DECEMBER 4, 1940
DALLAS, Tuesday—We woke yesterday to the most lovely balmy weather. It was like a warm October day in New York State. A drive around the city of Abilene and out to Hardin-Simmons University gave us an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine.
When we were here last year, Dr. Sandefer, who was president of the university, was in very delicate health, but I remember with pleasure my short visit with him. Since then, he has died and we took some flowers yesterday to his grave on the campus. I particularly like the inscription, which pointed to the university buildings all about as his real monument.
We stopped for a minute to see his wife, a very charming elderly woman with a lovely face, who is readjusting her life in a new house and new duties and interests. This must be hard to do, and yet she gave me no sense of finding it a burden.
I think perhaps, one of the things most to be desired in old age, is the power to acquire new interests and to meet whatever situation comes with a gallantry which makes people feel that you are conferring a privilege on them when you share a little of your life with them.
Back at the hotel we spent the afternoon reading and writing. I am proud to say that I actually have no unanswered personal letters in my brief case, even the longhand ones were written yesterday.
At 8:30 we went to the auditorium and the new president of the university, Dr. White, introduced me. The most colorful part of the evening was the cowboy band. They played and sang: "The Eyes of Texas." At the end of the program one of the boys sang: "I Am An American," and finally the whole audience joined in singing: "God Bless America."
I think this cowboy band is coming to Washington for the inauguration, and I shall watch for them with interest in the parade. They will give me an added reason to pray for good weather, for rain would be as destructive to their very effective costumes as it was to my own hat, coat and dress in 1936. That drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in an open car in the pouring rain is still fresh enough in my mind to make me hope we shall not have to repeat that part of the inaugural ceremony.
After the lecture last night, Mr. Frank Roberts came to my door just to pay his respects, because he had served under Uncle Ted and still liked the Roosevelts. I think it is remarkable how the young men who served under Uncle Ted have never forgotten him, nor lost the memory of the spell of his personality.
Abilene is a nice friendly place. Even though we did not leave until this morning, young Mr. Sandefer came for us and took us to the station and saw us safely on our way.