Destruction Aftermath, Book 1
Chapter 20

Copyright© 2010 by radio_guy

A little later, I heard, "Okay," from our bedroom. Janice was giggling as she pushed me toward our bedroom and said, "Have a good night ... Dad!"

The short hall was darkened as I went down it and got darker when Janice turned off the living room lights and went to her room. I pushed the door open and saw Shirley. Wow! She was dressed, if you wanted to call it that, in a tiny white negligee and laying on the covers. "Jack," she cooed, "close the door and your mouth and come to bed." I didn't need to be told twice! I did marry the right girl!

We woke up the next morning like we had the day before, naked and in each others' arms. "Mmm. That was a good thing to have bought," Shirley murmured. "Love, we must get up. We will be busy again today. Your public awaits."

I managed to get out of bed, dress, and stumble into the kitchen where a bright-eyed Janice was waiting with coffee. She said, "You two are so right together. I hope Bennie and I can have that."

"Work at it together and you can. Look at my grandpa and grandma. They've been married over fifty years and are still happy and work as a team. So far, that's what works for us."

"That's what Bennie says about his parents until his mother died of the sickness. He thinks that his dad wouldn't have made it except for having promised to watch over him and Melody and help them. He's a good guy himself. He's going to help his dad in the machine shop."

Shirley walked in and gave the back of my neck a soft caress. "That's good. We need to find people willing to do more than farm. It will be good to have a real community here with all kinds of crafts and abilities."

We had just finished breakfast when two vehicles of people arrived. Ben came with Melody to ask if his plan for developing water wheel turbines was approved along with his proposed location. "Ben," I said, "it's fine with me and no one will have any problem with your location or work. It's not my call either."

"Jack, I knew you would say that. Janice told me. You are the connection in our community and have had the ideas and provided the leadership to see them through." Ben said, "You just can't avoid it. Everyone looks to you. See you later. I need Bennie and that means Janice, too, unless you really need her here."

"Take them both." I chuckled. "They seem to be joined at the hip anyway." He laughed at that and left with them.

The other situation was a bit different. The brother and sister rescued from the Blasters wanted to become a family and had even picked out a house in town. They planned to make wooden implements to exchange for food. I cautioned them that they might not advertise the fact that they were siblings and that it would be a while before new implements were needed because there were ample ones available in stores for the taking. "We are looking long term. It will take a while to find and install woodworking tools and all. We want it to work without electrical power. Most of this will not last forever," said the brother, Ed.

"I wish you luck. I think it's a good shot but there are no guarantees. You may have to do some farming to eat at some point." They assured me that they already had an agreement for Ed to help with farming chores on one of my uncle's farms near to the house they had chosen. I wished them luck as they left.

Shirley and I went into the radio room to "spin the dial" while we listened for any station that might be calling. Shirley told me that we were lurking. Some people did that a lot before the Day she explained. We were going to call but heard another vehicle drive into our yard area. I casually walked outside and saw it was Dad's truck. He and Mom were walking toward our front door when I called to them.

Dad said, "Hi, Son. Hi, Shirley. We wanted to talk over a few things with you two. Have you got a few minutes?"

Shirley answered, "We always have time for you two."

"What can we do?" I asked.

Shirley motioned them toward chairs and they sat down. "Can I get you anything to drink?" Shirley asked. They both shook their heads.

"We want to talk to you about governance. Your grandfather suggested we have this talk with you two.

"The family has talked a bit about this and we want you to be the governor of our community. You and Shirley together, actually. We believe with the family behind you as well as most of the radio people, you can pull us all into one cohesive group.

"We think you will be level-headed and even-handed in your decisions. You two are already universally recognized as a centralizing force by both groups. We are convinced that only you two can effectively bring us together." Dad said.

"That's why we came over." Mom finished.

Shirley looked at me and grinned fiendishly. "Janice told you so." She said.

Dad looked puzzled, "Janice?"

