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Posted 10/24/12 (Wed)

A few days ago, the bank in New England was robbed. In western North Dakota, this is quite unusual. In our area, it is unheard of. Well, maybe not completely.
First, I have to give you a little geography lesson. Picture, if you will, the community of Watford City. I’m not talking about the Watford of today. I’m talking about the Watford of 30 or 40 years ago. Where ranchers met at the Legion following the Friday cattle sale and told tall tales. Maybe an illegal poker game with a dollar limit was taking place. Partner’s pinochle was about the most intense thing that went on. Earl could hire the band when the Legion closed and open up Piggly Wiggly for a dance. The Jolly O’s were the hottest band around. Don could have a private tailgate party, he invented them, and drive a golf cart up and down in front of the bleachers at the football game leading the cheers! We were a kinder, gentler state.
Now, back to geography. Watford City is located on an island. In a sense. It is bordered on the north and east by the Missouri River. With bridges at Williston and New Town. On the south is the Little Missouri River with the Long X and Lost bridges. On the west is the Yellowstone River with bridges at Fairview and Sidney. There is a little slice of prairie in the southwest corner known only to horse thieves, team ropers, and deer hunters, where you can find your way out of the county.
So, Watford City for the most part, has never been a target of thievery. The county sheriff or local constable could make a couple of phone calls and have road blocks set up at the bridges before a bad guy could make it out of the county, let alone out of the state.
But the bank in Watford City, just to be safe, installed a burglar alarm. The alarm was connected to the police station up on the hill.
Just by chance, shortly after the alarm was installed, a robbery took place. An alert teller pushed the burglar alarm. Just as it was designed, it rang up at the police station. Again and again. The officer on duty was upset that the new alarm kept going off, and was sure it was a bad wiring job.
In the meantime, the outlaw took his loot, went out behind the bank, and changed clothes! Putting his robbery attire in a garbage can. And he was never heard from or seen again. At least as far as I know.
By now, the officer at the police station became upset with the annoying burglar alarm. He called the bank to have them check the alarm system. Bad deal.
But one of my neighbors summed it up best.
Lee had a way with summarizing things. He grunted his familiar, “Humph, if I undressed and changed clothes behind the bank, every person in Watford City would know about it in 10 minutes!”