I had noticed that throughout our country consumers were protesting rising prices by cutting back on their purchases. It seemed producers were getting the message. I knew nothing about economics but I reckoned that decreased demand resulted in increased supply, hence prices dropped. My message to students was, if they let go their education for a bit, administration would notice and perhaps prices would moderate. Apparently, I was inadvertently rousing early forms of consumer activism. My message seemed well received and afterward one student approached me and invited me to her house for dinner. Not only supper, but a place to stay came forward and I joined with Debbie, Kathy, Eddie and Paul in a student based commune. The women were students, the men not. My tasks besides daily journeying out to the fields consisted of housekeeping, cleaning, basic maintenance and providing comic relief. Having a supply of mushrooms on hand helped with this undertaking. Having a place to stay also made it possible to gather and dry a sizeable supply of mushrooms. I gathered many more than I could find takers for and a strings of bronze colored dried mushrooms had an artistic appeal.
One day Paul who had a vehicle, ventured out with me to observe my calling. Being adventuresome, we traveled to a new spot, but still in Alachua County. Finding a suitable place to park we walked through several fields till we were far removed from the road. We happened upon George, an elderly black man. George farmed 40 acres of land that his ancestors had received as reparations along with a mule after the war between the states and freeing of slaves. The mule had long since perished, but the forty acres was intact. His land was removed from thoroughfares and isolated. This suited George fine as he seldom saw use to go anywhere. His farm was pretty self sufficient and his needs minimal. After hearing seeing some examples of our collecting, George pointed over a slight rise and added, “If it’s those things you want, head over there. You’ll get all your need.”We thanked him and headed in the direction he pointed. Coming over the rise, we were greeted with a supermarket supply of mushrooms. We filled both shopping ages we brought along and left with a goodly store still on the shelves. Paul and I decided that we were recipients of the slogan, “Seek and ye shall find.” We further figured to leave the rest for others and headed home. It took me the rest of the day to string our bounty on lines for hanging and drying.
The house we stayed in provided a way station for many folks. Some of the people there were destined to form a community in the future. Others were just passing through. One, Esperanza, stayed for awhile and ended up traveling with me when I headed north to distribute mushroom communion. Before leaving, our household ventured to Ocala National Forest for a weekend getaway. We shared the campgrounds with competing Christian Fellowships. One group took to wearing no clothes, the other remained fully dressed. It seemed the clothed contingent judged the nude group to be not Christian. The nude bunch were more open and accepting. They did not seem judgmental about their clothed brothers. Our group not being put off by nudity were more attracted to the openness displayed by the naked members. We figured that if we were to get back to the Garden, dressing as Adam and Eve first appeared might be most appropriate. The two Christian groups went their separate ways peacefully. We returned home. Esperanza and I prepared for a northbound journey.