Bill and Mary
(This story has a lot of real parts in it and was told to me by a friend, so this is authored by Drew Fuller and Dustin Fletcher.
It’s a bit complicated if you want to use this story, but if you do, contact me and we’ll see what can happen.)
written by: Drew Fuller &
It was a nice party. Lots of friends, dressed well. Bill was dressed in his Sunday best too, but he didn’t remember getting dressed and couldn’t remember what the party was about. It was that night Bill realized all was not well. Mary had noticed it before that party. Bill was a very sharp man who lately had trouble remembering where his car keys were. Little things, but Bill didn’t usually slip on the little things.
They met in Bill’s sophomore year at Duke University. It was Mary’s freshman year and when Bill first saw her, his world stopped. She was in the middle of several of her friends, but Bill saw only Mary. It took a while, but he managed to get an introduction. Mary was exploring the world in Durham and willing to have a conversation with just about anybody. The fact she talked to him for three whole minutes was enough for him to call Alice, the only girlfriend he had ever known, and end that hometown romance.
It took almost a year for Bill to actually talk his way into a date, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. To his credit he studied that subject more than his grades. It wasn’t that Mary didn’t find him attractive, he just came across as another small town boy on a big campus. Not that Mary found that objectionable, but she was also from a place where everybody knew you and your business too. What caught her eye were the manners. That boy’s momma raised him right.
Alice was smart enough to keep it hidden as much as possible, but it looked like the good life to her. Then Harold got suspicious and got home early, sneaking up on the naked couple acting like they were in high school. Harold lost it, pulled the gun from it’s cabinet and shot himself. That’s when everybody found out.
Dementia is very taxing on the loved ones who are close, but Mary had enough and filed for divorce. Bill didn’t remember who Mary was nor who the guy was that walked in on them. He did remember Alice and Bill had always had means. They bought a newly constructed brick house in a new subdivision of twelve houses. The only goofy thing to him was he didn’t understand why Alice didn’t want to go to church anymore.
Life was good for Bill, but Alice was understanding what she had. It was not long before Bill’s care was beyond her ability to provide. She had him placed in assisted living. Bill and Mary’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he did not remember would visit. His condition reached the point the family had pretty much stopped visiting when Bobby came by.
Bobby was the great grandson about to graduate from Georgia and his mother had pretty much shamed him into a visit that he had avoided. When Bobby walked in, he saw a frail old man he barely recognized. Bill opened his eyes and focused in. Bill asked Bobby how school was going. Then he asked why he was in the hospital. It was after three hours of telling Bill what happened before he called his Great-grandmother. Mary came right down.
Bill pleaded. He was not responsible for his condition and he begged forgiveness. It took more than three hours to convince Mary. But Bill was smart again and they both knew he did not have long for this Earth. Bill told Mary the only thing he wanted was to die married to his true love. Mary needed to think about it. Mary knew before she went to sleep that night.
The next morning Mary went to the home after she had called the pastor of First Methodist. Bill did not look good. She took a bit to clean him up, but it was couple of hours later before he opened his eyes. Still, it wasn’t until he said “Hello, Mary” that she could finally relax. She told him Pastor Don would be there in minutes. Bill looked at Mary, smiled, and closed his eyes.
It wasn’t long into their friendship, as Mary thought of it, that she saw barriers. Bill wasn’t a very easy boy to read and obviously very smart. She took that as a challenge. Bill took her attention to him as a new religion. When Bill graduated, he stayed in Durham another year so Mary could get her degree before they got married. It’s what Mary wanted.
They moved back to Bill’s hometown of Chester, S.C. and got a house on Saluda Street. Chester was close enough to Charlotte to be sort of convenient but far enough away that the city did not intrude. Bill had grown up on a rather large farm six miles south of town. His father had started a farm equipment supply that he took over and it was right across from the old depot. Every morning he would be gone when Mary woke and she was impressed with such a work ethic. Then one day she decided to surprise him at the store, but he wasn’t there. He showed up a few minutes later. The explanation was he went to his Mama’s every morning for breakfast because she made it for all the hands that worked the farm.
Mary was less than pleased and suggested he stay at home and have breakfast with his wife, as any good husband should do. Bill, of course, agreed. The next morning Mary got up early and went to work. The problem was cooking was not Mary’s gift. Bill worked his way through the real stiff scrabbled eggs and the sausage that tasted raw, but the biscuit he couldn’t bite into was too much. He got up without saying a word to get a hammer and nail. He then nailed that biscuit to the kitchen door where it hung for twenty years.
It was when Bill asked where that biscuit was Mary realized the time would come when Bill would not know her. It was the sixtieth anniversary for the couple that Bill could not remember. In the forty years since that biscuit came down they had grandkids graduate college and met great grand kids.
Bill had done well in business with selling tractors leading into starting a trucking company and taking over managing the farm when his parents passed. He gave his companies to the kids as he retired. Bill and Mary were comfortable. As Bill’s memory passed backward through his life, Mary was saddened but constantly reminded of details about their great life together that she had long forgotten.
Mary also had support from First United Methodist Church, where Bill had been a long time member and trustee. Alice and Harold also attended First Methodist. Alice and her third husband lived on an acre with a doublewide. The yard was clean and gardened and her glass unicorn collection was scattered throughout the trailer. In high school Alice had a great body and was willing to use it. Relatively speaking, that hadn’t changed when Bill’s regression moved past Mary.