A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Hello, Charlie; goodbye, Dick
First, let's bury the dead.
It was noted by Farmingtonians, last week, that presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt (the toast of Democrats for Dumontskees) has pulled out of his bid for the highest office in the land. He came to town on a wave of popularity that had rolled all the way from Iowa, and indeed his high-water mark may well have been in this very column, as half a dozen anagrams were launched in his honor. Now he has passed on, and to show respect during this sad moment in American politics, Farmington Corner will fire off one final re-arrangement of letters for the phrase: OH! DICK GEPHARDT BITES THE DUST ... I give you the uncontroversial APT! HE'D CITED "DEBTS RISK" THOUGH. Perhaps someone out there can do better than that.
Hint - start with the word PATHETIC. The customary $3 is offered for a halfway decent winner.
Well, as one door closes, another door opens, and we hope to see a lot of Gephardt fans coming into the Town Hall this weekend as Farmington Town Players give three performances of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," a wonderful musical based on the comic strip Peanuts by Schultz or Dukakis or somebody still hanging in there. As promised previously, here is a glimpse of the stars of the show:
BOB TAIT (director), born in Traunstein, W. Germany. May have met Gephardt's grandparents. Now, program director of KOST AM/FM, director of Miss Rochester Fair Pageant 1988. Directed several previous theatrical productions.
DAVID WARFIELD (music director), director of music at First Congregational Church in Rochester. Performed in "The King & I," and "Our Town." Not thought to have met Gephardt.
DIANE MCFADDEN (choreographer), performed with Ohio Ballet, and has husband on Farmington Budget Committee, also the Experimental Dance Ensemble, the Canton Ballet and the Seacoast Ballet. Favorite role was Lolita in "The Boyfriend."
DAVID RAAB (Charlie Brown), veteran of the Garrison Players, Hackmatack and Arts Rochester. Has appeared in "Fiddler on the Roof," "Tom Jones," "Camelot," "Oklahoma" and much besides. More convincing than Gephardt.
DEBBI VANGELDER (Lucy), 20 years a professional in Boston and New York summer stock, and many appearances with Hackmatack. A golden voice. Now lives, lucky for us, in Farmington, with her family.
BILL BUTLER (Linus), played, among other roles, the Artful Dodger in "Oliver" at Portsmouth's Prescott Park. A 16-year-old whiz from Milton, by the time he casts his first vote, he may not recall Dick Gephardt.
SHANNA DUGGER (Patty), and JOHN BOZAK (Snoopy), are both from Rochester and both performed in Arts Rochester's "L'il Abner." Shanna was chosen to represent Rochester in the Miss New Hampshire Teen USA Pageant. John wasn't.
DAVID SINCLAIR (Schroeder), a well-known debutee from Middleton, who is an experienced church choir singer, performing Handel's "Messiah" and "Celebrate Life."
And to this bunch, add the talented backstage crew, and you have the finest local company ever assembled in Farmington. Give them your support by bringing your family for a great night out. A non-stop fusillade of humor, song, dazzling lights and costumes, nostalgia, breath-taking props, scintillating piano and drums, delightful set … (cont. on P. 94)
As the days get warmer and longer, signs of spring abound. Little crocuses peek brightly through the soil, Nute's lambs leap for joy, and Mr. Roger Belanger ventures forth daily from the Town Hall with a tin pail on his volunteer garbage pick-up. First he does a section of Main Street and then the Police Car Park, followed by Blouin Avenue, Winter Court, and if the time allows, East Grove Street. Roger has made several lucky finds as the snow banks of winter shrink and reveal their accumulated treasures. A few days ago, for example, he recouped a Vote Robertson placard, which he may present to Mouse Hagar to relief the repetitiveness of all those Dukakis signs that friends gave him.
When Time Stands Still
Another sign of spring is when the town clock stops on a regular basis, like three times per day. Mr. John Oakley will then grope up the tower steps and coax the timepiece back into motion, and re-set the hands - by guesswork, if he forgets his illuminating candle. Mr. Oakley, despite this extra tending, is a stout defender of the Clock, and explains that only in spring, with great temperature variances, do these stoppages occur, although the Clock does appear to have the mystical quality of being able to predict snowstorms. Perhaps it was disappointed not to be born as a barometer.
Mr. Oakley says that it would be a big mistake to electrify the Town Clock.
"Because you'd get no exercise?" I asked.
"No," he said "It would screw up the works, like what happened in Milton and Rochester."
As a footnote, Mr. Roger Belanger, historian as well as garbologist, adds that mention was made of the Clock's spring shenanigans in a 1928 edition of the Farmington News.
To be or not to be is still the question, as the second count of the second vote on whether or not to have a new high school produced a very close contest, and a successful move to reconsider the whole business. The date of the third vote will be on Thursday, 7th April, at 7 p.m., again in the Burtman-Rondeau auditorium.
The actual result was 231 votes in favor of the new building and 116 opposed to it, which meant that the required 2/3 majority was short by one vote. This was personally frustrating, as I pay almost $1,500 in taxes to Farmington per year, am I in favor of the school, and confined to the political futility of throwing tea bags into a body of water to protest my exclusion from local democracy.
On the same evening as the school vote, in another part of the building, more decisions were being made. It was agreed to spend $280 to obtain a "pager" for Health and Dog Officer John Fitch to complement his radio system. This is a great stride forward, and will bring benefit to the public. Suppose, for example, you are standing near a telephone booth when you are suddenly preyed upon by a dog, an offense that carries a $75 penalty. As the beast gnaws your foot, you can dial Strafford Dispatch, and possibly through the miracles of a conference call, give John a vivid first hand account of the crime taking place, even if he is at the landfill doing a commando crawl to seize an illegal dump picker.
I spotted these lines on a poster in the elementary school corridor recently:
To a Red Kite by Lillian Moore
Fling yourself upon the sky
Take the string you need - ride high
How different in mood from a couplet penned by farmer of the eighties, Joe Bean.
Snarl yourself upon a tree
Red kite - you're dumb as dumb can be!
Ballerina Of The Month
Surprising this honor does not go to Dianne McFadden, but, due to a dazzling exhibition of pointe and pirouette at a Firemen's Dance, we acknowledge Mr. Elegance himself, Clapper Vachon. He has previously danced with Farmington Road Crew and Cameron's Lumber Yard.
A Different Perspective
Under a temporary agreement, a section of this column has been made available to Outraged Farmingtonians Fighting Against Libel (OFFAL). Spokesman Abu Woodchopper gives his comments: On behalf of the people of Farmington I would like to thank the 13 towns who dispatched five ladders, 19 pumpers, and various utility vehicles to the fires on Main Street and Bunker Street last week, and to all the men who performed meritoriously for many hours.
OFFAL extends its appreciation to Mr. Roger Belanger for his fine job in picking up the litter in downtown Farmington and roundly condemns Mr. John Nolan for agitating him by mentioning candy wrappers on Lone Star Avenue and popsicle sticks on Dick Dame Lane.
Our members think that "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is a good thing for the Town of Farmington, and we will probably stand at the back of one of the shows. However, we go on record as preferring basketball. Well done, Tigers.
OFFAL is divided about the new school and feels sorry for the older people that will be hit with higher taxes. However, we do not think aliens should vote in the Town of Farmington. Live Free of Aliens or Die Fighting 'Em, is what we stand for. And no Cranks either.
April 4, 1988
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