A continuing tale of life in the boonies
Pothole trophy rides again
As predicted by no less a sage that Road Agent Clark Hackett, it's one heck of a year for potholes which means the 1992 Rochester Courier contest seeking the finest example of such phenomena could draw a sizeable mailbag. And this year the competition has been widened and deepened to include frost heaves and sink holes!
Already some entries have fluttered onto the Farmington Corner desk to rival the potholes of yesteryear. (Remember Roger Belanger's "Jaws" on Route 153 and "Holey Moley" lurking on Hall's Hill Road in Alton.) Well, with an eye to winning the magnificent 32-inch high trophy topped by a tractor, Randy Orvis of Farmington has submitted "Bert George Gorge," which lives on Oak Street in Rochester. And, to further show that potholes respect no boundaries, Craig Lancey of Milton has entered "Hully Gully" from Ten Rod Road in Farmington; Susan Williamson of Somersworth has suggested "Sink HooOOoole" on Rochester's Whitehall Road; and Mike Whaley of Farmington has selected a monster on the back road to New Durham which he calls "Hard Hat Heave."
Meanwhile Ken Gilbert, trying to bring the trophy back to Alton, has entered "Pip" from Rand Hill Road. A subtle name, Pip, being open to several interpretations beyond "an extraordinary one." It can also mean "defeat" - the fate of many a poor New Hampshire vehicle, or "a slight non-specific disorder" like when your truck just collects a flesh wound, or "a short high pitched tone" such as is uttered when the tongue is caught between the teeth of the head which slams the roof.
So...donning safety helmet and thinking cap, submit your favorite funspot along with a descriptive name to: Potholes, Frostheaves and Sinkholes, c/o Rochester Courier, P.O. Box 1600, Rochester, 03867. Alternatively, call in your entry by dialing 332-1182 and asking for Farmington Corner. Closing date is Monday, March 16. The winner of the 1992 Rochester Courier Trophy will be published on Saturday, March 21, along with news of other commendable entries.
It's all in the name
Talking of caps brings me neatly (or so you think - Ed.) to recap. After reading the other day that Mr. Ramgunshoch had come up with the acronym FED UP, standing for Farmington Economic Drive for Unemployed People, I got to thinking of all the other groups spotlighted in this column over the years, some angry, some hopeful, some triumphant and most forgotten.
In 1986 there was Farmington's Existentialist and Eristic Brotherhood Unacquainted with Decorum or FREEBUD, an anarchist group undermining democracy with guerilla raids on the town dump padlock and the STOP signs of East Grove Street. These guys suddenly vanished without trace.
Then, in 1987, came TOPS, or Tack On Pounds Slowly, involving a section of the Woman's Club and which by now must have grown into quite an outfit. (Yup! They out-fit everything!)
Another group from way back is certainly still going strong. Judy Brownell's ACRID, the Annual Christmas Residential and Institutional Decorators, springs to life every winter.
That same wonderful year, 1987, FLAP spread its wings for the first time in response to a draconian law threatened by the Planning Board which would have outlawed peacocks in the center of town. The Farmington Lobby to Allow Peacocks was formed by Ramgunshoch, launched a flotilla of hostile verse, and forced the authors of the legislation to back down at the public hearing with stirring lines like:
"Ye o' the witenagemot
Penning idiotic laws,
Poor working folks ye oft oppress,
But seldom wi' guid cause."
Next, OFFAL rose up with a terrible wrath and even managed to capture the Farmington Corner typewriter for a whole week, turning in propable the most dreadful column in over seven years. (That would be quite an achievement - Ed.) Led by the shadowy Abu Woodchopper, Outraged Farmingtonians Fighting Against Libel were protesting lillipuceous muckraking journalists and claimed, incredibly, that yours truly fitted such a description. Hmmm. I know you guys are still out there, watching, waiting...
Later in 1988, Farmington Corner founded WOOOF, or Wilson Out Of Obscurity Forthwith to shed fame and merit on Henry Wilson. He was the Farmington lad who, with the help of shoes, became vice-president of the whole of the United States, or at least as much of it as was around in 1872. Let me add that WOOOF, while encountering great shoals of apathy, nay hostility, in Farmington, has been well received elsewhere, and just this week opened up its latest chapter in the Orkney Islands near the Arctic Circle.
SO BIG, on the other hand, epitomized failure in its efforts to go forth and multiply. Slightly Obscure Books Interlocution Group, to use its Sunday name, was founded by Ann Chapline and Ann Barden, but shortly after was infiltrated by Ramgunshoch and given the kiss of death. In the last two years, Chapline has gone to Maryland, Barden has gone to earth and Rumgunshoch has gone on to other acts of piracy.
That was all in 1990, the same year PUP or the Puddledock Underground Plot was hatched to smuggle unlicensed Farmington dogs over town line. Starting off in Royce Hodgdon's 3,000 square feet of stoves and freezers, these animals were snuck out at dead of night, via the Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop cabin on Ten Rod Road to rally, it is rumored, in Don Whittum's fields bordering the big city, ready for the dash to freedom. This plan was cunningly thwarted by Farmington Dog Officer Fitch maneuvering himself into the animal control post in Rochester. PUP, if it still operates, has gone even deeper underground, and the sweet little cabin on Ten Rod shows signs of neglect.
Now following in these noble footsteps comes FED UP, a star still in ascendancy! May Farmington Corner, on behalf of FREEBUD, TOPS, FLAP, ACRID, OFFAL, WOOOF, SO BIG and PUP, be the first to wish its membership a long, happy and fruitful existance.
Only in Farmington
Mr. Royce Hodgdon, who may be fixing my leaky, old washing machine as I type, (countryside breaks into wild hysterics at such optimism) was recently dragged into court on several occasions. This trifling legal matter concerned whether or not 45 tons of used appliances stacked out back were essential to his conducting business. It was finally agreed that he could get by without them and that he should stump up a $100 fine.
While Royce dug into his pocket for the cash, Judge Carignan, who had presided over the Byzantine negotiations for two months, added a zinger.
"And $20 costs," he said. Arrghhh!
Wanting the whole irritating affair behind him, Royce turned quickly to the prosecuting lawyer.
"Could you lend me 20 bucks, Don?" he enquired.
Attorney Whittum, to Carignan's astonishment, passed over a twenty and Royce paid the clerk. But has Royce yet paid Don? Watch this space!
Even more club news
Farmington Lions Club, which disclaims formal connections with any of the above groups, is holding a St. Patrick's Day dance at the Farmington Fire House on Saturday, March 14, from 8 p.m. to midnight. The date, as any schoolboy knows, is much nearer the Ides of March and this event would do better to be called a Julius Caesar Dance. But the Lions are insisting on the Irish stuff, so what can you do? Form CHAFF, of course, - the Campaign for Historical Accuracy in Farmington Functions.
Incidentally, the cost if $15 per couple whether you come in green or wear a toga and the Back Alley Band for Easy Listening (BABEL) is doing its rock 'n roll thing. More details from 755-2484 or 755-2777.
March 6, 1992
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