A continuing tale of life in the booniesNo. 016
Grange news: Ralph Russell presided over the meeting on Feb. 27, while the charter was draped in loving memory of Past Master, L. Richard Russell. Sixty-six members and visitors, including many state officers tucked into a pot-luck supper, before settling back to hear Fire Chief Richard Moulton talk authoritatively on the Mating Habits of the Common Wood Stove. Fire Captain Ky Gosslin followed this with a spellbinding discourse entitled A Day in the Life of a Smoke Alarm.
Hilda Tucker, in her address, informed the audience of the Trials and Tribulations of raising children now and then, or Then and Now. By way of appreciation, Loraine Doe sang "How Great Thou Art", which moved large sections of the crowd. Emotionally, that is.
Youth chairman Arlene Russell joined the Eastern New Hampshire Pomona Dancers in a routine which was also judged to be "great." Arlene followed up with a spoof on the Dating Game
The meeting then closed with a storm of applause, after which the Youth vacated their chairs and served lunch. The next meeting is scheduled for March 27.
Electrical news or Tale of a Tenderfoot
Does the Zapper really stop a charging rhino in its tracks? This dialectic has dominated many a Farmington Police Department brains trust far into its third social Budweiser.
A volunteer was needed. A guinea pig from within the ranks. A man who could be trusted to tell it as it really was. A self-sacrificial giant. Such a hero was found and without further ado, got an eight-second zap on the shoe by fellow officer Jeremy Johnson. The result was indeed electrifying, for after an eight-second glassy-eyed daze, the zappee keeled out of his seat and lay on the floor like a stricken Humpty-Dumpty.
The rest of the assembled company breathed easier, their confidence restored in a device that had previously merely tickled. It is also rumored that the Zapper can make toast, re-heat coffee and dry the gymnasium floor. Taxpayers can be assured that their dollars have been wisely spent.
In a bad week for feet, it is reported that a small dog on Grove Street repeatedly attacked the pedal extremities of the faithful as they attempted to praise the Lord at the Baptist Church. Marshal Colwell, in a Corporal Act of Mercy attempted to grab the cur, but it retreated under one of those sets of wooden steps with which Farmington is so generously bestowed.
However, any further outrage will likely result in dog, steps and all, being wiped out, because the marshal was observed thumbing through a mail-order catalog in search of a military flamethrower, between bouts of helium balloon inflation.
Smokey the Wonderdog ain't too bright after all. On being bailed out from Canine Clink he was tied up in his yard, by a length of rope. Like any self-respecting creature, it was his duty to chew himself loose, but unfortunately he attacked the wrong line and wiped out Steve Carberry's cable T.V. for the weekend. Smokey did manage to get it right in the end and latest reports have him yet again dodging the marshal.
The recent blaze of publicity in this column concerning the Vice President Henry Wilson exhibition at the Goodwin Library caused a miniature stampede of local history buffs. As luck would have it, the Wilson display had given way to a collection of Old School Books, the day before the V.P. story broke, and, for the bibliophiles among you, this too will pass. Probably ere you read this.
Therefore, be ye advised early, that Donna Titus, artist and Thespian, of Manchester, N.H. will give a dramatic impersonation of Celia Thaxter, poet and writer, late of the Isles of Shoals. This will constitute the program of Farmington Historical Society on Friday, April 5, and will be held in the Congregational Church Hall. Open to members and friends.
Cheese and butter will be distributed to the low income and elderly people of Farmington, on March 26 and 27, from the basement of the Congregational Church, commencing at 9 a.m. both days. Free clothing (lucky dip) is still available for the needy, who may call at the office during week-days.
Selectmen's meeting of March 19, 1985
The first half-hour passed slowly. The selectmen signed papers, Percy puffed on his briar, the clock ticked. Deep in the forest a berry dropped. Then at 7 p.m. came the announcement that no bridges had been washed out, and that culverts were free of leaves. We were off. Several new pistol permits were signed and someone observed that, by now, the town must be armed to the teeth.
Hot Water: The exact location of lines and their ultimate destinations were heatedly debated. Chalk sketches of well No. 2 (bad) and well No. 3 (better) appearing on a blackboard, were derided and replaced by other interpretations. These in turn were critiqued and scrubbed out, filling the air with white dust and argument, until it was discovered that everybody had been saying the same thing all along.
Secret Conclave then ensued, during which, Bill Cooper took the opportunity to disclose that the Country Club Twilight League sign-up date terminates on May 5. To be played on Tuesdays.
Z.B.A. and Planning Board vacancies were discussed, and replacements suggested. Full details next week along with the unveiling of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
Later, the meeting was informed that personnel policies, drawn up by Meaderboro Associates, were also in the pipeline. No chalk was needed. At 9:30 p.m., Mr. Silvia and I, the last two green bottles, were hurtled once more into the oblivion of the corridor, victims of the third executive session. At 9:45 p.m. I told Biff "I'm giving up."
"I ought to, but I wouldn't want them to feel satisfied," he replied grimly, nodding in the direction of the Talking Heads in the courtroom. At that moment, my heart warmed towards the mailman.
