A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Breakfast of Champions
National T.V. cameramen swung their majestic lenses around Lem's Restaurant the other day, but neither to record the brilliance of Mr. Shep Spinney, country and western wizard, nor to catch the spellbinding oratory of Ed Florence, purveyor of Amazing Insoles. No, siree, they wanted to know what folks thought of President George Bush -- isn't it bizarre what the media moguls consider newsworthy?
Notwithstanding the dullness of the topic chosen by these Good Morning America dudes, however, Lem's breakfast tables began to fill up soon after first light. There was Beth Littlefield, who had valiantly resisted the temptation to arrive by horse and buggy. Over there was "Shotgun" Vic Lapierre, who pulled up in his septic tank truck and was accorded a prime place only after agreeing to cover up a self-promoting T-shirt which read "We want you on our shit list."
The FED-UP ladies got a table all to themselves and John Scruton, the selectman's administrative assistant (town administrator, for short) sat with Dog Officer Fitch. George Meyer and wife, Lorraine, who disappointed fans by not wearing her famous metal dress, commanded a strategic corner table.
Banks of television lights blazed hotly, cables snaked treacherously, and three women with Pop News clipboards and authoritative airs rearranged the breakfasteers like items in a doll's house. Yet, everyone was patient. Somehow they were suffering these indignities, not for a few seconds of personal glory, but for The Good of Farmington.
Tension mounted as the time to go live neared. John Scruton was avidly discussing the political opinion poll which had been conducted in town over the previous two days, and which was going to be the focus of the Farmington segment. Then he was asking Fitchie the difference between a mean and a median. Hmm! He had fired the very same question at me a few days previously and had also sprung it on the selectmen and Grace from Foster's. We had all told him that mean described a junk yard dog and median was the yellow thing in the middle of the road. Was he suspicious of this answer?
Then the clipboard trio withdrew behind the cameras. Enter a blue-blazered Good Morning America's big wheel with a microphone and a necktie reminiscent of a garter snake flattened by an 18-wheeler. Steve Fox, murmured people in the know.
Only seconds before the program goes live and Farmington is on the edge of its collective seat. But, wait! As the show beams out all over the United States, Fox is interviewing a woman from Milton. Not Farmington, at all! And the very same lady has already had her 15 minutes of fame by opposing, in a Courier exclusive, the presence of a Roald Dahl book in Milton Elementary School. Although a Republican, she doesn't think she'll vote for Bush. Clinton might do. But who cares? This person lives at least two miles beyond Farmington town line. It just ain't right.
The blue blazer glides away beneath the floodlighting towards the FED-UP ladies in general and to octogenarian Velma Eaton in particular. No Spring Chicken vs. Fox. Velma pours scorn on Bush. Says he hasn't done nothing for the country. Travels abroad, but lots of hungry people right here. Huh! Sure, she started to watch his convention speech, but got bored and went to bed. Huh!
Fox trots on. Past Beth and George and Lorraine to pause at John Scruton's table, but before John can ask eight million Americans the difference between a mean and a median, Fox brusquely interrupts. "What does John think of Bush?" Fox needs to know.
John tells Steve he's voting for George
Well, our local leader, as it turns out, is a Bushman, and gives a plug for the president's contribution to foreign commerce, the world economy and the global marketplace. John is ready to give a boost for interplanetary trade when Good Morning America's time allotment for Farmington sadly runs out.
Well, after all that excitement things got pretty mundane. Lem's emptied like water down a bath tub hole, leaving a small ring of Good Morning America's clipboard bearers and Steve Fox to order breakfast. Someone shouted vainly for marmalade.
"Last person to supply marmalade at breakfast was Sonia in the Dock Square Restaurant," I whispered nostalgically to Larry Parent.
"Yeah, and she served goat curry, too," he replied.
Poor old Dock Square. A bewildering example of internationalism failing to sustain a Farmington enterprise despite its subscription to the economic theory of the hour. Now there stands a video store. Marmalade, curried goat and reggae music have been replaced by shelves of Hollywood movies without a trace of foreign subtitles! What can this all mean? Or does it really median?
FED-UP's political coup
The ladies of Farmington Economic Drive for Unemployed People have scored a magnificent triumph by attracting, just a week before the primary election, a major political figure to address folks at the town hall. On Sept. 1, Mr. Richard Bosa of the Independent Party, a man who thinks that lawyers are a lower life form than primeval slime, will head the bill. Also on the speaker list that evening will be Ed Dupont, President of the N.H. Senate.
Presidential news II
Just remember that you read it here first! Nobody can turn on a television set these days without hearing Clinton referred to as "Slick Willie." But way back on Jan. 18, and before the New Hampshire primary, Farmington Corner, the country's leading source of political analysis, had him pegged as "Glitzy Billy."
August 29, 1992
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