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Soup For The Soul
stood up from the bench straightened his Army uniform, and studied the
crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked
for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl
with the rose. Interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a
library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not
with the words of the book, but with the notes pencilled in the margin.
The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.
In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss
Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. He wrote
her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The
next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.
During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through
the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance
was budding. John requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt
that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When
the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their
first meeting - 7:00PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.
recognise me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel.
"So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he
loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let John tell you what happened:
'A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde
hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as
flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green
suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely
forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a
small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she
Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw
Hollis. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well
past 40, she had greying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more
than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.
in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split
in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my
longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld
my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible,
her grey eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate.
gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify
me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious,
something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had
been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and
held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked
by the bitterness of my disappointment.
John, and you must be Hollis. I am so glad you could meet me; may I
take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what
this is about son, "she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit
who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she
said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she
is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said
it was some kind of test!"'
It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The
true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.
"Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you