A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 142

Reincarnation 3: The Jaycees

Farmington Business Association held its regular monthly meeting, last week, in the restaurant that has become the town’s very own Caribbean island.

FBA President Bill Bowden opened the proceedings, as soon as the reggae music had been smothered by a couple of mattresses, by announcing that vice president Jean Davenhall was on vacation in Florida. This news item was followed by apologies for absence from the treasurer, George Mucher, who was also on vacation in Florida (with Mrs. Mucher and not Mrs. Davenhall, one should stress). Then, via discussions about bank funds, Christmas lights, summer band concerts, bake sales and ex-Democratic-now-Republican state rep. Bill Tsiros, the company arrived at the main business of the evening.

This was to see if "a Farmington Jaycees chapter could be formed to take the weight of fundraising from off the shoulders of the F.B.A."

At present, the slender funds of the FBA consist almost entirely of the annual $20 fees received from 75 local businesses. This narrow vein of dollars serves to finance the summer band concerts, the Christmas lights, and the home decorating contest, and more.

A covey of Rochester Jaycees, led by Jim Seivert, the U.S. Jaycee 87/88 vice president no less, gave a potted history of the organization. Seivert felt confident that 20 good folks could be raked up in Farmington to form a local cell. He added that women had been permitted to join the ranks a few years ago, and since that time "dances have been more fun."

My mind also drifted back to a few years ago. To Dec. 18, 1984, in fact, and Farmington Corner No. 2, which had recorded the spirited Christmas activities of two entirely separate, completely disassociated, and in no way linked, Jaycee chapters, both based in Farmington, and meeting on separate nights in the Community Center.

In the fall of that year, there had been a Great Schism in the Farmington Jaycees, precipitated by a law permitting women to move from associated to full membership of that organization. But instead of becoming a joint brother-and-sisterhood, the women, dare one say it, set up a rival chapter. Farmington Corner No. 2, attempting to impartially assist both sides, took up the tale:

"Jaycee Women held a Santa's workshop in the Town Hall on Dec. 8, 1984, with Santa George Claus and Daughter Julie Claus being two of the highlights along with excellent home baking.

"Jaycee Men, not to be out-Claused, have just completed a highly successful Santa's hotline, which allowed local kids to talk to Doug, Ted and Tom Claus, plus Mrs. Melissa and Lisa Claus.

"Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a battle for the hearts, minds and memberships of local people is being waged by the two chapters, with the situation not a little confused. Since the signing of a man by the Jaycee Women, the men have responded with a vengeance by recruiting six women into their ranks. Dismissing a suggestion that their Santa's Hotline was due to their not having sufficient funds to buy the requisite Santa's costumes, the president of the Men's Jaycees said, 'We got suits.'"

Following the appearance of this article in cold print, on the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 22, 1984, a Santa Claus emerged onto Main Street near the flower shop, strode up as far as Christie's Bar, and then doubled back, to duck from sight once more, For the next hour, single Clauses of various shapes and bulk continued to appear, and repeat the jovial walk, latterly being heckled by a car load of woman Jaycees driving slowly in parallel, yelling, "Same suit!"

Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics. Let me say that four years can be a lifetime in Farmington and, since 1984, both Jaycee groups have slipped silently beneath the waves like great, gray ships, to be as forgotten as both Henry Wilson and the Winter Carnival named after him.

If anyone at the F.B.A. meeting recalled this episode, they gave no sign. Hope, enthusiasm and business-like determination were the order of the evening, with only the muffled sounds of reggae providing a link with yesteryear. Several other members of Rochester Jaycees addressed the gathering and expressed confidence that 20 Farmingtonians would be tracked down before the Feb. 15 deadline. To assist people to make up their reminds, they divulged that President George Bush was a former Jaycee. Seivert pledged to provide logistical support for the first 75 days of the new chapter's existence, answered a variety of queries from the audience, and concluded by saying, "it was the best group he had ever attended," which produced a storm of applause.

