Mary’s Farm Report/June 09/ My Son David Dies


Mary and David Singing “Sail Away” on the Mariner II


Dear Folks,

I was sixteen when my son David was born. He was my true first love. He was my joy. I wore off three sets of wheels on his stroller. Living in Berkeley without a car, we covered many miles. I was so proud of him and took him everywhere. I even took him to the movies, he sat quietly in his stroller and seemed to sense this was a place to nap and never made a fuss. He cut his teeth on Restaurant menus, he was coached on proper manners and was dressed like the little gentleman we all adored. Invitations were always extended to include this adorable little guy. He was a charming child and was a total delight. He said to me one day; “Mom, just what am I, half Catholic and half Okie?” He gave my young life purpose. I never regretted having him at such a young age.

We often joked and said that we grew up together. There was so much truth in that statement. We shared the same sense of humor and enjoyed each others company. Years later when I owned and operated a Yacht Charter business on San Francisco Bay he worked side by side with me on the Yacht. He was 21 and able to go into the Yacht Club and local bars around Jack London Square with me after the cruises. I was widowed and single and he was the “Handsome Heir Apparent ” of the Mariner II. He was dashing in his white formal Yachting attire. The whole crew would descend on the Irish pubs around the Square. The piano player would announce; “Here comes the Crew from the Mariner II”, and David and I would take the microphone and lead the bar in robust sing a longs. We were on the dance floor showing off some of our best routines, I taught him how to dance, we became pretty good partners and were both hams. As we danced by this table we heard the people say; “Ahhh, they are the cutest couple”. David stopped and we were both laughing and said to the people; “This is my Mother, and she is my best friend”. We chuckled about that for several years. Especially, when we would have an argument, as happens when working long and hard hours together. One of us would say at the point of impasse; “Just remember we are still the cutest couple”. Which would make us both laugh and usually end the disagreement.

We had many adventures together. He had wonderful girl friends that often became crew members on the boat. I loved them all. He had great taste in his lady friends in those days. We would take the Yacht up to the Delta when we wanted to have some R and R. We would both, invite friends to join us and would cruise up to the Delta with the boat loaded with food and booze. The local band the “Wild Brothers” would come on board and play, I would prepare Eggs Benedict, David would be at the helm we would cruise down the river with several boats falling in behind our wake, forming a regatta. The music wafting across the water as we made our way from one River Bar to another, stopping long enough to allow others to board and drink and dance on the docks.

We took the crew to Mexico one Christmas for two weeks. We flew down and stayed at the Playa de Oro on the beach. David was without a girl friend on that trip and was chasing after the Mexican girls. He came back to the hotel shaking his head and said; ” Dang, Mom, these Mexican girls keep dragging me off to church and introducing me to their families. When all I want to do is party with them.”. He decided he better stick to the tourist girls.

Years later, I was closing an Organic Produce farm on Sherman Island and called him to come and help me remove the buildings. We spent all day dismantling this metal building. Carefully marking each panel and collecting all the bolts and screws. Finally we were down to one wooden building. We were both hot and tired. I said to him; “David, if we get this building down, we will check into the Hotel Del Rio, have a shower, dinner and go and listen to our old friends, The Wild Brothers, they are playing there.” We had not seen this band in several years. David grinned and said; “Do you care how I get it down”? Wiping the sweat from my brow, I remarked; “Hell no, just get it down”. With that he took a chain and attached it to his pick-up truck and a corner of the building, he got into the truck and put it in low gear. Wheels spinning and gravel spewing, the building began to shake and soon came crashing down. Laughing at his fast solution to the problem we loaded the debris into the trailer. We headed for the Delta and the Hotel. After a shower and dinner we went into the night club, the Brothers spotted us and started playing “Sail Away”. Announcing, “A big hand for the Crew of the Mariner II; David and Mary”. It had been ten years since I had sold the Yacht and David and I were thrilled to be regaled in such a fashion. It brought back old, fun times.

I retired to my Ranch in Oroville and David remained in the Bay Area. He rented a guest cottage from his buddy Larry and lived there for over twenty years. He worked in construction and would come with his crew and help me with various projects on the ranch. His buddies would come and hunt wild turkey and David would Bar B Que or they would take me out for dinner. David had a neighborhood bar that he hung out in after work. I would get these drunken phone calls after midnight from the bar…. “Mom, it’s me, David”. {As though I would confuse this late night phone call with someone else calling.} “Mom, I just love you so much, you are my best friend, I wanted to tell you.
Mom, you remember Joe Blow, don’t you? Well, he is here and he remembers you too, he just loves you, Mom. He wants to talk to you. Here he is.”
A strange voice would come on the phone, slurring and say; ” Hi Mary how are you? David and I were just talking about you and he wanted to call and say hi.” Now I seldom remembered these people if I had ever known them at all. It really didn’t matter. David just wanted to call his Mom and share her with his friends. I never let him down. I would tell who ever was on the phone, how wonderful David was and how lucky they were to have him for a friend. And they were. David had many friends, some from his childhood. He was a loyal friend and treasured his friends. He had great work ethics, was always fair and honest and generous. I was very proud of the person he was.

