Friday, August 6, 2010
Friends in the most unlikely places……
I planned to ask permission to photograph her barn, but when the woman opened her door and I saw the backdrop of old tools, leather straps, ancient mason jars filled with pieces of metal (parts of various kinds) my mouth fell open and what finally came out was "WHAT do you do here?" Thus began my friendship with Mary. With a masters degree in biology, she opted for a simpler life, living on the land, mending horse blankets and bridles, and restoring old carriages. Her picture-perfect barn was filled with pieces of the past - buggies and carriages of all kinds.
With a move and life changes, we drifted apart, though I'd think of her often and wonder how she was doing. She was surprised to receive my call that I wanted to drop by for a visit, but, as always, she welcomed us. The big yellow farmhouse, barn and outbuildings are now for sale. "Carrying 5 gallon jugs of water for the horses was becoming too much for me," she says. Beside it she has built her dream home; simple but perfect.
We sip wine from chipped coffee mugs on her porch as she tells me that she closed the carriage repair business and she is now selling antiques - mostly auto parts and baseball cards on e-Bay. (Though a surprise find of an old egg beater ended up being so rare it sold for over $3,000!) Last year she was struck with the Susan Boyle story and has now completed two books on the singer. I have never seen her happier.
The 90 degree heat and humidity that has plagued the day is dropping and a cool breeze floats across us as Arayo and I lay on her front porch in the night, awaiting sleep. My eyesight has been poor since I was in grade school but the stars above us are so big and bright that I can make out the big dipper without benefit of glasses. I ponder why we humans have chosen to lock ourselves within walls, closed the windows and depend on air conditioning when the majesty of nature is here for us to enjoy. All seems right with the world tonight.
Photos: Mary Sews - photo 1999