Mr. Gilbert Chesterton, the English
writer and critic, once spoke of the present period as, "this
Rotarian age," contrasting it with the Victorian Age, which
he, manifestly, preferred. After we have enjoyed a good laugh
at the cleverly turned phrase, we Rotarians may perhaps be excused
for rejoining, "Many thousands of folks throughout the
world believe that Rotary is making its imprint upon the times.
While Rotary is not a secret
order, while it has no ceremonies or rites, the concept of Rotary
in the minds of those who are not members is naturally vague.
In a general way, folks think well and speak well of Rotary.
Many who are not members themselves number among their relatives
or friends those who are Rotarians and from them they have learned
of the movement, its purposes and accomplishments.
Rotary is probably best known
by its good works of which there are many. Boys clubs, bands
and camps beyond number have been organized by Rotary Clubs
and by Rotarians individually. Rotarians are the mainsprings
of almost every kind of worthy endeavor. In some cities, every
man on the school board is a Rotarian. Under the devoted leadership
of Rotarian Edgar Allen of Elyria, Ohio, in two score of the
states of America societies for the benefit of crippled children
were organized and new laws passed for the care, cure and education
of crippled children. The work was also carried to Europe and
two overseas conventions, participated in largely by Rotarians,
were held in the interest of handicapped children. Thousands
of little sufferers were beneficiaries of this humanitarian
At Rotary Club meetings members
become personally acquainted with educators, Boy Scout executives,
Salvation Army and Y.M.C.A. officers, and representatives of
all active welfare agencies, to the advantage of such agencies
and to the advantage of the Rotarians themselves. Rotary is
in fact a school for adult education in the affairs of social
Nearly all universities, colleges
and high schools are represented by members of their faculties
in local Rotary Clubs. Through such contacts business men are
kept in touch with schools of higher education and the work
they are doing. The ramifications of Rotary are beyond imagination.
Nearly every phase of modern life is influenced and the outlook
of members is broadened, and through it all there is the benign
influence of fellowship which sweetens life. These are a few
of the many reasons why Rotarians value their membership.
Good works are not all there
is in Rotary; good works are expressions only of something beneath.
Some of the most powerful forces in the world are invisible.
Electricity has never been seen by mortal man and yet it can
and does turn the wheels of industry. Gravity cannot be seen
and yet the mighty cataract of Niagara exists by virtue of the
law of gravity. Even the air we breathe is invisible and yet
it sustains life. The power of Rotary is invisible and yet it
performs miracles. The gates of empires have been lifted from
their hinges by the power of ideas. Beneath the good works of
Rotary there is an invisible power; it is the power of goodwill
and by virtue of the power of goodwill Rotary exists. Friendship
is an evangelizing force. Thousands of men have been born anew
in the spirit of Rotary, into old-fashioned friendliness and
neighborliness such as I knew in my New England home.
In the Rotary plan business is
an important part of life but it is not the all of life. He
whose vision extends no further than his field of business is
to be pitied; it matters not what his success in that business
may have been. Rotary aims to be practical; its philosophy is
a wholesome philosophy; it hopes to enrich life.
Rotary is neither a religion
nor a substitute for religion. It is the working out of religious
impulses in modern life and especially in business and international
relations. In my lifetime business practices have undergone
particularly marked changes and here the influence of Rotary
has been strongly felt.
The membership by vocational
classifications gives the movement the opportunity to project
its ethical ideals far beyond the limits of its membership,
out into the rank and file of every trade, profession or occupation
by which society is served. Each Rotarian is a connecting link
between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession.
To others in his vocation he bears peculiar responsibilities
of securing their cooperation in the development of highest
standards for the vocation. Hundreds of trade or bnsiness associations
have been organized by Rotarians that they might better fulfill
In its efforts to promote understanding
between nations Rotary makes use of the same measures that demonstrated
their effectiveness in Rotary's earliest days-mutual interest
and friendly intercourse. Through business and social intercourse
nations become intelligible to one another. Strange customs
which in the beginning are irritating eventually become interesting
and frequently are copied, contributing to the enrichment of
Friendship thrives in the atmosphere
of Rotary where formalities and artificialities are laid aside;
where men regardless of rank or station meet on a common plane.
