Happy 75th Birthday to a Fellow Sonoran

by on April 29, 2022 · 1 comment

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

A friend,
Mary Castleberry,
a desert being,
a Sonoran, like me,
her 75th birthday
and I would be remiss
if I didn’t say
she’s one of the most
down to earth people
I know.

And the reason for that

I suppose

is that

when you grow up

in temperatures

like the heat

in your stove,

you don’t have much of a choice

other than taking it kind of slow

as you go for what you know,


with your feet

planted solidly on the ground,

and I know my thinking is sound

since I, as a school principal,

on the same side of town

where she was a principal, too,

got a keen sense of what

makes Mary tick,

how she went about her biz

as she created learning environments

for kids,

hearing in the community

statements about how

the head of the ship,

at Patrick Henry,

was nice

and approachable,

loving and kind,

one who handled problems

with empathy

and compassion,

putting her charges at ease

with a kind of gentility

that accompanies

the evening desert breezes

and sunsets

and summer monsoons

that refreshed

the dry lands

from whence she came

and she, though retired,

still has a stake in the learning game,

still carrying on

like the succulents

on barren land

that store water

for later on,

still, like a giant Saguaro,

standing strong,

for children, all children,

but making sure

Black children, particularly,

aren’t left behind,

offering them

back-to-school events and book drives

and rites of passage that guide them through life

and programs that entice

them to read and write

and a sundry of other things,

while continuing

her admirable growth as a human being,

enjoying plays,

traveling around the globe,

absorbing as a gifted learner

the variety of ways

different cultures behave,

still seeking

still striving,

still thriving,

still staying true to her roots,

as she refers

to a recent hiking trip

she took to Joshua Tree National Park

with this sentiment from her heart:

“A great day,

even if a little windy,

to explore this magical,

good for the soul, place,”

poetry coming from

a woman of deep faith,

living her life with humble grace,


where she hails from,

where her Creator

chose to introduce her to the human race.

She’s a gift to us,

Mary Castleberry,

and I wish her a very

happy 75th birthday

as thanks to her

for modeling,

in her actions,

how living righteously

is done.

I’m proud to be,

as she is,

a child of the sun.

A Sonoran.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Isaac Artenstein May 1, 2022 at 1:39 pm

“Sonora Querida, Tierra Consentida”


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