Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Four Magic Words: Tell Me About You!


That head was learning things. Who could have guessed?!

I learned a few things as I was growing up.
Okay, I know that comes as a surprise to many, but it's true.
Some lessons were fairly severe, but a few, and even some of the most life-changing were quite . . . for want of a better term, painless.
I was staying with my best friend and nearest neighbour at her parent's ranch, fifteen miles from my own.
We had had a glorious week, riding, playing, getting into her father's hair.
Oh, yes, a glorious week.
It was time to go home.
Her Dad needed the break.
It was a fairly easy trip when one was merely negotiating the fifteen miles of dirt roads between our ranches.
But my parents had moved, for the winter, to our town home in Milk River.
A further twenty miles to away.
A trip of approximately an hour, if the road conditions were favourable.
Which they often weren't.
Originally, my Dad had planned to pick me up when he came out to do a vet call.
His plans had changed.
And now, so had mine.
Sigh.
I would be riding with my best friend's uncle.
The scary one.
For an hour.
Just the two of us.
I suddenly didn't care if I ever saw my parents again.
I wanted to stay with my friend.
Or die.
Neither choice was given to me, however.
Amidst much hugging and goodbye-ing, I was pushed out the door and parked in the uncle's truck.
Doomed.
I curled into a little ball in my corner and tried to pretend I didn't exist.
We started out.
The silence was thick.
After a while, the uncle reached out and turned on the radio. A short time later, he turned it up.
Now, at least, we had music to fill the emptiness.
But I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable.
My parents always claimed that visiting made the time go by faster.
I definitely wanted that to happen.
Finally, I thought of a question about his ranching.
I asked it.
He answered. Quite politely, I might add.
I asked another.
Again, he answered. With even more detail than the last.
This went on for some time.
Suddenly, I realized that we were . . . visiting.
And that he was funny.
And not nearly as scary as when we got into the truck.
What a nice surprise.
The trip turned out to be infinitely shorter than I had anticipated.
In fact, we got so animated in our conversation that we were parked in my family's driveway before I even realized that we had reached the town.
And I learned that all you need to do to get a conversation going is to ask a question about whoever you're with.
Generally, they like to talk about themselves.
And that, when you are visiting, no one is as scary as they first appear.
Even someone else's uncle.

3 comments:

  1. I liked this post! I think the people who don't talk are usually the most interesting anyway :).

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is probably my biggest weakness -- I get *so* scared talking to new people. My brain absolutely freezes, and I have no idea what to say most of the time. And then the silence panics me so I go on verbal overdrive. Questions, I must ask questions. (Or just better questions?)

    BTW, I'm going to find your book -- I'm officially addicted to your writing. You paint such an amazing picture with your words -- I can see what is happening in each of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I never had a problem talking to people and my children have both inherited my talking trait. Glad you opened up to him and realize he wasn't so scary:)

    ReplyDelete

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