The song tells the story of a wild-eyed woman who lives in a tar paper shack. She is often seen walking around, until one day when a car drives into her shack and kills her.
In her Songfacts interview
, Williams explained that Crazy Mary is "a fantasy I suppose I made up out of some facts... a very old black lady, she used to walk into Shreveport but would never get inside a moving automobile. One day, she met her demise when a car went out of control and slammed into her shack. That which you fear most can meet you half way."