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3 Soldier Come Home
CHAPTER I This, then, was the moment! Johnny Davis Jr., recently ot the 357th Infantry of Patton’s famed 90th Division, stopped at the bottom of the steps leading to the Daily Clarion. He was determined to prolong this moment as long as possible—a mo ment he had dreamed of and prayed for through three long years. Years that had taken far more of his life than thirty-six months. The gray face of the building was perhaps a shade darker from the seasons past, the lower two steps broken and still unrepaired as they had been when he had last walked down them a lifetime ago. But above all else it was home—and it hadn’t changed. The room on Main Street might have been where he and his father had slept for the past twenty-three years but this office— this broken down old building, was where he had been raised from the desk drawer crib stage to star re porter. This was home! Standing there, anticipating the moment ahead, he saw his father, John D. Davis Sr., editor and owner of Lexington’s one and only newspa per, open the door above him. He was a tall thin man and his face, which wore a constant expression of kindness, broke into a smile. “Johnny! You old son of a gun!’’ He ran down the steps two at a time, an easy matter for him to do. “Thought you’d follow me over aft er breakfast, boy.” “Oh, I just fooled around. Want ed you to be here to welcome me,” he answered with a smile. A smile that was all Johnny Davis—slow, broad and one that was sure to reach the heart. Johnny Davis was handsome but not from perfect fea tures. He was a man’s man and the Irregularity of his features only ac centuated his attractiveness. His black hair was cut too short to actu ally curl while his blue eyes told of the same kindliness that belonged to his father. He and his father were of an even height and though Army life had broadened Johnny they both looked cut from the same tall thin pattern. "I had a few places to go,” he continued. No need, he thought, to tell where he had been for the last three hours—wh 'ie had to go first before coming even back to the Clarion. J. D. had probably guessed it anyway. “Look, son, I’m sitting in on Council meeting at the City Hall in a few minutes so go on in and get to work. Harry, Tops and Findley are still with us. There’s a couple of new girls at the front desks. I’ll make it short—O.K.?” As he stood now looking after his father he realized just how much this one person meant to him. How much he had done for him to take the place of the mother and family he had never known. J. D. was— he shook his head and a smile came to his lips, well, they didn’t make adjectives that big he decided and walked on up the steps. V/hen he opened the door of the front office he found himself con fronted by a spinsterish individual who looked at him inquiringly over her glasses. “Yes, sir? Something?” Her voice, pitched high and sharp, cer tainly added no attraction to the plain figure that owned it. Johnny and Kit Get Acquainted “Why . . . I’m—l mean I wanted to—look around. ...” The sergeant who had encountered a nest of Krauts unabashed was finding things more difficult on the home front of the Clarion. “Look around?” It appeared as though she had never heard the ex pression before. “Well, whom did you wish to see?” But the question remained un answered. A strange girl suddenly stood between them. “Miss Handley, I think this might be Sergeant Davis. John Davis Jr.—right?” She looked to him for confirmation. “Right,” Johnny answered re lieved. “It's really not Miss Handley’s fault, J. D. forgot to tell us, you’d be’in today.” TO Which Miss Hand ley uttered a hasty apology and set tled herself back at her desk quite interested in her work, . leaving Johnny to the girl who had inter vened at such an opportune time. They toured the entire building, stopping only long enough to make conversation with his old friends. He followed her obediently although he knew each step of the way with his eyes closed. What he did not know, and what he managed to find out during the next ten minutes, were certain facts about Kit Wil lett. He suddenly found himself very much interested in these facts. She was about five feet six—or chin height for Johnny. And her eyes were a soft brown. Her hair, a bright auburn that curled natur ally in a long bob just touching her shoulders. Her figure, thin and lithesome, seemed the very essence of energy. They lastly came to his father’s office and she turned to go back to her desk, hesitated, then looking back at him, asked: “I—l suppose you’ve seen the ‘Park’?” Then as if summoning more courage she left the door and came back to where he was stand ing. “It’s really a shame, isn’t it? I was so in hopes that some mir acle would happen before you got home and it would be finished and waiting for you. But no such luck!” Johnny looked at her, startled at this mention of the thing which had been foremost in his mind. “I think perhaps it will take more than a miracle,” he answered. She noticed the discouragement in his voice. “J. D. wrote you about the peti tion, I suppose?” “Petition? No—what for?” “A park site for the town. The end of Maple Avenue. But don’t get excited because it didn’t go through. It looks as if old Lady Martin won’t give Lexington the ‘Park;’ there just won’t be any.” Suddenly she seemed surprised at this sincere conversation with this stranger whom she had known such a short time. “Well, I