5/30/40 - Shining Armor BY-WAYS - 5/30/40 - Shining Armor

Good morning - and good health! How does the world look through the eyes of a convalescent? Very beautiful, indeed. Why shouldn't it? Mother Earth's mantle is new - and such a rich green. The air - at least, my air - is full of the fragrance of spring flowers. There is nothing to do except eat and sleep, and enjoy the sweet intercourse of family and friends. Even the children are beginning to think an operation is just a lucky break. Virgil, Jr., said to me yesterday: "Let's see; I have an appendix. If I got that out, could I have all the ginger ale I want, like you?" I assured him that he could - but that he'd better hold off for another year, as we only have one week's hospitalization left out of this year - and if he climbs out on the edge of the porch roof, as he did yesterday to retrieve his airplane, we'll probably need it for broken bones. I was terribly homesick for Pennsylvania during my stay in the hospital. My wide window faced a beautiful wooded slope, where the trees were just opening up when I first got there. This section, part of the old John D. Rockefeller estate, is being made into a public park, with swimming pool and I don't know what all. But, at any rate, teams of horses were harrowing the ground that had already been plowed. You might know what nostalgia overcomes me at the sight of a team of horses. All the memories of my happy childhood out on the Gilkerson farm. For a whole week I had not been allowed visitors - except my pastor and my family. So, when it came Sunday, I got all primped up- for the steady stream of callers that would surely come. My girl came dashing down right after dinner to see me - but an approaching storm chased her away. So I waited and waited. Nobody came. I was feeling about as popular as a scarecrow. Suddenly Virgil, who wasn't expected until evening, dashed in - and I could tell that he carried important news. "Florence," (pause for dramatic effect) "the Pennsylvania folks are here!" Well! I nearly fainted with joy. Needless to say, that visit gave me such a boost that I am 'way ahead of the average recuperant.

Do you know, I believe it would be a good thing if each person could manage, somehow, to drop out of life's activities for a week or two - and just take inventory. You learn to discard a lot of excess baggage, and you set up some new values. You find what are your richest treasures in life - and what is mere dross. I found a priceless treasure in my daughter, who has never been one to make any fuss over me. When the doctor told me I had a horrid old tumor, I decided to bear the news in heroic silence - 'til the old exchequer had a few coins clinking together. But before the day was out, I was weeping on Estelle's shoulder. She shook me off rather roughly, and said, in that matter-of-fact way of hers: "No use crying about it, Mother; just get it out right away - and get it over with." But she was my tower of strength - and from then on engineered the whole thing. She has attended school (preparing for her graduation next week), kept house (much better than I), washed and ironed, cooked tempting meals, and still managed to come and see me nearly every day. She sensed what I needed her most - and dashed down at her noon period, just to make me more comfortable. I haven't had one worry since I left home - except financial - and I'm certainly not going to dwell on that.

In connection with my husband, I think of that story that the great writer and playwright, Channing Pollock, tells - of a man - an old acquaintance of his in New York - whom he met on the street one day, wearing shabby clothes. Mr. Pollock said to him: "Bill, you've worked hard all your life; it's time you are taking things easier, and spending a little money on yourself." Bill replied, - a bit sheepishly, that he was carrying heavy insurance. "You see," he explained, "I want Betty (his wife) well taken care of if anything should happen to me." And he walked away in the afternoon sun, his suit shining - you know where. Suddenly the thought came to Mr. Pollock that that devoted man, in a shiny suit, was like a knight in shining armor, fighting - not in a twenty-minute joust for his lady - but for a lifetime of devotion. My Virgil is like that. It seems he has to go forth in "shining armor" every season. But he wears it gallantly. I do hope - for his sake - this is the last operation. Please forgive me if I have talked too much about my family. We are just ordinary folks - but I am inordinately proud of the way they have met this new burden. As for me, all the discomfort has been far offset by the gestures of kindness and affection. I have been privileged to hear from old friends that date back to my childhood. I had a card from one of my very first pupils. All these experiences make life richer and deeper. God's admonition - His chief command, "Love one another" is always more promptly obeyed where there is bereavement or illness. I'll try to pass it on to others. With gratitude for the many kind remembrances, I am,

Affectionately yours,
Florence B. Taylor

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