A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 105

It's a jungle out there

One of our most atavistic fears is that of being stalked, viciously attacked, and then eaten up by another creature, and any legislation that can deter this from happening is certainly welcome news. And now comes John Fitch.

Farmington's animal control officer is bringing to the public notice that under RSA 466:31 II (f) a $75 fine shall be imposed if a dog preys on human beings within the town boundary. If any group, whose aims are population growth or the promotion of vegetarianism, would consider touting John Fitch for the 1988 Farmington Citizen Appreciation Award, this column would wholeheartedly support their efforts. This man is in the trenches protecting civilization!

If only John could somehow have travelled in a time-machine, like a Lone Ranger, back to Blackill, Glasgow, in 1972, he would have found a housing project gripped by the fear of roaming bands of half-wild German shepherds...where people, after dark, scurried along the dim streets, casting nervous glances behind them, and tightly clutching the necks of empty wine bottles. They were citizens in dire need of John Fitch.

In a small apartment on Queenslie Street, in Blackill, lived Jamie and Jeannie Quigley, their six children, and Jeannie's brother, Charlie Reilly. Whilst Charlie's presence added to the cramped conditions, on the other hand, he would often act as a baby-sitter, allowing the parents out to the pub on a Saturday evening. This presented no hardship to Charlie, for by suppertime his habit was to be paralytic drunk, after boozing all afternoon.

One such Saturday, Charlie had staggered in around 5 p.m. and gone to bed, Jamie and Jeannie had headed up to the Provanmill Inn, and the kids, armed with rocks to throw at the dogs, had gone out to play in the street. About 9:30, Charlie was aroused from his drunken slumber by the strains of a children's skipping song, and mindful of his responsibility, went to the window to call upon the youngsters to make ready for bed. He raised the sash, but the cord snapped and the window frame hurtled down, chopping off his finger. Feeling little pain, due to the anesthesia of the alcohol in his system, Charlie retrieved his digit, stuck in back on, and wrapped up his hand in a handkerchief. Then he fell asleep, once more.

Sometime later one of the kids discovered Uncle Charlie, with blood oozing from a grubby rag, and bravely ran the gauntlet of the dog-controlled zone to raise the alarm at the Provanmill Inn. Down came Jeannie Quigley, called an ambulance, and Charlie and his finger were taken to hospital. There, a doctor cleaned up the stump and handed him back his index finger as a keepsake.

The Quigley children were fascinated by this momento and placed it in a pickled onion jar, topped up with vinegar, to preserve it. For a while their house became the site of a mass pilgrimage by other neighborhood kids, visiting Uncle Charlie's finger, which was positioned on the mantlepiece, like a holy relic on an alter.

"Youse had better get that horrid thing oot o' here," exploded Jeannie, one day, when the finger had gone black, due to the weakness of the vinegar solution. Reluctantly, little Betty Quigley took the jar, and was about to sloosh the contents out of the open window, into the back yard, when her mother gave a scream in panic.

"God have mercy on us, don't throw that finger oot o' the window," yelled Jeannie, "if those dogs get the taste o' human flesh, none of us will ever be able to walk aboot!"

We should be grateful that Mr. John Fitch is fighting the war to keep this countryside safe. How quickly the animal kingdom can take control. It can be a jungle out there.

Lions Club news

On Saturday, Feb. 13, from 8 p.m. until midnight, a dance will be held in the Fire Safety Building, featuring 60s Rock `n' Roll by the Footsteps. BYOB. Tickets will cost $12 per couple. No dogs admitted.

Henry Wilson Grange News

On Wednesday, 13th January, Grange #205 held its first meeting of the year in the hall at Mechanic Street. The program consisted of an open discussion on the plight of the small farmer:

Poor old Krasner, Nute and Whittum

Turned to sheep when taxes bit 'em.

Various aspects of seeds were also fully debated. Their next meeting is extremely important, and it is rather surprising that the date of this gathering is not included in the press release. Anyway, on this secret evening, the 3rd Degree will be conferred and the 4th obligated, in the presence of the state deputy. A potluck supper will precede official business. On the reverse side of the information sheet is what innocently masquerades as a recipe for Do Re Mi Biscuits, but my guess is that it is a coded message. Any cryptographers in the vicinity?

The Party Place Final Communique


The Party Place stands bleak and bare,

One garbage bag outside the door,

A gravestone sad to mark the lair

Of teen-age halcyon days of yore.


O cruel life! So full of care

That quieted such a thronging roar;

Black plague on cops and courts unfair,

Whose arrows keen pierced Fun's soft core.


Henry Wilson - A Disturbing Theory

I cannot be bribed. It is imperative that new information on Henry Wilson be meshed with the known facts, although it may lead to a complete reassessment of Farmington's most famous 19th century son the vice president of the United States. Although unpleasant, this theory should be aired, and it is doubtful if I can be easily swayed from the task. My mailbox is on River Road, but this is of small consequence. Must Henry Wilson Highway become Street of Shame? I fear so, unless some reasonably large omen or sign appears to convince me of the contrary. Until next week....

(Does being eaten by a dog count as an omen? - Editor)

Jan. 26, 1988

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