Thursday, October 23, 2008

From Scenes Like These

I have a book on my bookshelf - an old friend - that I just happened to pick up this evening, having forgotten whether it was fiction or biography. I bought it in a shop in Mount Dora, FL., and, after having got it home, looked it up on Google. I found that it wasn't a well known book at all. Even now, look up "From Scenes Like These, Life In A Christian Family" by Ethel Wallace (copyright 1945 by Harper and Brothers) and you won't find much at all. I found, today, two copies of this title for sale, both about $29.00, a lot more than I paid at the little shop in Mount Dora. The most I paid is $1.00 or $2.00.

Tonight when I picked up the book anew, I saw that it is a series of vignettes from the life of a Christian family from the early 1900's - just the sort of fare we need in these dark days of economic woe and political fear. The book is also, I believe, out of copyright, so I'm going to give you a vignette a day. I love reading them and I think you will too.

Here is the dedication:

"To the Millions of Christians who in this day, as my parents in theirs, follow humbly in the footsteps of Him Who went about doing good. To them belongs the making of a better, freer world. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Here is the Foreward:

"Many are writing today about their families and the incidents of their childhood. This little book, differing from those which hold up relatives to ridicule, and resembling thousands that could be written, tells of the Christian home in which I was reared. The Bible does not omit the shortcomings of the saints, so I have written of the frailties as well as the virtues of my family. They were not angels, but sinners redeemed by the grace of God - a fact they would have been the first to acknowledge.

Several years ago a friend brought out for my inspection a recently finished patchwork quilt made up, as is the way of patchwork quilts, of squares, some gay colored, others dark, stitched together at random. As she spread it out on the bed, she said: "This is the patchwork of my life. Each square was once part of a dress which is associated with what was for me a momentous occasion. My mother cherished my childhood garments and preserved them. That white muslin with the tiny tucks was my very first dress, this china silk with the hand-embroidered pink roses was the robe in which I was baptized, that pale blue my first party frock, this heavy satin my wedding gown and my mother's, this was the last dress my darling Eva wore, this black velvet is the material out of which was cut the gown in which I christened the battleship last month. I shall hand the quilt down to my children's children." the following pages are my patchwork - squares some gay colored, others dark, happenings of long ago and of today, placed together at random.

As from the vantage point of years I view the world today, I see that it is a very different world from the one in which I grew up. We cannot return to the old world and in some ways we would not if we could. but in that day many more Americans lived close to the rudiments - to the Christian beliefs, principles, and inhibitions upon which this country was founded, which made it great, and which for a long time remained its very bone and fibre. If we return to them as individuals and as a nation, we shall be enabled to meet War and Peace, Death and Life, unafraid. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them," said Jesus, "I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock; and the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock."

I hope you enjoyed the very beginning of this book. Each day I will add another chapter, or vignette, so that you can also enjoy looking at life from a long time ago.

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