Act II

This was a hard act to follow, with the lot falling to Police Chief Barry Carr. He introduced Officer Scott Carr to the business folk, saying that Scott was a second detective, whose role was to help out the first detective, Ken Buttons.

Buttons then addressed the meeting on the topic of bad checks and rented equipment, such as video films. He said that it was essential, in a rapidly growing community, to insist upon proper ID. President Bowden then asked if there were any questions, but Buttons interjected with the information that he was "not through."

The first detective said that in the case of bad checks, it was necessary to show that the check was bad at the time it was written, and not at some subsequent date. Timely banking was the key, said Buttons, and recommended a deposit being made within 10 days of a check's receipt.

After a short pause, lawyer Doug McNutt inquired, "Don't you have to give them a chance to make good on the check?"

"Not through!" reiterated Buttons, sternly, adding that issuers of bad checks should be sent a registered letter asking them to make good.

Vice president of FNS Bank, Pam Reynolds, after a very long pause, then asked, "How does the small claims court work?"

Taking care of "how," "when" and "where," Chief Carr said, "it worked in the long run." He then gave an exhaustive description of the lengths people are obliged to go to in order to recover what is due them.

Carr next told the F.B.A. that few citizens in town had as yet availed themselves of the free advice service offered by his department, with regard to improving security either on business premises or at private residences. The chief informed the group of the results of a nationwide study which had found that the average burglary in the U.S.A. is committed by a 14 to 18-year-old, living within one mile of the target house.

While the F.B.A. were ingesting the astonishing news that Farmington kids broke into Farmington houses, Jim Bowden of Rochester Jaycees bobbed up again with an impressive list of accomplishments during 1988, including the removal of graffiti from bridges.

"Do you know why you have graffiti on bridges, up here?" interrupted Bill Balestrine, a New York transplant. "Because you don't have subways," he answered, after everyone, including the police and the Rochester Jaycees, admitted they were stumped.

Several days later...

Rochester Jaycee Janel Nickerson announced that the re-birth of the Farmington Area Jaycee Chapter. Her baby is doing well with 20 charter members, including Sonya Bowden, Bill Bowden, Jim Cook, Vickie Cook, Sharon Amrol, Glen Davis, Theresa Downs, Rick Fogg, Holly Fogg, Steve Gero, Tammy Grant-Gero, Yolande Rodriquez, Bruce Davol, Carolyn Davol, Paul Staples, Dorothy Chasse, Robert Chesney, Linden Brownell Jr., Joe Parent and Fred Cameron, and with strong interest being expressed by several other parties.

Theater News

Farmington Town Players, like the Jaycees, are awakening from a deep slumber, summoned in part by the insistent cries of New York and Lone Star Avenue actress, Debbie Vangelder, who played Lucy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." An organizational meeting will be held at the Community Center on March 1, at 7 p.m., to discuss what production to strut the boards with next. All members of the public with back-stage bent or front-stage yearnings are urged to attend and chip in their two cents worth.

Non-Fatal Dog News

Readers of Farmington Corner back in 1985 may recall that a dog by the name of Smokey LaPanne was hauled before Judge Nute for unaccompanied ambling on Main Street. Intercession was made on its behalf on the grounds that it merely wanted to say "Hello" to people. The judge, astutely realizing that a talking dog was good for tourism, dismissed the charges.

Since that time, thanks to countless "Hellos," Smokey had talked his way into the flinty heart of Dog Office Fitch. So, when Mr. F. saw Smokey roaming Main Street, last week, instead of trucking him down to the Pound, the pair went off arm-in-paw to the dog officer's home. Knowing that the LaPanne family had just moved to Middleton, John Fitch decided to give his doggy pal a bed, and trace the owners the following day.

However, a dog that says "Hello" hates to say "Goodbye," and although comfortably established on the living room carpet, it expressed displeasure when the dog officer retired for the night. Barked up a storm in fact. Worse still, in the morning, John discovered that a door had been half eaten, and Mrs. Fitch's picture frames had all been hauled down.

To the doghouse, Smokey. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 bones. In fact, don't even bother to say "Hello."

February 20, 1989

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