Green Island Book I
Greenways
PEI map silhouette



some excerpts from Greenways
by
Dave Patterson

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Green Island Home

Chapter 16: Virgil loses his virginity ...(excerpt)


first page chapter 16 .....

At the serving tables we made a selection from a great variety of dishes - many colourful and delicious looking salads and soups and fish and lobster dishes and breads, and pies and other sweets for dessert, to choose from. As one preferring only a light midday meal I settled for a large bowl of delicious-smelling chowder and some bread and tea, although the others had a bit more - the lobsters did look tasty - it all looked tasty! Bigelow paid for us all - must remember to ask him some more about this money thing here, does not do for a grown man to be wandering around penniless and he has forgotten to provide us with more of this money as he said he would, although one should be able to manage if needs be - and we sat at a long communal table with a number of others, both locals and tourists to judge from the dress and appearance and conversation.

As we began eating, one of the others at our table - a young man who had gone some ways towards assuaging a hearty appetite to judge from the scraps on his plate - began a conversation that touched on the very thing I had so recently been thinking of, this Green Island money, and some other things. The young man wore spectacles with red frames that were broken at the nose piece and held together with black tape, and had rather long blondish windblown hair sticking out from under what I have learned is called a 'baseball' cap and is worn by many people here, sunburned and peeling face and arms marking him as (probably) a tourist, and a khaki-green t-shirt and shorts. He used a type of vernacular and I did not understand all his words, but his meaning seemed clear enough. He had a handful of the Green Island money that he had been examining with interest.

"Man, this is so cool!" he said, waving around a few of the colorful notes, "just like Monopoly money hahahaha!"

Several of the others at the table looked up. One middle-aged lady spoke.

"Why is that, boy? When was the last time you bought a meal like you're eatin there with that there Monopoly money?"

The young man seemed to bristle a bit at being called 'boy', but good breeding or something (I have since learned that Canadians, and Green Islanders, are somewhat renowned for their overall politeness, which may be good, but then can lead one to accept things one ought not to accept at other times, as well ... - all things, as always, in balance!) caused him to hold his tongue and he simply answered the question.

"Well - just look at it!" he said, grinning that slightly vacuous grin of so many young, with minds full of emptiness and trivialities yet certain that emptiness and trivialities are all there is to know, "It doesn't even look like real Canadian money - it doesn't have the Queen on it, or Prime Ministers, or nothing!"

"Well, boy," replied the lady, looking again at him, "why does Canadian money have the Queen or a Prime Minster on it, and not, oh, the King of Siam?"

"Well, because they are our leaders, our rulers, and the King of Siam isn't!" the boy answered, a surprised look on his face at the question, "We've ALWAYS had a Queen and Prime Minister! - or a King, I guess, sometime in history..."

"Well there you go, then boy," said the lady with a small smile, "since Green Island doesn't have a Queen or Prime Minister, why then, it would be wrong to use money with their pictures on it, don't you think? That really WOULD be like monopoly money, now, using bills with come-from-away furriners on em eh?? hahaha!"

"Ah, don't give me that sh- ah, stuff," the boy said, "you are too part of Canada - my dad says so. You can't just 'quit Canada', eh? Hahahaha!"

"But whyever not, boy?" replied the lady instantly, "If the people here say they don't want to be part of Canada anymore, isn't that their right? I thought Canada was a 'democracy' - doesn't that mean the people are free? You know how Quebec keeps talking about it, and a lot of them westerner fools too, so wrapped up in their oil money and greed - well, we didn't just talk about it, we did it!"

