- January 25, 1945 - The Telfords. Too Little ... and Too Late

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen The present need - to lick Japan. -
The saddest are these: 'It might have been'!" The need of more tanks, shells, and guns -
Thus Whittier wrote of the farmer's lass To beat the everlasting Huns.
And the lordly judge who chanced to pass. - The need of understanding here
But add these words of a later date; Of our boys' earth-hell - far and near. -
"Too little - little - and too late!" Oh, let us spare their anguished cry:
The needed succor at Bataan; "Too little - and too late! We die."

It's strange - and yet not so strange - how everything you want to write about turns warward. The title of the above poem came to me as I read and meditated upon the passing of Mrs. Mabel Telford of Indiana. I told you once how she and her noble husband, the late Judge Telford - "Uncle Jim" and "Aunt Mabel," we called them - left the latchstring out for their nieces and nephews at all times. Since I was lucky enough - for two whole years - to be the room-mate of one of those nieces - Ethel Henderson, I was admitted into paradise on her ticket every Sunday; oftener, if a whim wafted us there. How Ethel and I loved to go there! For one thing, we escaped a nauseous mutton dinner in the Normal School dining room. Surely, after 31 years, I can't be sued for libel - of the Sunday mutton dinners that are no more (I hope, I hope). For years I refused to taste lamb - thinking that all ages and stages of sheepmeat were vile, as I recalled and recoiled from the big platter of greasy mutton, whose edges had turned to tallow by the time the chilling platter had reached the twelfth victim at our dining table. All this seems beside the point - but I tell it to you to emphasize our gastronomic delight in Uncle Jim's home-grown, home-cooked chicken, and all the delectable trimmings that appeared on that well appointed table.

Well, I mustn't repeat all the things I wrote before about this wonderful couple. I can testify to the newspaper account of their love of children. I can't remember a time when they weren't making a home, for at least one little waif, whose home was broken by death or delinquency. "Uncle Jim" was forced to sentence many a miscreant to prison - but he could not bear to have the children suffer; he saw to it that they got a lucky break. Aunt Mabel saw to it that every little girl in her household was trained in the nice art of home-making. Three or four years ago - when I learned that Aunt Mabel had lost her sight, I thought I was going to make it up to her - all the happiness she and Uncle Jim had given me. But alas! I failed completely. Last November - on my way to Punxsutawney - I stayed overnight with my good friend, Helen Henderson Streams, and visited the two Mabels - "Aunt Mabel," who lay ill, and Mabel Henderson Hopkins, who was caring for her. Through all the years of widow-hood and old age, with its attendant ills - and that affliction so overwhelming to one who loves to read - blindness - Aunt Mabel's faith in God and His eternal goodness had not wavered. I knew she could not get well - but had no idea that the end was so near. For the first time in nearly twenty years I sent her a Christmas greeting and a personal message. Too little - far too little - expression of appreciation of all that she and "Uncle Jim" had done for me. As I meditate upon the generosity and magnanimity of this grand couple, the following thoughts come to me:

When two great souls pass on from earthly sight,
The torch they carried does not flicker out -
But, carried Heavenward, gives greater light,
And casts a lovely glow earthward - and all about.
And then, besides, their flaming torch has lit
A thousand little candles, such as mine;
Thus we move forward - upward - bit by bit,
Until we catch and hold the spark divine.

In loving remembrance,
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 1/3/46 - Too Soon Forgotten

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