He was a very attentive son, he always sent me a card at Christmas, my birthday and Mother’s Day, making sure it was a “Hall Mark”, that he had personally selected, either humourous or very sentimental, enclosed with a check for $100. He use to apologize and say; ” You know Mom, I’m just not good at shopping”. I would assure him that I was an expert in that field and appreciated the check and the freedom to select my own present.

When he turned 50, I wanted to give him a big party. I don’t travel any more and seldom leave the Ranch. So, on the phone I ordered a special Birthday Cake with the big boobs, a six foot subway sandwich and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator to sing;”Happy Birthday” . All of this delivered to his neighborhood bar. David was thrilled. I had arranged for pictures to be taken. He sent me the pictures and he was beaming. He bragged that he was given over 50 drink tokens from his friends.
He would have turned 53 in Sept. of this year. I am so glad I gave him that party.

He called his sister Kay C. Saturday afternoon. She lives five minutes from where he lives. He said; ” Kay C. I never ask you, my sister for anything. But, I need your help. I broke my knee and I think I am dying. I need for you to bring your sons to carry me and take me to the hospital.” Kay C. said ; “Don’t be silly David, no one dies of a broken leg.”. But she gathered up two of her sons and they went over to assist him. They took him to the hospital for X-rays and found that his knee was shattered. They scheduled him for surgery on Thursday and sent him home with some pain meds and an ice pack. David said to Kay C.; “You know, I am tough and can take a lot of pain, but this is killing me.”

Larry’s girl friend cooked dinner. David loved her cooking. He said; “She can cook that Oklahoma comfort food like you, Mom.” They fed him and settled him into his late father’s Lazy Boy Chair with an ice pack on his knee. The next morning Larry went back to the cabin to check on David for breakfast. David was dead. He was sitting in the chair, the ice pack had melted and his mouth was open as though he were snoring. He died at home in his Father’s old chair.

I tell myself, how fortunate that he died so peacefully. My biggest fear was that he would die in a drunken automobile accident, taking some innocent lives with him. Or that he would contract cancer and die a painful, long debilitating death as his Father and my sister Linda died. My other fear was that he would suffer and grieve when I died. He was so emotional and sensitive. It was always so traumatic for him to bury his friends. He barely survived his Father’s death. He mourned when his dog died as though the animal was his brother. I knew as close as we were that he would be completely devastated when I died.
I tell myself it is better he went first. I am a tough old broad and have been through many deaths all three of my former husbands are dead, my Mother , my sister, my Father and several of my friends. I will get through this…. I will survive….

But, parents are not suppose to bury their young. My heart is broken. My grief is to the bone. My darling first born son is dead. My David… I named him David because it means; Child of Love. And he was my love…My first true, all unconditional love….

I will throw a Wake for David at his bar next Sunday. His niece is a chef and wants to do the food. I will order a cake and hold a hosted bar. (Drinks on David}. His friends will be there and his nephews. I will not attend. I don’t do bars anymore. I will come down to the Bay when Neptune Society takes his ashes out on the boat. This will be just for the family and Larry. I will also, bring his Aunt Linda’s and her two dog”s ashes. They have been on my shelf for three years. As I said I just don’t leave the Ranch much anymore.————————

My Darling husband, Ron will drive me down to the bay area. After we take David’s ashes out we will bring his pick-up truck back to the Ranch and I will feel some comfort using it. It will be a bit like David helping me as he always did.

I am blessed to have my wonderful Ron, he is my strength and support. With him I can and will get through this. My dogs feel my sadness they keep coming up to me with their licks and paws touching me, reassuring me of their love.

We are all a heart beat away from death. Be sure to hug and tell your love ones how important and loved they are. Don’t just think it! Say it! Show it!


About marysfarmreport

__From Yachts to Manure___... I have lived in a 9,000 square foot mansion in Piedmont, Ca. to homesteading a mobile home and living without running water or electricity for six months in Oroville, California. These are some tales of my adventures. From traveling the world with my Airline Executive late husband to , operating a Yacht Charter Business on San Francisco Bay as a widow with young children, to retiring to a Ranch in Oroville and raising horses and fancy pure bred dogs. Come join me on my adventures as I write this blog..
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6 Responses to Mary’s Farm Report/June 09/ My Son David Dies

  1. Chris says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss Mary.

  2. This is a really beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Dear Laura,
      You being from Oklahoma might enjoy my blog about my Oklahoma Grandmas. I appreciate your comments.
      I also, enjoy your blogs. And yes, it is so important not to lose ones identity in the titles; Wife, Mother and friend. I applaud you in establishing yourself and your idenity.

  3. cmnplou says:

    I love your stories Mary.

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