"Well, it sure didn't get much coverage in our papers in Toronto if you did that (a chorus of 'Hmphphs' around the table - 'Big surprise that!' 'Hardly call that Pispot a real paper' and suchlike). But democracy - of course it is!" spluttered the boy, "But that doesn't mean people do whatever they want - there are still laws, you know! And - and - a constitution, stuff like that - "

"Ease up on the lad, Ethel," another voice chipped in, belonging to a middle-aged man sitting beside the lady, the face behind the voice smiling as he spoke, "I'm sure he spent his life in Canadian schools and talking to people like his dad, and you know what that means - first class half-assed education memorising a few things while learning how NOT to think and do what others tell you to do and think what others tell you to think, and getting a whole lot worse every year that's gone by since the 50s! Heh heh heh... like it used to be here, if you can remember back that far!" he had sort of a dry laugh. "Why, didn't he say he thought the country was a 'democracy' too? Now there's a sign of some serious indoctrination. If you really want to teach the boy, why don't you ask him to think about the money there he's wavin around - where it came from, how much value it has, what it means to everyone here - as opposed to his Canadian money, which he seems to have some rather misguided ideas concerning? Some help in learning to think would probably do him a world of good while he's pickin that lobster out of his teeth insteadda just critisizin the poor boy. What's your name, anyway, lad?" he finished, addressing the boy directly, not unkindly.

"Why - it's Virgil, Sir," answered the boy, "and don't ask - I know it's a bit unusual, but my folks grew up way back in the 1960s, and they said that the night I was conceived they were under the influence of some old singer called Joan Beezelybub or something like that - "

"Watch yer tongue there boy when you're speakin of yer betters. That'd be Joan Baez, I expect then," said one of the other people at the table, an oldish chubby man, picking at his lobster, but evidently listening with interest to the exchange, "and they were probably under the influence of something a bit stronger as well, heh heh - and don't sound so disparaging - she was a great, great lady - compared to your modern idolidjuts like this Madonna or that Britney Spears and some of the others I've had the misfortune to be exposed to when my kids used to watch American tv. Our Joany, why, she was a goddess, I kid you not - smart, beautiful - and with brains and a social conscience, if you kids have any idea what THAT means today. I - "

"Hohoho," interrupted another voice, "we all know how you feel about the 60s music, Harvey. Why - didn't you name your own oldest boy Eric after another one of those groups?"

The man with the lobster half-turned to address the new speaker at the other end and side of the table, pointing with a lobster claw he had been eviscerating, "That's right, Blue Phil, you know it. 'There is a house, in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun.....' - ever hear that, boy? Greatest damn song ever! - and nobody but nobody could sing better than the incredible Eric Burden and the Animals! Maybe we'll get out a guitar after the eatin's done here and show the lad a thing or two, heh heh!"

The youngster named Virgil was looking a bit dizzy when the first lady named Ethel broke in again. "Land sakes alive, as my old ma used to say, you men are getting this poor boy all confused! And all I wanted to do was to help him understand that Green Island Money is a lot more real, for ordinary people like we are, and him too, I expect, than that Canadian money ever was, although don't forget we all thought it was great stuff at one time too, so let's get back on track - heavens, Phil, you haven't even had any beers yet today, so don't start with the 60s spiel! But I'm sure young Virgil here is pretty confused about our money, and with some call for it - you all don't seem to remember very well, but until a few years ago we all felt the same way here, at least most of us - we just accepted all that stuff we were told with no questions asked! Ain't that right now, Will?" she said, turning to the man beside her, evidently her husband.

"Well - yes, Ethel, I guess it's so," answered Will, with a small frown that quickly turned to a small smile, "First the Rustico Dollars, and then the Green Island Money, and all the screaming about it from the mainland and the old banks and the Colonial and the rest, but how we started to realise that we were on to a pretty good thing pretty quick with our own money rather than borrowing OUR money from private banks like we used to, now we all see that as a really stupid idea, but we had to have it all explained to us first too, eh? - funny, isn't it, how quickly you get used to something new, especially when it is so good, and brings such good things - but we had our revelation and revolution and now it all seems natural - sort of like learning there ain't no santa claus, looking back it seems like a stupid idea, but you gotta remember you were there once too! You see, boy," he continued, turning to Virgil, "that Canadian money, or at least most of it, doesn't really belong to you, or your government even at all - it belongs to the banks, and you only rent it - while this Green Island money that you think ever so amusing really belongs to We the People of Green Island! Meaning, for starters, there's NEVER enough Canadian money for what you need, but there's ALWAYS enough of OUR money for what WE need - the mainland banks now, are so upset because they don't get the rent from us like they do from you, but hell - that's THEIR problem, not ours hahahaha!"

