A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Historical preface: The Winter’s Tale satirized a descent by the national press into Farmington to manufacture, over several days, an excruciating major story out of very little. The ‘very little’ consisted of a tryst between a Farmington girl and a foreign exchange student at the high school, which resulted in the boy being off sent to another school in Maine (Me.) in the hopes of improving grades for both parties. Intervention by a shrewd political minnow led to exaggerated press reports of a joyous reunification. The editor of the Rochester Courier at that time, Susan Williamson, pushed for coverage – to her credit, she was content with this piece.
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1 SCENE 1
The Medieval city of Farmington ... South Gate
First Soldier: Stop my eyes, but these are fine thick walls on this city to keep the fighting out.
Second Soldier: Gadzooks, but the stones were donated by Rochester to keep the fighting in.
(First Soldier laughs heartily and is struck about the ears by a nearby shopkeeper wielding a broom.)
Betty Mros: Farmington is a lovely city. It's just town criers keep giving it a bad name … always raking up unseemly lillipuceous tidings.
ACT 1 SCENE 2
The court of Prince Ipal, in Farmington
Thisbe: If music be the food of love, crank up that lyre.
(Stamps out in a theatrical rage. From off-stage come the terrible sounds of a lyre being brutally kicked.)
Pyramus: (Heartbroken and bewildered) To Me. or not to Me? That is the question.
ACT 2 SCENE 1
A courtyard outside Prince Ipal's palace.
Thisbe addresses a tumultuous crowd of banner-waving supporters, as members of the International Guild of Town Criers look on and demand information packs.
Thisbe: Friends, Farmingtonians, Countrymen. Lend me your ears. I have come to beg for Pyramus. You all did love him once. (Aside) They better not have.
My bonny came over the ocean
My bonny came over the sea
My bonny came over the ocean
O, bring back my bonny from Me.
Snout (a town crier): Ms. Thisbe, would you categorize the flagrant violation of Pyramus's rights as a blatant suppression of his entitlements?
Thisbe: They, who moving others, are themselves, as stone
Unmoved, cold, and to education drawn.
Snug (another crier): Could you repeat that answer?
Starveling: She said she was cold.
Quince: It is possible. She has not a man at all.
Flute: How do you spell Thisbe?
Enter Philostrate, a Greek senator.
Flute: How do you spell Phil O’Strate. Is that an Irish name, begorrah?
Philostrate makes to address the crowd: I will be brief...
Snout (aside): Bet he ain't.
Philostrate embarks on a two-hour discourse embracing themes seized upon later by Thomas Paine, Milton Friedman and Larry Bird. He argues that all mankind has the basic right to be free, rich and influential in a land where grades must take secondary importance to jousting and falconry. A short way into this soliloquy, Prince Ipal, a keen angler, appears, and ushers Thisbe and her supporters back into the palace. The town criers, desperate to escape Philostrate's diatribe, try to rush inside, but are thwarted by Prine Ipal with the help of a fishing pole.
Prince Ipal: Hold off, good bearers of bad tidings.
Philostrate, oblivious to audience depletion, is now fervently extolling the virtues of living in Farmington as opposed to Rochester or Me.
Prince Ipal (above the din): Did I ever tell you town criers of the 24-inch brown trout I pulled out of Merrymeeting Lake?
Snout, Snug, Starveling, Flute and Quince: Yes!
(They make another spirited dash for the palace door, but are driven back by Prince Ipal once again)
ACT 3: SCENT 1.
An anteroom of the palace.
Lady Macbeth: What's done is done. 'Twas a grade of dreadful note.
Philostrate: Be less exalting of the knowledge, dearest chuck. Cancel and tear to pieces that great writ which dispatched dear Pyramus to Me. Upon such sacrifices, dearest lady, the gods, themselves, throw incense. Lady MacBeth (in exasperated tone): 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy, Than by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy.
Messenger: My lady, even now a rabble of town criers is breaking down the palace gates to demand fresh tidings of Pyramus...
Lady MacBeth: O, these naughty times. Love, it seems surpasseth learning.
Philostrate: Send word that Pyramus return from Me. The day may yet be saved.
ACT 3 SCENE 2
A bower near the palace.
Thisbe: O, Pyramus!
Pyramus: O, Thisbe!
A great flurry of embracing ensues, which is interrupted by the untimely arrival of the town criers.
Snug: Hey ho the wind and the rain. Our lovebirds are back on the perch.
Quince: Dear Pyramus, canst thou describe the pain of two days parting?
Flute: How do you spell Pyramus?
Pyramus: Came there for cure, and this by that I prove, Love's fire heats me. Me. cools not love.
$3 Dollar Competition
As Farmington Corner has not awarded a $3 prize for sometime, and with Christmas approaching, a brand new competition is announced.
Mr. Royce Hodgdon, the re-incarnation of Henry Wilson, as readers of the column well know, is owed a debt, both by his fellow citizens and environmentalists everywhere, for his efforts in recycling stoves and freezers. He did so way back when it was unpopular and he is still hard at work, finding loving homes for formerly unwanted appliances. I, myself, recently undertook to provide a kitchen for one of Royce's orphan freezers.
Anyway, here's the competition. Apart from the obvious domestic application to which a Hodgdon freezer can be put, can you suggest other uses for a freezer which will assist Royce in finding more owners for his lovingly restored appliances. Royce personally wishes to be buried in one of his larger models, and, as a further illustration of his freezers' versatility, it has been suggested, that with the doors removed, they would make wonderful window boxes for the Thayer mansion.
$3 for the best suggestion to arrive at the Rochester Courier, P.O. Box 1600, Rochester 03867 no later than Dec. 15, 1989. The name of the winner will be published, along with other promising entries.
Woman's Club news
Farmington Woman's Club will hold a bake sale on Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hayward Block, next to Mros's Variety Store, and also hold a raffle, first prize for which is to be either a Royce Hodgdon freezer or an Afghan. I forget which. The purpose of the food fair, co-chaired by Lois DiPrizzio and Sandra Canney, is to raise money for the annual scholarship fund. Jousters and falconers need not apply.
This column, and all the Courier Staff, send a special thank you to Sylvia Cameron of Spring Street, Farmington, and thanks her for the poem (which unfortunately is too long to print), but which calls upon people at this time of the year to give a special thought to the less fortunate and infirm members of the community. Also, to shop locally.
The odds of Farmington's downtown Christmas tree being bashed into by the road crew are currently about 10,000 to one against. This year's tree has been donated by Velma Eaton, mother of road agent Clark Hackett, and let me say what a piece of sylvan magnificence it is - a wondrous, twinkling addition to the town. (Pssst - River Road is rutted with ice, Clarkie.)
December 11, 1989
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