BY-WAYS - 6/2/40 - I NEED YOU

Through all the carefree days of childhood fun,
And now the teen age - turbulent and gay
When daily tasks were waiting to be done,
When restless fledglings want to fly away,
The magic words that brought my little one,
The only words, sometimes, that make them stay:

"I need you." "I need you."

Upon the threshold of tomorrow all
Our youths are poised - to rise, or fall.
We MUST find jobs; then send the clarion call:

"We need you."


I wish it were as easy to find jobs as it is to write a poem about it. Nevertheless, I feel very strongly about the matter. Someone wrote, not long ago, that the secret of Hitler's power is his ability to make every youth in Germany feel that he is needed - that he (the youth) is necessary to Germany's success - in war or peace. May we never direct the energies of our youth into such Godless channels as Hitler is doing, and has been doing for some time. But, if we are to maintain the spirit that conquered the wilderness of this New World, and held it fast against all tyranny, we must take our youth in hand; diminish the size of his wish-bone, strengthen his backbone, develop his sinews, and put a bugle in his heart. I don't mean a war bugle, but a resounding call to duty, that each young person hears within himself. I am appalled at the idleness of city boys. It is my most serious problem - finding constructive work for our boys. The modern generation may be just as good, if not better than the one that preceded it, but it is certainly going soft, as far as work is concerned. I truly envy my farmer friends, who have such interesting and varied activity and can teach their boys the real meaning of work. Being a country girl, I haven't much imagination or ingenuity about city jobs for other people; but, having been trained to work, I can't tolerate idleness. Surely there is a solution for this unemployment problem. Vast acres, going to waste; and the finest physical energy (and with it, the mental) going to waste. What can we do about it?

Two new houses are being built, right across the street from us. It is interesting to watch the men work. Taking them individually, their speed is in inverse ratio to their age. The speediest, most skilled worker is a white-haired brick mason. And when he walks, he walks as if he has a destination. Most of them must "meander." Sometimes I feel that they need a sample of the "lively" experience that befell a circuit preacher many years ago. My father's favorite doctor used to tell the story of the traveling preacher, who arrived, in early spring, at the home of the sexton of the church where he was to preach the next day. It was late at night, and the preacher's clothes were drenched with rain. The good sexton made him comfortable for the night; but the parson's suit of clothes was not dry enough to put on the next morning. The sexton loaned him his best coat, and a pair of trousers that had been hanging in an unheated room. Now, a little family of bees had made those trousers their winter headquarters, but they were too benumbed with cold to make any protest at first. It wasn't until the preacher stood near the stove in that little country church that the bees began to tack up the "NO TRESPASSING" sign. The parson began to pray, "Oh, Lord." (Slap went his hand on an offending bee). "Oh, Lord" (Slap. This story is really good, when that 200-pound doctor tells it, with appropriate gestures). After a third attempt, the good parson opened his eyes, and explained, "My good friends, the Lord is in my mouth, but the devil's in my pants." ***

Now, I must close. But I have a brand new joke or two for the next time. We'll HAVE to laugh - to keep our sanity.

Sincerely yours,
Florence B. Taylor

Next -7/4/40 - The divine in us. Taking Time.