BY-WAYS - 12/9/43 - Suggestions, Anyone? - December 1, 1943

My Dear Friends,

For the first time in the years I have been receiving the Press it did not arrive here on Friday or Saturday of the week it is published. So I do not know whether my letter of last week arrived in Saltsburg on time or not.

Christmas is coming. And that means the New Year is just around the corner. Last year, in the full tide of war work, I could not plan my special features or improvements for the "column." But this new year there must be an improvement. And I want you to help me. Once a month I would like to write about the parables and teachings of Jesus - perhaps with the title, "If Jesus Were Now on Earth." Have you some suggestions to make? There must be the brave facing of realities - and bearing our share of the world's crosses. But there must be the lift of laughter - to keep us balanced. There must be the constant renewal and reinforcement of our faith. Please be thinking about helpful suggestions - and send me that priceless gift for Christmas.

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor

G.I. Christmas

Dear Mother and Dad:

It is late Christmas Eve. I've been to the U.S.O.,
Where we sang all the carols - and Finklestein's Band put on a wonderful show.
But I hurried back to my own little bunk - to the annual rendezvous
With old Santa Claus - when we hang up our socks - just as you did, and taught us to do

There's no open fireplace, no chimney for Nick, no mantel to pin to at all;
But just for old times' sake I've pinned my big socks - G.I. socks - up here on the wall
They look funny now - almost like bags - disconsolate, empty you know;
But tonight, as I dream my pet dreams - for you folks, and the Christmases of long ago,
They'll fill up to bursting, and then overflow, transforming our bare barracks room
To a real Christmas wonderland - two thousand miles from the war and its grimness and gloom.

The very first Christmas that I can remember - lolly pop down in the toe;
A shiny blue ball - and a fuzzy wee dog, who yipped when I squeezed him - so.
The next year a Ford truck in miniature; a red fire engine following soon.-
The compass, the Ingersoll watch - Boy Scout knife (then and now such a wonderful boon).

These were but the tangible tokens, of course, that were seized upon with avid glee-
But now I look back - and I realize all those Christmases stored up in me;
The hush of the twilight, the lights on the snow, and the story of Jesus' birth;
The light in your eyes as you tucked me in bed - and the carolers' song, "Peace on Earth,"

My storehouse of happiness - hedged all about by your love, and the lessons you taught;
The Sunday School stories, the sermons, the prayers; of these my bright armor is wrought.
When I feel rebellious, disgruntled, fed up - or sometimes spirits get low-
I think of George Washington at Valley Forge- without socks in the snow

I'll draw from my storehouse of dreams, Dad and Mom, from out of the lush year of the past:
I want you to know that you gave me the gifts of the spirit - that surely will last
through this hideous war - and the lean years to come; and remember, when I'm far away,
No matter what happened, away down inside, I'm the boy that you raised. I'm 1-A!

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 12/16/43 - Troubles Three

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