Chapter Eleven: In Memory Of...

In mid-May, the county was buzzing with activity. There simply weren't enough hours in the day. Every farm was preparing for another season. The few factories were turning out what they could. Fortunately, the power plant was still operating four hours a day, burning bio-mass gathered from last year's harvest. Another one of Larry's suggestions. It may not have been as good as coal, but it was good enough.

There was also now, the prospect of additional electricty from two nuclear plants in the state. Back in February, a coordinated campaign was launched between the National Guard and local militias to pacify and reclaim the cities. The campaign was fairly successful. Important sections of the electrical and phone grids could now be serviced and restored. Government was finally getting a grip on things again.

That caused some concern. But two developments made the old scourge more palatable. First, the Governor was reasonably intelligent and was more than willing to listen to suggestions. Early on, he decided not to pay attention to anyone claiming to be the new provisional Federal government. The state of Michigan was now truly the Republic of Michigan.

Secondly, following a suggestion from a certain fellow in Huron County, a new currency had been issued. Still called 'dollars', out of familiarity, it was based on several commodities. They established one once of gold at $1,000, an ounce of silver at $10. In addition to this, local county governments were permitted to issue currency based on labor.

People could obtain credit by pledging to do labor. Each hour pledged earned $5. The pledgee would have to fullfill the pledge within 30 days. That wasn't hard since there was plenty to do. The counties had to pay off those who food and materials provided to them during the height of the crisis. By late April, with the winter snows gone and roads clear, trade and private enterprise was making a come back.

As Memorial Day approached, most of the crops had been planted, and people began making plans for a celebration. Both to remember the dead and to rejoice in life. Roger Maas had organized a color guard and trained them in some classic drills. They performed at the community picnic in Bad Axe. A rather lengthly ceremony was held for paying homage to those who had sacrificed themselves. Twenty-two militiamen had died since being mustered into duty.

Six died serving on roadblocks. The rest were part of a volunteer unit which had helped during the 'Reclamation Campaign'. Kevin Harper was among this group. He had been shot and killed while trying to recover a wounded militiaman during an assault on a gang-stronghold in Flint. This gang of killers and looters were said to be practicing slavery and cannibalism. The Guard finally just pulverized the stronghold with artillery. There wasn't much left afterthat.

Larry and Al were officially awarded medals for their involvement in 'the Battle of M-53' as it was called. After some four dozen militiamen were honored for their performance, the top clergy in the county held a special mass to remember friends and family lost during the crisis. Following this came the food. Everybody brought extra out of their larders. Some fresh deer was barbecued, fish were fried, and a wide variety of baked goods made the feast a special one.

The obligatory speeches by politicians were held to a minimum, but happened none the less. A high ranking assistant to the Governor attended and announced that Huron County would be reconnected to the electrical grid no later than six weeks. That earned a loud round of cheers. The Dow Chemical plant in Midland was being readied for reopenning and there would soon be a supply of propane and other products available before winter.

There was a collection of games and sports after the speeches were completed. Several musical groups took turns providing entertainment. It had been a long time since most people felt like dancing. But dance they did. As darkness fell, the festival was wrapped up with a short, but spectacular fireworks display. Larry and other basement chemists had put together a nice variety of pyrotechnics.

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The material you have just read is a chapter in the on-line fictional story, "When Autumn Leaves Fall" by Andrew Zarowny, copyrighted 1997. All characters and circumstances are fictional and are not intended to bare any resemblence to actual people alive or dead. You have the author's permission to copy or reproduce this material so long as you charge no money for it's reproduction or distribution.