The highways of life are the roads to success -
Achievement - whatever our ultimate goal;
But the by-ways of life are the little side paths,
Where we gather hyacinths for the soul.
And now you will wonder what a poem "Highways and By-ways" has to do with a letter to my home folks. Well, Mr. Walker and I have agreed - for the next six months - to have a "column." I would like to name it "The By-ways." (I hope it can have a regular place - on page four; but that is for Mr. Walker to decide).
I'll confess that I feel all panicky inside - rather shocked at my own temerity. The point is can I write anything important enough to take up space? I assure you it won't be profound wisdom; and it won't be witty entertainment. Somewhere, in between those two, I hope to give you pleasure, and now and then have a thought that will give someone new perspective, and perhaps new courage. A few months ago, in one of our Cleveland papers, appeared this poem by Clara McLean:
My task is this: to lay the wood
With hands that never tire.
Creation of a poem waits
Till Heaven lights the fire.
Isn't that a gem? And isn't it true, in all our tasks? Certainly, in writing, I can only keep on writing - keep on trying - try not to use "dead wood" - and trust to the Creator of suns and stars to put a divine spark to some of my weekly "offerings." Now wouldn't it be just like some of my old pals - for instance, that expert deflationist, Ethel Henderson, my roommate for two years at I.S.N.S. - to write, "Oh, Florence, your column this week was just too, too divine." Yes, you have to have a great sense of humor to get along with some people. Someone will ask - maybe not outloud - but will think, "What's she always writing to Saltsburg for?" Because the seeds of faith were sown back there. It's a long story - and I'll keep it for a "column" by itself.
How true it is "that there is nothing new under the sun." I realize that nothing I can say is new. Even the idea of my little poem was given me by a dear friend in southern Ohio, who, upon reading the account of the children's and my motor trip through the Smokies six years ago, wrote, "I see ... that you have gathered some hyacinths for your soul." I loved that expression, and claimed it for my own. Hyacinths are among my favorite flowers; the name connotes beauty and fragrance. St. Paul says, "Whatsoever things are lovely, dwell on these things." To make this a good column, you must help me. Right here I want to make acknowledgment for a most inspiring letter - received months ago - from Paul Lowman of Clarksburg. I can remember how, in Conemaugh Church, his little curly head waggled all over the place; but somehow those wonderful sermons found their way inside that curly head, and are bearing good fruit. I thank him for his letter.
I think it would be fun - say the first week of each month - to head the column "The Mailbag" - and have it made up of excerpts from YOUR letters. You can trust me not to use your name unless you grant permission. We can have so much fun from each other. And let's keep remembering that we get out of life just what we put into it.
Florence B. Taylor
4501 Lilac Road, South Euclid, Ohio.
Next - 7/13/39 - 7th World's Poultry Congress and Expo
By Ways Table of Contents