A continuing tale of life in the boonies
The good, the bad, and the ugly
To say it has been a mixed week for locally born Vice President Henry Wilson is to understate the case. Triumph, tribulation and tempest sum it up better.
First, the good news. It is pleasing to announce that 105 solid citizens of Farmington, upright, stalwart men, backbone of the community, pillars of...(Get on with it! - Ed.)...have formed a seven-team mens' softball league in Farmington, and have named their sporting organization after New Hampshire's most famous nonentity, Henry Wilson.
The project was hatched only a couple of weeks ago beneath the equally famous Kennedy painting which still hangs from its thumbtack in Dumontski's Restaurant on Main Street. At this most fitting locale, historian Bernie Nason was voted president, Tiger Vachon became vice president, Ronnie Dumont was created treasurer and Chuck Whitten, owner of a policeman's pencil, was elevated to secretary.
In a neat touch, the league was launched in the presence of President Nolan of WOOOF, the organization which has so far failed to hurtle Wilson Out Of Obscurity Forthwith (lapel buttons still 99 cents) but is still trying.
The launching ceremony was conducted by the established re-incarnation of Henry Wilson himself, that popular repairman of stove and freezer, Mr. Royce Hodgdon, to the celebratory sound of popping Bud corks. Long may you prosper, gentlemen.
But a plague on the house of the Rhode Island Press Association, that bunch of incompetents drafted in to decide the best journalism in this state in 1988/89. Not only was this column judged to be so unfunny (no argument there - Ed.) that the humor plaque was withheld, but my New Hampshire Award entry, which had painstakingly documented the life of Henry Wilson from slave, to cobbler, to Vice-president, to ghost, to various reincarnations, was completely and utterly rejected.
One can only say that living in a state the size of a postage stamp has given these Rhode Island hacks and scribblers all the grand vision of pygmies in elephant grass. Coupled with this, one shouldn't forget to shout from the rooftops that Rhode Island is the only one of the founding states NEVER to have supplied a president or vice president to the USA. Could it be that in their embitterment they trashed Henry? Hmm.
Selectmen's meeting of 6/22/89
After the Good and the Bad comes the Ugly persecution of Henry Wilson in re-incarnated form, by, one is ashamed to say, Farmington's own Board of Selectmen. Mr. Royce Hodgdon, popular launcher of entire softball leagues is being dragged into Farmington District Court for the crime of carrying on his business.
A stove and freezer repairman to trade, Royce is performing a service for town and country by keeping appliances in working order, thus saving work and space at the landfill, and, on a grander scale, cutting down on the USA's bill for raw materials. He should get a Congressional Medal in this time of a solid waste crises and a balance of payments problem, instead of a court summons for having his wares on show outside his premises.
It seems discriminatory to me that someone can display a second hand car outside a showroom but not a stove. If Royce is compelled, after his legal battle, to put up a stockade fence to screen his appliances, I have a suggestion for him. Engage Jeannie Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop to recreate her renowned painting, "Moon of the Popping Trees", on the side of the fence facing out on South Main Street. Art'll get to 'em.
* * *
This ever vigilant column can chalk up to its credit:
· the nixing of dog death squads
· the preservation of the right to breed peacocks on Main Street, and
· the abandonment of a police plot to inflict a bicycle tax on the population.
Therefore, it was with alarm that I noticed the approach of a public hearing on pedalers.
"Here comes a $5 license fee for bikes again," thought I.
When the item floated to the top of the selectmen's agenda last week, however, I was dismayed.
Ten dollars per day...$125 per year for residents...and a large crowd of merchants looking happy now that bikes will be priced off the sidewalks. But all of this was a misunderstanding. The discussion on fees apparently referred to peddlers - hot dog hawkers and the like and not cyclists at all.
It all started a couple of weeks ago, it seems, when one guy sold one hot dog from a cart outside the bank, thereby threatening established restaurants and pizzarias with economic collapse. The business people on Main Street pay an average of $2,400 to the town in taxes per year, according to past president of the Business Association, Sandy Canney. The hot dog king paid nothing.
Now that golden age has passed. A license must be obtained to hawk or vend and the downtown area must be kept free of peddlers night and day. A few locations on Main Street do remain legal however and hold hope of promising commercial activity - outside the selectmen's office and down by Royce's stoves and freezers are two fine examples.
June 26, 1989
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