Her hair is long, so long that if you unraveled it from its normal bun it would probably fall well below her waist. Where it used to be dark, it is now white with strands of silver. The snow in Vermont is not as beautiful as her hair. She sits in her chair in the corner of the room and quietly observes the perfect chaos that is unfolding in front of her. Her stark blue eyes dart from person to person. She is quick to not miss a moment.
Her life has always been somewhat of a novel. Her early years were marked by the stain of war. Although, during the years of 1939-1945 it was hard to not feel the reach of the war. The value of work was not lost on her. The daughter of a sharecropper in Louisiana had no room to snub harsh labor. The callouses on her fingers were a mix of picking cotton and picking her guitar. Then she met him. The love of her life. A tall lanky young man with the zeal of life, love of the Lord, and a knack for playing a fiddle. She played her guitar and he played his fiddle. Together they traveled the world. Stirring up a love of Bluegrass Gospel, mixing in mandolins, banjos, and upright bass whenever they could. They played in Holland, on stage at The Grand Ole Opry, and hosted a festival in their own town. They were beloved wherever they went, none more so than when they returned home.
Their five kids eventually turned into thirteen grandchildren, countless great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. The world was their stage but in the little white house of St. Stephens, they shined the most. Hot food was on the table at the break of dawn and like a modern-day miracle, it never seemed to run out no matter how many seats around the table were filled. He would work all day in the field while she kept the home and entertained guests. Their house was never empty. A full house, that is what she loved.
When you look at her, you wouldn’t know she was a world traveler, that she had met some of the best musicians in her day or that she made the best biscuits. Her wit was sharper than her guitar plucking. Her fingers, which had picked pounds of cotton in her youth, also wrote countless letters that found their way overseas amidst the war in Iraq. You would think that such a large family would blur together but she had this innate gift to make each person feel as though they were the most important in the room. Somehow in her presence, you felt like you were the one who sang onstage at The Ryman, not her. Her eyes would sparkle at each child who sat at her feet, updating her on their life. She was fully invested, tucking away every detail in her mind. Occasionally she looked off and it was obvious she was remembering her life back when a life of tour buses and a different stage every night. A life of cattle roaming outside her house and an old white pickup ambling down the drive. Her life to him. She answered to many names, mama, Sister Margie, Margie, Margie Louise, Mammaw. But to him, she was always Mrs. Marg and when she thought of him, she still was.