Ian’s Tribute to Grandma

Grandma and the Carswell family

Grandma with Ian, Jody, Brent, Sally, Tanya and Louise

Good morning everyone. On behalf of the family can I welcome you here this morning and express our appreciation to for being here to support us on this occasion. We are extremely humble that you have been prepared to share your time with us.

Many of you have travelled some distance to be here and we thank you for that. David, our brother in particular has had to be most resourceful in his endeavours to get here in time from England. Tanya too has had her relatively simple travel plans from Sydney disrupted severely by ash from Chile. And us South Islanders have had our trials and tribulations too in one way or another.

I would like to acknowledge here the Hammond family from Hunterville. When Mum and Dad were newly married in the early 1940s, Dad took up a teaching position there. They met Mollie and Clarry Hammond and there developed a deep and lasting friendship which continues to this day through successive generations. The two families have experienced highs and lows together, births, deaths and marriages, and have supported each other during these times. And so I wish to thank Tim and Tricia for being here today. We really appreciate your support, thank you very much.

So, now, how do I remember my mother? I remember her as a kind and generous person, loved by everyone. All who met her remembered her warmth, her generosity and her kindness. Others more eloquent than I will elaborate further.

Mum was an excellent cook. I love excellent food. So therefore I loved mum’s food. As children we enjoyed good, nutritious, meals: stews not casseroles, were popular as were mince dishes and roasts. Desserts consisted of rice puddings, blancmanges, bread and butter puddings, lemon puddings, sago puddings, and different flavoured junket. Some of these were not always happily received, but the answer was: “there are starving children in Africa who would love to eat that.”

As we grew up and attained our independence and left home to go flatting or whatever, our eating standards declined, and a trip home to enjoy mum’s cooking was always looked forward to. The popular call at home then was: “Oh, mum has got some roast pork, Ian must be coming home.” It was a cross I had to bear, but I did so willingly and happily.

So roast pork and its crackling was always a treat, as too were all her roasts and her meat dishes. Another dish comes to mind – oxtail stew – slow cooked over several days. Extremely delicious, it did not take two days to consume – demolish might have been a better expression.

As our families grew, an invitation to afternoon tea was always welcome. On the table there usually was a scone of some sort, either plain, savoury, cheese or griddle, and sometimes a savoury or sweet muffin. The biscuit tins were always full when we arrived, never when we left. We could always find some lovely moist fruit cake, and some hokey-pokey biscuits, chewy anzacs, scroggin or ginger crunch. A just cooked gingerbread  loaf fresh from the oven and with a crunchy crust was a favourite. My favourite – and this was shared by many – was her chocolate fudge. I have the recipe if you are interested. When we left for home we were always given a little bag of tasty morsels to take home for afterwards.

But the most delicious item of all was her iconic chocolate pavlova. Not inspiring when you saw it for the very first time, but bite into it and you immediately became hooked and had to think about second or third helpings. The expression “lick your plate clean” developed a whole new meaning.

So mum, with these few memories fresh in our minds, it is time for me to say goodbye. And when you catch up with Dad, give him a big hug and kiss from us all. You can then sit with him once more,  and keep watch over us all again.

Goodbye mum, we will miss you so very much.


~ by Doug Newdick on June 26, 2011.

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