How very much we have - to be thankful for! Most of us have reason to be profoundly grateful - not only to our Heavenly Father, the giver of every good and perfect gift - but to the men and boys who are fighting for us, to those who bear wounds for our sake, and to those desolate families who have lost a loved one, or more than one, that we might have a better world to live in. Our songs of thanksgiving and praise this week will be but empty words and tinkling cymbals unless we live our gratitude. The people who gripe six days a week about ration points, restrictions on meats, fats, and gas shouldn't waste their hypocritical breath singing and offering up prayers of thanks on Sunday (or Thanksgiving Day). They've already set their own "ceiling" - and the song or prayer won't go one bit higher.***
I am writing this letter in a beauty parlor - under a drier. (That may account for the letter being a bit dry). So if there are typographical errors, you will know the linotype operator could not make out my poor writing. So many "hyacinths for the soul" have come in Uncle Sam's mail bag lately. Martha Robinson found extra folders of Lieutenant Hine's and Jack Daub's Memorial services - which I shall always keep - that my gratitude keep warm and true. Then she loaned me clippings of some of Rev. Craighhead's poems - and his story in the Bond about the charming place in the woods that he and his wife fell heir to - which they, in turn, "bequeathed" to the young folks. That's the way to save souls! Catch 'em while they're young!
Whenever I reach, to pat myself on the back (which is just a subtle way of seeing if wings might be sprouting) I think of Rev. Craighead, and know there is a long road ahead, and years of growth, before I can sprout even pin feathers - compared to him. May God be gracious unto him in his illness, and give him peace. Knowing that Martha believes in giving flowers to the living, I'll just pass on her comment about Mae Hudson McCall, who stepped in a moment to visit Martha's family a year or so ago: "She has the same sweet smile, and beautiful brown eyes." Now I'm going to "tell on" Mrs. McCall. It would spoil it all if I wrote and asked her permission. A week ago I received a nice note from her, her son's address - and a dollar bill! In order that nine other boys might have an extra Christmas greeting! (And we'll find boys that need it). I have to smile now over my early qualms lest I might get more orders than I could handle. So far, Mrs. McCall is the only one who responded. Pretty soon there will be an army of boys and men - right here in Cleveland who will need more than a Christmas greeting to cheer them. They are the brave men who are paying - not double - but a hundred - or a thousand fold for our freedom and future peace. They are the wounded and ill, who are being brought to our new Soldiers Hospital, the Crile Hospital, named in honor of the late Dr. George Crile, world-famous surgeon, who headed the Lakeside Unit in the last war. You will hear all about it later.
You learn a lot of things in a beauty parlor. For one thing, how people stood in a long line outside the liquor store - waiting for their poor little ration of whiskey. While they are standing there - hour after hour - why don't they meditate on how silly it all is? No, we're not out of slavery yet. This is the most pernicious slavery of all time. You learn nice things, too. The girl who did her best to beautify the tarsle of a poor old cornstalk, does her best to entertain her customers. Her uncle is an inspector on the Santa Fe. He came across a nice friendly chap, sitting alone in a westward bound train. This fellow was reading a "racing form." They fell to talking - their mutual interest being horses. Just a man-to-man chat. When the inspector rose to go, he said, "My name's so-and-so." The other fellow said, "My name's Crosby." The inspector looked hard. "Are you Bing?" "Yes," the old crooner laughed. And he didn't forget the inspector. When they met in a restaurant in Hollywood - months later - Bing came over and spoke to his train friend. Another time word was passed along that Bing Crosby was on the train, but they couldn't find him anywhere, finally - as a last resort - they looked in the kitchen of the diner - and there he was, harmonizing with the colored waiters!
Now I must close. But let us - as never before - count our blessings in this wonderful country of ours - free of bombs, starvation, the cruel heel of the oppressor. God grant us true appreciation.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 12/2/43 - Mrs. Smithheisler goes to Las Cruces
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