don’t mean to repeat any famous last words but —it’s a good idea not to give up too soon.” She smiled at him as she closed the door behind her. Too soon—he thought. Well, it had been twenty-three years since his “Oh, I just fooled around. Wanted you to be here to welcome me.” grandmother, Jennifer Martin, had chased the laborers from her ‘Park’ project. Twenty-three years on No vember the thirtieth. The day Lin da Martin Davis died giving birth to John D. Davis, Jr. The old lady would certainly not change her mind now. But something that had happened inside the last sixty minutes had given him courage to face any prob lem. Something ... or perhaps someone. Kit Willett . . . perhaps. Johnny Davis stood at the front window looking down Main Street, watching for the familiar figure of his father. The old office seemed empty now that Kit Willett had gone back to her desk in the outer of fice. He shoved his hands in his pockets in an impatient gesture. It was hard waiting. The idea of the “Park” crowded all else from his mind. That was nothing new, however. When he was big enough to listen he had heard the story and since then it had been his number one ambition to see it through, to finish “The Park” that his grandmother had promised the kids at the Settlement twenty-three years ago. Jennifer Martin Reneges on a Promise Johnny had always been a con scientious child. Somehow, although he knew it was not so, he believed the people blamed him for the fail ure of the Park-and he held himself responsible for the completion. Not until that time woulfl he be com pletely satisfied. For surely if he had not arrived on the scene when he did, the Park would have been finished in record time. This, then, was the old question that Johnny mulled over in his mind and caused him the only unhappiness in an oth erwise contented existence. Linda Martin, Johnny’s mother, had been a beautiful girl. Beautiful and. wealthy aa the only daughter of Jennifer Martin, owner of two of Lexington’s sewer pipe plants and stock controller of the three mines in the county. Martindale, the Mar tin estate, was situated on a hill MIDLAND JOURNAL. RISING SUN, MD. overlooking the town, the pipe plants growing at the foot like so many children clinging to their mother’s skirts. Linda and her brother Henry were something like a prince and princess to the children of Lexington, who were mostly the children of the plant workers and miners. They had attended the best boarding schools, known only the right people’s children and were thoroughly spoiled. Linda, howev er, retained her lovely personality through it all. Henry was a differ ent proposition. A mean, contempti ble child who had no intention of growing out of his disposition. It was a princess fallen, though, when Linda fell in love and married John ny Davis, a strange reporter who had just arrived in town. Jennifer Martin completely erased her daughter from her life. She was even refused admission to Martin dale. Linda, being fond of her mother and wanting peace restored, man aged through one of the servants to let her mother know she was ex pecting a baby. This was too much for even “Queen Martin,” as her “subjects” called her, and she wel comed her daughter back with open arms—but never Johnny. Though Linda pleaded with her time and again, she would not accept her son in-law. Linda visited her mother daily and it was during this time she suggested, planned and persuad ed her mother to donate the land and the building expense of a park and a playground for the children of Lexington. The park was to cover five acres of ground at the foot of Martindale Hill, easily accessible to the chil dren living in the cramped quarters of the Settlement. There were to be swings, teeter-totters, a huge swimming pool and a bath house, picnic tables and whatever else might be suggested by the towns people. Linda, sitting at the large front window, during her pregnancy, planned it all. It became almost an obsession with her during the last few weeks of her life when her mother finally gave consent to have the work started. Excitement ran high! It was almost unbelievable that “Queen Martin” was giving the town a part of her sacred land, in addition to building a park on it for them—a long-needed playground for their children. But it was true. One had only to go to the foot of the Mar tin estate tu know that it was a fact. Workmen of all sorts—gardeners, painters, carpenters—all there to prove it. And then one day in Fall—Novem ber 30, 1922—the workmen, the gar deners, the painters, were sudden ly confronted by an irate old lady, who ran at them down the hill, shak ing her cane in defiance and scream ing at them to quit work immedi ately. It was at once a terrifying j and a pitiable sight, as if she could j in this way avenge the untimely l death of her daughter, Linda Mar tin Davis, who had died giving birth to the son of a man she loathed without ever having seen him. The workmen returned several days after the funeral and began work again, thinking that the tem per and sorrow pf the old lady had subsided. They soon found out they were wrong, however, when she re peated her performance, threaten ing to break their backs with her cane if they ever returned again. Helpless Against a Woman’s Determination And “The Park” became a farce —an unreal dream. Children still played in the alleys and narrow streets of the town. Too many of them still were killed by the speed ing cars. Lexington could have