Omdahl: Tush warmer to start a robin mecca

Columnist Lloyd Omdahl recounts a recent small-town North Dakota committee meeting.

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“This here emergency meeting is called because Little Jimmy thinks he can make our town a spring Mecca for the flocks of robins that come in freezing weather,” Chairperson Ork Dorken announced as he looked over the 11 electors that made up the Community Homeland Committee.

The other two people in town refused to participate, but took up shelter in the topless old church basement in case the Ukraine thing got out of hand.

It was now well into the spring and the electors were huddled around the wood stove that had been started by Chief Security Officer Garvey Erfald. Old Sievert had pulled his stuffed chair closer to share the heat.

“Where’s Little Jimmy, the cause of us sitting in his cold ballroom waiting for the dance to start?” Holger Danske asked sarcastically.

Little Jimmy led a big gush of wind into the community hall and shut the door, which slapped against the wall and needed shutting a second time.


“THIS,” Little Jimmy said dramatically as he waved the 3-foot padded board, “is a Robin Tush Warmer that can be mass produced for less than ten dollars and sold to every town in North Dakota that wants robins.

“Where did you get smart enough to invent?” questioned E. I. Stamstead.

“I’ve been enrolled online in the New Technology program created in five North Dakota cities by the legislature.” Little Jimmy responded. “In fact, I am the first graduate in ornithology engineering."

“Let’s get on with this tush thing you got; I’m freezing,” pushed Old Sievert. He tugged harder on his sheepskin coat. “What’s a tush?”

“It’s derriere; like buttocks,” Little Jimmy explained with a condescending smile.

“Buttocks! Robins don’t have buttocks; they don’t have the knees for it,” argued Josh Dvorchack.

“Well, they had frozen tushies as they sat around for days when the snow and wind were howling though town and, if we want Robins to feel welcome in our town, they need comfort stations after this spring’s disaster,” the young inventor declared.

“Let’s hear the kid explain his board so we can get out of here,” urged Dorsey Crank.


“Here’s how it works,” Little Jimmy started while holding up his creation. "Under this bottom pad are some fine wires that will be warmed by a solar cell on the end. We have this top board low so robins have to crawl into the warm space because if you let them stand up they have no tush control. It’s simple. What I need most are investors.”

“Investors! Investors? We would need a big increase in Social Security to have money for investing,” barked Old Sievert. (It was no secret that he owned five quarters of land in McHenry County and half of the Brightberg bank.)

“This is our chance for the rest of us to get rich,” Little Jimmy countered. “Look at the big risks Governor Burgum took and got rich. We have to be risk-takers like him.”

“I move we appoint a committee of three to go with Little Jimmy to ask that rich Scotchman — Winslow somebody — in Brightberg to invest,” Madeleine proposed. “If he invests, it’ll be safe for all of us to invest.”

“The motion is accepted and get your tushies out of here before they freeze,” Chairman Ork declared as he rapped his coke bottle on the table.

Omdahl is a former N.D. lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

Omdahl writes, "In the two-house system, the legislators are always gaming the system to confuse accountability or avoid responsibility for their actions. There is too much buck-passing in the bicameral system."

Opinion by Lloyd Omdahl
Omdahl is a former N.D. lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email

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