A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 147

A very important point

Itís been many a month since this column promoted a competition, but with spring comes a spirit of generosity. And so with the customary $3 first prize to the winner, here goes.

Last week you may have read exclusively in the Rochester Courier that a giant hand with a pointy finger is going to be taken down from the steeple of Milton Mills Methodist Church, and likely donated to a Concord museum.

But supposing Farmington selectmen stepped in and bought the five-foot hand, to erect it prominently, courtesy of Biff's backhoe, on Route 11, with the finger stabbing down Route 153 towards the fair kingdom of Puddledock. Then the hand-sign could be embellished with a tasteful flashing neon message, that might read FARMINGTON: Birthplace of Henry Wilson, or FARMINGTON: Home of the Tigers, or FARMINGTON: Knuckleheads this way.

The text of the message is, of course, the subject of our competition. Simply jot down on a postcard, in six words or less, the phrase to follow "FARMINGTON:" which you think best encapsulates the unique character of this community. Address your entry to Farmington Corner c/o Rochester Courier, Box 1600, Rochester, NH 03867 to arrive by May 10. Three dollars to the most apt motto or memorable message, with other meritorious efforts published.

A large readership

Dorinda Howard of the Goodwin Library has gone to the trouble of counting up the number of active cards, as an accurate way of measuring the number of different people who make use of the town-supported institution over the course of a year. Readership is at an all-time high, with the astonishing figure of 2,369 active patrons, out of a town population somewhat over 5,000.

Meanwhile, glancing in the exhibition case, I see that the library is still saddled with the boots.

Winners and losers

Mr. Edward Mros notes that Farmington Country Club, just opposite his South Main Street home, opened up for another season of golfing on April 22. Now that he as retired as manager of the State Liquor Store, Ed has lots of time to indulge in his favorite hobby, which is waiting for golf balls to plop into his garden. Then, moving at a speed faster than the human eye can follow, Ed rushes out and grabs 'em for his collection. At last count, he had amassed the impressive total of 1,215 golf balls of varying quality, but is he delighted? Not exactly. Ed points out that housing a collection which exceeds 101 dozen balls has become an expensive proposition, now that the price of egg cartons has risen to 15 cents each.

Help! Help! Call a doctor!

Dropping by the town hall to pay a bill the other day, that old Scottish ne'er-do-well, Mr. Ramgunshoch, ran into Jane Cooper Fall, who was lost in a tax map (or perhaps she was merely daydreaming about where her golf balls go). Anyway, she looked up at him and said, "You've got to help. Drs. Clary and Charle need publicity." Jane explained that the two physicians had recently opened up a practice on Charles Street, and as the only two doctors actually situated in town, she thought it was vital that their praises be sung, and their patient load brought up to a viable level to prevent a future pull out.

"Hmm. Ye'd like me to drum up a wee bit of business for them. Perhaps I could encourage people to drink more town water," Ramgunshoch told Jane, winning a cross look.

"That's not funny," chimed in a voice from the neighboring office. It was administrator John Scruton who added, "We have just sunk a very promising new well at the back of the cemetery."

"Does that mean there will be no foreign bodies in the water?" asked Ramgunshoch, wittily, as it seemed to him. This column would like to disassociate itself from such distasteful utterances, and reminds the readership that the very best of water is available to every one in Farmington - all people have to do is fill up their jugs at a nearby New Durham spring...

Henry Wilson Grange news

Hilda Tucker reminds readers that this Grange was dedicated on Nov. 29, 1893, less than a score of years after Henry's death. And now, some 95 years down the road, on April 26, 1989, the Grange had a potluck supper. On the same evening, Les Barden spoke about agriculture, highlighting life on Meaderboro Road in 1905, when he was a mere stripling. Back in those days, Les recalled with a sigh, there were nine working dairy farms. Now there are only two. Or one.

May 10, 1989, is Talent Night at the Henry Wilson Grange, and on May 24, on membership night, there will be a service for departed Grangers, after a 6:30 p.m. supper.

Folk Festival and the F word

Every April in Natick, Mass., New England Folk Festival Association hosts a weekend of old-time dancing, traditional singing, crafts and ethnic foods in the local high school. It is always thronged with thousands of people drawn from throughout the six states and beyond, making it essential to arrive before 10 a.m. on either the Saturday or Sunday, to get parked within a mile of the action.

Therefore, I was up shortly after dawn, and pinning on my best Wilson Out Of Obscurity Forthwith lapel badge carefully onto my jacket, mindful of the fact that the forgotten vice president born in Farmington in 1812, was buried in Natick 63 years later.

With my girlfriend Candace at the wheel, we took off from Farmington shortly after 8 a.m., leaving me free to scowl at the Boston Sunday Globe and alternatively snarl at the rudeness that passes for driving in Massachusetts.

The usual thoughtlessness of Natick town officials ensured that no signs were on display to guide visitors to the high school, but I relied on memory, and directed Candace down a likely side street.

This unfortunately wound us up on the wrong shore of a large lake, with the high school a distant speck over the water, but after many more side streets and much grumbling from a child in the back seat, we passed a sign saying, "Welcome to Natick". I took this as a good omen, although others muttered malevolently.

Then, oh happy day, we turned a corner and Natick High School appeared before us Ö and yet the parking lot seemed strangely under-utilized.

We hailed a lady emerging from the school and inquired what was going on.

She said it was a Scout Penny Sale, and that the Folk Festival had been the previous week.

Mocking laughter erupted in the back seat.


"Oh well," said Candace, making the best of things, "while we are here, perhaps we could visit Henry Wilson's grave."

In the anguish of the moment, an unprintable blasphemy beginning with "f" and directed at Vice President Henry Wilson escaped my lips. Perhaps I should offer my resignation as President of WOOOF in the light of such a revelation. Or should I hang on?

May 8, 1989

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