Mrs. Pifer’s Silver Pan

By: Rock Pifer, Cameron County

I was the second child of 8 children, that my mother would bring into this world; I have 5 sisters and two brothers.

When I was three years old, we had moved to house situated on three acres, in a scenic part of North Central Pennsylvania, in the quaint Village of Cameron.

Dad promptly acquired a small Farmall Cub tractor, and we put in a large garden and it produced a bountiful harvest every year.

I can recall Mom working tirelessly in that garden. As summer came along, and early crops began to mature, Mom would pull the onions, pluck the green beans, the peas, and anything else that was ripe; then process of canning the various vegetables began!

Mom would sit down in the backyard and snap the beans, shell the peas out of the pods, trim the onions; then with the Silver Pan full, head inside to start canning.

Once a week, she would set me on the kitchen counter and she would grab the Silver Pan; I would watch as she poured a certain amount of warm water into the pan, adding a little sugar, then sprinkling dry yeast on top, gently stirring. Then she would put flour into the warm mixture, continually stirring as she kept adding more and more flour.

An hour and a half later, she would pull out the gooey mixture, now doubled in size, and she would sprinkle the countertop with flour, and toss bread dough on, beating the daylights out of it.

After a sufficient pounding had occurred, it was cut into strips and placed into 6 bread pans, where it would set for another hour so, and then it was into the oven. I can still smell the intoxicating aroma of fresh baked bread, wafting through the house!

Moments before the Walt Disney show came on, Mom would come in with her Silver Pan brimming to the top with freshly made popcorn for all!

I can remember when Mom had her first set of twins (she would have 2 sets of twins) when it came time to give the babies a bath, she would pull out; you guessed it, the Silver Pan and wash them in it.

I saw her use that Silver pan for hauling vegetables out of the garden, for mixing bread dough, for washing delicate clothes, bathing babies, and serving popcorn, and so much more.

Mom tirelessly hovered over her children, dedicating her life to our care. She was a compassionate nurse when we got sick, a counselor when we were emotionally hurt, encouraged us when we were down, lovingly scolded us when we were bad!

Every Mother’s Day I think of Mom, and I miss her smile, her encouraging words, her servant heart, and her overflowing love.

I can still see her walking up the little hill from the garden, with that big Silver Pan full of green beans resting against her hip, in one hand, and a wiggling toddler firmly held in the other.

If your mom or grandma is still with you, I hope you make plans this year to spend some time with her; cherish those moments . . . you only have one Mom; be sure and show her a little love this year.