A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 182

The annual brush with Art

This column has steadfastly maintained that Farmington is the Athens of the North, the Cradle of Culture - what with the Kennedy Painting in Dumontskis, Henry Wilson's Gall Stone plus the One-Armed Nut Carver's Baskets in the Goodwin Library, and the splendidly choreographed ballet featuring women fighting over cords of wood having had its premiere performance right on Main Street.

And now comes the Eighth Annual Art Exhibition, with its delightful and exclusive wine and cheese opening, where 84 serendipitous works by vocal artists bask on the walls and tables, and scarce a catty word is heard, only there must be a few, just for the sake of electricity in the air. But nothing crass...

Long-time friends Susan Mayo and Jeannie Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop, both well represented by new works, are at the opening, though inexplicably sipping wine at opposite ends of the gallery. Jeannie's painting, "Pink Door and Cats" - pink door and lumpy things - really, attracts some attention, as does her interesting "She has Orphan Annie Eyes," which should also mention Dolly Parton.

Susan whispers it is a self-portrait of Jeannie, but looks nothing like her and I could print that if I wanted. Hmm.

Susan, on the other hand has produced a much finer rendition of Jeannie, she confides, although they aren't friends any more, not since Jeannie started moving in loftier circles, and over there is there the very painting. In fact, look! Jeannie's studying it now and checking in the catalogue for its title. "One with Two Faces," ho-ho-ho, and what, could Jeannie be leaving already? So put that in the paper, why doncha.

Oh dearie me, ladies. Tsk, tsk. Hosts of readers love you both. Let Farmington Corner speedily resolve this unhappy and temporary rupture. Call round with strong drink. To quote Rabbie Burns, "It's aye the cheapest lawyers fee, To taste the barrel."

…meanwhile, back at the Art Exhibit, up comes esteemed poet and photographer Blanche Magee who almost had courage enough, once, to attend Ramgunshoch's Burns Supper, and she's expressing irritation with someone or other. Is she picking on Susan? Or knocking Jeannie, perhaps? No, doesn't seem to be. Wait. She's ticked with some article or other in the Courier about the Woman's Club. Hmm. Well, time to drift away for another glass of wine and view more Works.

Bonnie Walsh has painted a kid with his hat of fire, Jessica Hodgdon has captured a side view of Hackett's Crevasse (wisely left untitled), and Milli Gay has created a smoldering hippo in a green dress tagged "Mother-in-law."

Anita Heffon Fisher has completely changed her style, though whether for the better, is in the eye of the beholder. I described a white swirling abstract of hers, one time, as the last thing someone might see before they hit a snowbank. This long forgotten remark (until she cast it up a few weeks back) seems to have driven her headlong into the arms of the School of Minute Detail, but she, herself, is putting the blame on Grandma Moses.

Dottie Lemay and Polly Blair both earn asterisks in my catalogue, as does Betty Demers for her "View from a Broadwalk" with perfectly captured pre-storm light. Peg Arnold's stuffed toy, "Jonah and the Whale," makes me smile, being reminded of one Middleton selectman trying to swallow another.

But why has no one submitted a poem, photograph or painting of Ed's Outstanding Insoles? Exciting, functional, state-of-the-art Art, with all the class and dignity of a Campbell's soup can. Andy Warhol, look down on us kindly, and guide our brushes through 1991.

Green Turns To Gold

Bob Underhill reports that it now costs $12 for a single round of golf on Farmington Country Club's nine-hole course when just 10 years ago he could play all day for $7. As a matter of financial expediency he will never play there again, he said. Well, that decision should allow Bob time to pursue a cheaper hobby like ocean yachting or going on African safaris.

Semantic Loop News

Pat Frisella's brochure advertising the 15th Annual Sheep Festival on May 11/12 in New Boston contains a bizarre phrase on the back page - "adress correction requested." If the printer refuses to comply, my suggestion is to omit the entire word. Or is someone trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

Late Art News

Congratulations to Bonnie Walsh who has received the People's Choice Award for her fine painting, "Irish Soldier Boy" depicting a young lad in army uniform sadly gazing through the Tricolor with his helmet ablaze. This political painting was executed at the request of her husband, a Kilkenny man, and it tries to capture the turmoil and distress of Northern Ireland's "troubles". Bonnie's prize is a $15 gift certificate for Barrett's 5 & 10.

Competition News

The sheer number of snappy captions for the untitled picture made picking the competition winner more difficult than usual, especially when the editor said Ramgunshoch couldn't lift the $3 prize. Hmm.

So, it's Karl Lamberg of Sanbornville, who is a richer man with his entry:

"The Attorney General informs a much distressed Uncle Sam that George Bush has died and Whatsiz-name is now President."

Among other top-class entries were several with a tax theme, including:

"A senior Farmington school administrator is upset to learn he will only get an eight percent pay hike in 1991." - Rantin Ramgunshoch of Farmington.

"Lord Lovejoy suffers a fatal reaction upon hearing the reading of the local school budget." - Warren Buzzel of Alton.

"Sire, ye State of New Hampshire desires the tax on your estate in the amount of . . ." - Katherine W. Beach, West Lebanon, Maine.

"Hear ye! Hear ye! This be your current Farmington tax bill." –several people.

The sleepy little community of Middleton also seemed to inspire a few caption writers, including the following:

Middleton Selectman's meeting" wrote Emily Hart of Middleton, bluntly.

"Please stop. I can't take another four letter word." - Roger Belanger, Farmington.

"Marshall Nash discloses his documentation for the $997 expended on town business. Roy Snyder, in disbelief, yells, Heart pills!" - Karl Lamberg, Sanbornville.

Recent exclusive Rochester Courier stories prompted captions from other readers, such as:

"Farmington officials arrest a Massachusetts citizen for riding a bicycle through town." - Robert Fleming, Alton.

"Farmington officials interview a motorists rescued after spending nine days in a pothole." - Al Goss of Dover. (Guess the pothole.)

"And now those crazy selectmen want to put their proposed transfer station on top of Mount, Mount Minor." - Robert L. Calvert, Alton.

"The threat to the endangered colony of whorled pogonias has at least one New Hampshire citizen determined to stay on hunger strike until the problem is taken seriously." - Leslie Weeks, Milton.

And the newsroom's most controversial caption came from Stephanie Piro of Alton –

"Sorry, Mike...the Courier's dropping the sports section."

Finally, for those few entrants unclear on the concept, the picture really showed King Henry IV receiving word of a subject's treachery.

P.S. - The previous week, those weren't really Farmington policemen stalking bicycles on Page 8. They were soldiers attacking environmental protesters on Mount Major.

Ooops! Pardon Us!

Last week Marjorie Dreher of Florida expressed outrage at Farmington Corner's "High Society" column that mentioned the Woman's Club in passing. Marjorie, expressing pride in belonging to this fine group of ladies, points out the Woman's Club is responsible for beautification projects "such as flowers at the junction of Routes 11 and 153. . ." Well, Pat Benoit, Keeper of Dolphins and Stitcher of Quilts, also points out that it was she who was responsible for this particular project, she who got turned down by the Woman's Club for a donation towards the cost, and she who got a nippy letter from the club for her pains.

So let's all make friends, join hands and say one big "SORRY!"

April 15, 1991

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