BY-WAYS - 12/16/48 - The Passing of Dr. Elmer Onstott - Dec. 10

Greetings of the Season, dear friends!

Only fifteen days until Christmas. How that momentous day sneaks up on one! Are you all set? Or are you like me, a struggling straggler? Oh, dear, will I ever, in this world, find time to send a greeting to all my good friends?

It came as a shock to read of the passing of Dr. Elmer Onstott. He was part of the very fiber of Saltsburg. He was truly one of the pillars of the Presbyterian Church of Saltsburg, one of the great spiritual leaders among its laity, and one whose personal integrity gave that intangible thing called "character" to our little town. May we rejoice over his advent into that Heavenly home, prepared for those who love the Lord, and give our sympathy to his bereaved widow and children. The mortal remains of our soldier dead are being brought back home. And surely, if that gives a little comfort to the bereft loved ones, our country owes them that homage and that slight recompense. But is is for us, the unbereft, to show our gratitude by taking on the spirit of sacrifice and of service to humanity. Otherwise, our words of sympathy are but tinkling cymbals. The idea of remembering our wounded soldiers at Christmas time was reinforced by a little conversation I had with my typing teacher last week. She is the whole commercial school down at the Y.W.C.A. For a number of years she taught under the auspices of the "Y," but some new ruling dispensed her department. Not to be outdone, she rents a tiny office, and has all the private students and more than she can take care of. A white-haired maiden lady of about sixty-five, she is hopelessly crippled. She walks with the aid of crutches and braced high-top shoes. But not one moment does she spend in self-pity. She has the fine mind and courageous spirit that masters every problem. She never invites pity, but only deepest admiration.

She is a perfectionist, and when you go into her office for a lesson, your one concern is that you won't seem like a moron. Yet she is wise and kind and full of understanding. (Also full of fun.) Last week she inquired about my Thanksgiving Day, and I asked about hers. "I had a wonderful day. I was with my brother and his family for dinner and then went to a wedding reception in the evening." It was the wedding reception that had made her day quite perfect. An old pupil of hers was marrying his dream girl - in a very quiet home wedding. He wanted Miss Freligh (my heroine) at the reception! She had met the bride only once, but was quite flattered with the invitation. She arrived by taxi, in the midst of all the excitement of congratulations, and sat down unobtrusively (I know) by the front door. The lovely young bride spied her there, and hurried over, with the groom, to greet her and to give her a "box seat," where she could witness the cutting of the wedding cake. Again, the bride snatched a spare moment to come over and show Miss Freligh her wedding ring and her pearl necklace the gift of the groom. Just little things like that, but, as Miss Feligh said, "She shared her wedding happiness with me." Such is the generosity of a heart that is royal in its kindness. If these little acts of thoughtfulness and kindness mean so much to a woman who, though crippled, has that great quality called "personal adequacy", how much more a few tokens of remembrance mean to a young man, cut down in his youth, his life ambitions thwarted, his days and weeks, perhaps an eternity of pain. We'll let him know, won't we, that we DO NOT FORGET. Such is the spirit of Christmas.

Florence B. Taylor
2907 Hampshire Rd.,
Cleveland Hts. 18, O.

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