BY-WAYS -9/4/41 - Some Carry the Banner

One of the faithful supporters of this column - as well as loyal contributor - comes to the rescue again, with some helpful material, which I trust may take shape on this typewriter paper this afternoon. It is nearly two years since James R. Lytle of Bartow, Fla., sent that priceless contribution for Armistice Day, "Stars in Our Flag," and their meaning. That article, written by a new citizen of this country, and read in convention by Supt. Ed Cooper, of the National Letter Carriers' Association, is one of the finest I ever read. That same autumn Mr. Lytle wrote a fine article for The By-Ways, entitled, "The Highway of Life and Some of Its By-Ways." Last spring, when I asked for your opinion and suggestions for this column, Mr. Lytle took the time and pains to help and encourage all he could. One never forgets such gifts as these. Oh, yes, and the beloved song in its original setting, "Learn a Little Every Day," taken from the old family song book.

While our family was in Pa. (two weeks ago), some copies and excerpts from "The National Rural Letter Carrier," official magazine of the association, and a fine story from "The Country Gentleman" came by third class mail. The story, "Some Carry the Banner," is written by Lenora Mattingly Weber. No doubt several of you have read it - a sweet and tender story of a widow and her four young sons, and a fine, middle-aged doctor, whose conscientious work was an inspiration to the younger doctors in his student clinic. This mother cleaned the doctor's offices at night. The little boys had certain responsibilities - and, like little boys, slipped up now and then. But the mother had understanding and patience, and a great sense of proportion. No nagging over little things. With little "Nubbin" home all day (that's the littlest one) there was little chance for sleep, but she learned how to rest without sleep. She counted the four hours after school until she went to work, as golden hours, and the house was merry with fun. Danny, the oldest, was twelve. The other three looked up to him. What Danny did, that was the thing to do. Mrs. Cullen, the mother, set great store by Danny. Her constant prayer more "like an ache inside me," was "Danny, be good, else what would these little fellows have but bewilderment in their hearts?"

The good doctor called at her home, just before dawn, shortly after her arrival from a long night at work, to see if she might have found a letter that he dropped. Mrs. Cullen had found it outside the laboratory; only one name on it, "Constance," the name of a woman doctor, who was not the best type of womanhood. She had been using her seductive charms on the good doctor of our story. Mrs. Cullen slipped the letter into her pocket, that she might give it directly to the doctor. Now he was here, asking, rather shamefacedly, if she had found it. She gave it to him, gave him a cup of her steaming hot coffee; then told him about the children - about Danny, and the responsibility resting on him. Then she turned to Dr. Hartsorn, "And do you know, Doctor Hartsorn, often I'm cleaning your offices, when you're holding a clinic in your laboratory, of students, or may hap young doctors that come to get what they can from you. I look through the glass doors at them while I'm running the dust mop and, though I can't see you at all, I can see their faces. You're a big doctor, Doctor Hartsorn - ah, and a big man." She went on to tell him that, seeing the trusting look in their eyes, the same prayer, only more of an ache comes inside, "Stay good, Doctor Hartsorn - stay good always... They need your bigness and your goodness." The doctor thought she was asking too much of the Dannys of the world. "Maybe I do ask too much," she replied, "But my mother said it often. "Them as carry the banner must hold it high." If only public leaders everywhere, famous men and women, could remember that we common folks all look to them to hold up the banner for all of us. For when they stumble and drag it in the mud, we who have looked to them are robbed of something...."

The clock struck six - time for Danny to be wakened. Dr. Hartsorn rose, stepped over to the stove, lifted the lid, and slipped the letter marked "Constance" into it. Gently he said, "Thank you, Mrs. Cullen, for the - refreshment you've given me."***

News about the National Letter Carriers next time.

Florence B. Taylor

Next -9/11/41 - The Rural Letter Carrier