Tuesday, July 11, 2006

F.H.B.

Each morning after I have typed up the God's Minute prayer, I do a quick Google search of the person who wrote the prayer. Often I can find nothing at all about the person, but occasionally I run across something worth linking.

This morning, however, I found a delightful story associated with the Rev. Dr. John Balcom Shaw that must be a post of its own:


The Man in the Street

New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Feb 7, 1904. p. 25 (1 page) :

THE REV. DR. JOHN BALCOM SHAW, pastor of the West End Presbyterian Church, declares that the most interesting family he had ever seen had as its head an ex-football player on a champion Princeton team. He has arranged a system of signals, perfectly understood by a group of children affectionately calling him "Dad." Dr. Shaw could not make out the signals. Two he recalled later and solved.

Just after grace the father of the flock said: "F. H. B.," and while Mr. Shaw ate, the young man talked about many things and hardly touched his food. Every once in a while Dr. Shaw would hear the young wife say to a child that seemed ravenous, "F. H. B." The visitor did not happen to be very hungry, and was soon through. Then came the signal, "F. P. I." Conversation lagged and the food disappeared.

Just before Christmas Dr. Shaw was in a market where he saw a particularly fine turkey. He received an inspiration. "F. H. B." must be "family hold back," and "F. P. I." "family pitch in." The turkey was expressed to the New Jersey clergyman football player, and tacked to it was Dr. Shaw's card, with large letters on it: "F. P. I."

A few days later he received a note signed by his friend and bearing the letters:
"C. S. T. N. T. L. F. P. I."
This Dr, Shaw interpreted as meaning:
"Children send thanks. No turkey left. Family pitched in."

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