BY-WAYS -9/18/41 - Teachers' Picnic - Sat. Sept. 13

A perfect day for a picnic. Such was planned for the teachers and officers of our Sunday school - or church school, as it is now called. Instead of having a superintendent, we now have a whole board to run things. This board, made up of twelve people, is called "The Board of Christian Education." My, my! They're so dignified, they scare poor little me, a brand new member. If they would remove three of the light-hearted type, that board could pass for the Supreme Court. Well, the Board thought it a good idea to have a picnic, to welcome the new teachers, and create a spirit of camaraderie. Three of us were drafted into the picnic committee. "One flew away (to an out-of-town conference) and then there were two." Our chairman had the gigantic task of rounding up all the eats - corn-on-the-cob, sliced ham, buns, butter, pickles, ice cream, cake and coffee. Our hostess furnished tomatoes and sliced cucumbers. The time set for the afternoon fun was three o'clock. The chairman had no choice but to put me in charge of the games and sports. I thought, "I'll fool them; I may be only a woman, but I'll put some of those stuffed shirts through their paces." Our Cleveland Heights school board is most generous, in sharing its recreational equipment with churches and all sorts of organizations for use at their picnics or parties. Our host has a badminton set. I borrowed from the school board a volley ball and net, two baseballs and bats, a set of horseshoes and twelve bean bags. For "ice-breakers" I planned some silly stunts, like racing with an inflated balloon between one's knees; the men racing, "pack-horse" style, with bean bags and apples balanced on their backs. And what do you think happened? With the exception of seven or eight board members, nobody came until it was time to get the corn husked for supper. Which goes to show that humans still belong to the animal kingdom, with eating as a major interest. The picnic was held in a lovely spot - the country home of two of our few wealthy members, a doctor and his wife, the latter being my "Guiding Star" of the church. Their quaint lodge burned to the ground a few years ago, but they have now replaced it with a glorified log cabin, the living room of which measures about 18x30, and is furnished in keeping with the Log Cabin era. There is the old corner cupboard, with its gnawed base sill, betraying the wee mousie's fondness for good victuals. There is the spinning wheel and the homespun coverlets. There is a "loft," above one end of the living room, where the 19-year-old boy bunks in pioneer style. The huge open fireplace, luckily needed that night, is the crowning feature. The man who built the beautiful stone chimney also built the huge outdoor fireplace. There we cooked our 8 dozen ears of corn in the wash boiler, made our coffee in a mammoth kettle. Such fun! Everyone lays aside his dignity like a burden-some cloak, when he attacks an ear of corn. I needn't have worried about "breaking the ice." Good old American corn and an ever-threatening bench collapse did the trick.

At dark we moved into the charming living room, where we had some community singing, the high spots from a conference, from which our associate pastor returned just in time for supper, a prayer for guidance in the coming year; then, the chairman, feeling badly about all my fond preparations, told me to carry on from there. I tried out my "Get-acquainted" game planned for the out-of-doors, but everyone played up to it beautifully, and it worked out fine. The group arranged their chairs in a circle; the leader has two golden wands (two long, slender maple rods, which never did get their golden coat); he points them simultaneously at two persons, each of whom tries madly to say the other person's name first. It was just like the good old game of "patent Medicine." Remember? The slow one is then "it"). To remove every vestige of austerity from the members of the board, I made them stand in a row, each one turn saying a nursery rhyme with a lollipop in his mouth. That picnic unearthed some sparkling wit and undreamed-of elan.

Sunday - Rally Day. But the church school members did not rally very well. I guess they have not rallied from vacationitis. Our associate pastor gave such a good talk, "Every man Standing in His Own Place," taken from the book of Nehemiah (Don't ask me what chapter). He used the inspiring story of Gideon and his select army of 300 men, chosen out of 20,000. They won the battle, because: 1. They were constantly on the alert against danger. 2. They obeyed their leader instantly and implicitly. Such is our duty as Christian soldiers. To end this letter on a light note (in these heavy, ominous days), let me relate two "honors" that were brought to light in the Baptist conference at Granville, O. Urging greater study of the Bible, a certain minister told of the college student who thought the epistles were wives of the apostles. A teacher asked his class the difference between seraphim and cherubim. Could the replaying student have been facetious when he said he knew there had been a difference, but he thought they had made it up? Goodbye until next week. "Look up, not down; look out, not in; look forward, not backward."

Florence B. Taylor

Next -9/25/41 - The Landlord