Dan Ulmer: Remembering the grace of Ann Shaw
As a result of her husband getting elected Mandan’s Mayor, Ann Shaw, amongst many other honors during her 93 years with us, held the honor of being the first lady of Mandan… and ever since there’s never been much of a question that she was much more charming than her husband Archie.
Renee and I have always held Archie and Ann Shaw in high regard. So when we read of Ann passing the other day, our hearts sunk.
Archie was my high school principle before the school board decided they wanted him to be Mandan’s school superintendent. Above all else, both Ann and Archie’s dedication to education has made a lot of difference in 1,000’s of kids’ lives, the world is indeed a better place because of their work.
I remember talking with Archie awhile back and he was having trouble seeing and the first thing that came out of his mouth was something like, “Dan, I am always so grateful for my education… thank God I learned how to type and read and such.” Those of us who know Archie will affirm his gratitude for all the things others have taught him… especially his beloved Ann.
So wouldn’t you know when the news reached our house we couldn’t attend Ann’s funeral as I had to take one of those cardiac stress tests that morning and a thousand other things swept us away… so I thought I’d share this one story about Ann and Archie that deeply touched my heart.
Both my loyal readers know that back in the ’80s Archie and I served two terms together in the legislature… he’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat… and even though we campaigned against each other the people of Mandan evidently figured we’d make a better team than either of our running mates.
Members of the legislature pick their seats on the first day of session… based on seniority… and both of us were rookies. So noting that we were gonna be the last seated, Archie thought it would be a good idea if we sat together. So we did and it was great idea… as a D and a R we found ourselves constantly discussing the pros and cons of all sorts of issues. We agreed where we could, disagreed when we had to, and we always walked away friends.
As the leaders of the legislature try to figure out how to end the session there’s a lot of idle time… especially for rookies… we were like moat fillers awaiting messages from the castle.
Out of the blue Archie says, “Dan, did you know I have a heart problem?” I was somewhat taken aback so I asked, “Are you okay?” Archie leaned back and puffed on a smoke (we could smoke at our desks in those days) and said, “I’ve had it for a long time.” To which I said, “How long?”
“Since the day I met Ann,” he quipped. “Huh?” I wondered. Archie looked at me with a smile and said, “Yep, the day I met Ann my heart flipped over and it hasn’t flipped back since.” And he meant it.
Love is something that’s with us forever… and ever… and ever…