4/17/41 - Lake Lilac - "A-Ridin' on a Raft" BY-WAYS -4/17/41 - Lake Lilac -

"A-Ridin' on a Raft"

"C'mon, you guys, and fetch some boards; When Bill, the big shot, got too smart,
We're gonna build a raft. And tumbled off the raft,"
I'll let you help - but I'm the boss; Ah, debonair and brave Huck Finns!
Y' see, I'm takin' craft. "The fellow must be daft
"Say, Mom, we made it quick as heck - Who dreams of bliss compared to this:
And - oh, boy - how we laffed A-ridin' on a raft.

It is spring again. But the above poem is a memory of another spring - a year ago - when the sky buckets turned upside down, and blessed our neighborhood boys with a real lake. "Lake Lilac" it was called. Never was a lake more zealously navigated. The home-made raft listed just enough to make it interesting. If the side door opened softly, and there were padded footsteps on the basement stairs, then I knew that Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer Taylor had skidded off the raft... Why is it that boys have a phobia against water, when it is accompanied by soap and a wash-cloth, and yet such an affinity for it "straight," or mixed with mud? Well, Lake Lilac is all dried up this spring. There are new and greater interests. The gang meets in the Taylor living room (for want of more private quarters). Your reporter (who does a little cooking on the side) couldn't help overhearing snatches of the plans. Bill, the leader of the gang, then sold the copyright for a mess of pottage (gingerbread).

These are war days, when the enemy must be guarded against - by land and sea. So, the club, in addition to all the necessary offices of a club, must have army and navy officers, and rigid army discipline. (I think the navy officers were commissioned before Lake Lilac dried up. Bill, the oldest, the biggest - and of course, the wisest, is chosen president of the club and admiral of the navy. Virgil, the next in size, is vice president, general and sheriff, and so on, down the line - a mixture of secretary, lieutenant, treasurer, deputies. Bill, the lanky one, is speaking. "Now, the best way to keep order is to slap on a fine when a fella gets to horsin' around." Leo: "Let's make Chuck chairman to take care of fines. He's not much good at carpenter work." Bill: "All those in favor say 'Aye'." The chorus of "ayes" range a whole octave in tone. Chuck (bristling with importance): "Now, any fella horsin' around within 300 feet of the club gets a ten-dollar (ten-cent) fine slapped on him, huh, Bill?" Bill: "Yeh, man." Dudley (who likes plenty of leeway): "Heck, don't make a lot of crummy rules. A guy can't have no fun." Virge (very serious): "We can't have horsin' around. We've got tanks and pill boxes to make." Bailey: "All right, Goon Taylor. Give us the works." The gang goes into a huddle - with plans beyond the comprehension of a mere woman. The gang has been saving up lumber all winter. Now, with feverish activity, they build their club headquarters. Six feet high, six feet wide, and ten feet long - this year it is a real house. For want of a better name, they call it "The Hut." But they are improving and expanding each year. Two years ago "The Hut" was built of carton paper. Last year, it was orange crates; this year, real lumber. Next year it will probably be of brick. The furniture is quite snazzy. A real table - for conferences and eats; an old radio cabinet for a buffet; chairs made out of orange crates.

Last week was vacation. So I had a nice program mapped out for the boys: The bathroom ceiling and walls to be washed; also the windows on the outside. I even dreamed of having the yard all cleaned up. Monday the boys simply had to help the gang finish the hut. Otherwise it wouldn't be loyal. Tuesday I had to go away - to take part in a long-promised mission play. Virgil was nicely started on the window-washing when I left. We couldn't find our chamois skin, so he used Bon Ami powder. When I came home, at 3:30, the house looked like a deserted store. Every window "white-washed." I remembered my vacation resolution, and smiled. "Boys will be boys." When I reached the ice-box with the evening supply of meat, and found an upset cream pitcher, with its contents garnishing left-overs and egg crates, I forgot my erstwhile resolution, and, disregarding my good shoes, made a bee-line for the hut, where a party was in full swing - in honor of an old neighbor out in Lyndhurst, who had come in to spend the afternoon. Harmless fun, I feel a twinge of remorse when I recall how the laughter died down - slowly but surely - when I made our boys come home. It takes great wisdom to be a good mother.

What a beautiful Easter we have had! Perfect weather - wonderful sermons - and the crowning joy, my Pennsylvania folks - Ina and Marjorie Lemon, and one of my favorite people - Merle Deemer. How glad we are that the automobile has shortened the distance between Saltsburg and Cleveland! A perfect Easter. Good-bye until next week.

Florence B. Taylor.

Next -4/24/41 - CAROTENE