It is customary though not compulsory in American Rotary clubs
and those of many other countries as well, to use the first
name in greeting fellow members. It comes naturally to some,
while others acquire the habit gradually. Few fail to adjust
themselves to the custom.
It is told that when a prominent
Australian citizen, who was also an active Rotarian, had been
honored by his King with the very high rank of Knight Commander
of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, thus making him
Sir George Fowldes, KCMG, and was thereupon asked by his fellow
Rotarians how they should now address him, he replied: "Keep
Calling Me George."
When an individual, a sect, a
clique or a nation hates and despises another individual, sect,
clique or nation, he or they simply do not know the objects
of their hatred. Ignorance is at the bottom of it. Ignorance
is a menace to peace. The higher the general average of intelligence,
all things else being equal, the less the disposition to be
meddlesome, critical, and overbearing. Individuals and nations
owe it to themselves and the world to become informed.
Rotary's program of promoting
better understanding between different racial groups and between
devotees to different religious faiths, so simply and yet so
auspiciously begun in the year 1905, has met with greater success
thus far than the negotiations of diplomats. It has been the
way of Rotary to focus thought upon matters in which members
are in agreement, rather than upon matters in which they are
in disagreement. Rotary has satisfactorily demonstrated the
fact that friendship can easily hurdle national and religious
Insularity induces the superiority
complex, and the superiority complex is responsible for much
trouble. Permanent superiority has never been realized by any
nation in history. After the rise comes the fall. The nation
that is supreme above all others during one age, will be eclipsed
by another in the next age. The very strength of a nation eventually
proves to be its weakness. After maturity comes old age; after
ripeness comes decay. It is nature's law and can not be repealed
He who makes the eagle scream,
the lion roar, the bear growl, is not doing his country a service;
he is probably not even trying to; he is in all probability
trying to do himself a service; actually he is doing his country
a dis-service. There is, however, a species of homo sapiens
even more pitiable; it is those who, when traveling abroad,
rise superior to the country to which they owe allegiance and
expose its weaknesses to sympathetic and admiring throngs.
The writer is an American and
has no apologies to make for that fact. He grants all others
the privilege of proclaiming allegiance to the countries to
which they owe it. No one ever rises in the writer's esteem
through disloyalty to his country, wheresoever it may be. One
ought to love his country so well that he will resolve never
to create enemies for it, nor subject his fellow countrymen
to ridicule through proclaiming the land of his allegiance as
"God's own country.' One may manifest his own ignorance
in that matter, but insult is a poor means of winning friendship.
The best way to win the esteem of others is by observing the
simple rules of decency. If they won't accomplish the desired
result, nothing will.
Can a club of fifty or a hundred
members influence the character of a small city? It has been
clearly proven that Rotary clubs do influence the characters
of the cities in which they are established. The influence naturally
is most noticeable in the smaller communities. Many a dejected,
spiritless town of the Main Street variety has been revived
and invigorated. Existence can become drab indeed in small towns
where there is no public spirit and where homefolks are given
to bickering and gossip. If the spirit is what it should be,
life should be at its best in the smaller communities.
Rotarians of small town clubs
have frequently, with deep feeling, stated that the advent of
Rotary has wrought wondrous changes, that contentions and petty
jealousies have given way to civic consciousness and enthusiastic
Dr. Charles E. Barker, formerly
physical director for Mr. Win. Howard Taft while he was president
of the United States, is responsible for the statement that
the complexion of the small towns in America has been entirely
changed by Rotary and the other organizations which have followed
its lead. As Dr. Barker had visited thousands of them, he knows
whereof he speaks. Cooperation is the keynote of happy community
The influence of Rotary has frequently
been brought to bear upon intercity relationships through intercity
meetings. Such meetings between the representative business
men of neighboring cities have on many occasions resulted in
the suppression of bitter rivalries and in the promotion of
the cooperative spirit. Intercity meetings have for many years
been a feature of Rotary in cities both large and small.
Frequently intercity meetings
are attended by representatives of the clubs of twenty-five
or thirty neighboring cities; district conferences have brought
representatives of as many as one hundred different cities together,
and international conventions have brought representatives of
more than half a hundred nations together. Rotarians, while
travelling in their own country or abroad, attend Rotary club
meetings whenever possible. By consulting their international
directory they can ascertain when and where the weekly meetings
are to be held. Meetings in the larger cities are sure to be
attended by many visiting Rotarians and special attention is
Rotary has given special study
to reconciliation of conflicting interests and has accomplished
wonders in this direction through the simple expedient of bringing
opponents and rivals together in the atmosphere of good-fellowship.
