After losing it’s only remaining residents under the age of the sixty, the tiny Mennonite village of Plautfeld has officially been downgraded to darp. According to Manitoba government classifications the term “darp” is reserved for the smallest possible inhabited places just before ceasing to exist completely.
“We’ve got more abandoned buildings here in Plautfeld then we’ve got people,” said Mr. Friesen, who is now the town mayor, trachtmoaka, fix-it-man, and resident missionary. “Once the Platts left for Landmark, the government said we could no longer call ourself a village. We’re just a darp now.”
The government ranks places based on population with the largest being Metropolitan Area. This is followed, in descending order, by city, town, village, hamlet, struck, and then finally darp. With the departure of the Pletts, Plautfield immediately descended to the smallest possible status.
“It’s not all bad,” said Mr. Friesen. “The pressure’s off. Now that we’re no longer a village and just a darp, people don’t expect us to clean the horse shit off the streets or restore the hydro service to the old Klassen barn.”
As a darp, Plautfeld residents will now be permitted to treat all visitors with the greatest level of suspicion.
“Villagers have to, you know, smile and be friendly and welcome guests,” said Mr. Friesen. “But darpers are allowed to stop random vehicles on the road, peer into the window and say, ‘Nah, oba, waut es mit die!'”
Plautfelders will also now be permitted to dry their crops on the road and leave their combines parked just outside the old ice rink.