BY-WAYS - 7/22/48 - Mary's Cakes - July 10

Greetings from Texas, dear friends!

Nice, sunny Texas, where Old Sol comes right down and sits in your lap. The mercury climbed to 96 degrees yesterday. It (the mercury) sent up its little red bunting to 100 degrees on the fourth - as a sort of patriotic gesture. It is Saturday morning, and Mary is icing the last of the 20 cakes ordered for today. Yesterday we sold 22. These are no ordinary cakes, but "lovely creations," as was expressed in the column written daily by the owner of the two stores who sell the majority of her cakes. You may know that they are good when people are willing to pay $1.50 for a 4"x8" lemon layer cake, or for an 8-inch chocolate angel food. I am quite chesty over the fact that Mary lets me prepare the orange chiffon cake - all by my little self. Of course she takes care of the icing. Let me give you a piece of advice: Never live with your employer, especially if she is an older sister. She makes me eat like a pig, "to keep up your strength," makes me take Basic B (vile stuff) twice a day, just in case I might be a dozen short on the red corpuscles. I must take salt tablets in hot weather, and soda mint after her generous meals. She even goes so far as to suggest that I take a bath twice a day. I tell you, it's a rugged life in her domain.

Texas really grows fine people - great-hearted people. Mary's heart is as big as all out-doors, and most of her friends are built on the same generous proportions, as far as friendship and hospitality and kindness are concerned. Here neighborliness operates in a big way. For example, "Clo" (Clotilde) Mansbendel, a neighbor across the way since Mary was a child, comes to Mary's aid on the cake-baking night or day. Clo was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Co. before her marriage in 1911 - to a very talented Swiss wood-carver. Hers was the first wedding I ever witnessed. Utterly unspoiled by money, success, and a degree of fame, she is a devoted mother and a devoted friend to Mary. (Her husband died eight years ago). I could go on and on, telling of the fine hospitality and neighborliness of these good folks. But I'd better close with a story told by one of these friends, who made me a dress, entirely gratis - just as casually - as one might lend a spool of thread. She told me yesterday of the man who went to Heaven. He asked St. Peter to take him on a tour of Heaven. As they strolled around, our new arrival spied two men attached to a mesquite tree by a long rope. "How come?" he asked St. Peter. "We have to tie them," replied our Saint, or they would run right back to Texas."


Unlike Shelley or Keats, I know nothing of odes,
Except that they're very commodious.
In expressing deep thoughts - and my deep thought right now
Is this: That the Sun can be odious.
You remember the fable of the Wind and the Sun,
Arguing which was the stronger,
And the Sun picked a man with a big overcoat,
And said, "I'll bet he can longer
Hold out 'gainst your blistering, hurricane ways."
Sure enough - you know the answer.
And so 'tis in Texas this blistering day,
You would think we were dying of cancer.
Men swelter and sweat; women swoon on a couch,
While the children jump into a pool.
The petunias wilt, and even the bees
Are in search of a place to keep cool.
But what is the use of the fretting and fuss? -
Or even the prayerful petitioning?
The only solution (for humans, at least)
Is the new wonder - air conditioning.

To offset any bad impression I may have given you about Texas, I want to tell you that it's hard to imagine anything more beautiful than the view from Mt. Bonnell at sunset. This mountain is only about five miles from Austin. It wears a beautiful dress of many shades of green. The cedar grows in abundance here. As you look out to the "rim of the world" from Mt. Bonnell, there is a purple haze of such rich color that Austin has been named the Violet Crown City. Mary took a carload of us out to Lake Austin the other evening - to visit some neighbors who have a cottage out there. We rode in Mr. Williams' Chris-Craft speed-boat. That, I assure you, is a refreshing and delightful experience. The sunsets are very lovely in Texas. But are they not so everywhere? Just one more evidence of the wonder of God's handiwork.

Now, good-by until next week.

Florence B. Taylor
3904 Ave F, Austin, Texas

Next - 8/8/48 - Home Economics ["Kitchen Tips"]
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