Where fires of animosity burn or smolder is Rotary's opportunity.
Has the farming element in a community lost faith in the business
men? Then the business men will be hosts to the farmers; there
will be songs and entertainment, and there will be straight-to-the-point
talks from which both sides will gain much information and better
understanding will surely result.
Rotary has an appreciable influence
even in the larger cities. To one accustomed to life in large
cities, the fellowship influence of Rotary is discernible in
the churches, chambers of commerce, social clubs, lodges, golf
clubs, craft associations, school systems and, in fact, wherever
The activities of Rotary cover
a wide range of public and private service. Members may make
selection of their activities according to their special tastes
and aptitudes. There are comparatively few all-round Rotarians
who throw themselves into all of the recognized activities.
An all-round Rotarian is an exceptionally desirable citizen,
one who would be an asset to any community in which he might
be located. From such, most of the leaders are chosen.
An all-round Rotarian is interested
in what are usually known as Rotary's Four Objects:
1st-Club Service: That is, in
matters pertaining to the administration of affairs in his club.
2nd-Vocational Service: That
is, in matters pertaining to the ethical conduct of his business
3rd-Community Service: That is,
in matters pertaining to the welfare of the community in which
4th-International Service: That
is, the promotion of international good-will and understanding.
Many Rotarians, especially those
of Brazil, contend that there is in reality only one object,
and that is the promotion of the service concept as the most
suitable motivating influence in life. What we now term objects,
they consider ways and means of accomplishing the one and only
object. Ches Perry thinks of service as Rotary's super highway
and of the four principal activities as the four lanes constituting
Entire agreement is too much
to expect. Presumably no two of the two hundred and fifty thousand
Rotarians are in entire accord as to the way in which Rotary
can make the most of itself. That men do not think alike is
no more remarkable than that they do not look alike. Shades
of thought are far more variant than shades of color and as
difficult to change. One's belief is dependent upon so many
influences-temperament, heredity, environment, experience,-and
leaders must temper their judgment with patience and kindly
forbearance. No dogmatic Rotary can be serviceable.
The thought that the minimum
possible benefit from Rotary contacts is something well worthwhile
is a source of satisfaction to those who serve the movement.
No one can attend Rotary club meetings with the necessary regularity
without finding his life enriched by the friendly contacts,
and his mental and moral outlook improved by the cultural programs
The advance of Rotary to its
present position constitutes a romance of organization development.
Seventy nations have, to varying extent, experienced its benefits.
The splendid progress thus far made is the result of the efforts
of Rotarians of a limited number of nations where Rotary has
been longest established. With the other nations, the propulsion
has had its origin outside their borders. What will be the measure
of accomplishments when Rotary becomes as well entrenched in
all nations as it is today in the United States, Great Britain,
Rotary and the numerous other
organizations which have risen in its wake are considered by
students of social movements as among the most remarkable developments
of the period; the period facetiously referred to by Mr. Chesterton
as "this Rotarian age."
In course of time, I paid a second
visit to my valley coming as the guest of Rotarians of the states
of Vermont and New Hampshire. The outpouring was so great that
it soon became manifest that no public building in Wallingford
would hold them. Not to be outdone, the American Fork and Hoe
Company came to the rescue.
On the day of the meeting scores
of the employees assembled, dismantled a portion of the plant,
moving heavy machinery into other parts of the building, brought
more than four hundred seats in, and at night-fall the miracle
had been performed; Wallingford had an assembly hall capable
of accommodating its unprecedented assemblage.
From over the hills and mountains
of the States, Rotarians came to do their respective parts to
welcome the Rotary Club of Wallingford which came into existence
After the speeches of welcome
and fellowship and the presentation of the charter to the new
club, the assemblage melted away; happy friends were on their
way again over hills and mountains to their homes, and the big
fork and hoe plant was being retransformed into an agricultural
implement factory; the bell rang as usual the next morning and
the men went to work.
Such doings had never been heard
of in our valley, and, dreamer though I admittedly am, I never
would have dreamed of such an outpouring of men from our own
and other valleys in response to a common ideal.
