Bangladesh Adventures

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

(Mamaw) Louise Shipman 1914-2008

The Wife of Noble Character (Excerpts from Proverbs 31)
4 February 1914 to 29 September 2008; 94 years old

A wife of noble character who can find? She worth far more that rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children (and grandchildren) arise and call her blessed.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Let’s praise the Lord for our grandmother, Mamaw! She was a grandmother of noble character!

As a boy our family went to Mamaw and Poppy’s farm near Williamsport at least once a month or more for the weekend. It was a two and half hour drive north from Harrisburg.

What do I remember about going to the farm all those years, now? That includes Mamaw- The smell of homemade bread being made by Mamaw. Is there anything better than fresh homemade bread coming out of the oven and then putting butter on it? When I was very young Mamaw use to cook me French toast from homemade bread, putting white Karo corn syrup on it, and then cutting it into lots of pieces. Do you know how many middle pieces of French toast you can get from homemade bread? Lots! Boughten bread give you two pieces of middle, that’s not really bread. Mamaw always had white Karo corn syrup, never Maple syrup and she only used Peter Pan peanut butter- funny what you remember when you think back.

I remember one Thanksgiving Holiday at the farm when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Poppy got up early and went to another farm to butcher pigs. When I woke up, Mamaw got me fed and took me to the other farm to help Poppy. In no way did she have to do that but she knew I wanted to be with Poppy.

Remember, Mamaw and Poppy went to the western US and I asked her to get me a cowboy shirt. I come to find out she had to search high and low to find one but she did and I loved it. She always brought us grandchildren something back from her travels. She went on a number of trips to Europe with other ladies after they sold the cows. And on each trip we would get something i.e. cowbell from Switzerland.

Her pantry room was a collection of all sorts of wonderful things from old and new. It was great to roam around in there or better yet use it as a place to hide when we played hide and seek. But you had better not knock anything over.

‘Real Thanksgiving’ was at Mamaw’s. It started with her yelling, “Suuuupeeeer!” out the door to us playing out in the barn or yard. Real meaning they lived on a dairy farm, lets be truthful you can only have a real Thanksgiving on a farm. The adults set in the dinning room and us children where around the kitchen table- remember the kitchen had a wood stove in it- again a real farm kitchen. I created my favorite Thanksgiving meal right in that kitchen: you start with a thick piece of homemade bread, put on a big pile of mashed potatoes, followed by turkey pieces (mostly dark meat), add some stuffing to the top and then cover it with a lot of homemade turkey gravy! YES, that was a meal! Sean appreciated that type of meal. Mamaw’s cooking filled the whole house with a wonderful smell.

Let’s not forget about the chocolate marshmallow ice cream she would always have in the freezer for a night snack. Her refrigerator was unique also; it had the freezer on the bottom- I never understood that since I came from a freezer on the top type of family. I think the refrigerator was always a green one. I’m 45 know so my memory is going- kinda like Mamaw’s, bless her soul.

Close your eyes and think; picture walking from the barn (Poppy’s domain) to the house on the little stone path. You open the big closed-in porch, check the boot taker offer (an iron, naked women with her legs spread so you could put your boot between them- not sure why we never questioned that artifact- I think Sean has it now, figures), maybe only us young boys checked it out but you had to give it a glance. Keep your eyes closed as you pass the chest freezer on the pouch (again a real farm), you open the wooden door and walk into the warm friendly kitchen- there was Mamaw cooking or kneading bread. She would give you a hug. And I would ask her to cut me a piece of homemade bread, might as well start the weekend off right.

It’s a nice feeling you get when you close your eyes and think back to being with Mamaw in that kitchen.

Mamaw was all about family.