in august when we headed back from austin, we stopped in sulphur springs, texas (about an hour east of dallas) to stay the night with my godmother. my godmother’s name is funny mary. and it’s not like a nickname or a pet name, like pumpkin. just like you would say any normal person’s name, like “we’re having dinner tonight with funny mary”, “funny mary just called”, or “funny mary has known my mom so long it would embarass both of them if i told you how long”.
it is her name.
it is who she is.
the origin of this name, the reason we call her funny mary all stems from the way she laughs. when my brother and i were little and we heard her snort when she would laugh, we thought it was the funniest thing we had heard in our combined 12 or so years of life (although she has known us before there was “us”).
this is funny mary with my mahm at her surprise party this past march:
she is wonderful. and very funny. obviously.
ok , back to the story.
we got kind of a late start leaving austin and didn’t get into sulphur springs until late saturday night, about 11ish. while we were driving, well about the last 2 hours of our trip, funny mary called me at least every 10-15 minutes to check on our status. i am not exaggerating here, folks. she called non stop to make sure we were doing ok (since we were driving in the dark and have a baby and a dog in the car and it’s late) and to feel out when we would get to her house. one of the first-ish calls was to say we would not be staying at her house, but at her mother-in-law’s house. i kind of thought, ummm ok… never met her, felt like we would be imposing, it’s super late…
apparently, since funny mary lives way out (as if sulphur springs isn’t far out enough) and geoff and i would be sharing her teenage daughter’s full size bed, she thought it would be better to stay at her MIL’s house, which is pretty close to the highway. so we stayed with mary french, funny mary’s MIL. (they call her mary french since there are apparently way too many marys in the family to keep straight. i’m not sure what her immediate family calls funny mary… hmmm something to wonder about.)
when we got there, we pulled into the driveway and funny mary met us out there so excited to meet harper. the nanosecond she was done loving harper, she got down on the concrete and told us to let hurley out of the car, she couldn’t wait to meet her. (sidenote – funny mary is one of the biggest dog lovers on the planet. if you couldn’t tell.) so we let the puppy out of her prison she had been riding in for 5 hours and they fell in love with each other. it was exactly what hurley needed after a long road trip.
we went inside and met mary french, introduced harper and caught up fairly quickly since we got in so late and everyone was ready to head to bed. as we were heading into our bedroom, funny mary said “can hurley sleep with me?” i laughed and said she’d love it. (sidenote 2 – hurley is as cuddly as they come. she will spoon with you all night and then some.) so as our 4 legged baby went to sleep with funny mary, we started to put harper down to bed. we had her rigged in between us on the king bed in her sleep positioner (basically a small wedge with 2 bolsters to keep her in place).
as geoff was rocking her to sleep i was kind of wandering around the small room. mary french had recently built this house – i bet it is no older than 5 years or so. but all of her decorations and photographs and keepsakes were the kind you find in a much older home. her husband has passed away and there are so many memories around the room that i assumed were his.
in this room was an incredible collection of family photographs and keepsakes.
there were tons of old photographs, many i guessed were taken around the turn of the 20th century and into the thirties & forties.
and then in the bathroom, my favorite part. mary french, and probably her husband and family, had put together these photo collages. they were not expertly done, or in a fancy frame, but each photo was of someone laughing. or someone having a laugh in the pool. or a group of friends playing bridge. or someone doing something silly. these photographs were of their lives. their life together. and what a life they must have had.
why is it that we feel so drawn to other people’s photographs? why do we LOVE to look at pictures, no matter who they are OF?
i love getting to see other’s memories and how they lived. and it inspires me to continue to make those silly, crazy memories and to take more pictures than i do (well, i don’t need to be taking more of harper than i already do…lord.) so, thank you, funny mary and mary french. thank you for allowing me into your lives that night and letting us into your home with such wide open arms. and thank you for inspiring me and making me feel the joys and laughter from the lives you have lived.