A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 106

Anagrammatically so!

Ronnie and Holly worked far into the night, making Dumontskee's Restaurant a place fit for a king, never mind a presidential contender. Every Hunter's Special crumb was vacuumed from the carpets, every smear of grease and ketchup was banished. Even the walls were freshened up with a sparkling coat of pale blue paint, and the famous Kennedy Painting was taken down from its hook and scrubbed with a Brillo.

When Ronnie broke the glass in the frame, he replaced it at a cost of $6, greatly increasing the value of the work, and then carefully hung it in pride of place, on the wall adjacent to the photograph of a smouldering Elvis, and opposite where would stand the guest speaker of the evening, Democratic hopeful Dick Gephardt.

By 6:30 on that Sunday evening, a bigger crowd had gathered round the tables to hear the candidate than show up for breakfast on the first Saturday of deer shooting season. Dumontskee's was packed to the point where many people were obliged to move into the barroom next door to make more space. F.B.I. agents, assigned to protective duties, hustled around, subjecting the audience to professionally critical gazes, and chewing gum. The buzz of expectancy grew.

My eyes became enchanted by a menu board in which plastic pieces of alphabet had been inserted to read: WELCOME TO FARMINGTON, DICK GEPHARDT.

Thirty-one letters. Hmm.

Was it the heat? Was it the fervor of his supporters as the V.I.P. sprang into the restaurant with his wife and a small political entourage? The 31 letters began to swirl and reform before my eyes: PTA CITED KNOWLEDGE OF MR. HART COMING

Could this be a mystic message that I alone had seen? Should I tell Larry Kelly next to me? Maybe Hart was coming. Maybe blows would be struck, like in the Men's Ballbouncing earlier that day.

Yet even as Mr. Gephardt was welcomed to Farmington, the letters on the board began to shuffle themselves again. Rubbing my eyes I read: WET MORNING! PRACTICED THE GOLF! MAD, OK? But hadn't he been in a debate at UNH earlier? Perhaps he had shot a round, first.

A couple of easily answered questions were asked out of the crowd, and then Dick motioned towards a man I had seen outside the Post Office campaigning on behalf of someone entirely different. This gent sought Gephardt's response to an enormously complicated enquiry involving Afghanistan, and wrote down the reply.

I was relieved to notice that the 31 letters were on the move once more. LARGE FIT MOM GREW HAND-PICKED COTTON came the menu board message, as the man who would be President began his speech. It was hard to understand, this one. Maybe something to do with the southern vote, what with the mention of cotton, but would the feminists like it?

I gave my brain a rest from such challenging thoughts and listened to Gephardt for a while explaining that a $10,000 American car was subjected to so many taxes in South Korea that its final cost to those Asiatic citizens was $48,000. This nugget of information swung the room firmly behind Dick's trade policy, but they looked a little puzzled when he waved his arms around the room and said, "This is the Golden Goose, folks," because even the people through in the bar knew it was Dumontskees. It must be hard for a presidential primary candidate, shuttling madly between Iowa and New Hampshire, to keep all these venues straight in his head

There was action back at the sign board as the characters re-scrambled themselves to form: A DOGGED MAN WHOM RIFLE KIT CAN PROTECT. Well that much was true. He was persistent, and the gum-chewing brethren were staring down the guy who had asked the question about Afghanistan. Gephardt recovered well from his Golden Goose faux pas and attacked Reagan for putting money in the Pentagon, and taking it out of the hides of senior citizens.

"We're gonna keep the faith with senior citizens," cried the candidate, causing a spontaneous "Yes! Yes!" from an elderly lady, and simultaneous agitation of the letters. This time I read: LAWMEN DEMOTE DRAG COP IN TIGHT FROCK

Now this was real news - the stuff that columns are made of, and I squinted at the F.B.I. contingent to see if perhaps I had overlooked one of their number. They would probable hush a thing like that up, though. Stuff the guy in the back of the cruiser, right off, away from the gaze of a sensation-seeking press. Oh well.

The dream of landing the big scoop dissolved, and I returned my gaze to Dick Gephardt, but he had vanished into the night - rushing, most probably, to Iowa, where he might inform a baffled crowd in a small boondock cafe, "This is Dumontskee's, folks."

Life at the top

Why does an 80-year-old man climb a 60-foot tree? So that he can whack the snow off wires running close by it, and then be able to transmit radio signals to Yugoslavia. Not easy on the nerves of others though. When Beulah Thayer spotted her radio ham spouse the other day, she called up her son. "Jim's at the top of that spruce tree again," she said in an agitated voice.

"What can you do?" came back the philosophical reply, "If he falls he'll die happy." No signs of him losing his grip yet though.

Brief respite

Due to shortage of space, and an un-bribed mailbox, I will delay the horrible truth about Vice President Henry Wilson for a short while longer. But time is running out. Don't you care about your town's reputation! I can be persuaded into silence...and surely Get-Rich-Quick schemes are a very honorable way of life.

Politics II

As of press time John Scruton is so far the only candidate to have put forward his name for selectman in 1988. Despite his setback at the hands of Farmington Peacock Breeders Association, John feels that his past three-year term has been successful and listed a number of areas where he thought much progress has been made. Unfortunately, I have lost the piece of paper on which I wrote down these attributes. I hope I am not in deep trouble. To make amends, here is a chance to win $3 from my own pocket by submitting an anagram from the following phrase: WELCOME TO FARMINGTON, JOHN SCRUTON

The best re-arrangement of those 30 letters will be awarded the cash. Send to Farmington Community Center or call in to 755-2405, leaving your name and telephone number. Closing date for entries is Feb. 6, 1988.

Feb. 2, 1988

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