ON THE SHELF
Today I received my February issue of the Reader's Digest! You just can't imagine how much real pleasure it has given me. When I come home, tired and hungry and irritable from standing over a hot record all day, I just sit right down and start to chew on some of those precious little pearls of wisdom that drop from its pages. And do they stick in my throat? Do they choke me? Why, I should like to state right here and now that they most certainly do not!
If you come home some evening with a terrific appetite, don't rush to supper. Relax, as I did, in the coziest little armchair imaginable, and read a delightful article on page 81, called "Children Can Be Taught Life," by Dorothy May Anderson. It's all about how the author, when but a tot of twelve, too so long arranging the flowers for the table that she had an awful time getting lunch prepared on time.
The story reaches a furious climax in paragraph two, when young Miss Anderson's father arrives "at just the moment that I paid the inevitable penalty of nervous haste by spilling the salmon and peas all over the kitchen floor. I was on the verge of a tearful collapse (it says here)--my pride completely crushed." (Now here was such pathos, such tragedy, such stark realism, that I just had to go on to the next paragraph, without even stopping to order my customary scotch and water.)
"My father took in the whole situation at a glance. (The words seemed to lift me out of my cozy little armchair right into another world). 'Don't worry' he said. 'We'll clean up this mess and find something else to eat. You've done something more valuable than cooking. Forget-me-nots are more important than food'."
The mention of the word "food" reminded me of my erstwhile hunger, so I called down to the cook and told her to fix up a nice hot plate of forget-me-nots and to be sure and have a prettily-arranged vase of salmon and peas sitting in the very middle of the table. Because I felt that Dorothy May Anderson's father was right: forget-me-nots are more important than food. In fact, it's a wonder nobody has ever thought of them before. They would probably make a ravishingly scrumptious salad. Besides, I never did feature salmon and peas--in any form.
After reading the final paragraph (in which Dorothy May cats sandwiches and learns "that doing the thoughtful or impulsive bit beyond what is expected is worth the trouble--and the occasional mishap--whatever it may cost"), I rang for Pierre, the steward, and told him to be thoughtful or impulsive and add a second jigger to my usual scotch and water.
I also told him, in a kindly voice, that if he spilled even one drop on the barroom floor, I would fire him as of said moment.