Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

"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
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.


Quick Links to Popular Features content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Use the following link:

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270-250-2730 Fax: 270-751-0401

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.