With COVID-19 running rampant, the mayor called the Homeland Security Committee to adopt a protocol to guide the citizens. Obediently, the town’s 12 electors trouped into the old ZCBJ lodge hall to apply their wisdom and ingenuity to the problem.

No sooner had Chairperson Ork Dorken rapped his old Coke bottle for order when the retired Soo Line-Great Northern depot agent, Orville Jordan, was on his feet.

But before Orville could speak, Josh Dvorchak asked loudly: “Where’s the mayor? He called the meeting.”

“Mr. Chairman, the mayor is at the county courthouse trying to get money to put a bigger culvert under the highway so the water doesn’t back into town and merge with the sewage,” explained Security Officer Garvey Erfald.

Jordan was greatly irritated; the delay was making him forget half of his proposed address to the committee. Now he’d have to read it.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

“I move that the city requires masks in all businesses, churches and public places,” Jordan read to his fellow citizens.

“Our only church left town with all the parishioners,” noted Einar Stamstead.

“All the parishioners?” queried Holge Danske.

“All four,” Einer affirmed. “So we won’t be hearing Sunday music anymore.”

“I’m not sure why they left but little Noah said his folks thought the town was outside of God’s range because they weren’t getting feedback on their prayers,” added Einar.

“Common problem,” muttered Old Sievert.

“We are on the motion by Orville regarding masks in business places,” Chairperson Dorken reminded the group.

“But we don’t have any business places,” protested Little Jimmy, a 6-year graduate student taking online courses from the University of Vicuna in Peru.

“We have the blacksmith shop,” Garvey reported.

“Do we?” asked Old Sievert from an overstuffed chair in the sunny corner. “That new blacksmith Torp Laddner comes from Fix Canada Repair only two hours on Thursdays.”

“Not only that!” exclaimed Dorsey. “He does only horseshoes – not exactly a booming business – and then he put the front shoes backwards on the Haaken pony and that spread all over the township.”

“He deserves a second chance,” Madeleine adjudicated.

“The pony doesn’t think so,” added Dorsey with a chuckle.

“Hey, the mayor wants to fight COVID,” Garvey scolded. “Now let’s get serious.”

“We have Jordan’s motion to require masks,” Chairperson Ork reminded the committee.

“I move we strike references to businesses and churches and public places,” Madeleine offered.

“What would be our public places?” queried Holger.

“The streets and they’re full of potholes,” critiqued Old Sievert.

“Are we ready to vote on the motion?” asked Chairperson Ork impatiently. Mrs. Ork was in the car waiting to go shopping.

“Wouldn’t something else carry more weight than a simple motion?” wondered Madeleine.

“A simple motion. Would you suggest a more complicated motion?” Jordan barked testily.

“No, I think we should pass a resolution,” proposed Madeleine.

“How is a resolution better than a motion?” asked Garvey, hoping for clarity.

“At the county commission somebody said that a resolution was a suggestion with a necktie,” Little Jimmy reported.

“I call the question,” Jordan demanded. “Let’s vote on whether or not to require masks in public places.”

“The question shall be called, Garvey will hand out not paper, collect the ballots and give us the tally,” Chairperson Ork ordered. “YES for masks; NO against masks.”

After a rush of activity, Garvey reported the vote as dramatically as he could: “Six votes for masks; six votes against masks.”

“Since there is no majority, the issue of masks shall be laid over until the next regular meeting,” the chairperson declared as he rapped his Coke bottle to close the meeting. Jordan leaned over to Madeleine and whispered: “We won but they stole the election.”

Lloyd Omdahl is a former state lieutenant governor and professor at UND.