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.
Since this month marks the fifth anniversary of that brain child called "The By-Ways," I take the liberty of repeating the little poem that carries the idea. Since starting the column many of the hyacinths have given way to poppies and all the flowers that grow on graves of our heroic dead. Just five short years ago (last April) I was telling the world how to avert war. But the world would not listen to me. Well - there's no use in going over that. You can only try to direct it into channels of productivity of good. There is no use in saying things that open the wounds of those who have paid so dearly for this war. Somehow, I would like to dedicate this column to those dear souls - friends of yours and mine - whom, in the last five years, we "have loved and lost awhile." Each, in his own way, was one of God's gardeners, that, like Lincoln, plucked a thorn, and planted a rose wherever he thought a rose would grow. The first on the list is Mr. Daniel Kennedy, who passed away in February of 1939. Aside from his kindness and unfailing courtesy even to a little nondescript orphan, there was such a quality of faith in God, that months and months of agonizing pain could not alter one whit. "No matter what comes, Florence, it's all right," were his smiling last words to me.
Kathryn Henderson planted flowers in the hearts of all those who knew her. There were no thorns in her friendship garden. Gentle and unassuming, her influence was farther reaching and lasting than that of people who pronounce and parade their virtues. She had great faith in and understanding of young people. In all the pencilled letters and cards from her sickbed, there was never a word of complaint - but only a glorious appreciation of all the kindness bestowed upon her. (By the way, isn't it wonderful that "Bob" found his way back to civilization? After the war is over, and his lips are no longer sealed, he may tell us one of the epic stories of this war). Mrs. Jennie Rose - ah, how bright and gay and upturned toward the sun were all her flowers - those flowers of the spirit. She believed in plucking them freely, every day, and giving them to every living soul that crossed her path. Mr. Rose - John Rose - was in love with her when she was a blithe teen-age girl in his country schoolroom. He never swerved from his singular devotion to her - in all their fifty-odd years together. Her brief penned message of encouragement on a questionnaire I asked for three years ago is one of my cherished hyacinths for the soul. In the parade of lovely ladies that came and lingered in Saltsburg, to enrich it with their talent and high sense of good citizenship, were Mrs. Harry Carson and Mrs. Ansley. I have written at length about Mrs. Carson, who was generous, not only with her talent, but all the fruits of charitable thinking. I did not know Mrs. Ansley so well, but just one little incident led to a wonderful revelation of her character. When I came back to visit in Saltsburg the next year after coming to Cleveland (1918), she and I met in the quiet shadows of evening - on the street near her home. She told me, with undisguised pride, that her daughter, Mabel, had just had a book published. It was not until some correspondence with Mrs. Mabel Ansley Murphy this past winter brought out the fact, that I learned that Mrs. Murphy was a "step-child." And what a glowing tribute she gave her step-mother! "A true mother, in every sense of the word," wrote Mrs. Murphy. And may I venture to say that Mabel Ansley Murphy shows the best upbringing that this old world has to offer? Now I must close. And I am not finished, but more next time.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 8/3/44 - Reminiscing
BY-WAYS Table of Contents