A continuing tale of life in the boonies
The Hall of Fame
Halls of Fame are good for business. They generate big bucks, folks, and since Alton Shoe has closed down and the tourist attraction of Hackett's Crevasse is no longer with us, Farmington needs its own national Hall of Fame to generate revenue and bring people flocking back into town.
Think about it! Who would have ever heard of Akron, Ohio if the Bowling Hall of Fame was not there? Cooperstown, N.Y. would be just another flyspeck on the map but for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mention the Football Hall of Fame and the city of Canton, Ohio is on everybody's lips. So let's get Farmington in there with the Horseshoe Hall of Fame!
Why Farmington? And, indeed, why horseshoes? Well, this town is home to the biggest horseshoe league in the entire area, and statewide, only Keene is reputed to have a bigger club. Plus, New Hampshire is one of the most horseshoeingest states in the whole Union. People in this town live and breathe horseshoes. Farmington has an annual tournament named after former Vice-president of the United States Henry Wilson. The cheery chink of ringers slamming into rugged steel stakes and the satisfying phhssst of Bud cans being ripped open may be heard in backyards all over town from dawn's first pale light until well after dusk.
But, where, ask you, might be the fitting location for such a hallowed hall? Now, think. It must be in the heart of town so that the five and dime, the barber shop, Dumontskee's and the drug store can all get a slice of that tourist action. It must also be in close proximity to other historical artifacts and to a reference center - and if need be, we must have the courage to seize the ideal spot for the National Horseshoe Hall of Fame by eminent domain if toss comes to pitch.
Therefore this column is offering $3 for the most persuasive ending to a sentence which begins "I feel the National Horseshoe Hall of Fame must commandeer Farmington Woman's Club because ...
Please confine your entries to 30 words or less and mail them to Farmington Corner, c/o Rochester Courier, P.O. Box 1600, 32, Wakefield St., Rochester, N.H., 03867. Closing date is Oct. 15.
Famous last words
In answer to a recent request for appropriate inscriptions on a historical marker at the site of Hackett's Crevasse, some people waxed wordy. It would keep a small army of stonemasons in work for a year chiseling Brad Bowden's entry onto a granite slab, if one big enough could be found. It goes on and on, quoting from the Ancient Book of Chemung, about the Earth opening up and brother being pitted against brother. There's sighing and lamenting in there, anger and tears, divine wonder and a general lack of pithiness.
An entry from Crowbar Wilde has some merit and in its sad refrain a road agent mourns his lost crevasse:
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little patch of tar
Which motorists flash by!
Another submission is attributable to Mr. Rantin Ramgunshoch and reworks ye olde nostalgic Jacobite theme. The words are apparently sung, and reach an earsplitting crescendo in line eight:
Bonnie Hackett's deep crevasse,
Tis noo paved o'er, nae mair a bane,
But monys the hairt wull brak in twa,
Should it ne'er come back again.
Wull ye no come back again?
Wull ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye cannae be
Wull ye no come back again?
Fortunately, among these postcards in the mailbag was one reasonable entry, and so the $3 goes out to Leslie Weeks of Milton for the following elegy entitled "In Memorium Crevassorium" (It should be noted Leslie has the advantage of working in a dental office where large cavities are filled on a daily basis):
In Farm'town lurked the crevasse "Hackett,"
The intrepid alone dared to track it,
But one dismal dawn
That black hole was gone –
For the road crew had up and top-blacked it.
At this point Leslie's inscription breaks from a canter into a full gallop!
Adieu, great Abyss! You won't really be missed
Save by those with a fondness for mysteree,
Brave Hackett and Dickie and Washburn and Page
Subdued the last trace of New Hampshire's Ice Age,
Now just this poor marker recalls thee.
Exciting public spectacle
Now let us hoof it from horseshoes, via holes, to horses. Tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 6) deep in the Farmington boonies of Ten Rod Road (North by Northwest end next to Baxter's junkyard) one of the last draft pony pulling competitions of the season will be held. There will be teams from Michigan and Maine, from Vermont and Massachusetts, and from all over New Hampshire.
"It's good old-time family fun," says pony-pulling organizer Fred Lawson of New Durham. Spectators are welcome to try and find the spot, parking is plentiful and free, and the suggested donation is a mere one buck. A snack bar will be chugging out edibles all day from 11 a.m. until late afternoon, and there will be a 50/50 raffle. The weigh-in for ponies, incidentally, starts at 8 a.m.
Perhaps ... just perhaps, Farmington is big enough to accommodate two Halls of Fame. Can't you just see pony-pulling fans from all over America eagerly cramming into a former Community Center?
Still crazy after …
It's heartwarming to report that Farmington Mineralogists' Club is still going strong years after its foundation by Randy Bois and Jim Bibbo. Last week the entire club membership (Bois and Bibbo) went a field trip to Center Ossipee and were delighted to strike smoky quartz after thumping away at a 300-pound boulder with sledgehammers for only a few hours. Coming soon – gold-panning.
October 5, 1991
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