My dear friends,
That Gal's gallivanting again. But this time it's a real vacation. Five blissful days. Oh, no. Let's not exaggerate. It takes two-thirds of a day to get here. That means one and a third days of travel. That leaves only three and two-third days. I'm being gypped. Seriously, one can store up a lot of vitality, inspiration, fresh courage, and gain a new perspective in five days. Dear Ina wanted me to go home with them for two weeks, "and you won't have a thing to do." Blissful thought. But I knew I couldn't resist gadding about - to see as many of you as possible, and this time the aging frame seems to need rest. Here there are no temptations - except to walk down the street about a block - to see 89-year-old Mrs. Pidgeon. This spry and sweet old lady walked about six blocks the day before, to visit her 91-year-old sister. Tuesday, we drove the forty miles to Marietta, to have supper and a visit with Galen, 22-year-old Pre-Med at Marietta College. He drove us along the Ohio River, past the scene of the recent regatta. Marietta, considered by some travellers the most beautiful city in this country, is becoming a beehive of industry, with several huge plants under construction. The drive home along the Muskingum River is one of unfailing delight. Here one can have a brief furlough from the rumbling of war and the ghastly news in Korea. Not that we want to run away, but even soldiers must have furloughs.
To newcomers to the BY-WAYS - " I will introduce my hostess, Laura Sheridan Davis, friend of Cleveland school-teaching days, better known to her friends as "Sherry." Her wonderful doctor-husband, cruelly over-worked during the war years, died six years ago this month. My friend has learned that life must go on; and besides being an ideal mother, she has been substitute teacher in High School and has taken six extension courses at night school. Never missed a class. You can thank "Sherry," Mr. Walker, for this early letter. She set out her snazzy new portable smith-Corona this morning, and told me to get busy on my column. If you find any beauty or worth-whileness in this letter, you can thank her and the magic of this spot. There is something about it that attracts our little feathered friends, and sets them singing as if their hearts would burst with joy. One thing, there is no housing shortage here - for them. Sherry's two sons, Claude and Galen, have built various bird houses and two feeding tables - one for summer, and one with a shelter for winter. The wrens were supposed to have a lifetime lease on a little green house built just for them, and snuggled under the roof of a white shed. But last year Mr. and Mrs. Robin built their nest right on top of the wren house. Mr. and Mrs. Wren were outraged, and shook the dust of Pennsville off their feet. They raised their family in some exclusive suburb that respected wren rights. However, the "flesh pots of Egypt" lured them back this year. Their trim little roof was desecrated with the shaggy remains of last year's nest for robins. So where do you think they set up housekeeping? In a quaint old green jug that sits on Sherry's sun porch sill, on the north side. No feathered intruder ever found them there. They have rewarded the gentle mistress of this home with the most joyous singing within her memory.
Did you know that the squirrel has a feathered counterpart in his hoarding proclivities? I didn't - until I came here this week. Last winter Sherry and Galen got ears of corn from a farmer, and stuck them on spikes in a post - for the cardinals. Along came Mr. Woodpecker, dug himself a storage bin in the upper reaches of that post, and then stashed away some grains of corn against that day when the outer cupboard was bare. Smart fellow, don't you think? Old Robin Redbreast looks unusually chesty these days, his 'craw' packed and distended with the corn that we have had to discard - after our craws are packed and distended. I do not advise the seeker of a willowy figure to come to Sherry's for a visit.
As I sit here in her sun porch, with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (on her radio-phonograph) as a musical background, and the echo of her lovely contralto voice in my ears, I ponder of the difference between "wreckreation" and re-creation. Many of us come back from the former indeed a 'wreck'. This quiet life, amongst the everlasting hills, in communion with a congenial soul, whose ideals and aspirations keep me ever reaching upward, is truly RE-CREATION. I hope and pray I can pass on to you some of the rich garnering of this week.
Florence B. Taylor
P.S. I failed to mention the humming birds, who are attracted to the six Rose of Sharon, or Althea bushes, in Sherry's yard. Isn't it amazing how they can shift into reverse with speed of lightning? Wonderful little creatures!
Next - 8/24/50 - Howard Ryall's Birthday
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