Ninth Annual Variety Show

The ever-popular Grange Variety Show will be presented at Evening Star Grange Hall tomorrow evening starting at 7 p.m. There will be lots of good music and singing and comedy. Admission to the Variety Show is always free and donations are welcomed. Remember there’s a stair lift at the Grange Hall making it accessible to people with limited mobility and there’s always someone around to help you operate the lift. It can be intimidating but it’s really easy and comfy.

Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Mildred Melgard at 845-3102.

November election

Election for state and federal offices will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Bryant Room of Gibbs Library. If you are willing to take a shift on Election Day, please contact Mary Anderson, Town Clerk and Registrar of Voters by Oct. 11. Clerks to count votes when elections are closed (at 8 p.m.) are also needed. Because of concerns for election security, all clerks are officially sworn in and receive a stipend for their service. Contact the town office for more details at 207-845-2897.

Mannequin a real body

Conversations at Washington Historical Society have turned to the subject of Elmer McCurdy many times. I’m fascinated and I just learned something new to me. Briefly, McCurdy was born here is Washington in 1880 to a single mom. He worked at several different jobs and when the national economy tanked he decided to go seek his fortune elsewhere. Among the careers he dabbled at was bank robber and he was shot dead in 1911 while robbing a train. An undertaker, Joseph Johnson, embalmed Elmer’s body, dressed him and waited for someone to claim the body. James and Charles Patterson claimed the body under false pretenses and featured it in the Pattersons’ traveling carnival. Later it was part of Louis Sonney’s Museum of Crime and other sideshows. Sonney died in 1949 and Elmer’s now mummified corpse was placed in storage. In 1964 Elmer’s body and several wax figures were sold, variously exhibited and finally in 1976 stored “for good” at an amusement area in Long Beach. This is where this gets even weirder. A prop man for the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man” moved Elmer from the storage place and his arm fell off. Human tissue and bone were visible! An autopsy confirmed that this was, indeed, Elmer McCurdy’s petrified body, covered in wax and layers of paint. It was scrupulously examined and painstakingly certified the identity of Elmer. On April 22, 1977, Elmer McCurdy was laid to rest in Oklahoma, 97 years after his birth. Preposterous.

Ludicrous but soothing laws

I recently ran afoul of the law, sort of, and have spent a lot of time trying to “fix” what should be simple but isn’t. As I looked up some facts, I noticed some pages that deal with silly laws that are still on the books. Of course, I had to check out a bunch of them. It made me feel a little less picked on to find out how many there were. Because a law pretty much lasts forever and is simply amended somehow, so there are millions.  Like: Ketchup can’t be too runny. And, there are only three ways to spell the stuff – ketchup, catsup, and catchup. And this, wine makers are forbidden from labeling their bottles with obscene material or claiming it has curative properties. And this? Statute 18 U.S.C. § 336 makes it a federal crime to issue “any note, check, memorandum, token, or other obligation for a less sum than $1” in lieu of money. And, whoa, Title 21, Part 139, of the Code of Federal Regulations sets rigid standards for the specifications of noodles — though on just four varieties. It requires macaroni to be tube-shaped and have a diameter between 0.11 and 0.27 inches. Spaghetti must be tube- or cord-shaped and have a diameter between 0.06 and 0.11 inches, while vermicelli must be cord-shaped with a diameter less than 0.06 inches. As for egg noodles, they simply must be ribbon-shaped.  Lastly, it is just not okay to call Swiss cheese Swiss if it doesn’t have holes. The holes are known as “eyes,” and a cheese without them is called “blind.” Federal law mandates that Swiss must have eyes that have “developed throughout the cheese.” And here’s a good one: it’s not legal in Vermont to prohibit clotheslines. The law forbids regulations that prohibit “clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources.

Historical Society appreciates the gift

When members arrived for their meeting last week, they all noticed the beautiful gourds decorating the flower boxes. They have no idea who to thank for this nice gesture. But WHS sends appreciation to the thoughtful person who added these colorful fruits and gave everybody a smile, too.