Something has happened to Mary, and we have to find out what! I have never met Mary, but she became the most important person to me one day while visiting my great aunt Gloria in Ohio (I call her Glo).
For the most part, all my family is from and live in rural Ohio, “out in the country”. To them I am known as a silly “city girl” that doesn’t know what it’s like to climb a tree without abandon, pick and eat a strawnberry, or warsh my clothes. While growing up, I tried to prove to them that even though I was born in a city, I had the heart of a country girl. I tried climbing all the trees around, sledding down all the hills, and swinging on all the vines, but to no avail. I suppose they are right to some degree though. I grew up in a city, and just don’t know what country life is all about.
Glo lives on a long winding road that cuts through the wilderness in Ohio. She is surrounded by farmers, and has a home on several acres of land. The road has no street lights, and the homes are about a half mile to 3 miles or more apart from each other. It’s the same road she grew up on, and some neighbors and other family still live on this road to. There used to be less homes on this road and less people nearby, but time has caused the populations around to swell and spillover into these rural areas. What was once small is now slightly bigger.
There are exactly two spots you can get cell service at Glo’s, one is about 30 feet into her backyard, which comes with its own dangers of bees and snakes. The other is on her back porch by the second pillar, which comes with mosquitoes in the summer and cold in the winter.
You can see all the stars from her house, and lightning bugs dazzle across the field effectively mirroring the sky above. There are tons of trees on the other side of the road from her, fit with vines for swinging, but also ticks with Lyme disease for infecting.
Glo grew up a farmer’s daughter, and did her fair share of farm work and gathering eggs from chickens. My first experience with chickens was at Glo’s mother’s house, my great grandma, and I was thoroughly traumatized. To a four year-old child, chicken’s standing at nearly your height pecking at you and chasing you is the equivalent to being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Glo worked as a school teacher most her life, third grade. I would go to her classes sometimes when I would visit as a child. She was an incredible teacher and all her students loved her. Her classroom still had the desks that lift up, mine were the slide in from the side kind, had large windows all around, mine had no windows, and an actual exterior fire escape, mine was one story. Her classroom was what you imagine schools to look like.
My visit to Glo this particular day was last minute, so I told her not to change any of her plans, and that I would just tag along with her during the day. This meant we had to get up early and be to church by 6:00 am. I had arrived late the night before, so that meant I would be getting about three hours asleep and be waking up at the equivalent of 3:00 am my time.
We rushed to church, which was about 20 minutes away. When we got there, I was stunned to see there was only one other car in the parking lot. I asked Glo where everyone was, and she said, “Well, church doesn’t start till 9:00 am.”
I said, “What are we doing here at 6:00 am then?”
She responded, “Well, I have things I need to do.”
And, we parked and entered the Moravian church. It looked nice and new, not what I remembered from my childhood, which she explained they had recently renovated and added to it. There is a cemetery behind the church with burial sites dating back to the 1800’s, and even some of my family rests there.
We found Martha, the administrative assistant to the church, who said, “Have you heard about Mary? She went to the hospital last night.”
“Why? For what?” Glo said, stunned.
“I don’t know,” Martha replied with wide-eyes filled with concern.
We went to the refreshments area, grabbed a donut and coffee, and ran into the minister. After exchanging some pleasantries, Glo asked, “Did you hear about Mary?”
The minister replied, “Yes! Praying for the family. I don’t know what happened. I heard something about her heart.”
People were starting to show up to church now. We ran into several people in the hallways as we were maneuvering around. Some knew about Mary, some didn’t. Some thought she was in hospice, and some thought she broke her leg. Everyone exchanged what they knew and who they heard it from. We did Bible study at 8:00 am, and then church at 9:00 am. Then it was off to lunch.
After lunch we went for a walk. We passed by Barb’s house, she was out on her lawn, and we stopped to talk about Mary. She had no new information unfortunately. We stopped by another house where Deb was mowing the lawn. We stopped to talk about Mary, but again no new information.
That night we ate with the people in Glo’s book club. They were reading some sad book about a young soldier, and the previous book was a story about a severely abused child. I asked Glo if they ever read anything that wasn’t sad, and after a moment of reflecting she chuckled and said she couldn’t remember the last time they all read a light-hearted book. Apparently NY Times bestsellers don’t get there by way of laughter and rainbows. I recommended they read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy next.
Mary came up at dinner, more theories, and concerns about not being able to get a hold of Mary’s kids, they were all older. But from all the pieces we had gathered, outlook for Mary was not good.
The next morning I had to fly out. I told Glo to let me know the minute she knew how Mary was.
Three weeks passed and still no word. What had happened to Mary? Was she ok? These concerns grew and graw, and I finally called Glo to see if she had any news.
Right when Glo pickted up the phone, a landline, I immediately jumped in with, “Glo, I need to know! What is going on with Mary?”
“Mary! You know, the one that something happen to while I was there.”
“Hmmmm, I’m not sure who you are talking about. Which Mary?”
“MARY! The one something happen to…I have to know!”
“Oh, Mary! She only had pneumonia, and the doctor wanted to make sure nothing else was wrong, so they kept her for some testing and then sent her home. She is doing great!”
Finally, this city girl had some peace of mind. I still have never met Mary, but she was become a part of my life. Mystery solved.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” – Albert Einstein”