A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 097

For better or worse?

Once upon a time, there was a little columnist who lived in the Interesting Quarter of Farmington. His apartment had a wooden porch where he could sit and watch people laying down rubber, and throwing eggs, and banging the stop sign next to Vinnies Pizza. He could hear the fire alarm day or night, and disgruntled citizens spilled out of police cars beneath his window. Hollerers came forth to play in the late evening, and the merry splutter of firecrackers was a common sound.

Life in the little columnist's apartment was never dull - there was so much to see and hear, but it was not until 2 a.m. that he would have peace to write.

Then one day he met a nice lady, with a fluffy cat, and a cute white dog, and a charming small child. He sniffed the air, and sensed tranquility. They all moved to a real house in a quiet rural neighborhood, and he looked forward with pleasure to typing in the hush of early evening. Hmm! Dream on, buddy!

The first cloud in the sky of domestic bliss was the cute white dog, which, it transpired, was the perpetrator of Small Accidents during the night. Under new management, these were classified as Major Blunders, and a stubborn war sprung up between the CWD and the columnist, involving daily inspection, wrath, violence, yelping, dispatch to the cellar, youthful intervention, maternal pacification, midnight walks, canine defiance and revenge, more wrath and no peace.

The second cloud was lined with cat fur. On the morning of Column Day, after the dog was back in the cellar and the broken plate was swept up, the columnist, in search of that elusive tranquility, lifted the fluffy cat to his breast. It made a deep and quite unnecessary noise in its throat and clawed him on the nose, bringing tears to his eyes, a rage to his breast, and Ambrose Bierce's definition to his mind: "Cat - a soft indestructible automation provided by nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle."

The animal, perhaps also familiar with Bierce, shot upstairs like a rocket, and the columnist resigned himself to opening up a second battlefront. He felt smug indeed, when the cat was flushed from under a bed, scrambled out of the front door, and tore into the woods.

"Correspondents 2 Lower Orders 0," he reflected.

Over supper, the dog, repatriated from the cellar by its allies, the nice lady and the charming small child, glared triumphantly at the columnist and scattered his thoughts. Insistent enquiries regarding the whereabouts of the cat distracted him further, until around eight o'clock he was forced to conclude that his earlier victory was illusionary. It took him an hour of pleading, on his knees, before the cat deigned to come from under his truck and swagger into the house for a rapturous re-union with its friends. The last fragments of a column were driven out of the skull of the hack.

It was almost midnight, as the columnist stared at the blank white sheet of paper in his typewriter, that his doleful expression moved the nice lady to pity.

"Lie on the carpet and I'll massage your shoulders," she said kindly, and when he allegedly sniffed a Major Blunder while in this prone position, she spoke of paranoia and reproached him for getting all cranked up again. The dog took on an expression of injured innocence, but nonetheless accepted a post-midnight walk, and so it came to pass that peace fell on that house in the rural neighborhood.

And at 2 a.m. the columnist began to write.

500 Boys Club

Farmington 500 Boys Club is having a meeting at the high school at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, in Mr. Lee's room. Volunteers are needed for all the various aspects of running the club - not just those interested in coaching are urged to attend. No cats. No dogs.

Mudding news

Former Mudder of the Week, Donny Foley, got stuck in the sandpits last week. With no reverse gear, he was, indeed, irreversibly stuck, and was forced to leave his vehicle overnight. In the morning, he found it completely trashed. Investigating police should work on the jealous rival theory.

The coveted title of Mudder of the Week has moved to Ed Brennan, who got bogged down, recently, in one of the infamous power line mud holes. Like a captain refusing to abandon ship, Ed sat in a driver's seat covered in water, and was eventually tugged clear by fellow mudders, several hours and a case of Bud later.

In other news, Jeff Smith's four-wheeler climbed a tree on Alton Mountain, and reaped $1,600 in damage, but, according to Smith, will be back out there in a few days.

Theatrical news

From the smell of the grease and the roar of the mudding crowd, to the relative calm of the Town Hall stage. Mrs. Desjardines is directing the high school Drama Club's first production of Louisa Alcott's "Little Women." The play will be performed on that busiest of days, Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m., with tickets priced at $2.50 for adults and $2 for students. Available from the high school, Vinnie’s Pizza, and at the door on the night.

Cheerful news

The junior high held a dance before Thanksgiving, the admission to which was cans instead of cash. This raised 300 tins of food, subsequently donated to C.A.P. for seasonal baskets. Memorial Drive students donated over 20 boxes of goodies, and an anonymous Main Street businessman (with connections to the Kennedy Painting) generous gave three large baskets each of which included a turkey. Thus Natalie Jones, Fran and Lona, from Community Action, were able to serve 55 of the town's needier families.

Meanwhile, up at the school kitchen, Marion Loper and the Loperettes, cooked up lunch for the 1,600 students of Farmington, Wakefield and Union. The menu included 48 turkeys, 200 lbs. of stuffing, 40 gallons of peas, 18 gallons of cranberry sauce and 30 gallons of gravy. Could drown a lot of cats and dogs in that.

Cheering section

Roxanne Hodgdon (one of the Loperettes) reminds parents that the last day for signing up Peewee Cheerleaders will be Saturday, Dec. 12, between 10:30 and noon. No cheering on Dec. 5 due to some Santa's workshop or other.

Color section

There has been a trickle of response to last week's Color that Building competition, with its dazzling prize of $3. Old Ramgunshoch, of course, thrust an entry under my nose, and among other submitters was librarian Ruth Gagnon. She would prefer, instead of the cash, a ticket to the next hoochee cooch at the Fire Hall, having been absent from the last affair, which, according to all reports was a Highlight of the Year. Results next week.

Dec. 1, 1987

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