12/7/50 - Woes of a Blizzard BY-WAYS - 12/7/50 - Woes of a Blizzard

Dear snow-bound friends in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

This is the week-end of the record-breaking snow-storm. It is now Sunday night. The snow is still falling. The drifts, the freshly carpeted and draped canyons, the trees heavy with ermine, are a wonderful sight. The men folks don't quite appreciate the beauty of the canyons, or deep gorges in the snow; for they represent hours of toil with the shovel.

Now it is Monday night. Didn't get far, did I? That first paragraph was in keeping with a resolution to make an early start on the column this week. The mails are getting slower and slower. I used to write the weekly column on a Sunday afternoon, mail it at 5:30, and it would be in Saltsburg Monday morning. Now I mail it Friday evening - to catch the 7:30 mail - and twice it hasn't reached the Saltsburg post office until Tuesday noon. And a waiting world is bitterly disappointed. Ah yes. I can dream, can't I?

Tonight's news reveals Pittsburgh as in a more paralyzed state than Cleveland. That great city in the Keystone State has had a lush twenty-eight inches of snow, where we have had but a paltry twenty. Are there any Whittiers in Pennsylvania, to tell how "the snow had begun in the gloaming"? I haven't heard any poetic phrases from the lips of the street-clearing crews in Cleveland. There has been, however, a marvelous spirit of kindness and helpfulness in this snow-bound city. Our radio stations have all served as clearing houses, or rather, information bureaus, relaying dire needs and predicaments, and also keeping the public posted on how and where to find milk, bread, medicines and all emergency needs. There was an old song - long dead, I hope - "In the Heart of the City That Has No Heart." There are thousands and thousands of kind hearts in this city, as well as any other, that need only the call of someone in need or distress, to start pumping a lifestream of kindness. As the emergency grew more acute, many human interest stories came over the air, our only source of information. But the situation to top them all took place on a country road just south of Berea. Mother Nature whispered to a young mother-to-be that her hour was at hand. She and her husband set out for the hospital. The roads were drifted, of course, and the car stalled. A neighbor saw their predicament, and got out his bigger car. It, too, went afoul of a drift. The two men picked up the mother, and hurried to the nearest farm-house. They stumbled, and toppled their burden into a big snowdrift - and there the baby was born. Later reports assured us listeners that "Mother and baby are doing fine." ****

Before I close I would like to give you another little human interest story. It is in connection with the book store where I work. I have been assigned to the stationery department, and it is my job to keep about sixteen trillion cards clean and in order, as well as all kinds of stationery. Of course each saleswoman must learn to sell everything in the store - everything from dictionaries to dominoes - from ledgers to lead pencils. Our store is in the heart of a business district in the Heights - in a well-to-do neighborhood. One day a plain, almost poorly dressed woman came into the store, and was directed to my card counter. Her hair had no acquaintance with beauty parlors, nor had her face known beauty creams. But there was character there. She wanted a wedding card in the shape of a wallet. We carry three cards of that nature. But they were not big enough. And then she confided her plan. Her only brother, a widower for twenty years, was getting married. He is all she has in this world (her own husband died of a heart attack) and she wanted to go all out to express her love for this brother, and to wish him happiness. She had just come from the bank. She drew me aside, opened her handbag, and there in a bundle were one hundred ten-dollar bills; ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS! Why not a check? Or at least fewer and bigger bills? She did not tell me, and I did not ask. But I figure it was her way of expressing, in smaller tokens, her appreciation of a thousand kindnesses on his part. A dear and generous brother. That wonderful gift just had to have a fitting container. "I'll make for you," I told her. I had the maroon plastic at home, left over from a recovered card table. And I promised her a bit of verse to go with it. She was so happy she wept and could not talk for awhile. She wanted to know how much she owed me. I told her there was no way of measuring those things in dollars and cents. So she went out, and came back shortly with two pounds of the finest candy in Cleveland, just as "a wee token of appreciation," but that she would settle with me later. I called her on the 'phone, to thank her for the choice candy, and she told me how thrilled her brother and his bride were with the unexpected gift. And, according to the fairy books, they all lived happily ever after.

Florence B. Taylor

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