This week let us journey leisurely together - not over the old Mission trails - nor to visit the teeming life of a city - but into the gentle BY-WAYS of Book-land. The long-cooking desire to write this piece has crystallized at last by the arrival this week of a dear little magazet, called the "Sunshine Magazine." It is like the unexpected but joyous return of an old friend. This little magazet was Mr. Walker's Christmas gift to me for several years. I trust it brought as much pleasure and inspiration to the hospitalized Service men as it did to me. And now I am indebted to Gertrude Portser Ford, song bird of Saltsburg, for the present "ray of sunshine." May I ask, through this column, for her address - that I may thank her personally? The March issue that came is a treasure house of gems for the soul. As soon as a few friends and I are finished with it, I shall send it "back home" - to your library. Be sure to read "Fixed Stars" - a guide to true living; "The Heritage of the Hands," an unforgettable story. Come to think of it, there isn't a story, a poem, or essay that is not well worth the reading. Thank you, Mrs. Ford. ***
There is another reader of the BY-WAYS - and longtime friend - to whom my thanks are long overdue. She is Ella Elliott Hudson, who prefers to do her kind deeds anonymously. But I could not bring myself to talk of the fine book she sent me for Christmas without giving acknowledgment to its generous donor. No doubt many of you have read "A Lantern in Her Hand," by Bess Streeter Aldrich. For some reason I had not - though I am one of Mrs. Aldrich's ardent admirers. Her little Christmas story, "The Drums Beat Dead," is one of the best. "A Lantern in Her Hand," is the story of a pioneer woman, Abbie Mackenzie Deal, who was brought up in a long cabin in Iowa. As a young bride she took the covered wagon trail to Nebraska. There, in a crude little house on the prairie, she raised her family, holding steadfast to her marriage vows and her woman's faith and courage. As a girl and young woman she had wanted to go East - to take voice lessons for a really promising future. But she chose love instead - real love. She and Will Deal weathered the heart-breaking struggles of the pioneer days. When, at last, at a ripe old age, surrounded by her children and grand-children, she saw all her work and sacrifice bear rich fruit, Abbie Deal found her reward. All the things that she wanted to do and be were realized in her splendid children. At the end of the road she could say, with that gentle poet, Joyce Kilmer: Because the road was steep and long, And through a dark and lonely land, God set upon my lips a song, And put a lantern in my hand. ***
Now our third stop-over in Bookland was to have been Mabel Ansley Murphy's inspiring book for children. "They Were Little Once." I am justifiably proud of that book - and of our fellow townwoman, who wrote it. In fact, she has made us proud of her all along the way. We want to linger with their children who grew up to be great men and women. So let's spend a whole week with them - another time. ***
I started this column the day we moved - Thursday, the 15th. But now it is Saturday, the deadline. I have time and space but to tell you that we have a lovely three-room apartment - or annex to a private home. Miss Smith, our gracious landlady, had it built for her aging parents, now deceased. We consider it the greatest luxury to have a private bath (all tile), an iceless refrigerator, a bed as soft as eider-down, a davenport, easy-chair, rocker, "occasional" chair, lamps, a "den," or sun parlor, green grass all around us, lovely roses, etc. Oh, we are rich! A grand young couple, former tenants at 408 Chestnut, spoke for us and notified us the moment the vacancy was imminent. Otherwise we would never have known. Bless their young hearts! 'Tis a beautiful world. Good-by, my friends, until next week.
Florence B. Taylor.
447 W. 6th St.,
Long Beach 12, Calif.
P.S. Cousin Knox descended upon our former domicile - like an angel straight out of Heaven - the very day we moved. In fact, Virgil was working at his gardening - and I was to be out of there by two o'clock. That blessed cousin came to the rescue, carrying dresses, housecoats, suits, etc. in his arms - up the street to his car. He lugged cartons, dish pans, vases of flowers - everything in sight. Whatta pal!
Next - 12/18/47 - No Use Crying Over Spilt Buttermilk...
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