Edward Albee said, "I write to know what I'm thinking about." Today I am thinking about Dub and Mary Frances Crain.
If I had godparents growing up they would be Dub and Mary Frances, MF to most of her friends. They were my parents best friends and lived next door to us in Abernathy, Texas. Dub was the band director of Abernathy Public school where my Dad was Superintendent. I remember many times going to sleep in the back of the house with the smell of cigarettes and brewed coffee supporting the conversation between my parents and Dub and MF in the kitchen. I loved clandestinely monitoring their stories and laughter. Dub was a Navy guy like my Dad and there were plenty of "Sea Stories" when they got together. I was too young to understand all the things they talked about, but Dub made my Dad laugh more than anyone else could. Dub taught me my very first note of music, a love that stays with me even today as I play the very piano that Dub arranged for my parents to buy. Every tuner that tweaks that piano tells me how great it is even today. It wasn't just a piano that Dub found for the family, it was a really great piano.
Mary Frances could not have children so my brother, sister and me became her children until they adopted their first child. Eventually Dub and MF adopted the same family of two boys and a girl. But before they moved away when I was in junior high school, I thought I was one of the Crain's kids.
I remember with great joy the day that MF came over to the house with hoopla hoops for me and my sister. It was the hottest toy of the day and on a school administrators salary it was financially out of reach for my family. But my next door godmother bought them for us. That hula hoop was only a symbol of the love that I felt for both the Crains.
The families kept in touch for a long time after Dub left his job as band director and moved from Abernathy. But as geography would have it the connection faded over the years. Their new family grew as ours did and eventually addresses became out of date and years went by. But for me, I never forgot the adults that loved me when I was a kid.
Although I have not seen them for more than 60 years, and Dub passed away a couple of years before my own Dad. I found MF on Facebook and developed a FB connection with her over the last few years. We corresponded with meme's and messages that reminded me of how much those two people meant to me when I was a kid. It has been far too long since I got a message or a "like" from her. Today I heard that Mary Frances passed away.
Although my destiny was not to be found in Abernathy, Texas, growing up in that tiny town gave me a sense of protection that I will always be grateful for. To know that living right next door was a couple who would not think twice to help and/or protect me and my family is a priceless gift for a child.
I am sure I told her in my adulthood how much she and Dub meant to me, and she expressed the same love back in those FB posts, so I don't feel there are any missed chances or unresolved emotions. And even though we had not been geographically close for a decades she will always have a special place in my heart.
Today when I play my piano it will be in honor of the godparents/neighbors who introduced me to that gift of music. Welcome home Mary Frances. Give Dub and Ferrel Ray a kiss for all of us.
As you were,