New Englanders are not easily
moved to changes in their life habits, but when after due deliberation
they accept an innovation they seldom retrace their steps. As
the automobile has leveled the mountains of New England, so
also have great steamships bridged the seas to advance understanding
and goodwill sponsored by Rotary. When Rotary International
has held conventions in Edinburgh, Ostend, Vienna and Nice,
it has required an entire fleet of trans-Atlantic liners to
transport North American Rotarians and their families to the
various ports of debarkation. No one can see just what part
the airplane is to play in Rotary but it is safe to predict
that it will eventually facilitate and accelerate the advancement
of understanding and goodwill between nations.
When Rotary holds its convention
ten years hence, the skies will be full of planes from all the
cities throughout the world. Nothing but good can come of such
meetings of men united in the common ideal of service. Rotary
is an integrating force in a world \where forces of disintegration
are all too prevalent; Rotary is a microcosm of a world at peace,
a model which nations will do well to follow.
Along the path blazed by Rotary
a score of other "service club" organizations have
followed gathering into their membership hundreds of thousands
of like-minded men of altruistic impulses. There are also several
similar organizations of business and professional women.
There is still room for more
Rotary and other similar clubs and for internationally minded
organizations of other types and character; it matters little
under what banner they meet so long as they foster international
understanding and good-will.
The influence of Rotary on public
opinion in the sixty countries where our over five thousand
clubs of today are located has been more helpful than is known
by many. To be sure our membership is small as compared with
the world's population but the character of Rotarians in general
and the positions they occupy justifies, I think, the statement
I have made.
To begin with, Rotarians are
members of the law making bodies of most countries. In our own
United States Congress there are many Rotarians who are members
of the lower house and several in the Senate. Two of the members
of President Truman's cabinet are Rotarians, one a past president
of Rotary International.
The newspapers in the United
States and in other countries are widely represented in Rotary,
the owners themselves generally holding the membership.
Educators by the tens of thousands
have been drawn to Rotary thereby making certain that millions
of youth of this period and of succeeding generations will partake
of its blessings.
Rotarians have shown amazing
loyalty to their clubs. Several members have maintained unbroken
attendance records at meetings for more than thirty years; even
entire clubs have had unbroken attendance records for more than
one hundred consecutive meetings. To some men their Rotary membership
is almost the most precious thing in life.
Why this affection for Rotary?
It is the love of man for his fellow man. When stripped of all
formalities and creeds, fellowship flourishes. Rotary draws
no lines of politics or religion; Mohamedans, Budhists, Christians
and Jews, break bread together in happy fellowship. Rotary is
as popular in caste ridden India as in other countries. There
is no proselyting in Rotary. Members are entitled to their own
opinions on questions of controversial nature. The platform
is broad enough to include all sorts and conditions of men just
so they be friendly, tolerant of the views of others and unselfish.
Friendship was the foundation
rock on which Rotary was built and tolerance is the element
which holds it together. There is enough atomic energy in every
Rotary club to blow it into a thousand bits were it not for
the spirit of tolerance; just such tolerance as marked the life
of my grandfather from which my own faith sprang.
In fact this is Rotary's day.
For the first time in the life of the movement, the Great Powers
of the earth are definitely interested in the promotion of international
understanding and goodwill. This is the very essence of Rotary.
God grant that the Great Powers be patient with each other's
shortcomings, and ever remember that this is a predatory world
in which we have so long lived. As we emerge from the jungle
age we can not, in good conscience, point the finger of scorn
at each other. The spirit of tolerance which has made it possible
for Rotary to form a world wide fellowship of business and professional
men will make all things possible.
My lady Jean and I feel that
we have been singularly blest in the opportunity which Rotary
has afforded us to win the friendship of thousands of men of
many nations and thus assure ourselves of the fact that the
concept of "Peace on Earth; good-will to all men,"
is not an idle dream but that peace is sure to come. It is a
privilege to live in the year of the Lord 1945 and to witness
the great awakeniuig; and once again we thank you, Mr. Gilbert
Chesterton, for coining the phrase: 'This is the Rotarian Age."
40 - Resting and Visiting
The call of the country in time
of sickness and mental disturbance has never been told in words
more appealing to me than those of David Grayson in his books,
"Friendly Road," "Adventures in Contentment,"
etc. They have an especial appeal to me because I know what
it means to be suddenly stricken from the roll of workers and
compelled to rest. I shall never forget my longing for the country
in my distress and how old Mother Nature took me to her breast
and eventually, with the aid of my faithful wife, nursed me
back to health.