"Yeah, Janice told him he would be asked to be in charge this morning." Shirley chuckled.

Mom looked startled, then grinned. "It would appear that Janice is a very perceptive young lady. How is she doing living with you?"

I nodded to Shirley. She said, "She is doing quite well. There is a budding romance between her and Bennie. She is helping him and his father set up a machine shop in town. They intend to produce water wheel turbines.

"We have other news. Another ham contacted us. He, his parents and a brother and sister should be on their way here from Wisconsin in a couple of day. The mother is a nurse and the father sold medical equipment and, from what we could gather, knows the service end of the business, too. The son is a structural engineer. The brother and sister are high school age."

"That's great!" said Dad. Have you had any further results from your CNN commercial?"

"Not yet, Jack and I need to get up there in another week or so and update it, add to it, or something. It should change every once in a while so that people who hear it know we are still here and are a going concern."

"You be careful on any contacts that way." Mom said. "Maybe, you could plan a method of handling contacts that didn't run off good people but kept you safe from dangerous people."

"That's a good idea. We need to follow up on our email address idea. That was Jack's idea and I think it's a good one.

"I guess that your fearless leadership needs to make some plans and get the information out to everyone." Shirley grinned at me and continued, "Should we make plans to have a community wide meeting and get some feedback once we make some plans?"

Dad responded, "Yes, I think that would be a good idea. We have grown some lately and need to know more about our new people and how to integrate them into our community."

"Dad, Shirl has made me a believer. We need to get on the radios and have some basic understanding of how they work and how to work them best. Shirl is going to teach all those who weren't hams to know how to work them. When we lose cell service, having radios is going to become important. We shouldn't wait." I said.

"Aah!" Dad said, "Your first pronouncement!" He chuckled. I did, too.

I said, "However, I am serious. Being able to communicate easily is a good way to foster community and togetherness. We will have to be our own news outlets and emergency services as well. The sooner we get people on the air at least on two meters and listening on 3.970, the better we are going to be. Our news will be broadcast that way as time goes by. You understand it better, Shirl, you can explain the details."

"No," Dad said, "it's better that I know that you two know. I will learn with the rest."

Mom said, "We must all learn a lot of new things. It will be good for us to learn new things and skills together. It will bring us together. One thing that no one has thought about out loud is church. We haven't found a pastor. Offering church to those interested would also be good."

"That's true, Mom. You can't learn how to act unless you are taught." I said. "Isn't someone in the family a lay speaker?"

"Yes," she replied, "but he is reluctant unless asked. You should ask him, let it be known, and go yourselves."

I looked at Shirley and she nodded. I said, "I will do that and we will do that. That brings up another thought, formalizing marriage. We did it early in the process and I think our marriage is recognized as legitimate."

"It better be!" Shirley interrupted.

"It is." I said. "We will have future marriages and need to think about some rules for them though it should be simple. I am thinking a step above the old common law marriage. If two people want to marry, they just announce it. If they want a formal religious service, that's their call, but the public announcement is what carries."

"What about divorce, Jack? After all, I may get tired of you at some point."

"I don't know. I watched two guys I knew get divorced. One was pretty quick. The other was long and painful."

"If you make divorce difficult, then make marriages harder to start. On the other hand, if marriage is easy, then divorce should be easy, too. It becomes difficult to handle no matter what. We will probably handle it as it comes rather than try to decide before the event."

"You know? I'm not sure I want to do all this governance stuff."

Shirley responded, "You don't really have a choice, Jack. Your public wants you." She chuckled. So did Dad...

Mom said, "You'll do well, Son. There will be tough decisions and I am sure you will talk to people in so far as possible and get advice."

"I hope that it won't be too bad." I said. Just as I said that, two more trucks pulled up.

Ted and Lois climbed out of the first truck. They were smiling and holding hands which I took as a good omen. The other truck had Betty, Linda, and Julia getting out of it.

Ted came over and said, "How is your water wheel working?"

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