Mary Frances lost her left arm at five years of age in an accident. Her older brother had committed the forbidden act of taking their father’s hunting gun down from above the door. While the rest of the family worked in the field outside, the small boy played with the trigger until the sound of the explosion caused everyone outside to freeze in horror, only able to imagine the worst. The bullet found its way to Mary’s elbow as she sat on the big feather bed looking at the family picture album. Living so far from the train station resulted in a day’s journey before finding a doctor. Sadly, by then, it was too late. The arm couldn’t be salvaged, and life as Mary had known it changed forever.
By this strange twist of events, however, Mary was the only one of her big family that received a college education. Since she was handicapped, her scholarship was fully paid. She majored in French and English, then went to Holmes Bible College in Greenville, S.C., and earned another degree in Theology. She never once complained about her mishap, but rather saw it as a tremendous blessing. She later married and bore five children; girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. I was number five. I grew up watching my mother tackling many projects that the average person would hesitate to attempt. Mama could do almost anything with her one arm that I could do with two. This included being able to tie shoe laces with one hand and cutting up a chicken. I would watch as she held a knife in her one hand and the chicken under her left nub that remained. Then she would manage to cut up the chicken, piece by piece. She had a device placed on her steering wheel so that she could turn the wheel with one hand. Nothing seemed to daunt her.
I dedicate this post to my mother today. She was an amazing woman and the loss of her arm was only the beginning of many sorrows for her. My father passed away unexpectedly when I was only seven, and she was left to raise her small children by herself. From managing to pay the bills, to keeping the creditors at bay, her fortitude in the face of difficulties was exemplary. One night, a man that lived down the road from us, crawled under our house. Lying right beneath her bedroom floor, he whispered “Mary” all night long until daybreak, then finally departed. At that point, my mother did what she vowed she would never do — she bought a gun. It had been a gun that had caused the loss of her arm, but her fear of “Shadow” was greater than her fear of another mishap taking place. “Shadow” was later arrested for trying to kill a woman and sent to the state penitentiary. We never heard anything about him afterwards.
My mother’s courage and perseverance left its mark on each member of our family. I think all of us subconsciously held this thought in the back of our minds: “Well, Mama would have overcome this, one way or another.” She resembled the Proverbs 31 lady who laughed at the future. Somehow Mama’s humor kept everything else in check and even though heart disease would slow her down considerably in her later years, she still maintained a strong will and independent spirit from having lived a harsh life.
There are so many other stories I could share about my mother. But what stands out most in my mind about her today is that she was so supportive of Prit and me when we told her we would be leaving for the mission field. She had shared with me once that she had seriously considered becoming a missionary herself. After my conversion in college, I came back home every weekend and listened as Mama shared great truths from the Scriptures with me. I was the fruit of her prayers and after agonizing countless nights in prayer for her wayward daughter, she was only too happy to open up the Word to me.
Mama went to be with the Lord twenty-seven years ago. I see her traits in each of our three children, even though they never had the opportunity to meet their grandmother. Two weeks shy of our returning to the States with our firstborn in 1985, Mama went on to Glory. I’m very thankful for her memory and believe her prayers are still availing for me and my family.
I would like to wish all the mothers that happen upon this post a “Happy Mother’s Day.” I hope these few words about my mother will bless and encourage you all today!
Thanks for sharing, Dana. It made my day! First time I’ve cried for Ma Ma in a long time.
Seems I always make you cry! Can’t to get back & make you laugh! 🙂
what a wonderful story,Dana and I think that you have receive some of her courage to go through what you’ve been through,thanks for sharing this,and happy mothers day.
Thank you Robert! I had big shoes to fill!
Such a beautiful story! I see her attributes in MaryAnn!
Thank you LeeAnne! Yes, Mary Ann’s as special as they come. 🙂
That was so precious Dana. Mary Frances Raynor is a blessed woman to have you as her daughter. I wish you many, many blessings.
Boy, those Frances people are something! 🙂 Oh, Dana! This tribute to your dear mama is just beautiful! Once again you have shared your gift of words, & you’ve left me sniffling, too. I hope you have had a blessed Mother’s Day. And I pray that all your days are as special as YOU! Love & prayers from here….
Great story Dana. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading, Harold! So glad you liked it. 🙂
Oh Dana, I remember her so well! I loved going to your house. Your Mom was so “easy”. It was just comfortable to be there. She let us roam around, down to the little store, back in the woods, across the road to the pond. She trusted us. She always made me feel welcome. Thanks for the
reminder of a sweet time in my life. I love you!!
Oh Phyllis, what a sweet thing to say! I loved going to your house too!
Dana Sue, just got the opportunity to read your post about Aunt Mary. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman!! As you, I was often amazed at what Aunt Mary could do with one arm. I can remember being at y’alls house one time and Aunt Mary was peeling potatoes. I watched in amazement as she held the potato pressed between her body and her nub and would peel and turn the potato with her right hand. She was so good to me and our family and helped Mama out when she was in a pinch more than once. I also remember spending the night with Mary Ann one time and Shadow coming up to the window and blowing cigarette smoke through the screen in the window. If Aunt Mary was scared, she never let us know it. She told him to get away from her house and she meant it…She was a great lady and I want to thank you for making me cry all over my shirt!! Love you!!
Peggy, thank you so much for sharing! I’m glad you liked the post. Yes, I can imagine Mama peeling potatoes right now. Kind of hard to sit around & complain with a mother like that! I didn’t know she helped Aunt Margaret out. And I didn’t know that about Shadow blowing smoke into the screen! I have never heard that! I seem to have a knack for making you & Mary Ann cry! Sure would love to see you this summer & make you laugh! 🙂 Love you! Dana