On a never-to-be-forgotten day,
I was standing at the speaker's table at a great meeting, having
just finished an address, when my lights went out. The last
that I remember was of falling across the table and of being
surrounded by folks. Heart attack, they called it. The specialist
said it all when he said that I had overdrawn my account; that
I was bankrupt and must liquidate my account with nature.
I dreamed and longed for the
country and as soon as I could be moved from the hospital, I
was taken to the Michigan northland, with its hills and lakes,
laughing brooks and singing birds and foliage of various colors.
It is a long story of ups and downs, of the comings and goings
of doctors and nurses, and it required one and one-half years
for me to climb up out of the black hole I had dug for myself.
In the course of time, however, I found rest and recovery. Then
followed ten active years; I had learned how to rest.
At times I have found respite.
Through that process I have been able to live well beyond my
three score and ten years. Seventy-five percent of my law class
in the University of Iowa now sleep beneath the sod. Of the
living twenty-five percent, probably none began life with less
promise of health and strength, and probably none has been subjected
to greater strain. Truly I have much to thank the country for.
Let the strings of your fiddle
down, Mr. City Man, lest your "E" string or some other
string, snap; one cannot maintain concert pitch all of the time.
"There should be periods
in the life of every busy man when he does nothing-just nothing
at all." -Dr. Crawford McCullough.
"The best and most helpful
feature in any people is undoubtedly the instinct that leads
them to the country and to take root there. The city rapidly
uses men up, families run out, man becomes sophisticated and
feeble. A fresh stream of humanity is always setting from the
country into the city; a stream, not so fresh, flows back again
into the country, a stream for the most part of jaded and frail
humanity. It is arterial blood when it flows in and venous blood
when it comes back. A
nation always begins to rot first in its great cities, is indeed,
perhaps, always rotting there and is saved only by the antiseptic
virtues of fresh supplies of country blood." -John
"Hope and the future for
me are not in lawns and cultivated fields; not in towns and
cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps." -Henry
"A white man bathing beside
a Tahitian, is like a plant bleached by the gardener's art,
compared with a fine, dark green one, growing vigorously in
the open hills." -Darwin.
I have lived the greater part
of my life in a great city where my activities have been and
still are based. I recognize the important part that great cities
play in the advancement of civilization and I most naturally
love the city folks with whom I have lived and in whose companionship
I have tried to play my part in the life of the great city.
Strong and courageous men are stemming the tide of outlawry
and our big cities are becoming more livable each year. Crime
and corruption of great American cities is given much publicity
and folks sometimes get the impression that the majority of
our residents are indifferent. Of course this is not so; the
vast majority are law-abiding citizens and education, art and
culture grow by leaps and bounds while schools, universities,
churches, libraries, parks, and playgrounds appear as if by
I certainly would not advise
either men or women to shirk the responsibilities of city life
and flee to the country just for the purpose of living lives
of ease. There has been far too much shirking of responsibility
by the so-called "better element," and that is the
reason why gangsters, racketeers, kidnappers and other offenders
gather in large cities where the apprehension of lawbreakers
is more difficult.
There are times for work and
times for rest and it is for each person to decide where his
path of duty lies. Taken by and large, I think the highest purposes
of the largest number would be best served if the population
was more spread out. To the man in the moon or to any unprejudiced
observer, it must seem an anomalous condition that human beings
are spread so thickly in some parts and so thinly in others;
it is reasonable to suppose that, to such an unprejudiced observer,
a re-distribution of the inhabitants of this planet would be
If it were the Creator's intention
for men to live in masses, for what purpose did he create millions
of acres of mountains and valleys where air and water is unpolluted
by the works of men? Folks tangle themselves up in great cities
somewhat as angleworms tangle themselves in the bottom of tin
cans and bait boxes, and, when there is nothing else to devour,
men, like angleworms, all too frequently devour each other.
The country has been my refuge
at all times; when I could not afford it as a luxury, I put
it on the necessity list and as such managed to get it. Years
fall from my shoulders when I ramble along the countryside.
