Ivo Clevenger showed early signs of his gift.

Good with his hands, Ivo could conceive and build with wood what anyone described to him. Honing his craft in time, Ivo mastered skills ordinary carpenters simply dreamed about. Most of the buildings and furniture and needed items such as bows and arrows in the village Dansby had his hand upon them. Anything anyone possessed crafted by Ivo was cherished by them and treated with profound respect.

Strange, the village Dansby had a peculiar quirk about it. There was no monetary system in Dansby, no coinage, or printed bills for exchange. No one thought about using their products as barter or payment for services. Yet, everyone had what they needed. No one wanted more. The villagers were happy. Debts did not exist for them because it implies payment. Any need was filled with the talents gifted them.

When Otto, a chicken farmer in Dansby, knew there was a need for food, he simply gave his eggs away. Any thought about exchanging chickens for his own needs never entered his mind, for Otto neither wanted nor coveted beyond his need. This was true in every household in the village. Nothing was held in common either. Everyone’s gift fulfilled the needs of the village. Everyone gave to all what each possessed in talent.

But Dansby did have a great drawback. If anyone got sick, and this was rare, no doctor lived in the town. Most accepted the natural course sickness took until one day, Ivo took ill. And since his hands were upon most items in Dansby and his mastery was cherished above all, his fellow villagers decided to take Ivo to the next village on the other side of the mountain, a day’s journey away. There, a doctor lived.

When the villagers arrived, the doctor examined Ivo from head to toe. He listened and prodded and asked Ivo questions. Coming to his diagnosis, the doctor administered medicine to Ivo and prescribed a night’s rest. The next morning, Ivo was feeling much better.

The time came to leave, and Ivo wished to thank the doctor. Seeing his patient was well, the doctor said, “Mr. Clevenger, the price for services rendered is 5 shillings.” “Sir, in Dansby we do not have money. Everyone gives to all what each possesses in talent.” The doctor said, “Since you are a carpenter, do you have some table or chair to exchange for my services?” Ivo answered, “Doctor, in Dansby we do not barter or give a portion of what we have. Everyone gives to all what each possesses in talent. This way, we give of ourselves. No one considers less.”

Puzzled, unable to muster a retort, the doctor thought for a bit. Then, the doctor asked, “How is it that such a system came about when all over the world money is exchanged and gathered? Even Christians pay God a tithe.” Ivo responded, “In Dansby, there are no rich or poor. We give to each what God expects from each — ourselves.”

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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