BY-WAYS - 12/16/43 - Troubles Three - February 3, 1944 - Dec. 5, 1943 (Delayed in transit)

Hello everybody! How are you this nice October - I mean, December day? I hope it's just as nice in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Chicago, and points west and south. Messages from some of you this week have given me a wonderful lift. And, believe me, I need it. I think I'll tell you about the avalanche of trouble that has descended upon Mother and Dad Taylor's household, just to show you the Spartan courage of the women-folks. Two weeks ago (come tomorrow) my sister-in-law, Margery, who has long been an invalid, lost her balance, fell, and broke a rib. Thanksgiving Day Father Taylor came down with a cold, went the next day to a nice old doctor who had time to see him, but who didn't help him a bit. He kept getting worse. We put his head in a tent, and had him inhale all the incense sent up to the goddess of bronchitis. Tuesday my brother-in-law, Clarence, reached the end of his rope. An expert accountant, he found he was jumbling his figures, and forgetting what he had done. The willing horse, who had pulled a double load at the office for two years or more, broke down in the harness. Now he will need a long rest - with jangled nerves that will not lie still. When Margery called the doctor - our doctor - for Clarence, he examined Dad, too, and found he has bronchial pneumonia. Well, that verdict sent two men to bed. That left an invalid with a broken rib, and a little Spartan with only two per cent vision, to take care of them. Margery and Dad always find something to joke about. But when all this trouble befell them, I thought "Well, they can't find anything funny in this situation." But they did. And I don't mean to infer that they are silly folks. They just know that laughter keeps you sane. The doctor prescribed that powerful sulfa drug for Dad's pneumonia, warning Margery that it might make Dad a little delirious - and not to be alarmed. She, in turn, told Dad that he might go a little batty - but not to worry; that he would come around all right. So he called her to his bedside, and, with a twinkle even in those watery eyes, he gave his orders. "Now, Margery, while I am still sane - I want you to see that the ashes are taken out of the furnace; and while I am still in my right mind, I want whoever carries them out to put them in the southeast corner of the garden, and while I still have my sanity ..." and by that time they were weeping with laughter. It's a funny thing, but Dad, who adores Mother, is so cantankerous with her; and when I come along, to put on mustard plasters, etc., he is as meek as a lamb. Which is no compliment to me. Of course Phillippa is their tower of strength. Dad is now out of danger - if he will just stay in bed. As for Clarence, he is paying dearly for his willingness and loyalty. In addition to his heavy load at the office he has given five pints of blood. And I know some husky folks who haven't given any.

I've decided to tell you very briefly about this friend who is moving to California. To tell the whole story would be to reveal her identity, since I wrote about her once before. When I first knew her she had overcome a tremendous physical handicap, was raising an orphan boy, was managing an unreasonable husband, was earning her own living (since her husband could not) and was doing incalculable good in the world. The warmth and strength and sweetness of her gave her a magnetic personality, and you looked up to her as an ideal. Two years ago the orphan boy went to war; but he is stationed rather permanently in California. Her husband, who seemed more or less of a millstone around her neck, died a year ago. Since she lives clear across the city, I did not get to see her until the other day, when I went over to tell her good-bye. I was rejoicing that a fine, good man, who must have loved her for years, had just made her his wife; she could quit working - in fact, did quit in September. A darling little home was awaiting her in California - near her foster son. But was she happy? Yes, I suppose. But she was fussy and petulant, and critical of some of her friends. And the new husband had to toe the mark. I was shocked at the change - with a most unhappy disillusionment. But it goes to show that when we cease reaching for the fruits of life - and the plums just fall in our laps, we cease reaching and attaining the fruits of the spirit. If we have plenty of "plums" for ourselves, then we should be reaching to get some for others. It takes character to do that, when your own lap is full of plums.

Now I must close with a joke - to offset my solemn essay. This is a true Thanksgiving story - in Cleveland. A certain school was giving a Thanksgiving play about the Pilgrims and the friendly Indians of that first Thanksgiving. The teacher told them that if they could bring turkey feathers for the Indian headgears, that would be fine. To the teacher's dismay one little fellow came back the next day, and reported, "My mother says that if you think we're going to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving so you can play around with turkey feathers, you're crazy." Good-by, folks.

Florence B. Taylor.
4501 Lilac Road,
South Euclid, 21, Ohio.

Next - 12/23/43 - Mrs. Malinda Jane (Elrick) Lytle

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