A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 277

Welcome to Farmington – now go home

FARMINGTON – "Welcome to Farmington, home of the Tigers" screamed bright orange letters on a huge black rubber doormat at the entrance to Farmington High School.

A knot of people, drawn from Dover and Somersworth, Rochester and Barrington, kept glancing balefully down at this sentence, and then tugging on the handle of a locked school door with increasing despair.

The good folks of Cocheco River Watershed Coalition, for it was they, would periodically send small scouting parties to the rear of the school, hoping, perhaps, to catch a janitor on a quick cigarette break. But, no luck.

A particularly enterprising member of the Coalition even drove downtown to ask a police officer for help in gaining admittance to the school, but because this group was just too darned middle-class to force the lock, the police didn’t seem interested.

Thus the scheduled monthly meeting of the river watch, which rotates between Rochester, Dover and occasionally Farmington, went ahead on a grassy knoll near the school, under increasingly darkening skies.

Mr. Ramgunshoch, who, by happenstance, was in the neighborhood to check up on the efficiency of Garbology Roger Belanger, stopped out of curiosity to regard the al fresco affair, and immediately had a sheaf of minutes from the previous Coalition meeting thrust upon him.

"Hmm! The pH slope of the Cocheco on 6/8 at 11-Cch was 96.7 while the DO was 9.54 mg/L at a water temperature of 16.1 degrees centigrade," muttered Ramgunshoch, eyeing a VRAP graph, and shaking his head in mock concern.

He had read stuff like this before in a book called The Third Policeman written by Flann O’Brien.

But there was an excuse for O’Brien. He was a satirist. These people, dangerously camped out near a large metal flagpole with a lightning storm fast approaching, were deadly serious.

"Do you know who has a key?" one of the group on the grass asked Ramgunshoch. The man was armed with an ultra-modern small cell phone and, incongruously, a dog-eared yellow phone book.

Ha! The gift of minutes, thought Ramgunshoch, had been a ploy calculated to draw him in, so that he might relinquish the name of building supremo Rodney Mooers

Ramgunshoch adopted a pose of serious thought.

"It’s Rodney something," he responded helpfully. "Rodney … Rodney … is it to do with cows? Rodney, Rodney, naw … now ah’m thinkin’ heath bogs … Naw, but it’s Rodney something. By the way, that metal flagpole might be a bad spot to be near shortly.

The members of the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition scuttled back under the scant cover of the school doorway, to be reminded, once more, of the locked building’s garish, but misleading, welcome.

A notary public from their midst, extracted legal seals and documents, and, on her knees, stamped a $20,000 state grant, just before the first claps of thunder and lightning bolts sent the river buffs scurrying for their cars.

A sudden blast of wind whisked a sheet of impenetrable umho/cm conductivity measurements out of Ramgunshoch’s hand and away over the baseball field.

"Roger’ll snag that the minute the storm goes by, wherever it lands," thought Mr. R., confidently, as he headed back for River Road. "Ah just hope he disnae think it’s an Osama Bin Laden blueprint for terrorizing Farmington.

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