BY-WAYS - 11/18/48 - More Tidbits from the "Y." Pessimism - Saturday, November 13

Greetings, friends!

"The melancholy days have come, the saddest of the year."

Now, isn't that a mournful note on which to open a column? Never mind. I'm writing it with my tongue in my cheek. There are no such days as "melancholy days" - except within yourself. I've changed my mind a bit about the importance of weather, climate, et cetera. Now, understand, I'm crazy about California climate. and I am mighty proud of the fine cousins and uncle and aunts that live there. But I learned two years ago - though too stubborn to admit it - that there is no chill to compare with the chill around your heart when you are 2500 miles away from your children and other loved ones. I hope it isn't true - what the shoe store man said to me when I purchased a pair of rubbers to meet the deluge that greeted us upon our return from California. "You came back to THIS climate? You ought to have your head examined." I started this little dissertation on the weather, because I am concerned about the unhappy attitude that seems prevalent today. It must be an aftermath of the war. Here we are - in this wonderful, rich country of ours - with opportunity knocking at every door. And yet you hear people gripe as if our country had already gone to the bow-wows. For lucky, well-fed, well-housed, at least comfortably clothed human beings, we are the most pessimistic on this earth. We seem to be sitting down, waiting for the atomic bomb to do its worst. Of course the world is in bad shape. The situation in regard to Russia is indeed serious. Communism is spreading like a deadly disease. But we have the resources, the knowledge, the prestige to fight that thing - fight it right back to the wall. There is no reason (except fear and greed) why the other powerful nations of the world cannot unite as a moral force against the evils of Communism. Surely these times are meant to test our faith and our mettle.

As I stir about in the business world once more, I am shocked at the spineless pessimism - the negative attitude - of so many people. Two fine women down at the "Y" remarked over the lunch table the other day that they no longer had any interest in living. "Mercy! You need to check up on your liver." I told them. "Nobody feels that way unless he is sick." The best panacea for illness of the body or mind is an all-absorbing interest in something bigger than yourself. Do you recall (or did you get a chance to read) the marvelous story in the Christian Herald a year ago concerning the mother who brought expensive flowers to the cemetery every week? She was an invalid, but she had her chauffeur drive her there, and lay these flowers on her son's grave. The man in charge finally gathered courage to suggest to the grieving woman that she give her flowers to the living ... so many wounded and ailing veterans of both wars. She took his advice. She managed to visit one sick boy - and then another and another. The lads began to watch for her and her lovely flowers. In a few months she came to the cemetery office, to thank her kind counsellor. He hardly recognized this radiant woman, restored to health through the magic therapy of doing for others. *****

This story has nothing to do with the silly tale that I announced for this week's column. It seemed funny two weeks ago - but frothy things soon subside to the liquid's level. The housekeeper at the "Y," one of my very favorite people, asked me to join her staff, as supervisor over the "help," as keeper of the records, etc. I took it with the proviso that I might quit the first of the year, if I wish. It's only part time, and not very profitable. But I am always gathering grist for my mill. There are eleven maids, eight of them colored. They all belong to the "better class" of maids, trustworthy, neat, clean, reliable. Two of them are comediennes. Sarah doesn't try to be funny. She is dark, both in complexion and her outlook on life. The front half of her black, well-oiled hair has a forward and upward sweep that ends in a single curl above the center of her forehead. She is very bow-legged in a stiff-jointed way, and her stomach rides ahead of her when she walks. But how that gal can sing! She is always chosen leader of the Christmas program after the staff breakfast (which includes everybody from the executive secretary on down). Sarah hunches 'way over her lunch box in our cheerful little lunch room. One Monday noon she was completely enveloped in her "miseries." Her legs hurt her 'til she was "about to die." She had had a terrible week-end; sang and practiced singing in church from 11 o'clock Sunday morning until 10 o'clock that night. But Saturday was the day that wrecked her. She had to hurry through her housework, and "git tu this funeral, where I had tu sing." "The funeral parlor is on the corner of 55th and ... The hearse was parked on ...., but on account of the bus stop there, all the mourners' cars had to park on 55th. There the undertaker went off with the body, and left the mourners behind. We waited, and waited; didn't even know what cemetery he went to. Finally we took a chance. There he was (meaning the undertaker) laying the chimes on his hearse."

Another time I must tell you about Rosie. But next week it shall be music. Good-by for now.

Florence B. Taylor

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