Wednesday night was the almost weekly commune meeting. Once again everyone met and worked their way through many and sundry issues.
Chuck was facilitating for the first time and he was a bit nervous. The first three items on the agenda had been easy and were dealt with in less than ten minutes. The next item was the commune’s clothing policy.
“We already lost two folks because we don’t have a clear policy,” Luna said. “I don’t want to lose anyone else.”
“Well,” said Sal, “if we’re going to say that we’re an egalitarian commune, whatever policy we come up with has to be the same for men and wymyn.”
“Let’s not be like Three Sycamores,” Nancy said. “They have a nudity policy that’s twelve pages long. Single spaced. Using small type. And written on both sides of the paper.”
“Whoa,” said Ken.
“I want to be able to take my shirt off if I’m hot and I’m working,” said Patsy.
“Me, too,” said Viv.
“Yeah, me too,” said Broc.
“I want to be able to go skinny dipping,” Will said.
“Hey, that sounds like a great idea,” said Marge. “We’ve got this lovely pond that’s out of sight of the road.”
“Well, I just don’t want anyone naked or shirtless where it’s going to upset the neighbors,” Luna said. “We’ve had enough trouble this year already and I want to keep us out of any more. At least for a while.”
“Okay, okay, okay,” Chuck said. “I’m sure we can figure something out that will work for everyone.”
“How do you know that?” Blue Sky asked.
“Shh,” Chuck said. “It’s gotta work. It’s gotta. Otherwise, what else can we do? Anyone have any ideas?”
“We can make this work,” Nancy said. “Really. It won’t be that much of a problem. Why don’t we just say that people can wear or not wear whatever they want anywhere except for some place that can be seen by the public. I think that’s simple enough. Does anyone have a problem with that?”
Everyone shook their head no.
“Do we have consensus?” Chuck asked.
Everyone stuck their thumb up. Luna’s thumb came up slowly and was the last one raised. She seemed hesitant.
“Yay,” Chuck said. “We have a decision.”
“Wait just a second,” said Cat, who was taking notes. “I’m writing all this down.”
“And let’s add that we’ll let people who want to join know this before they join,” Sal said. “That should keep us from having more problems in the future like we had with Wahina and Birch. I know that wasn’t pretty.”
After the meeting Dan pulled Luna aside.
“Are you happy with the decision on clothing?” Dan asked her.
“Well...” Luna looked down at the floor like she was searching for something on it.
“It doesn’t sound like you are,” Dan said.
“Not really.” She still wasn’t looking at him.
“Then, why did you agree to it?”
“I was kinda afraid we’d have more conflict.”
“You agreed to it just to avoid conflict?” Dan asked.
“Yeah. I guess.”
“Guess what I have?” Sal asked Nancy.
“I have no idea,” Nancy said.
Sal opened the box she was carrying.
“Baby chicks!” Nancy cried. “They’re so cute!”
Marge was nearby. “Baby chicks! Let me see!”
Viv came into the room, saw the three women staring into the box and cooing and, of course, she had to look. Cat followed and joined them. When Will came in, he also wanted to see what everyone was looking at.
Soon there was a small crowd around Sal’s cardboard box.
“Where are you going to put them?” Cat asked.
“I want to build a henhouse for them,” Sal said.
“Maybe we can make one of those chicken plows,” Chuck said. He had just joined the group by the box.
“I don’t know, it’s a little early to try to figure out exactly where they’re going,” Sal said. “They’re still pretty small. I’m going to keep them in my room with a warming light for them until they get at least a little bigger.”
Sal took all the little chicks up to her room but stories soon began circulating around the commune.
By the time Luna and Dan heard the stories, they were informed that Sal had gotten a flock of geese that she had put down by the pond. Since they weren’t far from the pond, Dan and Luna went over to look but naturally they didn’t find anything.
Eventually, Luna found Sal.
“What’s all this about you getting geese for the place?” she asked.
“Geese?” Sal said. “Where did you hear that?”
“I can’t remember. It was either Paul G or Blue Sky.”
“That’s pretty funny,” Sal said. “Naw. I didn’t do anything like that. I just got a few little baby chicks.”
“Chicks?” Luna got louder. “Are you going to raise chickens?”
“Yeah,” said Sal. “It’s a farm isn’t it?”
“It’s a vegetable farm, not an animal farm.”
“Well, now it’s a farm with chickens. When they get bigger we’ll have a lot of eggs.”
Luna didn’t look amused. “Well, I guess chickens will be okay. I just don’t want to see us raising big animals.”
“Yeah,” Luna said. “Big animals like horses and pigs and cows and, you know, things like goats. I just don’t want to see us having goats on this farm. I don’t want this to be one of those animal farm things.”