Homeland committee plans vaccine distribution
“hy are we meeting during the holidays?” grumped Old Sievert as he swayed toward his over -stuffed rocker in the big window on the sunny side of the dance floor.
Chairperson Ork Dorken rapped his Coke bottle against the hollow core door converted into a table.
“For one thing, they’re going to be handing out vaccine soon and we want to be sure that everybody gets their share,” reported Chief Security Officer Garvey Erfald.
“How much is a fair share?” asked Holger Danske from the back row. He had his sheepskin coat up to his ears to protect him from the silent coldness.
“At least two shots,” Garvey reported.
“That’s never enough over at Barney’s Bar,” commented Josh Dvorchak, having long experience doing research on Bar Stool Three in the Newtonville pub. Everybody chuckled.
“There won’t be enough vaccine for everybody until March,” Garvey explained. “We will be getting three shots in January and need to decide who should get it first.”
“That’s easy – first we start with our health workers,” suggested Einar Stamstead. “That’s what everybody is doing.”
“We have no health workers,” barked Orville Jordan, the depot agent who stayed when the railroad left.
“Don’t you count Gerda Danske who we run to for most minor things?” wondered Dorsey Crank. “She ties a mean bandage.”
Chairperson Ork banged his Coke bottle with a scowl.
“Let’s quit talking nonsense and stick with real facts – no certificate, no health worker!” he exclaimed.
“Okay, then let’s start with critical workers,” suggested Dorsey.
Security Officer Garvey glanced around the room.
“Anybody here working?” he asked loudly as he surveyed 12 members of the Homeland Security Committee.
The silence echoed across the spacious community hall.
“This is a retirement community,” Josh finally pointed out. “There isn’t anybody here that works.”
“Come on, folks,” nudged Ork. “If we don’t have any eligibles we won’t get our share.”
“They said over at the Courthouse that some towns are listing their old people,” reported Little Jimmy who had the only computer in town and was taking online courses from Pettigrew Normal in Oklahoma. He lived alone, his parents having gone to the Klondike to look for gold.
“We could list our old people,” agreed Old Sievert. “Of course, that would be everybody in town.”
“We can’t propose more than three for the first shots so we need to rank ourselves some way,” Garvey proposed.
“Well, old means old,” barked Old Sievert, “Old is usually measured by age so let’s start with the oldest first.”
Old Sievert was sure he was the oldest and would make the list of three.
“What about old with underlying ailments?” inquired Holger Danske.
Holger had diabetes and high blood pressure so “old with ailments” would probably get him into the top three.
“What kind of ailments would count?” asked Old Sievert. “Deciding that would be pretty tough.” He knew a curve ball when he saw it.
“Maybe the county has already made up a list,” noted Orville hopefully.
Just then, Lady Madeleine came through the north door, bringing an icy 35-mile breeze with her.
“Where’ve you been?” asked Little Jimmy. “We’ve been working on assigning our three shots of vaccine.”
“You’re wasting your time,” Madeleine adjudged. “We won’t get any vaccine until April because the county says everything is needed for the nursing homes until then.”
“Well, that means we need to start nursing or come up with something else,” concluded Garvey.
“It looks to me like we all better keep washing our hands, keeping our distance, wearing masks and keeping out of the bars in Newtonville until April,” Ork decided with the rap of his Coke bottle, signaling adjournment.
They rushed for the door. It was colder inside than out.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota and former political science professor at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.