A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Foot Fetish and More
Into The Past Darkly: "The power of hiding ourselves from one another is mercifully given, for men are wild beasts, and would devour one another, but for this protection." -- Henry Beecher (1877)
People have any number of reasons for coming to Farmington, and I have more than my fair quota; mostly to do with hiding from this and that.
The end of the skiing season, Imelda Marco's 20,000 pairs of shoes, and a weird phone call last week, caused me to reflect on one of my more dogged pursuers, whose correspondence I have retained, even yet, filed under C for Cranks.
In 1974, as a beat policeman in a tough Glasgow housing project, I was given permission to take a bunch of street kids up into the Scottish mountains for a five-day skiing course with the Army Youth Team. One evening in the bar next to the Army camp, I got talking to a reporter and photographer from the national newspaper. They were passing through the ski slopes on the way back to the city, having covered a North Sea oil exploration story. As a consequence of our chat, the journalists delayed their return to Glasgow by a few hours in order to take a picture of myself, the kids and the army instructors all crammed onto the last patch of snow in Glenshee. (It was a heatwave in April.)
Nonetheless, by carefully picking their angle the pressmen got away with a half-page shot and the title Winter Wonderland.
Two weeks later, a letter addressed to Constable Nolan arrived at Blackhill Police Station from someone who had read the feature. His style was one of rambling praise interspersed with references to his Saviour and my feet. He wished to kiss them, ascertain their size, knit socks for them, and generally look out for their welfare. Assuming the letter to be a hoax, with one of the other cops at the back of it, I wrote off a response giving, not only my shoe size, but also that of my gloves, collar and hat, (note last item, Archie) to take care of any other fetish that the japester cared to introduce.
A 10-page reply came whizzing back by return post that made me suspect the correspondent was genuine. I confirmed it by dialing a number through directory enquiries and listening to the dingbat voice at the other end of the line saying "Hullo? Hullo? Who is there?" Click. Enough of this!
"Dear Jim," I wrote that very day, "On Saturday I am flying to Venezuela to take up a post as Welfare Officer in the shanty town of Puerta la Cruz. Write c/o the Divine Light Mission there."
That put him off my trail for a number of years.
(During this interval, in the course of innocent bumblings, I managed to irk, in minor and unconnected ways, the K.G.B., the F.B.I., and the Israeli Secret Service, Mossad; three more reasons for coming to Farmington, incidentally.) Concurrent with these episodes, as a community involvement police officer, and working with sociologists from universities and colleges in pioneering situations, I became recognized as an expert on youth, (temporarily back in an unrecognized mode, I am) and as such, appeared on a B.B.C. T.V. religious affairs program one evening to give my two cents worth about urban kids and the links between unemployment, crime and vandalism. Among the viewing audience, I guess, was Jim the Foot Fetishist.
On the day after the program was transmitted, I was at home listening to the rain, which was even heavier than usual, when a knock came to the door. There stood a bedraggled young man in a see-through plastic raincoat.
"I must come in!" he dripped, and shot by, into the living room.
"Name!" I demanded.
"Jim---." he answered, causing a dusty red danger flag to ping up inside my head. I made an unprintable reply, grabbed him by the coat, and fired him out the door. (Take heed, o crank of '86)
Completely unsettled by the whole affair, I bought a ticket for America, shortly afterwards. In the years that I have been here, I have never skied, as a precaution.
Perhaps next year, though. After all, I'm sure Jim, in a shoe frenzy, is too busy writing letters to Imelda Marcos, to scour the slopes of the world.
Woman's Club: Farmington Woman's Club is holding a Food (not foot, typesetter) Sale and Fair on Friday, April 25 at the Masonic Building on Main Street at 10 a.m. Please give them your support. Some of the money raised will be used to pay off parking fines and thus reduce town taxes. Or so it is rumoured. (This rumour is completely false. Apologies, ladies -- Editor.)
Other Parking News: Readers might be forgiven for thinking that Archie Corson has put yellow-walled tires on his truck. Not the case, however, merely the frequent attentions of Brownie's chalk stick.
Motoring News: Motorist A, spotting pedestrian B at the horseshoe pits near Winter Court, drew up sharply in order that he might get $7.50 for a Shaw Brothers ticket before B dived for cover. A, in so doing, partially blocked the access road to the police station, down which drove motorist C.
"Hey, buddy, you're blocking an emergency access road," he hollered at A, as he slowed to a crawl to negotiate the obstruction.
"Yeah, Dumbo, this here is an emergency access road," yelled motorist D, rolling down his window and stabbing a finger at A.
A and B harking to the wrath of D, watched as he collided with the rear of C.
Who was to blame? Was it A, who in his dedication to raise money for the Ambulance Corps, parked his vehicle badly and then, due to nervousness, laughed at the bump; or B, who should have bought a ticket days before, and who also chuckled nervously, or C, in his brand new Camaro, who could have waited or even bought a ticket; or D, who, like C, was not amused?
Great Loves Of Our Time: The world has borne witness to many torrid affairs of the heart, from Pyramus and Thisbe to Antony and Cleopatra to Romeo and Juliet. But has there ever been a love like that of Zorro for Muffins? At this very moment Zorro lies in bonds, prevented from seeing someone his family considers inappropriate. An old story, you say? Zorro is the Lucas's small black dog. Muffins is the ginger cat next door. When they were together it was more amusing than D bumping C. I offer $3 for a photograph.
Farmington Business Association: Jim Bibbo and Tim Woodward, at the most recent meeting of the F.B.A., in the Henry Wilson Room, presented their ideas for a quality brochure for Farmington which would depict the many positive aspects of the town, from the beauties of Baxter Lake and the architectural splendor of municipal buildings, to the ever increasing merits of the educational system and the expanding recreational programs, all of which serve to make Farmington a very desirable place to live. Applause.
Of the $2,000 required to fund the brochure, half had already been promised; from the town ($400), schools ($200), Superintendent's Office ($200), and John Freeman ($200). After discussion, another $1,000 rolled in from F.B.A. ($500), Farmington Gas ($100), Courier's Garage ($100), Jean Pease Real Estate ($100), Tuttles Flowers ($50) and Nute's Flock ($50). Bingo! One brochure coming up.
A committee to work upon this here brochure was set up comprising of, in the Henry Wilson Cabinet Corner, Jim Bibbo and Tim Woodward; near the one-armed nut carverís baskets, Eugene and Particia Nute, and Don Marble; and from the high school, Ken Beaupre.
John Nolan was asked for input, but he replied that the brochure sounded like a very serious project which he might inadvertently give the kiss of death. Several people nodded. He noted who they were.
In other business, parking was discussed. Stuart Pease said his mother had a desk full of unpaid tickets. Judge Nute said "Ooooh!" A motion was passed to write John Freeman to strongly consider new funds for off-street parking. Judge Nute moved that the F.B.A. ensure that it became a corporation, thus limiting the individual liability of the membership. As things stood at the moment, his sheep were at risk. Perhaps one should be auctioned off to pay Jean Pease's parking fines.
Next Week: Henry Wilson's gallstone plus news of four melees, three poisonings, eight murders and a hanging in three hours of Main Street mayhem.
April 22, 1986
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