"Whoa now," said Virgil, "that's the craziest thing you said yet. What do you mean, my Canadian money is only 'rented' money? I earned it myself, or at least my father did, worked and got paid - no 'renting' at all, you're talking crazy. And by the way, I should tell you that my major at the University of Toronto is Economics, so I'm pretty much up on this stuff, too, you know," he finished, with a small smirky sort of grin, an exalted upper Canadian university student talking to the cabbage waggoners sort of smirk, I heard someone remark, noticing also. Which had an effect he perhaps hadn't expected - the gulf between hubris and hard ground has ever been great, and our young friend was about to find he actually knew nothing at all about what he professed to know a great deal about, and arrive back to earth with a thump.

"Is that so boy? Well, that's too bad - just means you've got more stuff to unlearn before your real eddy-cation starts - them mainstream economics people all ought to be locked up for spreading fairy tales among the innocent population - and they cause a huge amount of damage with that crap too - and you would be a perfect walking example, by the sounds of you, thinking you know so much when you don't know jackshit, if you'll all excuse my French as they say. Here, let me try to explain it simply, son. Answer me a question first - where do YOU think all that fancy Canadian money comes from? Tell me that, now."

"Well," answered the lad, a slight frown appearing on his forehead, "I - ah - well, now that you mention it, I don't ever remember actually studying that in 101, maybe it comes later in a seminar or something - "

"Ha! Pretty basic knowledge, it seems to me, where the stuff you study actually comes from ..."

" - but, of course, we have the Canadian mint, and the Central Bank, so I guess it all comes from there, somehow - I know it's illegal for people to try to print their own money, like you seem to be doing here ..."

"Right, as I expected - you know nothing - which is exactly what they teach at your schools about what you really need to know about money, and where it comes from - and for a very good reason, as I hope to help you comprehend - bear with me, son. You see, lad, your Canadian government doesn't create most Canadian money at all, outside of the bills themselves and the coins, which amount to no more than 1-2% of the Canadian money supply. But most of the money it needs - all that national debt stuff you must have heard at least a bit about - it borrows almost all of the money it needs that it doesn't collect in taxes or whatever from private banks, and has to pay interest on it every year. And the rest of the money comes from banks creating loans to give to people, right out of thin air, nothing more than numbers in a computer, at interest of course. And when you borrow something, you don't really own it, right? You have to give it back someday - and with interest at that! How fast will the bank take back your folks' home if they miss a couple of mortgage payments? And the 'interest' you pay every year on that bank-created money is the same as having to pay rent on a rented car or house or whatever - which is what I mean that you don't own it, you just use it, and pay for that use.

"You see, son, something like 98% of all the money in circulation in Canada is borrowed money - the government doesn't own your money at all, beyond the 1-2% of bills and coins you use - your Canadian banks create and own most of it, and it all has to be returned to them someday - with interest. Now there's some big issues with all this, when you start to think about it. Just for instance - if all the money is borrowed, and has to be returned with interest - where is that extra interest money coming from? And what does that mean for the economy of your country? I bet you don't get talking about them questions either in your economics 101!

"But if you can answer those questions sometime, you will have finally started opening your eyes and brain to what is happening to you, and everyone, when they let privately owned banks create and control the money supply. Now, I know they don't teach that in your schools either, which is why you're having trouble believing it - but if you have any knowledge of your government and its finances - which again you are not taught in school so few people do - you will see that what I say is true. Now we got some good books here on Green Island, inexpensive but serious high quality learning books for people just like you, and a lot of good stuff on AGORA for free that I'll point you to later, if you really want to get your education underway."