For some years I consistently
spent my week ends during the winter months in the weird but
fascinating dune lands bordering on Lake Michigan in northwestern
Indiana. When the dunes get a grip on one, they never loosen
their hold. "Dune-bugs" build shacks among the hills
of sand and most of them command beautiful views of the great
Windstorms constantly change
the contour of the land, burying forests here and uncovering
forests there. The flora and fauna of the Chicago dune lands
is in greater variety than in any other Central Western zone.
Weekends spent in the dunes in companionship with other nature
lovers is an excellent conditioner for the business trials of
the coming week. Why should men permit themselves to be kept
indoors during the long winter months with never a breath of
fresh air and never the song of a bird to gladden their hearts?
The Prairie Club of Chicago,
of which I am a charter member, was established thirty-five
years ago for the purpose of giving young people opportunity
to enjoy grand hikes in the country. We have had as many as
two thousand members, nearly all of whom came to the city from
homes in the country. The Prairie Club gives folks an opportunity
to renew their touch with their beloved country, and in many
instances has constituted the one and only available means of
While Saturday afternoon hikes
are the distinguishing feature of the Prairie Club, organized
camps and other similar recreational features which contribute
to the health and happiness of legions of school teachers, clerks,
stenograpers, etc., are provided. The Saturday afternoon hikes
are announced in the Chicago newspapers and all nature lovers
are invited to join them without expense other than the necessary
cost of transportation. The hikes are carefully mapped out by
competent leaders who have blazed the trails and made arrangements
with the railroads for as many extra coaches as may be needed.
The Prairie Club co-operates
with the Rocky Mountain Club of Denver, the Sierra Mountain
Club of San Francisco, the Mountaineers Club of Seattle, the
Nature Lovers Club of Indianapolis and with many other clubs
devoted to promoting interest in outdoor life.
Chicago has a young man from
Boston to thank for its Prairie Club, His name is Alexander
Wilson and his name is too little known.
No restrictions are made as to
the ages of the applicants for membership. The youngest regular
participant in the hikes whom I knew was a rugged little maiden
three year of age, who needed no assistance except that of being
lifted over fences by her parents. She could reel off a ten
mile hike without unhappy consequences. She is now a mother
of strong rugged children of her own.
The oldest Prairie Clubber I
have known was Captain Robinson, ninety years of age, who took
his camera along photographing unusual wild flowers and writing
them up for a magazine.
Naturalists have eyes to see
the beauties of uplands and lowlands; noses to smell the aroma
of pines and balsams, and ears to hear the sweet song of the
bobolink, the meadowlark and that "divine contralto,"
the hermit thrush,
Many who know the blessings of
rural life plan to adopt it as soon as they can afford to buy
or build property suitable to their tastes and in conformity
with the standards they have set up; in many cases they find
that their standards are so high that it is necessary to defer
moving to the suburbs time and time again;
often they defer too long-thousands
build, move and then die, having enjoyed their new home only
a few years or perhaps only a few months.
Our home is located in an extra
large block in a suburb of culture and refinement and we have
enjoyed it for thirty-odd blessed years. We came none too soon.
Twenty-six families reside in our block all in homes of their
own. When they came to our block, husband, wife and children
were living happily together, but to-day ten of those houses
are owned and occupied by the widows of the men who built them
and one is owned and occupied by a widower. The percentage,
ten to one in favor of widows, is a sad commentary on the struggle
for what men call success; it is almost as devastating as the
war which sons and grandsons of my neighbors are now waging
on the Eastern and Western fronts. These men came to our suburb
to get rest, and in that respect they were successful, but they
rest under ground.
It is quite an undertaking to
move to a suburb but it is a far greater undertaking to retire.
How glibly men speak of retiring. Utopia, at last! Nothing to
do but to rest and luxuriate in the thought of having nothing
to do! How different they find it! Retirement is a crisis. A
limited number only come through. To throw the yoke off in advanced
years is even a more serious undertaking than it was to put
the yoke on in the days of vigorous youth. There is, however,
a way out; new and engrossing interests must be found: they
are frequently found in the country.
To the young and vigorous, an
emotional escape from life's realities does not make a strong
appeal, but life in the country need not be an escape from realities;
it not infrequently proves to be an opening to larger opportunities
for usefulness under more favorable conditions. Young and vigorous
shoots stand transplanting very well.
The gift of country life near
woods and hills
Where happy waters
sing in solitudes. -John Musefield.
