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

It becomes more and more a pleasure to write this little column, as I hear from old friends and a new one now and then - and know that you are bearing patiently with me to the bottom of the page. God did plant in the garden of the heart those flowers that have "everlasting" blooms - faith, hope and charity. I do appreciate your faith and charity, and I know that each week you hope I'll do better the next time. Well, friends, so do I. And when you write to me, the "column" becomes a personal letter, written to YOU and YOU in my home town and country, to YOU in Illinois, Colorado, Delaware, California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, New York, et al. By the way, may I ask Mary Posterelo Coscia for her address? She kindly sent a card from her new home - to which I would like to reply. May she and her good husband "live happily ever after."***

Mrs. Emily Nelson Wright, of Cleveland and Philadelphia, is spending her summer vacation in Cleveland. Her visits to our home are real musical events - for she not only plays the piano beautifully, but inspires all other musicians to their best. Last Tuesday night was a special treat, when she and Phillippa, Virgil's sister, played piano duets. Then they took turns accompanying Merle and Virgil on the violin and cello respectively. A young niece and nephew of Phillippa's husband were in the small but appreciative audience. During a brief intermission Mrs. Wright told the story of the mamma cat that swallowed a whole ball of yarn (of course by inches.) and when her kittens were born, each wore a tiny sweater. Doris, the little girl, looked incredulous; but it was a kindly, gray-haired grandmother who was telling the story - so it must be true. Very gently we had to tell Doris that Mrs. Wright was telling a fairy tale. All the interstices of her musical mind are filled with mirth and the joy of living. Speaking of kittens, I must tell you another story that involves Barney, the erstwhile pup that we acquired on the day that our beloved Buster was killed. If Bob Burns, the Arkansas "magnifier" were telling this tale, he would tell you that Barney, the collie, grew so large that he could no longer go through an ordinary door - that we had to keep him in the garage and park the car in the yard. To tell the truth, Barney did grow so big - especially his feet - that if he walked over or through a flower bed his big feet laid it flat. His favorite "boneyard" was the choice new lawn across the street. Altogether he became a public nuisance - to keep him tied was torture - so the boys agreed that he needed a country home. One of Virgil's fellow-workers bought a big farm last August, and in September this man and his lovely wife took Barney to their home and hearts. He is in his element out there. But when we went to see him in October, he knew us all, and leaped upon the boys in an ecstasy of joy.

Just the past week Mr. Boak (his master) told of Barney's devotion to a family of kittens. At first he was jealous of them - in his gentle way. When a kitten was being cuddled, this shaggy white "elephant" wanted to be a lap dog. But he soon took the kittens into his affections, and looked after them like a parent. The other day a visitor came to the farm in his car. As he backed out of the drive, the family's favorite kitten became confused and got in the way of the relentless wheels. Well, Barney was in the greatest distress. He went to the poor little, lifeless kitten, and tried to make it get up. He used in paw to try to help it; then he dashed to the back door, to call Mrs. Boak, who had witnessed the tragedy, but stayed indoors. She started out to the barn to get Mr. Boak, but Barney felt she should administer first aid to the inanimate kitten. He reached up and gently caught the tail of her jacket in his teeth and tried to pull her toward the little bundle of fur. He was so distraught that Mrs. Boak had to take him into the house and hold him fast while Mr. Boak buried his tiny playmate.

Charlie is getting his bike tuned up for the 25-mile ride out to Mr. Boak's farm. (And 25 miles back again). Barney's devotion to a little kitten has stirred up an aching nostalgia in the hearts of our boys. I guess we'll have to get another dog. Now, it's closing time.

Florence B. Taylor


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