Thursday, November 5, 2009

Amherst Then and Now: "a rat-tailed, razzle-dazzle ball of energy," or "paranoia—punch-drunk with intellectualism"?

Amherst Town Meeting concluded in what seemed to be record time: a mere two sessions. All proposed measures, from zoning changes to the controversial proposal to bring Guantanamo detainees here, passed.

As we stand poised between politics and history, I am reminded of the epigraph of Frank Prentice Rand's The Village of Amherst: A Landmark of Light a pretentiously titled but in fact very useful volume from our centennial era (Amherst Historical Society, 1958):


Three men were, as the saying goes, looking at Amherst, and loving her.
One of them said, "She's a madonna lily,"
"Do you mean that she's like a madonna lily?"
"No, she is a madonna lily."
Another said, "She's a rat-tailed, razzle-dazzle ball of energy."
The third man said, "She's paranoia—punch-drunk with intellectualism."
A small boy, who had been hiding, blew a strident toot on his toy trumpet, and ran away to join his playmates at Hartling Stake.

Okay. I have no idea what it means, either.

1 comment:

Gavin Andresen said...

That poem is just a highfalutin way of saying: "Amherst MA: Where Only The 'H' Is Silent."