BY-WAYS -2/20/41 - No rest THAT Sabbath - Sunday. Feb. 9.

Virgil is threatening to divorce me, naming an unusual cause - the church. It is a difficult charge to press, but none the less justifiable. The Sabbath is traditionally a Family Day with us. But I broke the precedent today, and spent the entire day at the church; first, teaching my wonderful class of girls; then, planning with them, during the second hour, the worship program for next Sunday, for which our class is responsible. Since I had to rehearse for a Missionary play at 4 P.M., I decided to forego the pleasure of the circuitous route home - by two street cars and two busses (we have no car right now) - reversing the vehicular promenade in the afternoon. I had set my mental alarm clock a half hour early, and prepared a one-pot, cooked-in-advance dinner - chop suey. (Estelle was visiting out-of-town).

By pre-arrangement I was to use the church office typewriter, to write the column. I got started at it before church service was quite over - and then came the avalanche - deacons, committee chairmen, Girl Scouts, all sorts of folks - into that office. I held my ground (meaning the swivel chair) and told them all (including our beloved pastor) that Mrs. Nesbett had resigned, and that I was the new secretary. My bluff was called in mid-afternoon, when I was all alone with my thoughts and the sacred responsibility of protecting that office and its treasures from intruders. (However, I was not alone in the building, for Jerry, our faithful colored custodian, and his good wife have a lovely suite of rooms in the basement, or rather, a sort of mezzanine between the basement and first floor. For years I could find no flaw in Jerry - not until I began to teach in the Junior department, which is above his apartment. Then I discovered that he just loves corned-beef and cabbage for Sunday morning breakfast. I still think that the flaw is not in him, but in the ventilating system). But to get back to the office - and my solitude. There came a knock at the door, and, following in its wake, the appearance of a perfectly strange, rather ill-assorted couple, who wanted to know how much it would cost to rent the small chapel of our church for a marriage service. To say that I was stumped is distinctly an understatement. I was flabbergasted. Of course, I hadn't the remotest idea. I had been married in my father's home, by a Presbyterian minister - long before this church was built. The few marriages I had witnessed in this church had only tender, beautiful association - no speculation as to their cost. I just thought that the church - like salvation - is free.

While explaining my own presence there, I was searching madly in my mind for the right source of information. I mustn't let them get away. After all, the church does need revenue. The mortgage isn't paid yet and every nickel counts. I had no idea that I could reach Mrs. Nesbett. These office people become, at least to me, ethereal beings who are unreachable after office hours. I called my Guiding Star of the church, a woman who seems to know everything, and does everything that is fine and noble. She gently referred me to the Chairman of the House Committee; he, whom I don't know from Adam, set his voice to certain vibrations which said, plain as day, "It's really none of your business;" but, according to the rules of etymology and syntax, his reply was, "Refer them to Mrs. Nesbett. Have them call the church office tomorrow." Now I know how a balloon tire feels, after being punctured. I think the poor couple felt a bit like flat tires, too. I tried to puff a little buoyancy into the ensuing tour of the inspection; but there was a subconscious feeling that we were all three clanking along on our mental rims. The man showed a marked deficiency of red corpuscles. He was as meek as Moses, and looked as if it had taken him thirty-five years to screw up his courage to the point of proposing. His reason for not wanting to be married in the church proper (which is long and cathedral-like) is that the aisle is too long - too many miles to the altar; while he would stand, in full view of the audience, waiting in agony for his bride-elect to walk her "last mile." I showed them the chapel, which the prospective bride said is too small for 100 guests; then I showed them our beautiful church parlor, which seats 150 and which I hoped would be, like the baby bear's chair, "just right." But they were non-committal. I can see that the girl is holding out for the main auditorium, and the long aisle, which is meant for beautiful brides and long trains. I it will all come out.

At any rate, if my column on soldiers was a bit wobbly, you will now understand the reason. (Remember, too, that I wrote it on an empty stomach - as well as the church typewriter). My Guiding Star, who is one of the leaders in Church School Education, beguiled me into staying to a teacher's meeting - from 6 to 7:30, using as a special lure the promise of a ride home. After an extension of my leave of absence, granted by my amiable husband, I decided the day's desertion might as well be complete. The Young People's Group was having their social time, which included a buffet lunch, at 5:30, preceding their devotional hour. Knowing most of them, I "horned in" on their meal, which consisted of delectable salads, potato chips, butter crackers, chocolate milk, and home-made fudge. I don't know whether it was the gorging or the exhausting schedule that made me go sound asleep in teacher's meeting. When I finally got home to my precious family (including Estelle) they looked well-fed and happy. Daddy and the boys had been occupied with reading, and listening to Winston Churchill (How inspiring!) and the Chicago University Round Table. But I told the family that if the Lord (and they) would forgive me for this day of desertion, I would never put in such another.

Monday. - Not only Blue Monday, but a quagmire, through which you walk with feet of lead. A hang-over, of course, from the day before. The Lord knew what He was doing when He prescribed one day of rest in seven. I don't know how it happened - for I thought I read the Saltsburg Press from "kiver to kiver" on Friday, the day it comes but I didn't discover Virginia McQuiston Morris' heartening letter until today. I am glad - for this was the day I needed it. That, and a letter from Neva Martin, put wings under my feet. Thank you both.

I expect to have a real treat for you next week, unless Leland Stowe, the noted war correspondent, to whose lecture I have bought a ticket, has a nervous breakdown in the meantime. One of our Cleveland reporters said that when Mr. Stowe landed in New York, a committee whisked him off to Columbia University, and a lecture, before he had a chance to change from his khaki scouting suit. All going well, we'll give you the low-down on Europe.

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor

Next -3/6/41 - The A B C Primer of Vitamins-Old and New