Man Of Letters II
John Jolles is in the final stages of completing a hand-crafted wooden sign that reads Memorial Drive Elementary School. Interviewed in his workshop he confides that "M"s gave him a particular delight. I apologized for depriving him of the pleasure of supplying the letters for Farmington Community Center, by slumming it with plastic.
Thursday was Inventions Day, and the guest speaker in the High School Library was one Nelson Newcome of Pick Point Enterprises. He displayed a selection of money-makers that included a whistling illuminated Frisbee, a golf ball finder which had previously failed as a sand-trap rake, and a fluorescent fish hook that would "put the industry in a different perspective." Then it was the students’ turn.
Kim Jenness and Marie Brooks uncloaked Interchangeable Colored Arrows for sneakers. Change arrows to pop groups and you're on a winner, girls. Mark Varney and Mike Mucher demonstrated a decoration designed to revolve at the top of a Christmas tree. It had the appearance of something that could go horribly wrong and screw the tree into the floor. Next up was a talking mailbox, no less, the brainchild of Jamie Glidden and Norman Brook.
"Hello, Biff," it droned, courtesy of an elaborate wire system. Mr. Newcome thought the invention had possibilities. Mail carriers may think otherwise. Sunna Buckley and Tammy Condon contributed a twirling fork for spaghetti and Jeffrey Gilman displayed a soup spoon with a tube that looked as if it had been invented already and sold to Percy Day as a pipe.
Mr. Martin wound up an absorbing morning by thanking the young inventors, Mr. Newcome and an attentive audience. But the last work comes from Ambrose Bierce who called an inventor "a person who makes ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization." Bierce disappeared in 1913 in Mexico, and may have been killed by the magazine gun, invented in 1875, by Hotchkiss.
Community Center news
Bierce, before he thankfully got tapped out, stuck his nose in here too. He defined recreation as "A particular kind of dejection to relieve a general fatigue."
Particular results: Cribbage…Boondock Butt and Micky Depalma - winners for the second consecutive time! Runners-up: Frank Thibedau and Shelley Hussey.
Pool…H.W.T.G.H. (winner), Steve Carberry (runner-up, improved play caused by lack of television.)
Particular Outdoor Club. Any adult interested in canoeing the Isinglass River from Barrington to Rochester on Saturday, March 30, should come along to a meeting in the Community Center on Thursday, March 28 to discuss arrangements.
The Helpful Corner
This column would like to do all it can to encourage "cottage industries" similar to Marshal Colwell's Helium Balloons for All Occasions. This week I draw the readership's attention to the piano lessons offered by Mr. Mahoney of 42 North Main Street, who once studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music.
I met Mr. M. in peculiar circumstances some months ago, when Farmington Democrats had booked the meeting room for a rally to espouse the cause of an obscure politician named, only in America, Dudley Dudley. People flocked from all over Farmington and even beyond. Extra chairs were pulled out and still the crowd grew. Mr. Mahoney and a group of friends arrived and I showed them into the room, whereupon Mr. M. sat down at the piano and began to play a standard from the 40s. Speeches began and I withdrew, but through the wall heard the continuing sounds of thumping keys and upraised voices. It got louder, reached a deafening crescendo and then - silence - and then - Mr. Mahoney hurtled out into the Community Center.
Apparently he wasn't a Democrat at all and was playing to an audience completely unsympathetic to 40s standards. I asked if he had been hired, as a disruption, by the Republicans but he said No, he just thought access to a public piano should not be restricted by politicians of any persuasion. He was adamant about this, and struck out for the keyboard once more.
It took some diplomacy before he and his small entourage bade farewell with the understanding that they would be welcome on any occasion when the meeting room was free. After the Democrats, in their turn, vacated the room, I discovered a brown bag with six empty beer cans. All parties have denied ownership of these items. Mr. Mahoney has subsequently returned on many occasions to play standards from the 40s and the 50s, too. His fame has since reached Ten Rod Road whence comes his first pupil, Jeanette Michaud.
I am happy to relate that Mr. Mahoney now has his own piano, but encourages Jeanette to practice scales on the Center instrument, making an interesting counterpoint to M.T.V.
My own banjo pupil, Marshal Colwell, who during 1984 mastered the first six bars of On Top of Old Smokey, has set himself a target for 1985. He wishes to adequately plunk Get Along Little Doggie, Yippee-aye-aye-yippee."
Smokey might learn to sing, first. Prospective players of piano or banjo should contact Mr. Mahoney or Mr. Nolan respectively. Banjo lessons have the attraction of being free.
Very latest pool results: winner - John Thompson; runner-up - the man with a green hat welded to the head.
Mark Varney, inventor, wishes to assure the public that should they purchase his Christmas decoration there is no likelihood of their waking to find a mere six inches of tree sticking out of the carpet. He is firm on this.
Finally, may I wish a speedy recovery to Sue Thornton who had the misfortune to fall through her porch recently.
March 26, 1985
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