built its own park during the twenty-three years that followed, but the land that was available to them was across town—five miles from the Settle ment. Everyone of influence tried at one time or another to cope with Jennifer Martin. John Davis, re membering how badly Linda had wanted this park, even took little Johnny to see her. But it was use less. She refused to see them. She would not even be approached by anyone about the land. It was like trying to open a door that she had closed and bolted long past against all attempts and one she apparently did not ever intend to open. Johnny was still staring out the window, seeing nothing, when his father opened the-door behind him. “Well, son . . . How’s it look— everything the same?” he asked, tossing his hat toward the rack and missing it, as usual. “Yep, same old place, Dad. But —there’ve been changes made!” He gave J. D. a knowing glance. "Oh, you mean Handley? I know. But it’s hard to get help now and she’s—efficient. Efficient . . .” he tried the word over again on his tongue. “That’s a good word for her—as good as any!” He laughed and sat down beside his desk. “Handley? Oh, yes. She’s that, all right. But—l meant the other one—Miss Willett.” He hesitated over her name, not wanting to ap pear too exact. ' (TO BE CONTINUED) '— U ' Ua |MPROVED UJUIILIiII UNIFORM INTERNATIONAL SUNDAY I chool Lesson By HAROLD L. LUNDQUIST. D. D. Of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Released by Western Newspaper Union. Lesson for December 29 Lesson subjects and Scripture texts se lected and copyrighted by International Council of Religious Education; used by permission. PAUL CLAIMS THE WORLD FOR CHRIST LESSON TEXT—Acts 9:1S; U:U; 23:11: 28:28-31; Romans 1:13-18; 15:22-24. MEMORY SELECTION—I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.—Romans 1:14. The gospel is for the whole world. God wants all men to hear and come to repentance (John 3:16; II Pet. 3:9). For the establishment of the great missionary program with its world wide sweep, he called a man gift ed, prepared and anointed for that work, namely Paul, whose life and ministry have been our interesting portion these three months. Now ; find him at the very center of the then known world to claim it for Christ. Politically, com mercially, socially and religiously, Rome was the very heart of the known world which centered around the Mediterranean sea (the name of which means “the middle of the earth”). Having preached almost every where else,. Paul had a longing to face heathendom at its very center and claim trophies for Christ and the gospel. Our Scriptures present; I. God’s Plan and Man’s Purpose (Acts 9:l!i; 19:21). Choice involves the thought of se lection because of certain qualities or abilities. The Lord had prepared Paul for just this ministry, and now he chose him to carry it out. That encourages us to believe that God is leading in the experiences of our lives, preparing us for the day when he will call and use us. Let us be yielded and ready. Our seoond Scripture (Acts 19:21) tells us that the plan of God was put into operation by the purpose in Paul’s heart. God does not have to depend on man to do his work, but he does just that! We may hin der his full use of us if we fail to purpose in our spirit to do his will, as Paul did. God wanted Paul in Rome. That was his plan, and that was the purpose of Paul’s heart. 11. God’s Confirmation and Man’s Determination (Acts 23:11; Rom. 1: 13-16; 15:22-24). Man needs to have his good pur poses confirmed by the Lord, and so it was in the case of Paul. He had been taken prisoner for the gos pel’s sake. His trial had resulted in an uproar. Things did not look too f promising for him. Humanly speaking, there was a question whether he would get anywhere, let alone to Rome. In man’s hours of discourage ment God stands by with a good word. “Be of good cheer,” he tells Paul; “as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem so must thou bear i witness also at Rome.” j In his letter to the Romans, Paul ' expresses his determination to come to them. There were hindrances, there was a contemplated trip to Spain (which he probably did not make), but in spite of all these things he would come in due time. The reason for that determination is tremendously interesting and per tinent to our own lives. He saw himself to be a debtor. The gospel had been committed to him, not as a deposit for his own good or pleasure, but as something he must give out to everyone who had not heard, including Rome. We, too, who know Christ are in debt to a world which has not heard of him. That includes the cultured, whom we often forget, and the un cultured, the men of every race— everyone who has need of a Saviour. The tremendous urge which moved Paul should be characteristic of every believer. Think what it would mean for the evangelization of the world if every Christian said: “As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel” (v. 15). 