"Well, no they haven't taught us that idea exactly, or perspective I guess you might say, in 101 or even 201 or 1 or 2 anything else. Meaning I think you're crazy still, because you aren't really trying to say a top Canadian university wouldn't teach us what we need to know, are you? (a round of chuckles could be heard) - but let's say for the sake of argument, as one of my profs likes to say, for a minute that what you say is true, and I really will try to figure out an answer to those questions later - how then is this Green Island stuff better?"

"Why, We the People of Green Island own our money supply - we don't borrow it from private banks and promise to pay it back with interest some day, we print or create it ourselves, or the Central Green Island Council authorises its printing or creation to be more accurate, after talking everything over on the AGORA with all the people, explaining the options and talking about them, as a lot of this stuff about creating and using money for freedom and prosperity for all rather than elite control of the world and workers is still being developed. And then a lot of it is, as is your money, just bits and bytes of computer data shifted around from one account to another electronically, after deciding how much new money we need each year to provide the necessary means of exchange for our citizens, or to hire people to do the work we need done.

"Think about the railroad that I assume you rode in on this morning! - the Canada banks would have laughed us out the door if the Green Island government had of wanted a 'loan' to do that, indeed the banks were central in having the old one closed down some time ago, and we couldn't have afforded the interest anyway - but we used our money creation power as the sovereign people of Green Island to pay workers and suppliers on our own Island here, and wheeled and dealed with what Canadian currency we did have and keep getting when people visit for iron and steel and things we don't have here ourselves, and built it - and it belongs to the people of Green Island right from day 1, too, not the damn banks! And when we do it that way, we do not have to pay the banks interest on OUR money every year, which is a pretty big chunk of change where you come from, check it out some day! - so we all have more of it, and have to work less for it, since we are working for ourselves, and not the banks and their skimming off of half of what we produce every year. You may have noticed we have next to zero unemployment, and all of the necessary work is getting done - very much unlike your Toronto or Ontario, right? Where there are many people unemployed and underemployed, and many jobs that need doing and services that are not being provided - but the government says it has no money - now what kind of nonsense is that, boy, a government saying it has no money, when it controls the central bank and the government printing presses, and has a great amount of work that needs doing and a great amount of people wanting to do that work?!?! Why ain't there no money? Where'd it all go? How can there be lots of money one day and the next you ain't got enough to get by on? You folks can build them great skyscrapers in Toronto but you can't figure out how to devise a monetary system that works better than the one you have? Ha! I think, myself, somebody's doin a con game on you's all. Ask me, I do."

"Yea, I remember some stuff about that," answered Virgil, the little sort of teenage 'I know it all' sneer returning briefly and rather unpleasantly to his face, "and we did cover that in 101 - governments that go around printing money just destroy the value of their currency by printing too much of it, and causing inflation or something like that like the Germans did in 1930 or sometime, wheelbarrows of millions of dollars or francs or whatever their money was just to buy a loaf of bread - pretty basic stuff..."

"Ho ho ho!" laughed Will, not in an unfriendly way, "Yes, pretty basic BS 101! - and that is certainly what they teach you all in your schools - but look around! We'll point you to some stuff about the German situation, which was real enough but happened for very different reasons than they want to tell you (and it was the early 1920s, not 1930 - read up on the years between the wars, very important) - but does what you see here around you on Green Island look like a destroyed economy? How many wheelbarrows of Green Island Dollars did you have to turn in for your lobster, there? How long have you been on Green Island anyway, boy?" asked Will.

"Well - about 2 days, I guess - I just came by the bridge to Summerside and then Charlottetown a couple of days ago, then to Montague yesterday, I want to go up and across the North Shore when I leave here..."

