SEPTEMBER 19, 1944
HYDE PARK, Monday—Yesterday we had a picnic lunch, and I was reminded of a trip many years ago, when I spent a week on an island up in the Adirondacks. We cooked entirely out-of-doors, our stove being some stones conveniently arranged to shelter a fire and support our pots and pans. Somehow our food seemed better than food usually does when cooked in the most convenient of kitchens. Perhaps it was because we had to row two miles for our supplies: by the time we had them and rowed back, and had done other chores around our little island and its tents, whatever we had to eat tasted like food for the gods. Here our picnics are pretty simple to arrange, with a built-in grill and everything conveniently at hand.
Sleeping on a porch in comfortable beds certainly can't compare, either, with gathering pine boughs and spreading out one's sleeping bag under a tree. There is always the chance of rain during the night, of course, but otherwise there isn't any more comfortable bed in the world. Nor is there any more delicious smell than the odor of pine under you in the woods, when you wake up at night and look straight into the sky with the stars gleaming.
Last evening some of our friends, who had to be at work in the city early in the morning, went back to town after an early supper.
I have just received a letter which reminds me that one of the war needs most difficult to fill, in all large cities, is lodging for the families of officers and men. They may be only a few days in a city, but hotels and boarding houses are crowded. Washington and New York have each handled this problem very efficiently, I think. Chicago has a really delightful officers' club, and they boast with pride that they have never let an officer, his wife, mother, children or girl friend be compelled to sit up all night. Somehow, they find accommodations.
The director wrote me a specially nice story about an incident at this club. It seems a bearded veteran walked into the lounge one evening, went right up to a big bouquet of flowers and, waving everyone aside, said: "Just let me sit here and smell the flowers!"