A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 186

Dam and be published

Oblivious to the fashionably savage political wars raging in surrounding communities Farmington selectmen met this week in a disappointingly relaxed, harmonious and dignified atmosphere. Joviality was even in the air with a normally somber road agent joking about a pothole on River Road.

"Where's River Road?" he asked, cracking up the board and all those others not condemned to disappear four times daily into Hackett's Crevasse...but on with the column or rather the New Improved Plan promised to town leaders, for no grudges are harbored here.

The plan in question, drawn up, in fact, by Mr. Rantin Ramgunshoch, is a much improved version of the state's fancy proposal for what should happen If The Dam At Sunrise Lake Gives Way. The state's plan, you see, contains a dreadful flaw, as it anticipates that when the dam breaks and a 700-foot wall of water roars down the valley, Middleton survivors will contact Farmington's Civil Defense Director and she (for it is Selectman Barbara Spear) in turn will alert a whole array of emergency responders. But, Barbara Spear has put a fly in the state's ointment by saying she is not going to sit at home for the next 20 years waiting for the dam to break. Volunteerism ain't what it was.

But now comes the superior Ramgunshoch Plan which allows Babs to shop downtown, eat breakfast at Dumontskis, join the Woman's Club, go mudding, and generally lead a normal life, for the Ramgunshoch Plan shifts responsibility!

First the dam breaks. Then some vaguely interested observer phones Farmington Fire Department, and immediately D-A-M is blasted out in Morse Code all over the town by means of the siren. Dash, dot, dot. Dot, dash. Dash, dash.

Next, local citizenry have a choice. They can (a) help save the town's treasures or (b) grab a two by four, rush to a high section of river bank, and prod the squabbling band of Middleton department heads and board members into center stream as they bob past. Don't want 'em washing up here.

And there is so much in Farmington to be saved from the flood. I, myself, have undertaken to sandbag the historic Hackett's Crevasse and minimize the destruction a fierce rush of water could visit on it. Then there are the rare small whorled pogonias in Dumontski's flower planter to be rescued, the irreplaceable Henry Wilson gallstone in the Goodwin Library to be lugged to safety, the famous Kennedy Painting, Bubber Haycock's "jardin accoutrementes," and several hundred low-lying dogs (provided, of course, they can show a current license) to be reprieved.

Some brave volunteer will also have to drive the Fire Department's galloping goose to high ground, perhaps the riskiest task of all.

Please note, that as Barbara is still Civil Defense Director, applicants for these hazardous duties should send their resumes to her at the Town Hall, rather than to Ramgunshoch.

Gold In Them Thar Dumps

It came to light on Monday night that Farmington has an even more valuable artifact than anyone has ever dreamed of - an object that single-handedly increases the value of the entire town by at least 25 percent. Clark Hackett suddenly announced to an unsuspecting public that the bulldozer at the town dump "was worth its weight in gold."

Because it tips the scales at 12,000 pounds and as gold is currently valued at $356 a troy ounce, I am delighted to reveal this vehicle boasts a price tag of $51,264,000. Personally, I think we should sell the bulldozer at this price, divide the money equally among the town's 5,600 residents and let everybody walk off with $9,154. Whaddya say, Clarkie?

Dead Wrong

Incidentally, sincere apologies are due to Mr. Hackett from Farmington Corner. A recent column said he was a Harley Davidson man until the day he died. The corrected version of this story should read he will not be seen dead on a Harley Davidson. Clark rides a Honda Golden 1100cc.

Very Browned Off

A citizen in the shape of Heidi Calwell took up a concern with the selectmen at Monday's meeting. Heidi lives on North Main Street opposite the Thayer Mansion, car pools to her job in the shipyard and accordingly parked her car in the road outside her house for four days recently. This particular part of North Main Street has no yellow lines and no parking restriction signs. So she was okay, you'd think? Nope!

The Thayers complained to Sgt. Walter Brown of the vehicle's presence, and Brownie, after some research, tracked down Heidi's boyfriend, Dick, at the restaurant where he works in Barrington and told him to come and shift it. Dick, thinking the car was obstructing some imminent roadwork, lost 4+ hours pay ($54), he told selectmen, coming back to Farmington and moving the vehicle.

Heidi asked selectmen that as no regulations were being broken, why did Brownie order the vehicle to be moved, a point she also took up with the sergeant.

"I said we pay you to enforce the laws, not make 'em up," Heidi says she told Brownie, adding that her impression was he was holding the phone well away from his ear. But, as one gets the notion she bawled rather than confided this opinion down the phone to Brownie, one can hardly fault him on that score.

He also, in an effort to appease, revealed to Heidi that he had had a bad day, but this cut little ice. Buttered no parsnips.

"I've got no problem with two-hour parking," Heidi generously told the selectmen, "but without signs or road markings Joe Blow from Idaho can park there all he wants."

Barbara told her the board would talk to Chief Barry Carr and have an answer within a week. The board also murmured something about establishing a two-hour parking restriction all the way up Main Hill with a public hearing on the topic likely and soon.

That'll fix any tourist dumb enough to stray into town for a concert, road race or Hay Day celebration. It'll make for short town meetings, too. Good thinking, guys.

Bid Farewell

To close, the town announces bids are being sought for a three-phase electrical hook-up for a baler at the town dump, where also dwelleth the $51 million bulldozer. Perhaps the winning bidder could also wire up Royce Hodgdon's metal crusher for Brownie will get really tough just as soon as that new parking law hits the books.

Can't you just see the coming headlines - Ten Cadillacs Crushed While Owners Play Bridge in Mansion?

August 17, 1991

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