As the decorations come off the trees and the village green assumes its more pedestrian appearance; as the lines at the return counters subside and the battle for parking spaces takes a more casual feel, the fading memories of another Falmouth Christmas become superimposed with visions of the new year. 2012 promises to be another year of interest here in the land of Bartholomew Gosnold, and here are some predictions for the annum at our doorstep:
As the new year ticks by on the calendar, the Board of Library Trustees and the Falmouth Veterans’ Council announce a compromise to the long-standing dispute over control of the library lawn. The compromise is reached by the groups agreeing to an arm-wrestling contest between Otis Porter and Ahmed Mustafa, the respective Chairmen of the bodies. Although the results of the bout are not publicized and are the subject of a gag order, Porter is seen at his part-time job at the Police Department sporting a Popeye tattoo on his forearm.
As the Spring winds begin to gust, so too does the burgeoning debate on the status of the defunct and decrepit beach trailer behind the DPW Building on Gifford Street. After declining to name it the official Town Manager’s residence ending any discussion of a residency requirement, the Board of Selectmen, acting as the Board of Public Works, declare the trailer to be of historical significance and agree to purchase it from themselves for $375,000 using Community Preservation funds. The Board decrees that the trailer be placed on the front lawn of the Odd Fellows Hall in Town Hall Square to co-locate it with other expensive but not very useful buildings.
In May, Selectman Melissa Freitag narrowly wins a second term, squeaking by the all-female field of previous candidates Catherine “Darling of Precinct One” Bumpus and Sheryl “I can muster some bluster” Kozens-Long. During the League of Women Voters Candidates’ night, Freitag sparks a town-wide discussion, referring to herself as “the Professor” because of her teaching job at Cape Cod Community College. Although the remark itself is seen as innocuous, the debate rages on just who she meant when referring to the other two candidates as “Ginger and Mary Ann.” The timeless debate of Ginger or Mary Ann persists well after the election, and makes its way to the Selectmen’s meetings, where Selectman Kevin Murphy objects to the moniker of “Skipper,” but nonetheless hits Selectman David “Gilligan” Braga repeatedly over the head with this cap.
In the November election, State Representative Tim Madden sails to a third term and easy victory, nonetheless sparking controversy referring to his colleague, Representative David Vieira, as “the little guy.” Incensed by the remarks and following the lead of Library Trustee Porter, who is now seen donning white t-shirts with packs of cigarettes rolled up on one sleeve and imitating Bowser from Sha-Na-Na, Vieira challenges Madden to a public debate followed by a WWE-style wrestling match in the Antonucci Field House at Falmouth High School. Vieira is outmatched my the more robust Madden, and is close to being tagged with the “little man” title forever, until he tags octogenarian activist Andy Dufresne, who jumps on the top rope of the ring, does a Randy “Macho Man” Savage imitation, and puts Madden out for the count. Given his new-found popularity, Vieira also sails to an easy victory and a second term, but is subjected to criticism for wearing a cape and “macho man” sunglasses to Town Meeting.
As the year winds down, Police Chief Anthony Riello announces his retirement, but offers a tandem announcement that he is staying in Falmouth rather than returning to his hometown of Pittsfield. The Mass Department of Transportation objects, noting the potential precipitous drop in toll revenue on the Mass Pike. Riello elects to open a comedy club with himself as the headliner and makes news on his debut evening, when former Constable George Morse etches “your jokes aren’t funny” on all drinking glasses in the club.
The year ends as it began, with Falmouth being a pretty nice place to live and laugh. Here’s hoping to plenty of both in 2012.