It’s Been a Quiet Week in Young America

It was actually balmy here last week, and even though growing season hasn’t started yet, people are already whining about the fact that more rain is needed.  This is really just a built-in reflex in farm folks.  In fact, it rained like crazy on Monday afternoon, but if every one’s  sitting on bar stools in Bouncer’s lying and throwing a few back, and on top of that the music’s playing loud, and the few small windows there are, are all filmed-over with cigarette smoke well…then to those folks, it didn’t rain.

All the talk in Bouncer’s centered around the “water tower incident” of a few weeks back.  It’s no secret that many in Young America are still simmering with anger over the merger of nearby Norwood with their beloved Young America.  Things simmer and then every now and then boil over, and this has been going on since 1997 when the dastardly deed was done.  Everyone knows that the only reason those no good Norwoodians wanted to hook-up with Young America was to siphon off tax dollars in an ill-conceived effort to revitalize Norwood.  Ha!  Everyone in YA knew that that could never happen.  You know, silk purse out of sow’s ear, and all.  Meantime the infrastructure in Young America is falling to pieces, and one more winter will surely spell the end of First Street altogether.

Letter’s to the Editor have been cyclical too, and every now and then there are a spate of them filled with vitriol and innuendo.  The local rag absolutely steers clear of the controversy having changed its name to the NORWOOD YOUNG AMERICA TIMES years back.  It periodically announces a temporary ban on such letters in order to make room for others, like this one:
Dear Editor:
I double dog dare you to publish this letter. 
Ever since I’ve lived here in YA, not NYA (but that’s for another letter), I’ve been  complaining to no avail about the odor of chicken poop wafting out of the Shady Lane neighborhood.  I know for a fact there’s some over there that bury tons of that stuff in their gardens (against city and county ordinance), those same people showing up at the Carver County Fair each year with bigger zucchini than God ever intended and walking off with boxes of ribbons.  I don’t think those people should be allowed to stink up the air, pollute the ground water, flaunt the law and then profit from it.  Someone needs to look into this.
Bertha Bessner, Concerned Citizens for a Cleaner Environment

Everyone knows that Bertha is still miffed that Martha over there had whupped her Zucchini-growing butt for more years than one can count (chicken poop or no), and that there is no such thing as the CCCE, but Bertha just won’t let go.  But getting back to the Norwood Young America business, once again that pot is boiling.

Young Americans are practically giddy with joy with the recent decisions of the State Police and the Post Office to designate a separate Zip Code for the geographic area that comprises what used to be Young America.  They’re crowing that this is the first step in the inevitable and justifiable dissolution of the failed experiment in combined government. 

Of course, everyone knows that none of this ever would have happened had it not been for the collusion of the Smutgert brothers back in the mid-90’s,  which same brothers by the way don’t even live here anymore having fled to Ocala, Florida after the whole business was found out.  The story goes that those two thieves once ensconced as mayors of the two cities managed to pull-off the biggest ruse since the owners of the Vikings convinced the people of Minneapolis that football should be played inside and built the HHH dome, which dome should have been more aptly called the HHH dish, as it spends more time concave than convex…but I digress.

Anyway, the two brothers figured (correctly) that when the finances of the two towns were merged it would be an opportune time for funds to “disappear,” and didn’t retirement sound pretty good.  It was a similar plan to the one used in the much more recent MF Global fiasco, where client funds to the tune of $1.6 billion have gone missing and everyone is “pleading the fifth” in front of Congress and anyone else who will listen.  Well, in the NYA scenario only about $360,000 went missing, but that was well enough for those two schmucks to get a nice, new, warm start for themselves down in Ocala.  No one ever did find out how they did it, so no charges were filed, but death threats and the lure of the warm climate sent the brothers permanently down the road.

But what’s now occurred is a whole nuther thing.  Three weeks ago the big beige water tower that sits between Second and Third Streets, that had a new coat of paint just last year and the name Norwood Young America emblazoned on it, became the victim of a “prank.”  Folk’s woke up to find that in a fairly expert manner, someone had painted out the word Norwood.  I mean, you could hardly tell it used to be there, and depending on your position on such matters folks were either giggling and smirking quietly, or openly, and loudly furious.

In cases like this Carver County sheriff, Jesson Baelfuss, usually asks his sources over at Central High School to keep their ears open, because usually when something like this happens the perpetrators just can’t keep their mouths shut and start quietly bragging about their misdeeds.  A week went by with no leads, but Baelfuss kept up his end of the investigation by systematically hitting every paint and hardware store within a 25 mile radius of YA asking if anyone had bought a large quantity of Binson’s, Hession Beige, no. 34967, oil-based, exterior paint.

He finally struck pay dirt over in Chanhassen where it turns out a couple of teenagers paid cash for a 5 gallon pail of the paint in question.  With the clerk’s descriptions of the two boys, Baelfuss headed over to talk to Central High Principal, Otto Uenks.  Uenks immediately identified Jens and Sven Olleson (Swedes, what a surprise), and Bailfuss hauled them out of class and took them into custody.

The boys had some story.  According to them, they’d gotten a phone call that promised two cases of Schmidt’s if they’d take the cash in a plain envelope that waited under a rock next to their driveway, go buy the aforementioned paint over in Chanhassen and place it behind the old Boehmke hatchery building just off Shady Lane where their Schmidt’s would also be delivered the following day if they followed through.  The boys felt they should be believed using as proof the fact that they’d been good and liquored-up for almost a week.  Nice and neat.  He let the boys go, but confiscated the few cans of Schmidt’s they had left.

That would have been the end of the story had Pinzer Stolzherz not been walking down First Street and noticed some clothes stained with beige paint in a dumpster.  Pinzer, being a nosey type pulled them out and called the sheriff.  This could have been just another useless lead, but inside the pocket of the paint-stained flannel shirt Baelfuss found a charge receipt with a name on it:  Lars Thomason (those Swedes, all from the same mold).

Well, just to wrap-up after it’s too late to make a long story short, Thomason confessed to the whole thing.  He had been President of the Young America Chamber of Commerce just prior to the merger of the towns.  The merger cost him his job and status in the community, and he’s been fuming ever since.  He had thought that after the recent edicts on the zip code changes, he could keep the momentum going (as he saw it) for dissolution of the merger by changing the name on the biggest thing in town.  His plan may actually gain some traction, as the town has no funds to repaint the tower and just going with a plan that’s already been set in motion  appeals to a lot of folks around here (by that I mean here in Young America).

Thanks for reading…and April Fools!


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