I first met Mary Craig, aka tillsontitan, about five years ago when I joined the writing community of HubPages.
It didn't take long for us to become fast friends.
We shared a love of good music, great movies and the holiday season, beginning officially with Halloween.
October gave a party; the leaves by hundreds came -- the Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, and leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
In rereading an interview I had done with Mary in 2012, I fell in love with her all over again. I had to share her thoughts with you - even more meaningful four years later.
Maria: When do you feel the most relaxed?
Mary: I answered this question three times before I came up with an answer that really answers the question and makes any sense. I feel most relaxed in the evenings when my hubbie and I are home just watching TV, or I'm reading or writing. It's not just the alone time but the end of the day serenity when things are starting to wind down and you know it is soon time to go to bed and do whatever it is you do there...usually ending up with sleeping. I sometimes watch TV in bed, or read until I can't keep my eyes open.
Another time I feel really relaxed is when I'm floating in the pool. The cool water lapping against my raft, the sun shining down on me and no phones, no TV, nothing to interrupt whatever I choose to think about. It's such a great opportunity to write in my head and get things ready for when I'm in front of my computer...or to just empty my head and fall asleep on the raft!
Maria: When do you feel the saddest?
Mary: Whenever I see someone hurting. It can be a family member, a friend, or a total stranger but it really gets to me when I see someone hurting...even if its their own fault. I just don't like to see people in pain, any people, any pain. We have so much to be thankful for and so much we can share, I always try to do what I can for others.
"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." Proverbs 15:30
Leaving also makes me really sad...whether its my grandchildren or a friend or other family member it always makes me sad to leave them. I love having family and friends around and it makes me sad when they leave. Sometimes after they're gone it seems so quiet and lonely, like there's something missing.
Maria: What is something you'd like to teach others?
Mary: Love and Laugh! Sounds silly I know but a life that is filled with love has no room for hate and a life that is filled with laughter has no room for tears. Jokes, humor, whatever makes you laugh...children, grandchildren...surround yourselves with those things that bring you love and laughter.
I probably should have answered something about learning how to write or what to write about but I know in life there is more than Hubpages...yes, even I, the HP addict know that! I spend hours a day on HP with my husband in the background saying, "you on there again?" but knowing he loves me and will put up with me because he does makes me laugh inside. Love and Laugh! Don't take life too seriously or it'll get you down.
Maria: Do you have a secret passion? A dream job?
Mary: It’s funny how that changes as we age. As a small child my dream job was to be a teacher. I would line up all my dolls in chairs and I would stand in front of them and teach! As I got older the change wasn't significant, I wanted to be an English teacher but I wanted to write too. I used to send five/six page long letters to friends and family!
Then my true secret passion was to be a singer..not necessarily my dream job but more a passion. The closest I came (after singing in school) was belonging to a folk group in church for thirty years. We had fun and even got to sing as opening for Paul Anka at one of the big, old hotels in the Catskills. Rehearsing and spending the day at the hotel was fun...Paul Anka didn't even give us the time of day. We did get a free meal out of it and had a lot of fun.
Maria: Do you have a most hated gift you ever gave someone?
Mary: Believe it or not I can't think of anything. I am a bit 'anal' about gift giving. I start thinking about the gift months before time...I start buying Christmas presents in July! I'm always looking for the perfect gift, something I know they'll love, even if its something they may not use or need but I know they'll love it. I try to fit their personality or buy something I know they've been wanting. I love the look on their face when they open a gift and I know they really like it! (Especially the grandchildren.)
Maria: Is there a gift you could have done without?
Mary: If this doesn't make you laugh, nothing will. I don't want to reveal the exact person who gave this to me but will say it was a close relative...one birthday I was gifted with a box of cake mix and a DISPOSABLE cake pan. Really, I swear. My sister-in-law and I laughed and laughed about this gift. We tried to figure out why I got it as a gift but couldn't come up with an answer. I really didn't need a disposable baking pan and surely I had enough cake mix!
Maria: If we peeked in your junk drawer, what might we find?
Mary: This is more embarrassing than anything...I keep cards from people's funerals and they are in my junk drawer in the front corner. Unfortunately as I age the stack gets bigger and bigger. Occasionally I take them out and stop and think about each person they represent and remember something special. I know, strange, but that's me.
Maria: What was your worst date?
Mary: .I said my junk drawer was embarrassing but this is worse yet! I can't remember that far back. Its been so long since I've had a date (I've been married 45 years) that I can't remember any bad dates. I'm not even sure I had one, I got married at 19. So, I don't have an answer to this question.
Maria: Do you have a worst/ or funniest vacation story?
Mary: Ah, unfortunately there are many of these...seems most of our vacations have an ironic or humorous twist so I guess I should pick a worst.