"Well, that's a good start," said Will, "now, tell me what signs of an economy destroyed by inflation you've seen here, with your University of Toronto expertise in such things, after something like 4 years of the Green Island government printing Green Island Money, on your travels through our three main cities here? Closed factories and high unemployment like I mentioned a minute ago, homeless people begging on the streets for your precious Canadian money, high crime rates, food banks, people leaving for better places, for sale signs on houses and boarded-up businesses?? - all that kind of thing you see in your 'strong' Ontario economy? Do you see people pushing around wheelbarrows full of practically worthless paper to pay for the great lunch you've just had???"

"Well - " answered Virgil, frowning a bit as he tried to think of a response, obviously finding himself in a difficult corner, his elder's arguments being rather obviously correct, and his Canadian university education he had thrown down as a challenge as equally obviously being found somewhat wanting, "well - no, I haven't seen any of that stuff at all - things actually seem pretty good here, the people seem happy, I haven't seen any crime or obvious signs of poor people, everyone seems to be working like you said, it certainly seems prosperous enough - but hey, this is the tourist season, and there's lots of people like me bringing our real money here to give you a boost...."

"Hohohoho!! That's good, Virg, Big Brother Rule Number One - believe what you're told, not what you see! How many fingers am I holding up boy hahaha!!!" the big man called Harvey joined in with a laugh, holding up some fingers briefly, having finished his lobster at last, "But at least you're observing things a bit! - but look what's in your hands, and what you paid for the lobster lunch you rather obviously enjoyed with! But you see, we don't really have any 'poor folk' here anymore, although if you know anything about Canada, you'll know that this used to be one of the poorest provinces - and you'll know too that poverty is still running over 20% in your Canada, and poverty is a major cause of crime, although that's something else they don't like to talk about much, given the extent to which the government allows and even encourages poverty for various reasons, such as to keep a large pool of desperate workers available for sweat shops of various types - something else I bet you didn't get asked to read about in your economics 101.

"But now here on Green Island, why, everybody's got a job, and a useful job they like to do at that, and what's more we only have to work about half as much as we used to, to have a decent life! And it's all because of Green Island Money! I'll be honest with you, lad, there was a lot of scepticism when the new government started talking about this, and doing it, and a lot of people trained in the same kinds of universities you're in now saying the same kinds of things you're saying - but on the other hand everyone was a bit desperate too, the financial situation was so bad, an awful lot of folks was sort of hanging on and not much more. So that Bigelow fellow and the rest got their way and started the Green Island printing presses and Green Island bank deposits and then the Green Island Public Works and Infrastructure Projects - and now a few years later, well - we've all got some Green Money in our pockets, and there's lots of work if we need money, and our Island is truly blooming with more than potato blossoms and lobsters for the first time ever, we're finally all together in a race to the top rather than the bottom as you are everywhere else, we know there's more where it came from, and we're all happy that they did and we did too! And the one central reason for all of this is that we no longer have private banks renting us our money for THEIR benefit, but we create it all ourselves, for OUR benefit. Ethel, my love, is there some canned beer around in a cooler somewhere? I'm gettin thirsty from all this talkin..."

I looked around when the man mentioned Bigelow, but apparently noone at the table recognised him - he had said that most Government Council representatives were low-profile people outside of their own districts, as the whole government was not any longer based on 'personality cults', as he called them, wherein a few well-known people ran the government, and got in the newspapers every day and on the television for the mass of less-educated people - very much demagoguery stuff, as near as I could make out, typical politics - and from what I had seen and read, the people had paid the price as well.

Bigelow was observing the conversation with interest, but apparently had decided to keep out of it. Which said a lot for the 'crazy dream' of he and some others - many others, it appeared, were now just as involved in it as the original dreamers, which said a lot for its chances of success, it seemed to me.

