners up in each group. Call 2405 for full details.

Ice Rink

As I write things look good, but snow is in the forecast, yet again. As you read this, the ice may be buried once more. Uniting to give the kids a winter facility last week were the road crew, Fire Department, Water Department and Parks & Rec. ...any day now, bairnies.

Burns Night

Farmington Robert Burns Appreciation Society (Membership-1) held its annual supper last week, with 34 invited guests showing up for a traditional Scottish meal. Highlights included the bagpiping of Terry McGrath (Strafford), the Nova Scotian clogging of 87-year old Archibald Mills (Rochester), the Immortal Memory delivered by Mr. Eck Elliot (Cape Cod) who foundered through drink before midnight, and the music talents of, among others, Ed Demers (Farmington) on dulcimer, banjo and harmonica, Bill Fraser (York) on guitar, Candace Delisio (Kittery) on guitar, Dave Stone and Dave Surette (Dover) on mandolins, Barry Finn (Loudon) on bodhron, Chris Bonoli (Farmington) on dulicmer and guitar, Bill Vanderbeck (Boston) on banjo, and Linda Elliot (Cape Cod) on mandolin.

Also worthy of mention were Ann Chapline who absentmindedly brought a grocery list (dubbed Shop’n Save’s Reply tae the Laddies) instead of a prepared speech, Kurt Olson who sparkled despite less than two hours notice, and Manny Krasner, who attacked a Burns' poem with gusto in a strange foreign accent, and who did not falter at the following verse of Scotch Drink:

When neebors argue at a plea

An' just as mad as mad can be

How easy can the barley-bree (whisky)

Cement the quarrel

It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee

To broach the barrel.

Hatwatch News

A Milton reader is seeking a particular hat for an eccentric cohort of his in Philadelphia - top dollar paid for a "wool hunting cap of the ancient breed, with a visor and high ear flaps, size 7 and 5/8th minimum, with a tartan plaid lining if possible." Call John McGinlay 652-9414.

A talk with John, a keen fisherman, gave insight into the goings on in those little wooden huts that litter the lakes of New Hampshire in the winter. Their occupants are apparently engaged in the sport of Olympic Ice Drinking, with side attractions that include card sessions, bouts of Find the Door, and on rare occasions, fishing through a small hole bored in the ice.

Feb. 3, 1987

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