December 29, 1933

As Dick sat in the doctor's office trying manfully to keep his sobs as the doctor explored a fat finger with a knife to remove a minute spec of thorn, the little fellow asked the doctor not to hurt him, please. The wise and good man replied "I shan't hurt you Dick, but the thorn may." And for some obscure reason my thoughts made a leap through time and space and recalled the pathetic statement of Aunty M a few years ago to the effect that her constant attitude of unselfish devotion to other peoples interests that so often bordered on unwelcomed interference, this attitude really did accomplish worth-while services which she was not ashamed of, but which did not make people love her. For years I have desired to express in some adequate way my appreciation of her influence. Unfortunately my contacts with her were confined to years of youthful sophistication, and even though I experienced frequently emotions of affection for her which one little spark of maternal caressing might have kindled into adoration, in spite of this, there has always been a barrier, real or imaginary, because of the poor relative status, and because of my unharnessed independence (or pure cussedness) due to the lack of home ties in my youth. This gap in family affections has always distressed me - in much the same way an unpaid debt haunts a debtor. Is this barrier unsurmountable? Possibly so; but I wish it otherwise. Dick's thorn was the real source of his pain. And what I attributed in my youth to lack of natural affections in the good aunt, was in reality a bit of circumstance over which neither of us had any control. And again we witness the law of life which makes service without visible reward a high virtue, for it is built on faith. The aunt was full of that. Now that I have attained maturity, and the perspective of years of separation from her, how can I bridge the gap which no present consideration seems to justify? Could a letter accomplish anything when neither of us has scarcely met the other for about ten years? Someone urges that one button-hole bouquet offered amid life's stress of trials is worth thousands of wreathes of roses laid on the tomb, etc.; and on the other hand, life is full of misunderstandings and unrequited desires, and this looks like another good example.

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