Valley City Times-Record

ND Matters: Bears pondering big honey tree

- Lloyd Omdahl Lloyd Omdahl is a former North Dakota lieutenant governor and University of North Dakota political science professor. His column appears Tuesdays.

Once upon a time, there were three bears living in the north country - Poppa Bear, Momma Bear and little Boo Bear. They loved living in Bearland even though they barely made it on Poppa Bear’ poor hunting excusions, especially after the big lawsuit with Goldilocks. She sued for a million dollars but settled for $15 when the court ruled that she had baited Boo Bear into sitting in her fragile chair.

One day Poppa Bear was pursuing a curry of squirrels up a huge oak tree when half way up he spotted a huge cache of honey in a knothole. He was astonished and went to the bear library to learn about this surprise finding. There he found that most of this kind of honey was obtained by fracking.

He thought it would be great to have a huge cache of honey for drouth days when the fields were dry and the bees could not gather enough honey to meet the need. According to his calculatio­ns, there was a enough honey in the cache to last 20 years for anything Bearland needed.

To secure the honey for an unrainy day, Poppa Bear placed a strong piece of steele over the knothole and sealed it with eight inch Phillips screws that could never be opened without cutting the tree down. He was really pleased with himself.

But fall was approachin­g and Boo Bear had to quit playing tag with the rattlesnak­e and head for school. When he was in first grade, he got lunch at school but the school could no longer afford food for kids so Momma Bear packed Boo a lunch, using a syrup pail from the attic.

“It seems to me that we have enough honey in the tree to keep furnishing lunch, especially for little hungry bears,” Boo Bear suggested.

“We’re saving that for years when little bears are hungry ,” Poppa Bear responded defensivel­y.

“Gee, I think there are some little hungry bears now,” Boo Bear argued. “Buddy Bear’s mom doesn’t even have enough to pack him lunch so I give him some of mine.”

“Sass is not allowed in this den,” Poppa Bear said sternly. “One more comment and I will be paddling your bear ass.”

After an hour sitting quietly in a corner, Boo dared talk again about other news from school.

“Teacher Bear barely had enough paper and pencils for the class so she had to bear the cost herself” Boo blurted. “And they are quitting beargarten next year to cut costs, which seems mighty strange since we have so much honey in the Oak tree.”

“We need to save that honey for times when the teachers need pencils, paper and stuff,” Pop asserted firmly.

Poppa Bear could bear this insolence no longer and sent Boo to bed without supper - honey on a fresh bun.

“Boo just barely missed a severe beating,” Poppa grumbled as he downed a third bun with pickles added.

“Now, Poppa, it is sad that we can’t use a little bit of that honey to pay teachers a little more,” Momma Bear said quietly, hoping to diffuse the anger. “Did you know that Boo’s favorite teacher took an extra job at Beerbear Bar to make ends meet?”

“That’s tough!” exclaimed Pop. “Don’t tell me all about spending the honey because other folks now have big Phillip’s screwdrive­rs to get the honey but they also insist on keeping it sealed in the Oak for a worse day.”

“What is a worse day?” Mom asked. “Bearland even has extra money without the honey tree. Everybody’s cupboard is rolling in honey while our schools are bare.”

“We first have to give honey breaks to those who don’t need it and then reduce the amount of honey we’re charging the frackers,”

Pop replied. “Who decides?” Momma Bear insisted.

“Nobody seems to know and that keeps the honey safe,” Pop concluded, tugging on his new sheep vest.

“Theres no honey in the rock for you,” Momma Bear said as she slammed the bedroad door.

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