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Mary (standard:other, 566 words)
Author: Pitter PatAdded: Apr 01 2004Views/Reads: 1985/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Have you ever wondered what people will remember about you when you have died? This is one of many things I remember about a dear friend named Mary whose earthly burdens ended March 24, 2004. All edits are welcome.

The long, full plaid skirt swayed in the wind as the petite woman
scampered down the dusty gravel road toward the white A-framed tent. A 
bright bouquet of yellow, red, and orange flowers surrounded the rim of 
her straw bonnet and a big smile graced her round face.  Her arms were 
burdened with a load of music books and a worn instrument case. In 
spite of her haste, Mary greeted all who passed by with a friendly 

At camp she quickly greeted me as she laid her books on grassy earth and
opened the case.   Her gentle hands carefully pulled out a worn walnut 
dulcimer and she softly plucked each string to check the tuning.  
Pulling a wooden rocking chair beside me, she carefully sat down, 
giving the appearance of a queen seated on a throne. 

“Good! You brought your dulcimer! Are you ready? What shall we play
today? I've been practicing Red Wing, do you wanna hear?” 

Before I had the chance to answer she enthusiastically began to strum
the tune. The strings seemed to dance in response.  As the lively music 
seeped into other camps, several of the other Civil War reenactors 
joined us at Mary's tent. A young girl shyly stood beside Mary. Over 
her shoulder was a cloth instrument case. 

“What have you got in there?” asked Mary as she ran her fingers over the
colorful quilted cover. “What a beautiful case! Did your mother make 

The shy young girl nodded yes and opened the bag to reveal a shiny new
dulcimer. Mary's smiling face began to glow, “Can you play it? Will you 
join us?” 

A woman peeked around the corner of the tent. “She watched you play your
dulcimer last year and enjoyed your music so much that she ask for one 
for Christmas. She has strummed it a little, but is hoping you will 
teach her how to play it.” 

Mary pointed to a chair, “What is your name?” 


“Can I see your dulcimer a minute, Meranda? I'll tune it for you.” 

Meranda handed Mary the dulcimer and she carefully turned it over
looking at the wood. “It's beautiful. Do you know what kind of wood 
this is?” 

“Cherry,” whispered the girl as she smiled with pride. 

Soon Mary had the dulcimer tuned and patiently showed her the fingering
and strumming motions needed to play a simple song. They played the 
song together several times then Mary got up and began to sort through 
one of her books. She handed the Meranda several papers, “Here are a 
few songs for you to start with.” She pointed to the bottom of one of 
the pages, “If you ever have any questions and I'm not around you can 
call or e-mail me. I'll be glad to help you if I can.” 

A tall man in a Confederate officer's uniform came into camp.He gave
Mary a loving smile. Mary smiled back and looked deeply into his 
understanding eyes, “I know, we need to eat soon.” She turned to 
Meranda, “Come back in a couple hours and we can play some more.” 

Mary quickly grabbed a potholder and hurried to check a pot of stew
simmering over the campfire. As she lifted the lid the fragrant aroma 
filled the campsite.  “It's ready. You're all welcome to grab a bowl 
and join us,” she said to everyone close enough to hear. 


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