A continuing tale of life in the boonies
WOOOF offers Texan the V.P. job
A Farmington-based pressure group, Wilson Out Of Obscurity Forthwith, better known by its initials, WOOOF, has offered the vacant vice-presidential spot on its board, not to right-wing Republican ex-governor Mel Thomson, as political observers had expected, but to a relatively unknown Democrat, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen.
WOOOF was formed recently by a world-renowned expert on the New Hampshire native of the 19th century who rose from obscurity to become the vice president of the United States of America, before slipping quietly back into the shadows. That world-renowned expert, the president of WOOOF, is with us today. He is writing this column.
"Hi! Glad to be associated with yet another Henry Wilson article."
(Editor, gruffly - Get out of quotation marks and into the third person like you're paid for.)
Thomson had been favorite for the No. 2 position in the WOOOF organization on account of taking up Henry Wilson's claim for a place in the political sun. Mel, in the Sunday News, made a strong pitch for an imposing memorial to the man who did more than any other to abolish slavery, having been a virtual victim of such a condition himself, as a "bound boy" on a New Hampshire farm. Henry, that is.
Mel got further Brownie points with WOOOF, by urging the formation of a legislative committee that would presumably winkle out state dollars to enable the construction of a fitting monument.
However, in offering the vice-presidency to Bentsen, WOOOF feels that the campaign for Henry Wilson's restoration to glory has transcended from a regional to a national issue. Added to this is Bentsen's claim to be a direct descendent of Wilson, though not his re-incarnation - this latter slot having been agreed upon as belonging to Mr. Royce Hodgdon, stove repairman. Also in the successful candidate's favor is the fact that being a member of the Senate in Washington, and a possible White House team player, he can presumably winkle out federal dollars to enable the construction of a fitting monument.
But what form should this monument take? President Nolan has very firm ideas on this one, ideas that will take your breath away! No, not an 8-foot high flashing neon sign on Route 11. We are way beyond that. This is big-time.
Nolan is proposing nothing less than the purchase of the upper section of a Scottish mountain, which would be dismantled block by block, transported to the U.S., and re-erected in its previous form in Farmington, N.H. He puts forward several compelling reasons for this course of action:
1. The peak in question is called The Cobbler, so named because of its unusual outline, suggesting a men bent over a shoe-last. Henry Wilson was a cobbler!
2. Because of visits to Farmington by several Scottish residents, Henry Wilson has become a cult figure in that country, and, at the moment, probably has more supporters there than here. This is not unique - see Box Car Willie, Charles Bukowski, Ry Cooder, etc. Buying the Cobbler would perpetuate the Scottish connection, and provide much employment is a depressed local economy.
3. Most fittingly, the Cobbler is composed of granite, and who is known as the Man of Granite. Yessir! Henry Wilson.
If London Bridge can be purchased and shipped to the Arizona desert, if a British luxury liner can become a tourist attraction at Long Beach, then why not the top 600 feet of a famous peak. It too, could draw thousands of sightseers to its base, which, Nolan suggests should be at the Planning Board end of Meaderboro Road. Let's hope that Sen. Bentsen accepts the vice-presidency of WOOOF. With Farmington and Austin, Texas pulling together, we can move mountains.
Now, what can you, the average reader do to assist in this scheme? Join WOOOF. By sending a check or money order for $5 to John Nolan, 27C River Road, Farmington, N.H. 03835 before 8/31/88 you can become a charter member (with membership card). You will also receive a photocopy of Farmington Corner columns Nos. 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 39, 40, 45, 55, 122, 125, 126, 129 & 130, which chart the renaissance of Wilson from Forgotten Man to Rediscovery. Incidentally, beware of tricksters, including Rochester Courier staff, alleging to offer a similar deal for $3.50. Also available soon - WOOOF lapel badges. All proceeds will go towards a site review, some 35 miles NW of Glasgow in 1989, by President Nolan, himself.
The Roses of two-times Gardener of the Month, Mr. Bubber Haycock, are blooming all along the front of the Show Biz block in spectacular fashion. Artificial ones could not possibly look nicer. No less a figure than Judge Nute remarked in passing, the other day that it was "the finest show on Main Street." In an effort to encourage other occupants of prominent downtown sites to follow his example, Bubber is prepared to give a Gardening Workshop to groups in need of botanical advice. How about it, Woman's Club?
Former resident of the Show Biz block, harmonica virtuoso Lefty Lee, has announced his Ultimate Final Last Retirement. Again. This time, as proof of his sincerity, he is offering the jacket that was purchased for him by public subscription, the one that Alterations by Doris hand-sewed with loving care, the one for which Alterations by Doris pursued him with dogged determination to the Small Claims court ... he is offering the Coat of Many Colors to the Henry Wilson Museum, beneath the Goodwin Library. There, if accepted, it could take its rightful place between the One-Armed Nut Carver's baskets and Henry Wilson's gallstone. It could double as a thermal insulator over the gerbils' cage on those one or two exceptionally cold February nights. Sounds like a great idea to me.
From the public benches, under New Business, at the last meeting of the Farmington Z.B.A., local businessman Nick Servitas of Mechanic Street might well have broken into song:
To plow and so and reap and mow
And be a farmer's boooooooy,
To be a farmer's boy.
But he didn't, breaking instead into 50-minute lambasting of zoning ordinances.
Introducing himself to the board as a 70-year-old veteran, Nick informed the meeting that he was at present attempting to sell three adjoining parcels of land on Mechanic Street, hopefully to someone who would use the site for a business. Perhaps a launderette, he suggested, as an illustration. The snag was that he had discovered that Farmington Planning Board had declared Mechanic Street to be an agricultural/residential area, and his real estate agent would therefore not list his property as commercial/residential. Advising the Z.B.A. that he had a heart condition, Mr. Servitas listed the businesses that exist, or had existed on that small section of the street: a bowling alley, a barber's shop, a blacksmith's, two garages, a gun shop, another garage, two bars, a gift shop...
Mr. Sam Gray interrupted to state that he understood the problem, but that only a Town Meeting could rectify the situation by voting to alter the zoning ordinance.
Mr. Servitas said he heard what was being said, but to get the value of his property, it had to be listed commercial. "What happened to my rights as a citizen? Who took them away?" he demanded to know. Mr. Servitas added that he hoped that he was not hollering, but was 75 percent hard of hearing. Hearing aids would not arrive for two weeks. Then he'd be all set. But to get back, he wished to sell the whole parcel, not piece by piece.
"My parking lot is fenced off because of a gun shop. (see Farmington Corner No. 40 - The Libyans are Coming)
"You gonna put an animal farm there?" he enquired of the board, as he divulged that he had a bad lung.
Mary Jolles, for the Z.B.A., expressed some sympathy with Nick Servitas's point of view, saying that the Planning Board had only designated strips, like Main Street, as commercial, and that it seemed to her as if Mechanic Street should have been similarly labeled, but that the Z.B.A. was powerless to effect a change. She advised him to attend a public hearing, at a Planning Board meeting on July 19, concerning the entire zoning ordinances, at which time he could give input.
Perhaps the Planning Board, many of whom are clustered at one end of Meaderboro Road, far away in the country, might, upon reading this column, explore Mechanic Street, and gaze upon a section that looks to be unpromising agricultural land ... and yet, perhaps they have a greater vision:
On either side Mechanic lie
Long fields of barley and of rye?
July 19, 1988
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