Lloyd Omdahl, Published November 25 2012
Omdahl: ND pyramid would be Eighth Wonder of World‘I’m packed and heading out,” Garvey Erfald announced as he joined the Homeland Security Committee assembled in the community hall for its 2013 planning conference. He shoved his bulging carpetbag under one of the hollow-core door tables and pulled up a chair.
Little Jimmy was absent. He was finishing his online master’s degree in theology by doing a practicum at the Barren Hills Bible Preaching Inspired Church in Saskatchewan.
“Where you goin’?” asked Orville Jordan, the retired railroad agent who stayed after the Burlington Northern left.
“I’m headin’ west to work on the big pyramid they’re building out by Williston,” Garvey answered confidently.
Olga Danske jumped to her feet.
“That’s an evil thing,” she declared, shaking her index finger at Garvey. “It’s the Tower of Babel all over again.”
“No, it’s not!” Garvey retorted bravely. “It’s just a huge apartment building for oil workers in Bakken’s field.”
“God will strike you with a foreign tongue,” Olga insisted. “You’ll come back babbling, and nobody will understand you. Look at what happened at the state Capitol. They built to the sky and haven’t spoken plain English since.”
Having had her say, Olga slowly sat down on the edge of her cold steel folding chair.
“But they’re not building that thing until next spring,” Madeleine Morgan pointed out. “Why go now?”
“Can’t afford to take a chance to miss this opportunity of a lifetime,” Garvey responded. “The pyramid is going to be the biggest thing since the state Capitol, and I missed that job by 10 years.”
“This pyramid is supposed to be 370 feet – 130 feet higher than the Capitol,” Holger Danske noted. “You get dizzy going up the flagpole 15 feet to change the warning signal.”
“Well, I plan to work around the bottom,” Garvey explained. “It’s going to be 600 feet on a side so there will be plenty of work low down.”
“Well, they’ll never build that thing,” Einar Torvald sneered. “Those guys are from Atlanta, and they’ve never been here to test the weather or the ground or anything. It’ll likely collapse in the first 40-mile wind.”
“You know, it’s people like you who are a drag on North Dakota,” Garvey replied angrily. “No imagination! No vision! The last pioneering thing we did was the Bank of North Dakota and the Mill.”
“I think these guys ought to start building outhouses first and then move up to bigger things before they start a 370-foot pyramid,” Einar Stamstead suggested wryly.
“I hope they build it on a Missouri bluff so steamboat excursions of tourists can marvel at our Eighth Wonder of the World,” Garvey fantasied. “And at Christmas we can string lights all the way to the top. People will enjoy that all the way to Dickinson and Bottineau. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?”
“Enough of this dreaming,” barked Chairman Ork Dorken as he banged his Coke bottle on the table. “This meeting will come to order so we can plan something for our own town.”
“I’m in no mood to plan after hearing what they’re doing out west,” Josh Dvorchak ventured. “What can we plan that would compare to pyramids?”
The electors mumbled agreement. That irked Ork.
“OK,” he grumbled. “That’s it. I’ll name a committee to come up with something better than a pyramid. Meeting is adjourned.”
“Maybe we should at least declare English to be our official language,” Olga proposed as the members wrestled with their coats. No one responded.
“Nonsense! All nonsense!” Ork lamented as he donned his sheepskin coat and headed for the door.
Omdahl is a former North Dakota lieutenant governor and a retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.