Along the Garden Path: Happy Mother’s Day!


Mother’s Day is this Sunday and, for me, it’s a time to reflect back to the outstanding love and support my mother gave to everyone. Louise (McClure) Sheffer was a woman who loved the out-of-doors. She had huge flower gardens. My parents raised over 1,000 different irises, had many daylilies, peonies, poppies and other early summer flowers. Mom always had a large vegetables garden or as some would refer to it, a truck patch. She raised everything that either fed our family, shared with other family members, neighbors and she sold some to local groceries.

When it came to cooking, she made simple but hearty meals for our family. In the summer we would play in the corn crib and when we wanted a snack, she would give us a box of Hi-Ho crackers and kool-aid. That was like high tea for the Sheffer kids.

Mother made the best fried chicken, gravy and peach cobbler. She helped cook lunch for the guys who bailed hays or brought in the grains and they always loved Mom’s cooking.

Mom could take a pound or two of hamburger and make “Spread a Burger” for our family and cousins who visited on the weekends with plenty to go around. It consisted of ground beef, chopped onion, can of tomato soup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, salt and pepper. She mixed all the ingredients and spread it evenly over bun halves. They were broiled for 12-15 minutes and we had open faced sandwiches. I’ve made them and my family calls them Char-Burgers because I tend to multi-task when cooking and they get a little crusty on the top.

Dad loved a good hearty breakfast and Mom would fix fried potatoes, sausage, ham or bacon, eggs, and toast. Hardly ever did we have oatmeal, cereal, or anything other than her big breakfast. When cousins or friends would come to stay, they always loved that big breakfast; and to this day, they still comment how good it was. If she had to help out in the barn with feeding or taking care of animals, my sisters and I always filled in her spot.

After Church, she would fry chicken and make the best gravy. I remember her stirring for several minutes in a slow, steady stir that always came out great. I’ve heard it said, chefs make sauce but cooks make gravy!

She made another concoction that I didn’t care for – Donn loved it – she called it Sop. It was sausage drippings, water, seasoning and she poured it over a slice of butter bread.

Mom helped to chair many Smorgasbords dinners the band department sponsored at our school.

She was a great cook and a great gardener. She encouraged many people to become growers and floral arrangers. She made it look so easy and always did it with a smile.

To all the great cooks, gardeners and great care-givers, Happy Mother’s Day.

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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