Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

S-S-S-S

Me Poppa and me

Though we lived at the back of beyond, the modern world did, at times, actually intrude.
Certainly, it was there in the tools we used and, increasingly, in our entertainment.
Sometimes, miraculously, in both at the same time.
It was that way when we got our first ever television.
I remember it well. A large unit which stood on its own legs and emitted a magical black and white picture. Mom would turn it on in the morning and I would sit and watch.
The Indian Test Pattern.
For hours.
That picture amazed me. It never occurred to me that it was unchanging. It was there. I stared at it.
Okay, I was really waiting for ‘The Friendly Giant’ to come on.
But Mom would craftily switch on the set long before the program aired and I was caught. Snared by the light that flickered from the magical box. Sort of like a deer in the headlights, except that I was a dear in the . . . never mind.
The first ever electronic baby-sitter.
What genius!
As time went by, we discovered that, with an enormous antennae perched at the very top of the tall tower on the hill which rose to the north of us, we could miraculously get . . . two channels. The variety was endless. The choices unlimited.
Remember, we were at the back of beyond!
Sundays were the best.
On Sunday evening, after dinner, there was a whole line up of goodies. First was Walt Disney Show, followed by Ed Sullivan, and finally, if I had been really good, Bonanza!
Surprisingly, I watched it often. It was amazing how a week’s worth of mischief could be erased by the advent of Sunday evening.
Peace filled the land, and flickering light filled our living room. We were glued to the set, as adventure after adventure unrolled before us.
But at some time during the week – I never really knew which day, after all, I was only four – was the best program of all. The one I waited breathlessly for. The show with the best and biggest of heroes. And the nicest horses.
Gunsmoke.
I identified with Sheriff Dillon.
But I loved Chester, with his limp. I just knew that, when I got older, I would marry Chester. Then I could be on TV with Sherriff Dillon every week.
Okay, my knowledge was sadly lacking, but the spirit was there!
There was only one hitch to my love of this program.
My pronunciation.
I couldn’t say it.
If Mom made the mistake of telling me a wee bit too early in the day that it was a Gunsmoke night, I would walk around all day chanting, “Gunmoke! Gunmoke!”
And I do mean all day.
It probably got a little irritating.
My Mom would try her ‘Mommy’ best to help me. She would kneel in front of me and say, and I quote, “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
I would stare at her and move my mouth with hers.
She would repeat. “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
She would smile at me encouragingly. “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
Expectant silence.
I would open my mouth.
Mom would nod.
“SSSgunmoke! SSSgunmoke! Gunmoke! Gunmoke!” It sounded like a fading echo.
I never really noticed her disappointment.
Or irritation.
I was too happily watching my hero of heroes. He who rode the best horses.
Sheriff Dillon.
On Gunmoke.

2 comments:

  1. Great story as always. My kids still get the deer in the head lights look about them when the TV is on:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. oops forgot to say Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

    ReplyDelete

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