Omdahl: Homeland Committee decorates ‘Grinch City’
“We look like Grinch City,” grumbled Orville Jordan, the retired railroad depot agent, as he joined the town’s 13 other electors in the frigid Bohemian Hall for a mid-winter meeting of the Community Homeland Committee.
“If we had bought those Christmas candles from Sudsberg when the town folded, we would have something snazzy to decorate our town,” he complained loudly so all could hear.
The other freezing electors had pulled the cold metal folding chairs in a tight circle under the largest sun-filled window, hoping closeness would warm the air. It didn’t.
Chairman Ork Dorken thumped the meeting to order with his buffalo mitt.
“Didn’t we name a committee in February to recommend something about those big street candles?” asked Little Jimmy, the town’s perennial online student and only scholar. He was now majoring in climatology.
“The committee met in Stamstead’s carrot patch, but we only looked at starting a horticultural society,” reported Madeleine Morgan, the jane-come-lately from Montana. She had been in town only 15 years and was already talking at meetings.
“Are those Sudsberg candles still around? Maybe we can still get them for a song?” Holger Danski asked hopefully.
“No use even thinking about them,” Chief Alert Officer Garvey Erfald stated firmly. “There were eight of them and we have only seven street lights to hang ’em on.”
“I wasn’t enthusiastic about them anyway,” he continued. “If we put those big things up, nobody would see the alert warnings.”
“Who needs alert warnings?” Dorsey Crank taunted. “We haven’t seen a genuine terrorist since we put those warnings up seven years ago. The terrorists all went to Affyganistan.”
“We can’t afford those Christmas candles on our budget,” Orville noted. “I ‘spose we could offer time payments, like $20 a year,” Orville explained.
“Let’s downsize to something that fits our budget like candles on the four Main Street lights,” Einar Stamstead proposed.
“Not on your life!” exclaimed Dorsey Crank. He lived on Back Street.
“Maybe we should just pick one building on Main Street like the blacksmith shop and decorate it with lights,” suggested Madeleine.
“But that’s 400 feet from the nearest light socket,” protested Little Jimmy.
“Smitty hated Christmas. He thought it was a capitalistic plot and wouldn’t even light a candle at Christmas,” Holger explained. “It would be un-Christian to light up his building when he’s dead.”
“I say light up one nice big Christmas tree next to the old livery stable,” proposed Josh.
“And who’s got one nice big Christmas tree?” grilled Madeleine.
“That’s the second time she put in her two cents,” Old Sievert growled to Einar. He claimed he wasn’t a sexist. He just thought women should know their place.
“Well, there’s a big evergreen out in the abandoned Riba cemetery that nobody has maintained since the Bohemian Hall blew away 50 years ago,” Ork reported.
“Taking that tree would be stealing,” warned Einar.
“Stealing is when you take something that belongs to somebody,” Garvey rationalized. “That cemetery belongs to nobody – the county doesn’t even want it.”
“It would still be stealing,” repeated Einar.
“Worse yet, everybody in the county would know where we got the tree and that would be more embarrassing than leaving the town in the dark at Christmas,” Little Jimmy supposed.
“We need some sort of ethics committee to check this issue with Father Gorinski or Pastor Erduff by next Christmas,” Madeleine proposed.
“Great idea!” exclaimed Dorsey as he rose to his feet while pulling his ear flaps down and his sheepskin collar up.
That triggered a rush. The meeting turned into dashaway dashaway before Ork could get his mittens on.
The town would be “Grinch City” for another year.
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