BY-WAYS 9/2/43 - The Boak's home - August 26, 1943 - 4501 Lilac Road, South Euclid, Ohio

What kind of folks are the Boaks? They are practical farmers. Yet they have such love of beauty in their souls that they tear down a utility house because it cut off part of the sunset. They have shrewdly managed their business affairs so that they are "well fixed." But they glory in the marvelous blue of an August sky - and the fast-moving white clouds, that look like great balls of phosphorescent cotton, that some giant hand has opened, and strewn about, just to embellish the great blue dome. Out there in the country the moon is much bigger than here in the city. Why is it? Is it because the air is clearer, and thus magnified it? The Boaks have no time to loll in their nice lawn glider and chairs by day; but they sit out there in the evening, and watch the moon come up. The tiny musicians of the night tune up their instruments, and put on their own symphony concert. If we do not think their notes harmonious, it is because our ears are not yet attuned to nature's music. The tiny fireflies do not really light up the stage for this concert. They only remind us how vast and wondrous is God's theater. The charm of that home lies first of all in its age. The house itself is over one hundred years old. The trees surrounding it must have been planted as soon as the home was built. A tall pine tree stands like a sentinel at the northeast corner of the house. (The house faces east.) A majestic elm spreads its shade over the southeast lawn. Huge maple trees give the farm its name, "Maple Valley Farm." This farm once boasted the finest "sugar bush" (as they call their sugar maples) in Geauga County. But some witless transient owner cut it down. No one knows why. Barney and I made a tour of the farm one day; found a field of fine, hybrid corn - also country gentleman - all late, as is the general condition in this part of the country; some green fields that had yielded up their oats and hay; pasture land, where we called on the Boak cows - one Jersey and one Guernsey, lying contentedly in the shade of a big tree. I took off my hat to them, figuratively speaking, and told them they give the finest cream and butter imaginable. "How do you do it?" said I. They just blinked their soft brown eyes, shifted their cud, and winked, "That's a milkitary secret."

The most tantalizing wild cherry trees bordered the pasture land, producing their tiny cherries in the greatest profusion. Mm...m. What jelly they make! But they are too slow this year to be of any use to me. Barney is quite a collector. He collected the finest mass of burrs in his long white hair. His big feet got into the mud; he was a sight. We got back just in time to get a ringside seat at a contest between "Propwash," the all-tiger kitten, and a little garter snake. The "arena" was the bare spot where the big utility house had stood. The kitten knew he had a choice meat dinner ahead of him - no ration points required. He toyed leisurely with the squirming creature, heading off its every exit. Then he playfully tossed it up in the air. That snake was furious! He coiled, and struck - again and again - his harmless two-pronged tongue darting like lightning. Propwash was entirely unperturbed - just waiting until the helpless creature would wear himself out. Before we knew it, the fight had shifted to the grass border, and the desperate reptile slithered into the thick grass, and disappeared - for good. What an anti-climax! I was a disappointed as a hard-boiled senora or senorita at a Mexican bull fight. Do I sound callous? I have never been able to comprehend the callousness of the Mexican and Spanish women, who can even look upon such a cruel sport, let alone call it "sport." On the other hand, I do not like snakes - which shows how primitive I am in my emotions. I'm afraid I am not as tender-hearted as in childhood. I couldn't stand it to see a big cat tormenting a helpless little mouse - so I took it away from her. The tiny prisoner requited my chivalry by biting my finger "to the bone" - or so it seemed.

Now another week has rolled around - and another deadline. There is still so much to tell about that interesting family - the Boaks. I'll really get in to that next week. (The animals always sidetrack me.) In the meantime, my grateful thanks to all those who made my husband's visit down there so pleasant.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 9/9/43 - Charles' Column
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