Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jesse Halsey on “Mothers”

The Cincinnati Enquirer
12 May 1919

Rev. Jesse Halsey at Seventh Presbyterian Church, Walnut Hills, last night preached on “The Mother of the Neighborhood.”

“In the days before trained nurses she was the one sent for in time of illness and she was the presiding genius at the advent of each new life in the community,” said Rev. Mr. Halsey. “Her hands closed the eyes of the dead. Her memory is redolent with sweetness—that pervasive fragrance of personality, indescribably, yet real—that lingers as the perfume of rosemary laid within the pages of a treasured volume.

“She lived in a house of a story and a half, and in the attic hung herbs and roots, harvested in season, to meet the needs of the sick of the neighborhood—wormwood for ‘spring fever,’ hopes for bruises and flaxseed for poultices.

“She had suffered and knew sympathy. Three of her boys had gone to sea never to return, and every boy in the neighborhood found a mother in her. Her income was not large, but she always had enough to keep a fellow out of a scrape, when, for instance, he might break a window pane with a misdirected snowball.

“Her house was near the school and a hundred children crossed the yard daily, sometimes trespassing on her garden, but they were never refused the short-cut route. To most of them the inexhaustible cookie jar was always open.

“I make no apology for presenting her here in company with Mary of Bethany, for of both alike it may be said, ‘She has done what she could . . .’”

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