It was a busy Tuesday morning when Candy’s father showed up at the commune. Grace answered the door.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“Is this the commune?” he asked in reply. He made the word sound like calm-MEWN.
“Yeah, it is. Looking for something in particular?”
“My daughter,” he said. “Can I come in?”
“Come on in,” Grace said and opened the door wide.
He was a tall man, graying at the temples, and wearing a faded flannel shirt.
“Who’s your daughter?” asked Grace.
“I think she goes by Candy, unless she’s taken some new name like Sunflower Rainbow.”
“Nope,” said Grace. “She still using Candy.”
“Is your name Sunflower Rainbow?”
“Nope, again. My name is Grace.”
“That sounds like a nice ordinary name. What kind of hippy commune is this anyway?”
Ken poked his head into the room.
“Can you find Candy?” Grace asked him. “I think that she’s in the kitchen. Tell her that her father is here.”
“Sure,” said Ken. “I’ll be back with her in a minute.”
After he left, Candy’s father tried again. “So was that Sunflower Rainbow?”
“No,” laughed Grace. “That was Ken.”
“Boy, this commune is a real disappointment.”
“You really like it here?” Candy’s father asked her when they were alone in a back room. “No one’s making you do drugs or anything?”
“Daddy!” Candy screeched. “I haven’t ever seen anyone here do drugs. Everybody’s busy working, farming or building or cooking or cleaning or working in the stands. We work hard here.”
“It seems like a nice place,” he admitted. “The folks I’ve seen were polite and nicely dressed and didn’t even have weird names.”
“It’s a really good place. They’re really sweet here and they care about each other. I’m glad I’m here.”
“Okay,” her father said. “I’ll tell your mother that you’re doing okay. She was a little worried about you.”
“Yeah, tell her that I miss her,” Candy said. “I’ll come by this weekend.”
Zelda rushed into the room. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize you had company.”
“We’re just finishing up,” Candy said. “I’ll be back in the kitchen in a couple of minutes.”
“Okay,” Zelda said. “See you soon.”
“Wow,” said Candy’s father when Zelda left. “She looks just like your grandmother.”
“I know,” Candy said, “I’ve told her that. I think lots of old ladies look like that.”
“Okay, as long as I know that you’re fine.”
“Yeah, I’m great,” Candy said. “I’ll walk you out.”
Once her father left, Candy cut through the dining room on her way to the kitchen. Sowbug and Earthworm were there, hanging out, talking. Angel and Winter and Chuck came in. Winter and Chuck were wearing nearly matching peach and magenta gowns with clunky brown boots and striped socks.
“No weird names. Nicely dressed. Right,” Candy muttered.