(From a boy's Viewpoint)
Two adjustable eyes, that grow dim when surveying
A boy with torn shirt, and all dirty from playing;
And eyes that can see his poor marks not at all,
But can follow the line of his clever pitched ball;
Two ears that are deaf to boys' bellows and clatter,
But keen to their call - when there's something the matter;
An "unsnooty" nose that's not a bit fussy
If the family dog gets all smelly and mussy,
But detects the best spices for cookies and pies,
And daily allows that sweet incense to rise;
Two lips that are firm, with two nice upward curves;
A tongue that is not closely hinged to her nerves;
Two arms that know when to surround a small boy;
That shield, but don't smother - nor act as decoy;
Two hands - not too white - that can mend a torn kite,
Or sew a ripped ball, or relieve a boy's plight;
Two feet - with low heels - that are willing and able
To shuttle, in rhythm, from hot stove to table;
Light feet, not so mired in the tasks of a home
That they are unable to take wings and roam:
These parts, all assembled, do - somehow or other -
Make the nicest kind of a mother.
The column is well-named "By-Ways" this week, for I am truly in the by-ways - the dearest in this world - my "home town" and community. It isn't easy, or natural, to go down the by-ways with a pencil in your hand. So just overlook a raggedy column. When I wrote about "light feet," I had in mind taking the children on picnics, and traveling with the family as far as your purse can stand it. But this time I took wings, and deserted my family - for a week, right in the midst of sewing and preparations for school. How could I resist, when there was a winged car going right from our home to Saltsburg? With two very nice men as escorts. The men, as you have guessed, are Cousin Knox and his son, John, from California. Knox, true to type, came into Cleveland twenty-four hours ahead of schedule. But the joke is on him, for we weren't at home, and he had to buy his own supper. Knox has played a good many pranks in his day; but last Saturday was the first time that I became involved in one of them - I mean, on the assisting end. He was determined to see an old chum of his, who had been a great influence for good in his life. This friend, he learned, lives near Steubenville, Ohio. So we charted our course by way of Steubenville. As we drew near the spot of intense interest, Knox began planning his approach - keeping the poor fellow in suspense, etc. Having known his friend in my childhood, I expressed a desire to be in on this momentous meeting. This friend is now a Methodist minister; so Knox conceived the brilliant idea of our going into the minister's home together, ostensibly, to get married. "This is going to be an embarrassing situation," I protested. "That man, if he's as conscientious as he used to be, is going to remind you that you have one foot in the grave, and another on a banana peel." "Well, he might think I'm a rich old man, wanting to leave you my millions." "Not with that '29 Dodge - he won't. You'd better leave it around the corner." "No sir; my Dodge goes where I go. And besides, I have a chauffeur. That ought to impress him."
Another drawback was that, although I was dressed very comfortably for travelling, it was hardly a suitable wedding costume. But I finally mustered courage to go in and play my part. Mr. Blank was not in just then. His lovely wife, mistaking the mischievous sparkle in our eyes for a romantic gleam, assured us that there was another minister in the house - her father. We weren't prepared for that hurdle, and didn't jump it very gracefully. We insisted on having Mr. Blank. We arranged to come back in an hour. In the meantime, three alert, fun-loving children - aged 16, 18, and 20, were trying to figure us out. When we returned Mr. Blank was on guard; and Knox had barely mumbled something about marrying when the light of recognition came into his friend's face. "You old scoundrel!" - and they were off - for two hours of hilarious reminiscing. It was a high spot in John Knox, Jr.'s trip, for the young people took him down to their church, just below the house, where he was allowed to play the pipe organ - a passion with him. As for the lovely wife and mother, she was a Cleveland girl, and we had much in common. Now we are here - in the old, dear, familiar haunts. What a glorious week for us!
Good-bye now. I'll be seein' ya.
Florence B. Taylor
P.S. - Oh, don't forget our Mailbag for next week.
Next - 9/13/39 - Niagara Falls with Knox & Family
By Ways Table of Contents