DECEMBER 1, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Christmas is really beginning. When I got home to Hyde Park last night I found awaiting me a volume called "Christmas, An American Annual of Christmas Literature and Art," edited by Randolph E. Haugan and published by the Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis. It contains lovely colored illustrations of the Christmas story, as well as stories from many foreign lands, and even tales of how we celebrated Christmas 50 years ago in our own country. I haven't much sense of the Christmas season being here as yet, but there is a chill in the air and before long we will have snow, and then I will have to realize that Christmas is just around the corner.
Another thing came my way yesterday to remind me of the Christmas season. That is the usual appeal for holiday safety on the highways. Mr. Stuart Little of the National Safety Council reminds all of us of the crusade they put on last year which in many places, they felt, actually cut the death toll through highway accidents. It is a rather simple request. The Safety Council asks that hosts and hostesses during the Christmas and New Year season offer their guests before they leave, not a nightcap drink of liquor but one of good warm, strong coffee with lots of sugar in it. The idea back of this, of course, is that coffee with sugar gives you energy and wakes you up. It is far safer than any liquor you can drink, and it may make the difference between having an accident on the road or reaching home safely.
They call this cup of coffee "one for the road." Last year Mayor John B. Hynes of Boston made a special appeal which was carried by newspapers all over New England. Hotels, restaurants in Boston, Holyoke, Springfield and Providence began to advertise that there would be a stirrup cup of coffee "on the house" for guests attending holiday parties in their establishments. There were only four traffic deaths in all New England on New Year's Eve and Day, as compared with 13 the year before.
The record seems to have been the same in Maryland, where this idea was well received and acted upon. Governor McKeldin said that in the previous year they had eight fatalities on New Year's, whereas there was not a single death during the celebration when this idea was put into practice.
One cannot tell how much of this was due to the practice of serving hot coffee. But it won't do any harm to try it, and hope that gradually we will have fewer and fewer accidents on all our holidays.
We had a morning session on Saturday in the United Nations, which surprised me a good deal because I did not think our committee would ever work on a Saturday morning. They were very considerate, however, and adjourned a little after one, giving me time for a sandwich and a cup of tea before I caught the 2:30 train to Hyde Park. Here my youngest grandchild, John and Anne's baby Joan Lindsey, was christened in the chapel and we all went back for a party at their house afterwards. Joan is a darling baby and she never cried even though she got plenty of water on her head. She looked lovely in my christening dress.