Last Sunday morning, while we were putting on our robes in the choir room, Jim Armentrout of Newark, Ohio, said, "Florence, what are you doing Wednesday night?" Jim and his wife, Joanna, are our first and best friends in this church. It was a strange question, for Jim and Joanna never miss prayer meeting. In true Yankee fashion I answered his question with a question. In true Yankee fashion he asked me another, "How would you like to help out at the C.S.O. Our church has taken over that day." Again, to my shame, I had to ask, "What is the C.S.O.?" "Christian Service Organization, an outgrowth of the U.S.O." Of course I assured him that any work for the Service Men has priority on my time and effort. Promptly at 6 p.m., Jim delivered Joanna and me, her heavenly devil's food cake and my plain ginerbread at the C.S.O. door. We hurried up the steps, to relieve two of our ladies, who had to leave at six. We needn't have hurried for it was a "sparse" evening - almost a record for poor attendance. Two sailors were playing ping-pong; a lad was chatting with the pleasant girl at the desk, the two fine pool tables were deserted; the piano was silent. The checkerboard and Chinese checker frames lay idle. Four of us made up sandwiches of the minced bologna and egg mixture. The coffee urns were still half full. The root beer barrel was good for at least 100 glasses of cold, tangy root beer. Finally some boys came in, in search of food and drink. How grateful they are for a cup of coffee and a sandwich - and a piece of cake! One shy, lonely, sailor still haunts me. He had a G.I. haircut and a shyness amounting to fear. I hovered near him, waited on him, and got him to tell me his immediate heartache. His home is in Montpelier, Vt. His only trip home since he entered the navy a year ago was last September, when his father died. Now, at Easter time, he wants to be with his mother. Instead, on Easter morning, he is sailing for China. I asked God to help me say the right thing to him - the assurance of the constant presence of the One who accompanies us on every journey.
A marine from Louisiana, as gay and friendly as the sailor was shy, spoke very freely of his problems of the soul. So many denominations - so many faiths - he is all mixed up. He wants to be a Christian. That makes it simple. He accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. That means that he is "born again" - the requisite for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. There were two more interesting experiences - but I must bring this letter soon to a close. It is being written in the Los Angeles bus station, where Virgil and I are enroute to San Francisco, to meet our son Virgil Jr., who has a five-day furlough. We will have three wonderful days together. I must tell you more about this marvelous C.S.O., which is carried on by faith. No soliciting. No endowment. "Just as God lays it upon the hearts of people to give," says the fine leader, Mr. Beatty. Good-by, dear friends, 'til next week.
Florence B. Taylor.
Next - 4/17/47 - San Francisco!
By-Ways Table of Contents