40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
There’s something about Mary that brings my life spiritual solace…so every Monday during Lent I will honor the Marys in my life.
In my neighborhood growing up, we had fences. Long chainlink fences. The zigging and zagging of galvanized steel served as windows into our neighbors’ yards. I recall sitting in the dirt driveway playing with a neighborhood cat by the fence, watching my sister reach through the wiry diamond shapes and trade toys with Daniel next door. Whatever toy came through was new to us, and ours to them…turns out bartering was economical and very convenient.
Land was valuable to each family, and our fences were territorial. On the east side, (my parents always use cardinal directions) was “Mary-next-door”. Mary was mom’s partner in crime. They were two stay-at-home moms raising nine kids combined and always had each other’s backs. They shared recipes, commiserated about crying kids, babysat when doctor’s appointments appeared on the calendar and prepped our station wagons for weekend trips. One morning, back in the ’60s, Mary called mom crying. Her newborn was unresponsive in the crib. Mom ran outside, the screen slapping hard, soared through the gate, and went straight in to help Mary. All she could do was console her. He was gone. SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome happened instantaneously, inexplicably, and sometimes happened right next door. It is times like these when friends step in and help unveil the doubt and anger enveloping your heart, bring you water and pray with you.
I think of Mary often. Her big hearty laugh and Herculean voice carried through the church, over the fence, and across our green octagonal poker table every Saturday night. (Mom made the table at an upholstery class)
As the youngest of the nine kids between the two families, I was told Mary was going to babysit me one day. Everyone had something to do, so off I went.
I remember marveling at the fact that Mary’s TV worked DURING THE DAY! Right there on the screen was Bob Barker on “The Price is Right”. I had never seen the show and was fascinated by the guessing and luck involved. Mary laughed when I told her this as she pushed the carpet sweeper across the floor. What a great TV, ours was NOTHING like it.
Thanks to Mary for some fun family memories.
Please pray for Ukraine.