111. God’s Salvation and Man’s Declaration (Acts 28:28-31). A slight change in the arrange ment of our Scriptures brings us to our concluding thought. God had sent salvation to the Gentiles and they would hear it (v. 28), even if the preacher had to come as a pris oner, for Paul came thus to Rome. How wonderfully God arranged it all, for Paul was given the privi lege, even as a prisoner, of living for two years under guard in a pri vate house. Here he won his guards to Christ, many members of Cae sar’s official household (Phil. 4:22), and others who came and went as he preached and taught, “no man forbidding him” (v. 31). When man declares the gospel of salvation which God has sent, mighty things are wrought for the glory of God and the good of men. It is just that which we should be about with renewed zeal and dili gence during the new year just ahead. We are in debt, and we must discharge our indebtedness by declaring to all that Jesus saves, keeps and satisfies. Best wishes for a most blessed new year! It may well be the most important year in all history. Let us make use of it for the glory of God. Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light; The year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, A across the snow; The year is going, A J Aatk let him go; .s'/m Ring out the false, ring in the true. Ring out the | grief that saps *■ ” the mind, For those that here we see no more; Ring out the feud of rich and poor. Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife; Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws. Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times; Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in. Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite; Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good. Ring out old shapes of foul disease; Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be. —Lord Tennyson. Pagans Also Sent New Year's Cards Here in America the popular and evergrowing custom of exchanging New Year’s greeting cards is of fairly recent origin, but actually the New Year’s card antedates the more familiar Christmas card by several hundred years. ! With Christmas our greatest na tional holiday, most of us are in i dined to think of New Year’s as a | sort of happy afterthought. The fact j is, it is one of the oldest of festivals, dating back to pagan times. In cer tain countries of Europe where ! Christmas is observed as a purely j religious festival, New Year’s takes ! the form of a real feast day and its celebration is marked by rejoicing and the exchange of gifts and greet j ings. The earliest known New Year’s j “greetings” were medals marked | with good wishes which date back to the reign of the Roman Emperor Commodus (180-192). And while New Year’s cards long have been a tradition in China, where the tech nique of printing was invented, the first European New Year’s card we have record of is of German ori gin, dating back to the 14505. It depicts the Christ Child and a chest overflowing with good wishes. An other card of the same period has a treasure ship as its central design. Our present-day New Year’s cards have an impressive history behind them. V/ith their festive confetti colors and “Baby New Year,” “Fa ther Time,” bells and balloons, they serve as messages of the good will we feel toward our friends and neighbors, and of our hope for “A Prosperous and Happy New Year!” New Year Antedates Birth oi Christ The celebration of New Years on January 1 began in 452 B. C., and therefore, contrary to logical reason ing, had nothing whatsoever to do with the birth of Christ. After December 25 had been established as the day of nativity, the church made January 1 a re ligious festival honoring the circum cision of Jesus; the day being thus > observed in the church. —r~r r - z~T -T- * Flying a ‘Straight’ Lice Pilots of super-planes flying at supersonic speed will have art in stantaneous check on instruments when army air forces scientists work out a regrouping of the instru ment panel into a "line” pattern. When the gasoline, oil, tempera ture, manifold pressure and other flight elements are functioning properly, a graphlight block will show the pilot one solid line. If trouble the solid line im mediately shows a break, and the pilot knows Instantly what is wrong. Greek Here When Loues, a Greek peasant, won the marathon race in Athena at the first modem Olympic games in 1896, his reception was so great that women threw their Jewelry at his feet A hotel proprietor gava him an order for 885 free meala and even a street urchin pressed forward with a promise to black his boots for nothing for the rest of his life. Paper Rugs One of the possibilities of the fu ture is the use of paper rugs. The secret, of course, is a flexible plas tic. Gay colors, durability, water proofness, stay-putness, and ease of cleaning are mentioned as other ad vantages. The material may have other uses, including coverings for furniture. Preparing Water Fowl hi cooking wild water fowl a lit tle special attention will help in sure a much more tasty dish. In preparing a bird for cooking it is well to remember that an older bird has less tender meat and Is best cooked with moist heat with only a moderate amount of season ing, while tender meat is cooked with dry heat Seasonings used in clude onions, tomatoes, garlic, lem on, marjoram, thyme, cloves or chili powder. Push-Up Sleeves on Sunburst Sweater YES, a sweater with push-up sleeves . . . the very latest fashion! And how extra-special this crocheted sunburst sweater is. • • • Just single and double crochet through out. Pattern 046 has directions In sizes 12-14 and 16-18. Due to an unusually large demand and current conditions, slightly more tline is required in filling orders for a few of the most popular pattern numbers. Send your order to: Sewing Circle Needlecraft Dept. 564 W. Randolph St. Chicago 86, 111. Enclose 20 cents for pattern. 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