by Rick H
A story of about true friendship and true people. Maybe you know a 'Mary' or should.
|There Really Is Something About Mary
Mary...a name, a word, a sound. It's pretty common name around the country for the most part. Mary... a short word, easy to say and spell. A sound, like an ancient, distant song, invoking misted memories of things forgotten and of days not well remembered. Mary... it's a special name to me. Mary was my mother's name... I did't find until years later that in fact, her name wasn't Mary at all. Young Mary, was actually Maria.. A homemade name change, due solely to ward off and side step, early century New York City, prejudice towards Italians. Maria, couldn't get the job, but anglo Mary was just perfect for it. MARY... Everyone knows at least one. They seem to be everywhere. I know one today as well. Today's Mary, is a friend of mine. Let me tell you about her.
Hardworking and struggling, she is recent Boise State University grad. An accomplishment, thanks to discipline, a job, student loans, and nowadays, inadequate grants. She earned her degree. All the while doing it as a single mom with four kids. She did it alone and became COLLEGE GRADUATE. Congratulations Mary, and all you folks that did it too!
College life was once referred to as the silver bubble. It was a place of insulated security, wild antics, and occasionally, an endeavor towards learning. A bubble to protect us from the real world. That environment doesn't exsit anymore, not today. Most of us, had or have parent(s) of modest or no means. College is usually a time of financial struggle. It needs to be, I suppose. University life is more than just academics. It's also training exercise for the real world and the world is a struggle. Perhaps that's why we don't have the massive student outcry today that we once did. Who has the time? The national and global issues we face now, are numerable and pressing. Just as pertinent as what we demonstrated passionately, sometimes violently for. I think that today's potential radicals are just too busy. They are trying to get from campus to pick up the kids, get them to daycare or somewhere else, get to work on time, fighting traffic to get home, with a stop at the grocery store, all in time to deal with all the issues on the home front. After they get that done, then they get study, in order to maintain a GPA that doesn't fall enough to lose student aid. That was Mary's world for a little more than five years. Don't know about you, but that's pretty impressive to me. It's tough enough just being a single parent trying to make ends meet.
I thought the world should know of a success story, one that's a work in progress. One not measured in monetary means but in the quality of character. In a world, where everywhere we look is, death, destruction, and dismay, I find that this woman is like an anti-dote for cynicism. Mary, like most of us is hard working, putting personal wants and needs aside for family. She, like some, was left with fragments and pieces of turbulent and chaotic relationships. The investments of heart and soul, overdrawn. This individual, though spurned by many, still loves much. Caring for her offspring, rarely arriving at the "Good Job, Mom ! ", though that's mostly in her eyes, not theirs. She's raising the second round of teenagers now. I can't see how that can get simpler with practice. Not in this day and age,but her children are talented, and loving. That shows more of the quality of character of a parent more than anything else, most times.
First off, she's not really the super hero type, she very human. She's someone, most wouldn't notice in the lunch room or passing on side walk. She is just one of us, you know, ordinary. Just a face in the crowd. She is indeed, like the rest of us. Focused and scattered, self assured and bewildered. Centered and slightly tilted. Walking through life with "Yeah I can do this!" and at the same time thinkin' and hope'n "they" won't find her out. Educated and trained but still feeling she's faking it. She's not. She's just flyin' by the seat of her pants, winging it like the rest of us. Some call that thinking on their feet.
I know Mary, and one thing is for sure, yes, "There's something about Mary". There's something inspiring, something unique, something compelling. Maybe that's it, her simple humanity. Her ability to care for others, the down trodden and despaired, the compassless and confused. Yes, she has compassion, understanding and all of that, but something more. She has a gift. A gift that grants her the ability to learn, relate and profit others from past patterns or mistakes. That is a bright star that shines quietly throughout her. I believe, she is unaware of it. Mary, is able to impart this natural wisdom of hers to others, impacting them at a core level. Her degree goes in line with this natural talent. She helps high risk students now.
I sat at this keyboard, to write Mary a simple note. Somewhere along the line I got lost in my thoughts of her. I found that these words instead. Me, I'm your basic guy with all the "high risk" drama of a wild past. I'm just a chain smokin' hack, that drinks too much coffee. I could care less about diet and feel personal training shouldn't extend past the potty days. Mary has tried her best to be a friend to me, according to some, there appears some type of difficulty there. Big woop. She has been there for me, through the death of my spouse, a daughter run over by a drunk driver, the loss of my business, and most my possessions. Oh, and did I mention, my dog died too, really. All in two years. Not exactly an upbeat environment to cultivate a friendship. She managed, somehow to be there, 24\7, anytime I'd bring myself to reach out. Sometimes at three and four a m, not my best nor brightest moments. She'd helped me not come completely unraveled. Mary proved true friendship along that sorrow filled road. Despite my past, I can honestly say, I'm a fortunate man, I have a friend like Mary.
Yep; There's something about Mary. An American Girl. Just one outta' about three hundred and twenty million served stateside. it's not just Mary though It's Jane's, Jill's, Karen's, and Kreacatus's.... Dave's, Fred's and Barney's too. Silent Americans for the most part. Moms and Dads. People struggling along, Gettin' by, by gettin' through it. All of us faced with who knows what day to day, and who feel less certain about tomorrow. It's a heck of a world to raise kids in. But Mary's trying, we're all trying. Soaring prices across the board, food, fuel, housing, medical, everything is out of control. Five dollars was plenty back in the day.A high school date at the moives, that included, a large popcorn, some junior mints, and two large drinks. That cost me forty seven fifty last time I took my granddaughter. High school, now includes metal detectors and possibly flack jackets in the future. The Iron Curtain has long been drawn open, but the world is a far more terrifying place now. Once, we had to practice hiding under our desks in elementary school, At least once a week, I would wonder how they knew "The Bomb" would drop precisely at 2:30 some inevitable Friday. I never did figure that out. Nor how that magic wooden desktop would save us from ground zero seven miles away in Times Square. Today there's neighborhoods around the country, where people lay on the floor to watch TV not for family bonding, but so a stray bullet doesn't take out one of their kids. Think it's not true? Compton, Detroit, Harlem, Boise, or try most medium size cities across America. The danger is everywhere. It's a world gone crazy. So what do we do?
We get up, we go to work, we eat, and we sleep. Then we do it again. Such is life. Then, once in awhile we awake to find, and view someone that makes it all look so easy, even though we know better. These people appear inspirational, despite our cynicism. Or is it realism, it's so hard to distinguish these days. Perhaps, if I were a bit less time worn, virtue might be easier to just accept in others, without the usual skepticism. Life's erosion is as subtle as wind on stone. We never notice the etching from day to day. Mighty mountains, changed over time. But the forces of nature do indeed try to re-establish what was once predominate. Sometimes it's a catastrophic event, other times it's a breeze, blowing seeds into eager an earth.
Our world, yours and mine, really only consist of those that we actually have personal contact with, those in our sphere of influence. Often times, thinking we are of no effect, but mostly too busy to think of it at all. That may well explain many of the mindless irritations we suffer and inflict daily. My point is simply this. In a world that assesses greatness in terms of grandeur and glamor, we often miss the very measure of life. The life that is meted out in sunsets and seconds. One that should be, measured in sacrifice and service, for ourselves and those, whose lives we inhabit it with daily. Thus enhancing the very beauty of life. Mary, seems to have integrated that virtue in hers. And that, my friends, may very well be "the" something about Mary.
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