"I still don't get it," the boy named Virgil was saying, with a bit of a frown, "it's pretty fishy so there must be something you're not telling me - if you could make a great society just by printing your own money - and I admit things look pretty good around here! - everyone would do it, wouldn't they?"

"Ho ho ho!! It ain't US that ain't telling you stuff boy! It's your own government and universities, dominated by the banks and rich people over there where you come from! If everyone knew about what we're doing here, and the lies you all get told over there and how much better things could be for everyone, there would certainly be some pressure, I would think, on many governments to have more of it done," said Will, "Look at yourself, a perfect example - 20 years of Upper Canada and American tv and Upper Canada education and newspapers - and you had no idea about where money came from and that your banks controlled it all! - money, the oil that makes the whole society go around, of fundamental importance, and you're even supposed to be studying about it in your university! - and the brainwashing is so deep that you still have trouble believing it when you're in the middle of the evidence of your own eyes!

"And that is the problem - your schools and newspapers and tvs and everyone teaches that what we are doing here cannot be done. And why? Well - just look at how much money the banks are making from their Canadian dollars! - last count I saw - get a grip on something here, boy, this is a biggie - the Canadian banks had collected over a TRILLION dollars in interest on *just* the so-called Canadian National Debt just during the last 25 years or so, a trillion dollars of the tax money paid by your folks and every other Canadian taxpayer, a trillion dollars you folks should NOT have paid, it was really stolen - a Trillion dollars, also during which time the government was cutting back all kinds of social programs, and infrastructure development, and telling the people of Canada they 'had no money' for such things - but a Trillion dollars of tax money - money the Canadians paid to the government for the things the government was saying they couldn't afford!!! - was turned straight over to the banks during those years! And right this day there's over two trillion dollars of outstanding debt in your Canada, consumer and business as well as government - and all or at least most of that debt created out of thin air by the banks alone, and they want interest on that two trillion dollars every year!

"Every year, boy! Do you even want to start thinking about how much money that starts adding up to after a few years, and keeps rolling in, year after year after year after year? And all of that money comes from the work of average Canadians like your father - having half of everything they produce sucked straight upstairs into the pockets of the bankers and investors who are the real rulers of your country! The greatest scam in all of human history - and you have no - freaking - idea - at - ALL!!! that it's going on right in front of your face!!

"And they always complain about inflation - well how can you not have inflation when you are paying that kind of interest every year on your money supply? And I KNOW they NEVER talk about that in your university economic courses, do they boy? They blame inflation on workers needing raises, or oil shocks from the other side of the world - lies, and lies and more lies, boy, that's what you mostly get in your mainstream economics propaganda books! And the banks creating huge streams of money for their wealthy investor friends to attack currencies around the world, or create stock market or real estate market bubbles, which then crash and wipe out the savings of millions of small ordinary people - that's where your inflation and your recessions come from, but again you never read about it in your economics books, eh??

"And the same people who own the banks, and some other wealthy 'investors', own the newspapers so the newspapers won't talk about it, and they bribe the politicians so the politicians don't talk about it if they want to keep their cushy jobs and them meetings in tropical climes in the middle of a Canadian winter, and they control the curriculum and teachers in lower schools, and influence the hiring of university teachers so there aren't any radical ideas like you've heard here in your 'modern' university economics courses - and that's the key, of course - it would be hard to stop people from talking about something they wanted to talk about in something that is sort of a democracy as far as your freedom goes although your elections are anything but democratic but that's something to talk about another time! - but if you are never taught about this in school, except when they tell you it cannot be done so there is no point in talking about it - and your 'news' papers and politicians never bring it up - why, nobody thinks to talk about it, in that mad rush you all live in on the mainland, jobs and malls and tv and daycare and traffic jams and no time to think about any of it! - and you're not done paying yet, boy, the Canadian government is still up to its eyeballs in debt and paying tens of billions of dollars every year to the banks - a golden calf, if you know that story, for the banks, with no end in sight! - you've paid the money back a dozen times over and still owe ten times what you borrowed! - just like the worst loan shark scam you can think of - and your government is doing it to you. And you know not a sweet damned thing about it - and that's exactly what your fancy upper Canada eddycation is worth! I'm sorry for gettin a bit excited, boy, but we suffered for a good lot of years because of that stuff, and there's a lot of memories that kind of talk brings back. There's still a lot of people out there's who'd like to drive us back to the old ways too, and that's something a lot of us are fighting pretty hard to stop."

