Estelle says I must reform in this column-writing business - and not leave it all until Sunday afternoon. Monday night - Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking - I mean, night writing, I fell asleep at the end of the first sentence. Well, I'm doing better tonight: two sentences so far. To go back to yesterday - it was Children's Day in Sunday School, and Youth Sunday in the church service. The Sunday School program was built around the dedication of the beautiful new picture, "Christ Among the Doctors" (in the temple), by Hofmann. This picture hangs above the stage in the Sunday School assembly room. It must be three-fourths as large as the original, which is 60x80 inches, and hangs in the Dresden Art Gallery. The German artist, who, with a master's touch, gave the countenance of the child Christ such ineffable beauty, would grieve his heart out over the way his native country is defying all Christendom - trying to plow under all the rich planting of the Master Sower. But they can't do it. The seed has taken root - and goes too deep.
The little children taking part in the program were precious, as always. A child's great charm lies in his naturalness. Some of the tiny ones were more interested in the discovery of Mother or Daddy in the audience than in singing the song that was their contribution to the day's program. At one point, when we were all waiting, in hushed expectancy, for the sound of a cherub voice in reply to the teacher's question, came a clear and decisive announcement from a four-year-old that he wanted to go to the "torlet."
The young people conducted the church service. A talented lad in the senior High department played the organ prelude and postlude (and did it beautifully.) The Youth Choir sang; young people read the Scripture, gave the invocation, the offertory prayer, and the main prayer. Three splendid young people in their late teens gave the sermon - in three parts - based on the parable of the sower. Charlie was one of the ushers. His whole family was pleased at the prospect; for ushering in that church is a ceremony of dignity and precision. Estelle took his suit to the cleaners, laundered his best white shirt to perfection, and saw that his best blue socks were clean. I bought him a nice blue palm beach tie - and saw that his neck and ears were clean. In the Sunday morning scramble - for an early start - I discovered, to my consternation, and too late, that his socks were a violent orange and brown. Oh, well, I suppose that the people who noticed them only smiled at the idiosyncrasies of youth. And one of the youthful preachers preached right at me about the good seed failing among thorns - preoccupation with wordly matters. I think all our hearts swelled with pride over these young people - so soon to take their places as leaders in society.
Tuesday - These lucky mortals who can buy a place in the country! Or, better still, have a house given to them, as was Shelby's good fortune last week. His father-in-law has a "country estate," where he keeps and raises thoroughbred horses. On this place is an abandoned chicken-coop - a de lux model. Shelby asked Father Vaughn if he had any further use for it; and, if not, could he, Shelby, have it for a summer cottage. Father V. cordially said no and yes. Shelby took a half day off yesterday, to help a house mover move that dream home of the future into the right spot. His enthusiasm is infectious. Now "Tookie," our farmer from southern Ohio, has bought a six-acre spot, 15 miles from our Public Square, with city conveniences and country freedom and luxury. His wife and children love it. They have every kind of fruit, a garden, chickens. Ah, me! His wife is a great worker; cans hundred of quarts of fruits and vegetables. Now she will be in her glory. In reply to my question about her age and general health, Tookie said she is 38, but if it were not for her graying hair, she could easily pass for 28 or 30. Now, this is the payoff; he said, "Her hair is a little grayer than yours. Florence; yes, much grayer at the temples." "Why," I scoffed, "my hair isn't gray." As if to prove it, I assured him that I take after my father, who, at 65, had hardly a gray hair. But when I got home, I took a good look - in the pitiless light of the afternoon sun. Another shock. I had been combing my hair in the early dawn, six feet from the mirror in the rest room at work, and at twilight, if at all. The gray saboteurs have been sneaking up on me. Now I must turn to my girlhood plea - to have beautiful white hair, like Mrs. J.W. Robinson. That is too much to hope for; but if it should happen, the resemblance will end right there.***
Another lovely white-haired lady has left our midst; and that means the very heart of Saltsburg. For gentle, serene Mrs. Carson, a true and worthy daughter of the Revolution, was an integral part of the spiritual, intellectual, and cultural life of Saltsburg. She was one artist without temperament, who felt that she did her best piano playing at the end of wash-day - her fingers made supple by the warm suds. There must be many people who would like to write her obituary. And now the master of them all is stricken with the grief that this separation brings. Even in his sorrow I hope he will pen the tribute to his wife that she so richly deserves. She gave much to her community; but her richest gift was her talented daughter, who gives not only of her talent, but that greater quality of the spirit, the desire to help and encourage young, ambitious musicians. You know much more about Mrs. Carson than I do. But in my teaching days in Saltsburg, we were drawn together by our mutual interest in the motherless girl, her niece, Frances Martin, whom she mothered with deepest affection and kindness; the girl who was a joy and delight in my classroom. We send flowers at a time like this, not only as a loving tribute to the departed, but a solace to the living. For Frances a bouquet of heartsease, the words of her beloved aunt on my last visit there. "Here is a picture of Frances ... never has she given me a cross word, or even a frown." May God comfort all her loved ones.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 7/1/43 - Maurice Maeterlinck, Author of "Bluebird" Monday night
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