10/12/50 - Little Things BY-WAYS - 10/12/50 - Little Things

Many years ago there appeared in the American magazine, an article written by Edgar Guest on the value of "little things." He told of the great artist who took infinite pains with detail work in painting; for example the veins in the hands. He told of the elderly couple, friends of his, whose married life had become an exquisite mosaic, fashioned out of the myriad little acts of love and kindness on the part of each. He told, also, of the woman who wished her husband was more considerate in little ways. "My husband really loves me," she said, "and would lay down his life for me, if need be; but he can never remember to pass me the salt and pepper." "He could die for me but once," she went on to say, "but I need the salt and pepper three times a day."

That remark symbolizes a woman's recurring need and appreciation of little acts of kindness. The chance to play hero, as in the sinking of the Titanic, will probably never come. But chivalry is the daily orchid and the hourly forget-me-not. Speaking of flowers, I like to give mine to the living, don't you? If you will overlook the personal touch, I'd like to give this bouquet to my husband. I wanted to write it as a birthday tribute (Sept. 23), but he was writing then about Texas. I hope you enjoyed his letters. This bouquet, I guess, is made up of forget-me-nots - of little things... Like sharing every bit of his candy with his sisters. If, on his paper route, he received a stick of candy as a bonus, he kept it until there were three. Little things... like always 'phoning his mother if he was late for supper... Like steering my blind father to his easy chair, and seeing to it that his ash-tray stand was at hand. Little things... like shading our babies' eyes from the summer sun and bundling them warm against winter's chill. Infinite patience with their feeding. Infinite patience, period. Little things... like the friendly handshake and welcome to strangers in our church or any group to which he belongs... consideration for guests - especially those with the slightest handicap. Little things... like the remembrance of every anniversary. Even that of our engagement rates a box of candy. The thousand and one little acts of gallantry: "ladies first" the car door opened, help up the steps and across the streets; protection against biting winds of criticism or the wrath of a disgruntled inebriate (as in Long Beach).

This night job of mine puts an extra burden on him - of getting his own and Dr. Phillips' breakfast. But he rises to the occasion. And tonight, when I expressed misgivings about this arrangement being fair to Dr. P., he replied with spirit that Dr. P. was not suffering from the switch in cooks. He packs my lunch every night - neat and complete - with nearly always a surprise package... a candy bar or a stick or two of gum.

If you think that this letter of mine is foolish, just remember that a mid-western farm wife won fame and fortune (or a small degree of it) by writing a column, "Letters of a Contented Wife." Too often I have seen women nag their husbands and gripe about their own hard lot, only to remember with bitter remorse how very good and kind were those henpecked husbands. I may not be overbright, but I'm smart enough to know that I am a lucky woman. So here's to you, Virgil John, on your birthday (or thereabouts), the nicest carnation I can find - and a big bouquet of forget-me-nots.

Faithfully yours,

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