Virgil was quiet, a bit of a shocked look around his eyes, for a second, kind of like a person who has jumped into what he thought to be a warm body of water and found it ice cold.

"Well," he said shortly, defensively, evidently a bit desperate for some face-saving argument, "all that sure sounds like those 'conspiracy theories' the papers keep talking about - and we all know they're just nonsense..."

"Ha ha ha ha!!!" there was a wave of laughter around the table, as if this was a subject they'd talked about before, as if a child was making a last desperate defence of the fable of santa claus by referring to the fact he still got presents under the tree so santa must be real or something equally innocuous.

"Exactly, exactly!" and suchlike was chorused, and then "Sorry, son, but we learned long ago that the major so-called 'conspiracy theories' you're talking about are mostly true - including the ones they don't ever talk about - the conspiracies like this national debt stuff that you never read about anywhere, or the way they control the elections in your so-called democracies and then brainwash everyone into thinking it's the best system ever. But you just have to think things through yourself, after getting as much info from as many people as you can, and decide what you're going to believe, young lad - some 'theories' they teach you in school - or the evidence of your own eyes - and then maybe tonight or later on your travels you ask yourself exactly WHO is promulgating the real 'conspiracy theories' - and who is telling the truth??!!

"Is that lobster you've just paid for a conspiracy or reality? Is the fact you can NOT have that in Ontario for the same cheap price you just paid for it - a conspiracy or reality?? Is that train you just came from Charlottetown on a few minutes ago some conspiracy or reality?? You got some thinkin to do, boy! And that's going to have to be the end of your Green Island Reality Economics one-thousand and one course today - we got some work to do, we workin folks of Green Island - but here we work for We the People, and not the Banking Masters that you guys work for back in Toronto! C'mon darling," finished Will, turning to Ethel, "We got that job of heading up the Work Credits Committee this afternoon, so we better get ready."

There was a general shuffling around the table, a last sip of a beverage, turning sideways to get up from the picnic table, pulling on of a cap - and Virgil was sitting looking a little lonely, a puzzled frown on his face.

But only for a second.

The lady called Ethel paused as she was turning to walk away with the others, then turned back to where Virgil was sitting watching the people getting up from the table and leaving around him, laughing and chatting.

"Say, son," she said, a kindly sort of smile on her motherly face, " - you might find this interesting if you don't have other plans - why, you could even help out a bit, if you liked - earn a few Green Island Dollars yourself! - it's a good feeling, you know, helping your community and making some money for doing it! What'dya say? You might even learn something useful ..."

I saw a sort of light appear in the lad's eyes, and he smiled almost immediately, as he quickly wiped his mouth with a serviette and looked over at Will, standing beside Ethel, smiling in a friendly and welcoming way, nodding his head just a bit to show he was ok with the idea.

"Yea," Virgil said, "I think I might like that! Thanks, Ma'am, and Sir!" and he pulled his cap off his head, brushed back his hair as he got to his feet, and pulled the cap back on. With a big smile growing on his face as one of the ladies took him by the arm in a motherly sort of way, looking up and speaking to him as they walked off. Although the people at the table had certainly given the lad a lesson, it had all been done in a most friendly way, and I could see he appreciated that spirit of sharing and friendliness, some disagreement without serious confrontation, as much as, perhaps more than, the actual teaching he had received. He joined the others as they left the table, heading for the large red stone building nearby we had seen on the way in.

Another new Green Islander, I could tell.



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