BY-WAYS 7/23/42 - Entertaining Angels Unawares - June 24, 1942

Today's column should be dedicated to Youth, for youth plays the leading role in the week's drama. First, there was the debonair sailor boy (pharmacist's mate - Second Class), Johnny Gilkerson, who came bounding up the marble steps at the (railway) Terminal - to the warm reception awaiting him. As soon as we found that he had over twenty-four hours to spend with us, we whisked him away to a restaurant, and then to the open-air concert. There we heard a great spiritual and civic leader, Rabbi Hillel Silver, tell us that "only the brave shall be free." He said that is not only takes great courage to win our freedom, but the greatest fortitude and vigilance to maintain that freedom. He made an impassioned plea for religious and racial tolerance - so necessary, if we are to present a united front against our modern tyrant and arch persecutor of certain race and creeds.

Marjorie Lemon asked me to leave her name out of last week's column; but this week's chronicles are not complete without her. When we found that her cousin Johnny was coming, we sent for her posthaste; so she has been an important member of the entertainment committee. After Johnny reached New York, he wrote us a charming letter, thanking us for the "grand time" he had; if we do right by him, we'll write and thank him for the grand time he gave us: the sage thoughts in his serious moments; the round of anecdotes at the dinner table; the succession of tricks and stunts with which he entertained us afterward. Visitors like that give more than they take.

As we get older, we are so apt to get "set," not only in our ways, but in our ideas; we resent some of the bizarre mental patterns of youth; but, if we are wise, we will welcome youth into our homes; often we are "entertaining angels unawares." Certainly they carry the flaming swords of courage, of righteous wrath against unfair use of power, against injustice, against things that are not "cricket." Why do we feel so good after an evening of fun? - especially, home-made fun? Because laughter washes all bitterness from the soul. Young folks know how to lay aside their cares of the day. Two of our number that gay evening are lonesome; one with her husband in Missouri - in a lonely outpost of freedom; the other with her fiance gone to parts unknown; Johnny, leaving home for unknown time and distance. Yet our house was redolent with laughter. Such is the spirit of youth.

I do know that Virgil Sr. has knocked off a few years since Merle has come to live with us. The mental sparring is good for both of them. Merle is a cook's delight - for he likes everything on the dinner table, and likes it abundantly. You have already heard too much about the Taylor kids; so we'll let them be the "also ran's."

Just a word about the Hut. While I was up in Highland Park, Charlie and his pals decided to dismantle it, tear it down, and rebuild it in a tree. They made a bonfire of the auto seat, the davenport, and the mattress. Well, you know what an odor burnt horsehair gives off; the moldy and smouldering cotton padding didn't help any. I'll warrant the neighbors felt like putting certain boy-men in concentration camps. Well, they're tree-dwellers now. Since Marjorie came to town, we've gone in for "higher learning." She suggested that we try to learn five new words a day. Then we try them out on Estelle and the men folks in the evening. Sometimes they don't know they are being insulted 'til they look up the word. Now, if some super-colossal words creep into this column, just blame them on my new etymologist, or lexicographer, or something or other. A short column again. This time, blame it on the weather. Honestly, the gray matter is all melted down to a grease spot. I can't remember when it has been quite so hot. See you next week, with some fine programs to share with you.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 8/6/42 - Mrs. Emily Wright - Piano duets with Aunt Phil. Barney at the Boaks.

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