May I a small house and large
And a few friends
and many books, both true. -Cowley.
How blessed is he who leads a
Unvexed with anxious
cares and void of strife
peace and shunning civil rage
Enjoyed his youth
and now enjoys his age. -Dryden.
"After you have exhausted
what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love and
soon have found that none of these finally satisfies or permanently
wears-what remains- Nature remains to bring out from their torpid
recesses the affinities of man or woman with the open air-the
sun by day and the stars of the heavens by night." -Walt
Nothing can he more serviceable
in extending one's acquaintance among the best people than membership
in a Rotary club but if there is no available Rotary club, welcome
an invitation to membership in a Kiwanis club, Lions club or
in any of the recognized service clubs.
I hope it will not be considered
presumptuous for me to express the opinion that there can be
no better introduction to the life of a community than one that
comes through the local Rotary club. If there happens to be
no Rotary club in the community, there will surely be one not
far distant and a few miles ride in the country does not amount
to much if one has a motor car. Membership in any Rotary club
gives one guest privileges in Rotary clubs throughout the world.
Many Rotarians visit Rotary clubs whenever they chance to be
traveling and this is a great boon to travelers in foreign lands.
Enthusiastic Rotarians frequently plan to visit club meetings
in neighboring towns thereby extending their acquaintance through
their part of the state.
42 - The End of the Journey
So here we are at
the end of our journey and Jean and I are sitting at our fireside
drinking a cup of tea. One who marries a Scottish lady must
acquire the habit of sitting at the fireside and drinking black
tea and indeed it is a delightful break in the cares and duties
of the day. If the tea is good and the fire burns merrily, one
enjoys recreation and rest. It's a good way to end the day.
The tea cozy at my lady's right
hand keeps the tea hot for a long time and there is nothing
my lady enjoys better than filling one's cup. Many cups of tea
has she served to visiting friends from Britain and other countries
and how sociable and friendly a custom it is. The bellows sends
the sparks flying up the chimney when applied by my lady's vigorous
hands and she will tolerate no assistance either in building
her fire or keeping up the music of the snapping embers.
Queen of the fireside and the
teatable at "Comely Bank" is my lady Jean and the
thought often comes to me that her steadfast devotion to duty
was not excelled even by grandmother. I am indeed a fortunate
man; of that I am sure and this is the very place and this is
the very hour for reverie even though lady Jean maintains that
my reveries far too frequently are preludes to cat naps and
my cat naps preludes to slumber outright.
At our fireside scores of friends
from all corners of the globe have delighted us by their presence.
They have come as the result of my planting a sapling in 1905.
The first Rotary Club was that sapling. It has grown into a
mighty tree in whose shade it is delightful to dwell.
Tonight my thoughts most naturally
drift back to grandfather, grandmother, the boy I once knew,
and to My Valley. There is sweet music in the mountains; the
rhythmic fall of the woodsman's axe; the mooing of the cows
in the pasture; the cackle of hens in the barnyard advertising
their wares; a rooster's strident proclamation of daybreak;
the chorus of catbirds, orioles, robins, field sparrows and
wrens; the mournful cooing of a dove in the distance telling
its sad story of unrequited love; and far down in the valley,
the liquid tones of a meadow lark calling to its mate, while
in the slough alongside the railroad track ridiculously pompous
and lovesick bullfrogs swell themselves into prodigious proportions
and give voice to their springtime roundelays.
In the late Summer, locusts and
untold thousands of tiny insects, all join in a mighty hum to
make themselves collectively heard.
In the early autumn, crickets
and katydids sit up all night announcing that the leaves of
the maple trees are already beginning to show color; that the
pageant will soon be on and that some night in the not too distant
future, when the eyes of the home folks are closed in sleep,
mystic winter will creep silently into the valley and gently
lay upon all the great outdoors its crystal white blanket of
snow to keep things warm until the spring-time resurrection
No one knows how long such thoughts
might have continued had not a voice broken in, "Why, I
declare! I believe you have been asleep, Paul; wake up and drink
another cup of tea; the fire is burning low and we must soon
be in bed." So goeth life at "Comely Bank."
God grant that my vision of the
faults of men and of nations be dimmed and my vision of their
virtues be brightened. -
Paul P. Harris.
The Road to Rotary from R. I.