A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 120

Pleasure and hope


"In all pleasure, hope is a considerable part," Samuel Johnson was quoted as saying back in 1779, nigh a score of years before Farmington was a twinkle in the eyes of Ye Olde Strafforde Countye Planning Commission. Nonetheless, his pithy remark holds true for the 2nd Annual Farmington Variety Show coming up on Saturday, May 14.

Last year's pleasure was slightly marred by excesses in the duration and volume departments. An unexpectedly massive audience of 550 people caught the organizers unprepared for the sound problems that result from such a throng. Only two loud speakers were on hand, while the folks in the rear of the balcony were craning forward to hear the acts, those poor should seated near the front of the hall were nearly blasted out of their seats, giving the audience the appearance of a field of wheat which had been badly mauled by a rain storm.

This devastated look was particularly enhanced some three hours into the show, by considerable portions of the crows snoring, flat out on the bleachers, after giving up all thoughts of seeing their buddies or offspring perform this side of midnight. The train of pleasure crashed the buffers of hope and mounted the platform of despair...(Get on with it, for goodness sake! - Ed.)

Well, we're safely back on the rails, this year, having just spent some $900 on a superior sound system that has speakers in the balcony, as well as down front, allowing the overall level of sound to be equalized around the hall, for everyone’s listening comfort. Better mikes, centralized controls, much pre-show testing. The balloon of pleasure is once again inflated by the helium of hope. And regarding the length of the show, if that balloon is still floating around after 2˝ hours (interval included) director Bob Tait will take aim with a blowpipe. Unlikely that this will happen, though, due to the ruthlessness of the stopwatch employed during auditions and rehearsals.

The back-stage staff, who have been putting the Variety Show together for the past few weeks, are heady with rapture, like bees on the flower of pleasure intoxicated by the nectar of hope. Little Tommy Krawczyk, aged 6, from Middleton, created a buzz of excitement, when he sang "You are my Sunshine" in rehearsal, surrounded by his family. Willis Berry, going solo this year, turned in a great performance, at tryouts, neatly filling a musical niche between Pavaroti and Alice Cooper. Brad Bowden, Farmington's local author, has specially written two hilarious skits, based on Church Lady, which he will perform along with a couple of the stars from "Charlie Brown." There will be magic from James Lidini, escapolgoy from B.J. Locke, and old-timey traditional banjo from professor Ed Demers. You will hear the Horntown Hooters and see a dazzling aerobics team who do not wish to be billed as the Sweaty Bettys. (Oh well!) Kim Cardinal will be there, and the Small Brain Curds, and Dave Sinclair. Pianos will tinkle, flutes toot and toes twinkle. Lefty Lee's jacket will make its second local appearance.

How much will this gargantuan extravaganza cost, you may well be asking, worried that the flame of hope on the candle of pleasure might be snuffed by the draught of expense. Calm down. Admission at the door (open at 6:15 p.m.) is a gentle $2 for adults, and $1 for students and seniors, with proceeds going to the stage equipment fund. We hope for the pleasure of your company.

Overseas news

A telephone call came on this week from Scotland. It was my friend, Duncan Harvie, who, on his last visit to Farmington, suggested the erection of an 80-foot high flashing neon Henry Wilson on Route 11, which even made Barbara Spear blink. Duncan works for the Scottish Development Agency, and has been in charge of the site construction of the Glasgow Garden Festival, an enormous $100 million exhibition, currently the largest in Europe. It was opened by Prince Charles and Lady Di, last week, before a crowd numbering tens of thousands, all in suitably festive mood. Apparently, as part of the ceremony, Interflora had been hired to swoop over the site and drop 50,000 carnations on the heads of the spectators from a small plane. Unfortunately, said Duncan, the flowers missed their mark, and landed as a soggy mess in the River Clyde, drawing a huge sarcastic cheer from the assembly.

Why did I get a mind's eye flash of Stuart Pease jumping up and down?

Gardener of the Month

Breaking all previous records, Mr. Bubber Haycock has done it again! Gardener of the month for the second time! I caught up with him last week just as he was dumping rabbit manure, received in lieu of rent from a tenant, into holes he had dug for 10 climbing roses. With his building due to be freshly painted blue and white, and with the red blooms, patriotism is in good order at 42 North Main St. A smart set of four lawn chairs and a parasol rising from a table, are once more in a pale blue and white, and neatly offset by a large red ashtray. In keeping with this color scheme, Bubber has stipulated to the Boys that their choice of beverage must be Lite beer, on account of these cans being a more sympathetic match for the decor. Very thoughtful, lads.

Garbology news

A recent teenage dance at the town hall was pronounced a great success by local garbologist Roger Belanger. Sweeping under the bleachers after the event, Roger retrieved 14 pennies, four dimes and three nickels. This means that his Fund has more than recovered from the purchase of a tin of sardines, which he donated to me for Royce Hodgdon's cat, during the Dumping of the Teabag.

School news

Will someone please, please, tell high school Principal Ken Beaupre, where all the fish are, before this unlucky angler is reduced to asking Roger for another tin of sardines, thus sparking off a second flurry of bleacher sweeping.

All sixth grade classes will visit Boston Museum of Science and the Ramesses II exhibition, next Tuesday. This latter reminds me of a definition in Ambrose Bierce's dictionary: Mummy, n. Handy in museums for gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man (and woman, I hasten to add) from the lower animals.

Signs of spring

Milder weather at last after a grey chilling April, which, despite the three promising signs of spring, never quite produced the vernal goods. And the three signs? Ice melting off the lakes, the arrival of the robins, and the unveiling of Brownie's chalk stick.


Last week's Courier carried a photograph on Page 1 of Farmington town clock showing 12:46. Owing to mechanical difficulties beyond the control of John Oakley, this should have read 3:08, and the offending timepiece has since been dealt its customary thwack with a 2x4.


Last week's column promised a few sentences on why Gov. Sununu is really a Socialist, but containing this topic within the bounds of a single paragraph is proving an overwhelming challenge. There is just too much evidence. More work required. Request delay.

May 10, 1988

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