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"who Was Mary?" Asks New Rural Adair Writer

This article first appeared in issue 20, and was written by Margaret Dunn.

I walked through a gate to the garden of rest. I was walking the rows of flowers there. I saw a marker which read, "John Harris, Blacksmith". Beside him was another marker, "Mary. Wife of John Harris".

Was that all Mary was? Just a wife? Was she ever a little girl who picked a daisy on the way to school? Or maybe she didn't even go to school. You could probably be just a wife without going to school. Was she a happy little girl? A laughing teenager? She was surely somebody's daughter!

Then I looked at a marker just down the row from John. On it was, "Johnny Harris, son of John and Mary Harris".

Then I knew why her marker only said wife of John. There was not enough room to put all of the things she was. She was John's wife, a mother, a cook, a teacher, a gardener, a housekeeper, a nurse, a milkmaid, a seamstress, a comforter.

I know she could never have been just John's wife.

I walked away knowing that the words on her marker told it all, because just at the top, and almost worn away by time, covered with moss, was one other word I hadn't read, "Loving".

If she was loving and loved, she was everything a woman could want to be.

I know she was loved - John must have put the words there, because she had rested there ten years before John joined her. A word put there in love for a loving wife.

------

The writing of Margaret Dunn is welcomed here for the first time. It takes a brave heart to share words publicly, documented for all time. For just as the words on that headstone created questions and pictures in the mind of the writer, so will her words draw reactions from some young woman strolling through these pages in the next century. -LMW



This story was posted on 1998-05-15 12:01:01
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