Homeland committee tackles the postal service
“They’re cutting off our mail,” roared Einar Stamstad as he tore through the door of the community hall where the Homeland Security Committee was about to dole out garden space for the big 2011 rutabaga contest.
“They’re closing post offices and abolishing mail routes all over North Dakota,” Einar added breathlessly as he folded on a steel chair. “That’s more important than rutabaga contests.”
“Don’t panic!” advised Little Jimmy. “They’re just holding hearings.”
“Well, they’re talking about eliminating our mail carrier and the post office he comes from and abolishing the post office where his post office gets mail, and all the way up the line,” corroborated Tor Torvaldsin.
“It’s because we didn’t get enough people for the census so we declined 16 per cent,” concluded Holger Danske. “Not only should we have counted Dogg but also those three cats in the old blacksmith shop.”
“Maybe we voted the wrong way in the last election,” speculated Madeleine Morgan, “but there was no right way.”
“Somebody in Old Hogs Saloon in Darby said we will have to get our stuff by e-mail” Einar added.
“What’s e-mail?” asked Old Sievert.
“That comes on the computer,” explained Little Jimmy. He knew because he was the only person in town who had one.
“Does it have a slot for letters?” queried Sievert. Of course, Sievert hadn’t written a letter since he and his only brother, Lamechhad an argument over shocking oats in 1953 and Lamech went to Seattle to work for Boeing.
“Well, I heard the mailman say that the post office was going broke with all these people using e-mail,” Holger Danske affirmed as he whittled a head of Abraham Lincoln out of a piece of willow.
“Ben Franklin sure would be mad to hear the government was killing his old department,” Little Jimmy noted.
“Let’s just hope he doesn’t find out,” added Einar.
“If they can’t afford mailmen, why can’t they just put the mail on the train so we can pick it up at the depot like the old days,” Old Sievert suggested.
“We don’t have a train anymore,” pointed out Orville Jordan, the last depot agent.
“We don’t even have the depot,” added Alert Officer Garvey Erfald.
“Maybe the UPS guy could bring the mail,” suggested Einar. “He comes more often than I get mail anyway.”
“The way everything is being consolidated these days, I spose all of North Dakota will have to go to Fargo to get mail,” Josh Dvorcheck added.
“Next thing you know they’ll consolidate all of us homeland committees now that Benny Laden has been sent to his reward,” Garvey predicted. “If that happens, we might as well roll up the north forty and put the binder away.”
“What’s a binder?” Little Jimmy asked.
Old Sievert leaned over and whispered. “Someday you tell me about e-mails and I will tell you about binders.”
“I move we offer one of those cliff-hanging bipartisan midnight compromises and tell ’em our last offer is three mail deliveries a week to Old Hogs Saloon, take it or leave it,” Josh said, pounding his fist on Dorken’s table.
A flurry of “seconds” echoed across the hall as the Committee members rushed out the door to plant rutabagas, the crop of the year.
Omdahl is a UND professor emeritus in political science and a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota.
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