It goes without saying that Father belonged to every lodge and society in town. With all his twelve or fifteen hours of work a day, our family finances were never a nickel ahead.
And yet, in all the years, I can remember my mother protesting only once.
If you have a severe illness, for example, you turn to the busiest, most exacting doctor in town.
The fact that he is busy and can’t be bothered by little things gives you confidence in his ability and judgment.
I was the boy who carried the heavy bag of bats home after the ball game. I brought water from the spring in the meadow, down below the ball field, carrying it up the hill under the burning sun.
When any one of the five churches was to have a special celebration, I was invariably one of the boys who stayed up most of Saturday night getting the decorations in place.
It was not until long afterward that I understood the whole truth of the matter.I was too young to understand the conversation, which had to do with a note he had endorsed for some “friend.” In jerky, disconnected sentences he poured out his confession, while my mother listened in silence.When he finished she rose, and walking into her room lifted the little bank, carried it out, and fairly flung it into Father’s lap. But always there hung over us the heavy hand of the community’s unreasonable demands; and the fear of the advantage that might accrue to the rival drug store down the street if we failed, in any way, to meet the requests that came to us.To let anybody and everybody fritter that fund away is as if the trustee of an estate were to deposit the estate’s funds in a bank and issue check books to whoever applied. A bald, worried little man, perpetually tired but perpetually smiling — nodding his head and murmuring, “Right away, Mrs. ” No one, expects a hardware merchant to carry two-cent stamps, or grumbles at him, because he happens to be out of postal cards on Sunday afternoons.Some of us are born good-natured, some acquire good-nature, and some have good-nature thrust upon us. No one rings excitedly at the front door of the feed merchant and pulls him out of bed at two o’clock for some trivial purchase that might just as easily have been made before the store closed in the evening.