BY-WAYS - 4/25/46 - Bell Class Annual Meeting - Saturday, April 13.

The Flowers Committee of the Bell Class (our big Sunday School, a class of over 100 married couples) had a special meeting tonight - to do - guess what? Make hats for the men. Maybe our subconscious got the idea from Tom Breneman (Breakfast in Hollywood star). At any rate, each year we have to think up novel ways to present the yearly report of each committee at the annual meeting. Otherwise, 16 committee reports at one session make dry reading - and dull listening. Seven years ago I started writing jingles for our committee report, and it looks as if it's going to be a lifetime job. Each year our reports grow more elaborate and bizarre. Last year nearly every committee put on some kind of skit - limited, of course, to five minutes. Our Music Committee gave their report in "light opera." Since three couples in that committee celebrated their silver wedding during the preceding year, that unusual circumstance lent plenty of material for our 'opera.' Now the Flowers Committee is to be represented by its menfolk, each of whom will wear a gay hat, made of Dennison crepe paper and a beanie. There will be a poinsettia, a pansy, a forget-me-not, a daffodil; my Virgil will be an azalea bush. (I had to have help on mine). Two husbands, a doctor and a dentist, cannot come that night. We did so want Dr. Loucks, the dentist, to be there, and be a giant chrysanthemum. He weighs about 250.

Sunday. - This was a full day. We took Mother with us to Sunday School and church service. Since it was Palm Sunday, the music and the talks were especially beautiful. Henry Bell, who was our teacher for seven years, always teaches the Palm Sunday lesson - as only he can teach it. Henry is not the pious, sanctimonious type at all. He's just pure gold, and isn't aware of it. You might say of him that he has unbounded enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and all His teachings. Holy Week always gets a tremendous grip on Henry; we come away from his lesson with full hearts. Everybody was so nice to Mother. A good many of the Bell Class know by now that she does not see, and they make a point of speaking to her. She remarked as we started home after church, "I never saw such a friendly church." Which, to my notion, is the finest tribute she could pay it. We have a new stained glass window in our church, the Saint Stephen window (the gift of a wealthy member). The sermon was built around that window, or rather around Stephen, who is depicted in the center lancet, holding the stones of his martyrdom. Below him is an angel holding the inscription, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Dr. Phillips brought out the fact that, all through the history of Christianity, those who went down in apparent defeat are the very ones who brought about the victory - the victory for Christ and His cause. In the afternoon I hurried away to a funeral, while Virgil went his way to a concert given by his symphony orchestra.

Ten years ago this summer three of us started a writers' club, and appointed ourselves president, secretary, and treasurer. (I was the poor treasurer, and had a dreadful time with my accounts). We put a big notice in the paper about the first open meeting. About 20 women responded - and two men. One man dropped out after the second meeting, and one lingered, to become our welcome treasurer the next year. Because of his skillful recording of facts and figures, we elected him secretary and treasurer, year after year. He was never absent. He was never late. He always brought a car load of women - women who had no cars of their own. His wife died in 1928, after ten years of wheel-chair invalidism. His spinster sister and he kept house until her death three months ago. For our annual picnic they were our royal hosts at their summer cottage by the lake. Everyone in the club loved gentle, dignified Paul Stilson.

His facile pen wrote only lovely things, -
The kind of poetry that lilts and sings;
The witty verse that filled our hearts with laughter,
And left a glow that warmed us long thereafter.

Last Thursday night Mr. Stilson wasn't at the meeting. We were all surprised - all except the hostess and one other lady, who has obviously had a deep attachment for him for years. They told us he was to have an operation. We planned all the nice things we could do for him - the merry cards we would send, in reciprocation for the gay and witty messages he had sent us when we were hospitalized. Yes, this was our chance to do something nice for our gallant gentleman, who had given us so much. Friday morning we learned that he had been operated on Thursday evening - and died a few hours later. We of the Manuscript Club felt that he belonged especially to us. He had no close relatives, except a nephew. But when we got to the church where the services were held we found that other organizations felt the same way about him. He had been a fine singer in his heyday, and his old singers' club was there in a body, to sing his favorite song. Here was a man who was universally beloved.

I don't know why I write all this to you - unless it's an unpremeditated warning that we mustn't put off doing the nice things that our friends deserve. Part of our grief is always remorse. I believe - remorse for the good deeds we might have done, to make that life a little happier. Now there is just space for something in a lighter vein. Mother was in a deep study as she did the morning dishes. "A penny for your thoughts, Mother" as I came alongside of her. "Or aren't they worth a penny?" Quick as a flash came the retort, "They're worth only a ha'-penny. I was thinking of you." Then with that charming arch of the eyebrows she explained that that is an old Cornish expression. I stuck my neck out for that one. Now, good-by until next week.

Florence B. Taylor.

Next - 5/9/46 - Birthday Week in Review
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