Once in a Blue Agave Moon: A Modest Proposal, Part 2

 

Chapter Fifteen

The kitchen, pantry, and dining facility was both unique and ingenious. Initially, it was simply the trailer in which Elliott and Chiana had lived. Before that, Elliott had brought it to the Colony as a hunting lodge.

Now most of it was a very spacious dining room, and the bedrooms were used as a pantry and contained the refrigerators and freezers.

The stoves were in a separate room built of concrete block that adjoined the trailer. Much like homes built in the nineteenth century, the kitchen was built to insulate the heat of the kitchen from the dining room, as well as to protect the rest of the house, should a fire occur.

The back wall was adjacent to the trailer. One side was solid, with the exception of a window. The other three sides were enclosed by garage doors which could be open for ventilation or closed according to the weather. The long side had two very wide double doors that would each have been used in a two-car garage, and each end had one double door. The roof was pitched and covered with corrugated steel.

Inside, a commercial Vulcan stove with eight burners, a griddle, and two ovens had been converted to use locally-produced methane gas instead of propane or natural gas. Next to it was an old-fashioned iron wood-burning stove, which was the original method of cooking used before electricity had been made available to the colony. Finally, a brick and mortar barbecue  complete with a chimney had been built so that it was sheltered from the sun or rain and could also function as a smoker.

The back wall was lined with stainless steel and the floor was poured cement which was slightly sloped towards a drain in the center which ran into a pea rock drain field that also carried water from the gutters away from the house.

A long counter ran along the open side and the pots and pans hung above it. Below the counter, the cabinets were open with no doors. Commercial kitchens also do not use cabinet doors because they obscure the view of what is inside and take up too much room when open. They are also a hazard. Anyone who has ever bent over and stood up into one, walked into one while carrying something or worked in a restaurant can appreciate why.

Sliding glass doors allowed for more than adequate ventilation of the dining room, and ceiling fans hung above the kitchen and dining room, run by solar power and/or batteries.

Whenever possible, every effort was made to minimize the use of alternating current without subjecting anyone to discomfort or hardship.

The dining room table was long enough to accommodate ten people, four on each side, and one on each end. Elliott had made it soon after they moved to the Colony. It was made from local cypress, very sturdy, and beautifully finished.

He was such a good cook that other members frequently would supply venison, wild hog, alligator, fish, or even beef that they had raised or brought in to have Elliott butcher and prepare it for them with the understanding that he also got a share of what they provided for himself. They also frequently ate in Elliott’s home, which they referred to as “Chez Monroe”.

He and Chiana liked the company and enjoyed entertaining. Most of the citizens of the Fourteenth Colony were gracious and sociable in a way not frequently encountered in most conventional neighborhoods, but which is common in campgrounds and trailer parks.

Paradoxically, as much as they valued their privacy and isolation, they also were outgoing and generous. Their community was essentially all they had; united by self-determinism, and rugged individualism; their interdependence encouraged a symbiosis of talents and skills.

Bereft of mass media, passive entertainment and social media, these residents not only became much more personally involved in the essential activities of daily living, but they also generally went to bed and got up earlier, which tended to encourage creativity, arts, crafts and hobbies.

It seemed clear that they wanted for little and enjoyed a far superior quality of life through mutualism than had ever been realized via capitalist consumerism, conspicuous consumption, communism, socialism, or utopian societies that had preceded them.

The longer that they resided there, the less Spartan or primitive their lives became once they were no longer hypnotized by money or the illusion of wealth.

It was not even immediately apparent that this building had once been a trailer. Substantial wooden siding now covered the aluminum skin. A durable hip roof coved the original, and the interior was similarly enhanced with hardwood paneling and floors.

Jed, Amy, Rebecca, and Leigh-Anne were visibly impressed by what they saw as they sat down to a table more sumptuous than any of them had seen since the last Thanksgiving before Armageddon.

They ate, drank and smoked the locally produced Cannabis as they caught up on old news and brought Chiana up to speed as to how this strange band of gypsies were now recruiting them to share in the adventure they aspired to experience.

Chiana was the first to finally address the giant elephant in the room.

“As much as I am glad to meet you all and want you to know you are always welcome here, I think we all know there is an agenda that has prompted your arrival; so what’s on your collective minds and how do Elliott and I fit into your plan?”

Jed was the first to speak.

Chazz Vincent

04/06/2017

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