November 27 – continued

Posted on: November 29, 2012

Darlene’s head snapped around at me, I knew she wasn’t expecting that.  Frankly, neither was I.

“What do you mean, we can’t come back?”  The question came from Jill, Vinnie’s wife.  The room was silent, waiting for my answer.

“If you’re going to take precious resources from the town, then you can’t return to take even more.  It’s as simple as that.  There are shelters in the city, where you will be kept warm and fed, but we can’t do that on such a scale here.  And the County EM said they can’t send us any food either.  No power, no food, no gas, no help.  So you are welcome to leave.  Next spring, when we no longer need heating and we can all get a garden going, you can return.  It’s your choice.”

Someone actually raised their hand.  “Bob, you have the floor, three minutes.” I knew this was actually Darlene’s position in running the meeting, but we had agreed there were times when she would defer to me, so the people knew we were united.

“What about those of us who want to stay, but don’t have a wood stove for heat?  It’s really cold out now.”

“Good question and one of the reasons this meeting was called.  And we would have addressed this already if the last meeting didn’t dissolve into a shouting match.”  I made a point of looking at Vinnie, who looked down at his toes. “Darlene?”  She didn’t bother to stand this time.

“We know it’s cold out, and we know it’s going to get colder, winter is just starting.  I have a list here, for those who have wood heat, and another who don’t.  This will be completely voluntary.  No one has to share their home with anyone else unless they want to.  And no one will be assigned, it must be mutually agreeable.  For those who may be going to another’s home, understand and remember you are a guest there and can be asked to leave at any time.  You should be willing to help with chores and not expect to be waited on in any fashion.  You should also bring and share any food you might have.”  She pushed the clipboards to the front of the desk.  “you can add your name to the lists on your way out.  We will compare them and notify you later.”

I took the lead again.  “If you were smart enough to stock up on supplies for the winter, good for you!  I want this VERY clear… there will be NO confiscation of food, and I know this has been a concern for some of you.”  I noticed a few nods in the audience. “What you have is YOURS.  Period.  Fram’s is running low, yes, but that’s because he can’t get restocked, just like he can’t get more gas.  There’s nothing he can do about it and it certainly isn’t intentional.  Hey, Joe has lived here in Moose Creek all his life, just like you, and you know he’d rather earn a buck, so he’s not keeping anything from you on purpose.”  I let the people chuckle over this, we all know Joe is a business man first.  “Now, that being said, if… IF… you have anything to share, take it to the Stone Soup Kitchen, that’s where it will do the most good.  Also, I’m using my authority to extend hunting season, but only on one condition,” murmurs rising from the crowd made me wonder if I could control this.  “The one condition is that if you take anything out of the normal season, you take half of it to the Soup Kitchen.  Half a deer should last you two weeks, then go get another.  It’s simple.  Just do NOT abuse this, people,” I pleaded with them.  “If we work together, we can survive!”  What I did not expect, was the applause.  Geesh, how embarrassing.


4 thoughts on “November 27 – continued

  1. I am totally hooked on your story, Deborah. You have me checking several times a day for the next installment.

  2. Deborah, you know that I can not cut, split and stack wood any more, actually if it is split I can stack it, but that is for another time.

    In your story, I noticed that you did not mention LP. Near where I live we have a large LP facility which not only delivers LP for home use, but works as a refilling station for smaller portable tanks. As a EM I am sure you have already checked into this for your area, but you did not mention anything about LP in your story.

    Where I live the winters are much milder than where you live, and with my limited mobility LP is a viable alternative to electric heat which we are already using to replace our older kerosene heaters and greatly more expensive kerosene fuel.

    Love the story, a fan.

    Nick – SWVA

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