A continuing tale of life in the boonies
St. Valentine was a priest in Rome who got the chop most cruelly in 270 A.D., or thereabouts. However, according to my sketchy sources, the custom of sending cards and flowers on Feb. 14 does not have its origins, in that grisly event, but in a heathen practice connected with the worship of the Roman goddess Juno and her Greek counterpart, Hera. This last ability to make children by touching flowers and even heads of lettuce...thus the symbolism of botanical gifts, if not Hallmark cards.
There has brown up, over the centuries, a Language of Flowers, that sadly, in this Age of the New Ignorance, has gone into eclipse. Few know of it, fewer care, yielding as it does more joy than profit. But, to daily a little...flowers have been used for emblems, for conveying a spectrum of sentiments, and for symbols of various kinds, palms for triumph, laurel for victory, holly for festivals, mistletoe for Druid solemnities. To those tutored in the tongue of flowers, each sprig and bloom has a significance, and there is a relevance to whether the thorns are removed, or the leaves stripped from the stem. It matters in which position the flower is worn; on the head may convey Caution, on the breast Rememberance or Friendship, and over the heart Love. But, on with the news!
Cardamine - Paternal Error
Worn behind the ear by Mr. Bibbo, School Superintendent Jim was in the elementary library around 7:15 last Monday evening awaiting the arrival of other members of the School Board. As he waited he puffed on a cigarette. Then he exhaled, and picturesque spirals of blue smoke wound upwards, swirled around and curled quite unwarrentedly into a smoke alarm. Drat and double drat. The whooping of the alarm, apart from heralding two appliances and 40 firemen, flushed an interesting jumble of people from the building - folk like little Carl Jolles, weeping bitterly for a hurriedly abandoned teddy bear he thought was committed to the flames, folk like the T.O.P.S. club, perhaps secretly glad of the unexpected opportunity to shed even more calories.
Interviewed exclusively by the Rochester Courier, later, Mr. Bibbo stated, with a twinkle, that he "thought it appropriate that fire drills be staged a unexpected moments." He went on to warn against using this incident to get even for the occasion on which I had rashly panned for gold that he had previously planted as a joke. "Remember," cautioned Mr. B., "that I know about your plan to sprinkle uranium oxide, with its low-level radiation, in the path of a concerned citizen who was monitoring Chernobyl fall-out with a geiger counter." Hmm, 'nuff said!
Foxglove – Youth
Strapped to a can of mace by Biff Silvia. Friends and relatives of Farmington's ever-popular mailman will gather on Feb. 10, to celebrate his birthday, Biff is over 39, somewhat.
Persicaria – Restoration
Worn over the heart of Mrs. Elliot. The revered high school secretary has returned from retirement to commence her 27th year of service, in what is a time of need. "It's almost like God called you back," I said to the silver-haired lady. "Wish He had better ways of doing it!" chipped in Principal Beaupre.
Henbane – Imperfection
Tacked to the door of Art Brunt's industrial workshop. Wood carving is in! A previous column mentioned Chris Scruton's decoy duck - now this is about to be joined by a positive flotilla of water fowl carved by Danny Bean (no relatives in Egypt), Mark Gordon and Bob Turner. However, the lads have not tracked down, as yet, a source of glass duck eyes to complete their labours. Any reader with info regarding such in item, please call 755-2405.
Yew – Sorrow
Pinned over the hearts of Mrs. Gagnon and Mrs. Whittum. The school librarians are currently lamenting the departure from their domain of Tuffy the Tiger to the jungle of the hallway. Cue for a rousing chorus of "Will ye no come back again."
Acanthus - The Arts
Nailed to the wall of the Goodwin Library. (It had better not be. - Jean Pease) This is the week of the Annual Exhibition of Arts and Crafts put on by Dorinda Howard in the traditions of Phyllis Kulogowski, and if the early arrivals are anything to go by, this year work will be of a higher quality than ever. Uel Gardner's photographs will be of interest to many, as will Pauline Scruton's quilted pictorial wall hanging, and Lee Russell's pyrographs. Full review in next week's column. For now I only ask, was the Grand Opening punch spiked?
Crocus – Cheerfulness
Worn on the breasts of Memorial Drive pupils. So successful was the recent P.T.A. book sale that $200 was specially allocated to the junior section of the school library for the purchase of additional books. Like "101 Bug Jokes," from which comes the following: Q. What has four wheels, and flies? A. A garbage truck.
In the library, incidentally, a computer demonstration will be held shortly, as a forerunner to the complete computorization of the set-up, courtesy of federal money, obtained from a grant written by that man with the cardomine, Jim Bibbo.
Guelder Rose – Winter
Emblem of the Henry Wilson Winter Carnival. Things are shaping up for a successful and fun-packed afternoon, on Sunday the 15th. Last week Clark Hackett did an excellent job of removing the four feet of snow that covered the Country Club car park, and over the weekend, the initial work on the snow-shoe, ski, toboggan and canoe trails was carried out by workers from Davidson Instrument Panel, by local kids and Willis Berry, with his snowmachine.
Round about now, you should rush out into the yard, make a snow-sculpture and call 755-2405, in order that it can be judged on Sunday morning-there are two categories, one for households and another for organizations and businesses. There is also still time to enter a team of between three and six people for the team trophy, which will be one part skill, one part determination, two parts luck and six parts hilarity.
Especially for kids will be the Little Miss Snowflake and Jack Frost competition of decorated snowsuits, and also popular with the youngsters are the inner tube races (kindly supplied by Ernie's Gas and Tires.) For full details of all the games, not to mention the lashings of hot and tasty, food, the barbecue grills and the bonfire, call that number above.
Peruivian Heliotrope - Intoxicated With Pleasure
Carried in bunches by the population of Farmington. Yes folks, what a weekend coming up! Apart from Sunday's delights, there are the Town Hall dances of Friday evening for kids of all ages, and forget not the Peewee tournament games, run by 500 Boy's Club at the high school on the 14th...call Jim Black for full details. One of the features on this occasion will be the co-ordinated presence of none other than the Peewee Cheerleaders.
Stop Press: Adding to the entertainment of the Winter Carnival afternoon will be the special challenge issued by the Foster's Daily Democrat team to that of the less experienced but more intelligent Rochester Courier ensemble.
Feb. 10, 1987
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