This is one of those nice little stories that has you chuckling and saying, "Only in a small town." Then you catch yourself and realize that's the most of cliched of all cliches. But then you think about it for a few moments more and end up chuckling and shaking your head again and saying, "No, really, only in a small town."
Our tale begins Sunday in Harwood, N.D., a city of about 800 people just north of Fargo on Interstate 29. Little Reed Erdmann, age 7, was playing catch with his grandfather, Jerry Holm. When their game of catch was finished, grandpa handed Reed his glove-a 1970s vintage Wilson A2000 model-and told the youngster to put it away for next time.
Being 7 years old (and the fact he's male probably factors in here, too), Reed didn't follow instructions. Instead of putting the valued glove in a safe spot, he left it on the back bumper of his mom's Chevrolet TrailBlazer.
Reed's mother, Ali Erdmann, saw the glove on her bumper and, trying to raise her child right, instructed him to put it away.
"I'm trying to teach him responsibility instead of picking up everything and doing everything for him," Ali said. "I told him to move it so it wouldn't fall off when I went somewhere."
Quaint, isn't it, how some mothers believe 7-year-old males can be taught responsibility?
Anyway, Ali and her husband decided that evening to eat supper at the Harwood Grill and Saloon, formerly the famed Hideout. So, they hopped into Ali's TrailBlazer and drove the quarter-mile to the bar.
When they got home, Ali was reminded of the baseball glove and asked Reed if he'd put it away. Reed assured her he had, then wavered, then wasn't so sure and then ...
"I finally got it out of him that he hadn't even touched it. He left the glove on the bumper," Ali said.
Grandpa's beloved glove was, of course, nowhere to be seen when Ali and Reed checked the back of the TrailBlazer. So the hunt was on. Ali and Reed rode their bikes to the bar and back a couple of times looking for the missing leather. Ali drove her vehicle back and forth a couple of times slowly to see if she could spot it.
"I even made Reed walk the ditches and search, just to teach him a lesson," Ali said.
Quaint, isn't it, how some mothers believe 7-year-old males can be taught a lesson?
They found nothing. Ali group-texted all the neighbors asking if they'd seen a glove. Nothing.
Grandpa Jerry wanted Ali to put a message on Facebook, offering a $50 reward to the person who found and returned his mitt. The A2000, after all, was the Cadillac of baseball gloves. Top of the line. In the 1970s, an A2000 probably cost $100. A fortune for a glove at the time.
Ali had a better idea.
This is where we get into the only-in-a-small-town stuff.
She sent an email to Harwood auditor Casey Eggermont, asking if Eggermont could send a message to everybody on the city's email list. It's Harwood. Of course that could happen.
So Eggermont sent the following email Tuesday.
We are on the hunt for a missing Baseball Glove. The party looking for it has asked the following:
"I am looking for a baseball glove that would have fallen off my vehicle Sunday (6.3.2018) between Prairie Dr and the Hideout bar. It is an older Wilson A2000 that was my dad's from the 1970's.
If you happen to see the glove, or know of its whereabouts, please give the City Hall a call at 701-281-0314, and I'll get you in contact with the party.
It only took a couple of days for the glove to turn up. When Eggermont got to work Thursday morning, the glove was waiting for her, dropped off by the person who found it.
Who says government can't do anything right?
"That's how we roll in Harwood," Eggermont said.
The Good Samaritan was Todd Lang, who lives kitty-corner from the Erdmanns, with a big assist from 6-year-old son Braden.
Lang, his wife, Shannon, and Braden were out for their nightly walk when they spotted the glove laying along Highway 81. They brought it home and, on Braden's advice, left it in the garage just in case somebody came looking for it.
Lang received a message from his wife Wednesday that somebody was looking for the mitt.
"I was like 'Yes!' And the 6-year-old was right, somebody was looking for it," Lang said.
Braden and Lang's daughter are frequent playmates with Reed Erdmann.
"So Braden was feeling pretty proud he found Reed's glove," Lang said. "It's such a North Dakota thing. We still got it. We're still thinking of others."
Could you imagine this happening in Philadelphia, Dallas or Los Angeles? Or Fargo? No way. Only in a small town.
As of this writing, young Reed had not yet been told the glove has been located. Mom wanted to let him sweat a little bit more. Remember, this entire episode began with Ali wanting to teach Reed a little responsibility. She's still trying.
Does she think it'll work?
"Slim chance," Ali said.
Quaint, isn't it, how some mothers believe there's any chance a 7-year-old male ... well, you know the rest.
Grandpa should keep his eye on that sweet Wilson A2000.