While I enjoy all my mommy friends, I’ve never been one to JUST hang around those in my same stage of life. I’ve been blessed with friends in all seasons, and I especially welcome the warmth and wisdom from mothers who have already walked this path of motherhood.
Mary Lindsey is one of those women for me. She’s 75, and we’ve been friends for 10 years. The summer I was 20 I interned in Atlanta. I rented a house by myself, and Mary and her husband, Jerry, were my next-door neighbors.
Up until that point, my independent living was, well, not so independent. I had completed two years of college, but I lived in the dorms and ate every day in the university cafeteria. Cooking and cleaning were not part of my daily routine.
Then I found myself living in a 5-bedroom house—alone—for an entire summer.
And Mary came to my rescue. She cooked me yummy Southern fare, and she marched over to my house when she smelled gas and knew I had somehow miss-lit the gas burner and was surely about to burn my kitchen down.
When I was tired after a hard day’s work, she and Jerry invited me in to play dominoes and watch the hit show of the day—“Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” They even let me stretch out on their couch with a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” pillow under my head.
They once asked if I felt like I was spending my summer in a retirement home. “Nah,” I answered. I just enjoyed the company, and the Lindseys had many lessons to share.
“Pray for your future husband,” Mary would tell me. “Men can be pigs.”
“Keep writing,” she said after I read her the drafts to my stories. “Don’t give up on your dreams.”
And Jerry was there when I could’ve sworn someone had broken into my house. He marched over with his shotgun and went from room to room, closet to closet. When it turned out I had only seem the shadow of a car passing by, Mary and Jerry still prepared their guest room, so one really frightened 20 year old could spend the night.
Jerry unexpectedly passed away the next year. I attended the funeral. The next time I visited Mary wasn’t easy. I kept expecting Jerry to walk around the corner and crack a joke.
But he didn’t.
A few years later Mary came to my wedding, and I’ve made sure she’s met both of my girls while they were still infants.
“I love Mrs. Mary,” Emma will say.
Even at 75 she still gets down in the floor to play.
And, without a doubt, I know whenever I visit she’ll always have ready her chocolate cake. It’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. And every time I visit I ask her for the recipe again.
I saw her two weeks ago. This time I saved the recipe, and I couldn’t help but pass this delicacy along to other mamas. May Mary’s warmth and wisdom be found in each moist morsel.