It was a vacation to Lake George with family. We were staying at a campground in a tent with our four kids and my mother and brother-in-law and sister-in-law were staying in a nearby hotel. (We couldn't afford the hotel.) Anyway, my in-laws took the kids to Great Escape so we could have some alone time. While we were enjoying our alone time in our tent, someone stole all the money out of my pocketbook which I had a left in the van. The police insisted my kids took the money, which we knew wasn't true... the people in the camp site next to us had mysteriously left (while we were in the tent). Anyway, we decided to go for a ride to calm me down. While we were gone a storm came through and leveled our tent and soaked everything in it (a freak storm that didn't touch anyone else's tent, honest)! We spent that night in the hotel room with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their three kids....that was four adults and seven children in a four person room! It was quite cozy to say the least. I have to admit though by that time we were all laughing about the events of the day.
Maria: What is a goal on your bucket list?
Mary: Travel. We've done some traveling but I've always wanted to see more. There is so much to see right here in the U.S., never mind how much there is to see in Europe or anyplace else in the world. I've only been to Europe once, Ireland, and the age of things amazed me. I actually stood where Druids stood! I'd love to see the Grand Canyon, the desert out west, and so on. I would have to say that is my entire bucket list - travel, anytime, anywhere!
Maria: What do you most look for in a friend?
Mary: ...to be there. A friend is the one, who when you get arrested and are in jail is sitting next to you saying, hmm, how did we get here! Seriously, just someone who understands you, knows you in and out, and loves you anyway. Someone you know you can always talk to and feel confident about spilling your guts to because you know they care about you and not about sharing your life with the rest of the neighborhood! I have been fortunate to have several friends like that in my lifetime. They are few and far between so when you have one you really should treasure them.
Maria: What is something you will never part with?
Mary: My photographs. I am a pack rat when it comes to just about everything (I'm very sentimental) so this question is difficult for me but if there was only one thing I would be able to keep that would be it. Several times when we've had the discussion 'if your house were burning down and you could only take one thing out what would it be' and my answer is always my photo albums (of course I have tons of them...) I love taking photos and have so many of family and friends, children and grandchildren growing up, weddings, births, baptisms.... So many memories all in a photograph.
Maria: What is the worst part of getting older?
Mary: I guess its knowing you're getting older. You know from early on things will change when you get older but you also know there's not much you can do about it except try to keep yourself in good shape...mentally and physically. Some things are more difficult to do and your memory is a challenge. You can remember things that happened thirty years ago, you can remember the words to every song you ever heard when you were a teenager but you can't remember where you put the damn car keys!
As you get older your friends and relatives begin to die and your mortality begins to stare you in the face. You know, no matter what, the end is going to come and you're going to have to leave the ones you love so I guess the worst part of getting older is knowing you're getting older.
Maria: What is your favorite movie and why?
Mary: I have to laugh, I thought this would be a question about my favorite book and I was prepared to answer that and I see it got switched to my favorite movie. I love movies. I especially like the classics but picking one is almost impossible for me. Its like asking me to pick my favorite child. Each one is different and offers a unique perspective. Some are good because they are funny, some because they are sad, and of course some because they teach a life lesson. There are those that tell a true story of some phenomenal feat or accomplishment and you are just amazed by other's resourcefulness, and some are just good movie adaptations of books like "Gone With the Wind". I like comedies because they make you laugh and take your mind off of things, but I like drama/mysteries too because they keep you thinking throughout the movie. I like war movies that depict the brave hearts and actions of regular, ordinary men....and so, it is hard for me to narrow the selection down to just one.
Maria: What subjects / genres do you enjoy reading/ about?
Mary: Anything and everything. Kind of like movies, I like to read about everything. Fiction has it's place and is enjoyable but non-fiction is educational and sometimes contains the WOW factor! I've loved to read for so long as I can remember and will read anything you put in front of me. I was once hooked on historical fiction and read everything I could find about Napoleon Bonaparte.
Then there was my Sci-Fi/Fantasy stage when I read Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, Robert Heinline, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ann McCaffrey and every Dragonriders of Pern book she wrote, and I could go on...I was hooked on that genre for a long time.
Now, I read what's popular, what friends and family recommend and what looks good to me.
Maria: What would be a subject/ genre that you would like to read more/about?
Mary: .As I said above, I really don't have a preference. I just love to read and will read anything recommended or that looks interesting to me. Right now I'm reading Steven Tyler's memoir, "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You". I am looking forward to reading Jeanne Cooper's "Not Young, Still Restless". Wait, an epiphany, I think autobiographies are my favorite, can you apply that to the above answer and also here? I would like to read more autobiographies.
Maria: What song makes you want to pack up and leave the party?
Mary:There is no one song, it is more of a genre...I love all music but just can't get my head around rap! If I hear rap it just goes against my grain. The newer stuff has more of a rhythm and beat but the older stuff, to me, was just shouting and cursing!
My favorite song in the world is The Beatles: "In My Life"...
Oh Mary, I never met you on Earth, yet I know with all that is my being that I will see you on the other side. I'll arrive at the area where the music is happening and the smiles are plentiful. In the meantime, please remember...
"In my life, I love you more." R.I.P., dear girlfriend.
Until next week, wishing you all much peace and comfort, mar
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