Tuesday nights are quiet in the library. Few people are there and it stays open until eight.
I lingered in the reference section where the records of this little town are slipped into shelves of alphabetized history. And I carefully open the big leather bound book full of life stories.
And the women sit stoic and statuesque along the thin stained pages. Their sullen faces don’t soften the cruel accounts of crops that refused to raise and still births that delivered despair late in the night.
But to spite the callous conditions; I search for those women who dare to wear a smile. But each expression seems more somber than the next.
And then I stumble upon Marion Berry. Smitten immediately, partly because her thin lips turn upwards and she is mysteriously beautiful. My imagination runs rampant. She must have been an artist, bold and brassy, and I’m confident her glow lit this little sleepy town ablaze.
And I read her story slowly because it deserves to be savored.
A wife to a farmer
One child and then another and then one more
Her hands aid in building a family barn
But her primary job, recorded for future generations to recount and remember was the preparation of mid day meals for nearby farm hands
And I sigh. She is simply ordinary. And I close the book, disappointed a bit.
But as I slide her account deep into the shelves where all the other submissive ladies sit, I know I could join in their ranks.
In these common days of raising children and scrubbing sinks, sewing dangling buttons back on and tying double knots, it is likely my name won’t grace the history books of this town or anywhere else.
But in this sacred ordinary life, there is a husband whom I married at nineteen and I have written on his heart and he on mine. And squeals from our three children are heard throughout the day until the sun rests and says goodnight.
And in this town where we live outside the city limits, God gifts us with moments to weave just a little goodness to those we meet.
And like those ordinary, simple women who may not have revolutionized this town, their marks were left, imprinted in the homes and in the lives of the people they loved.