Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Family Vehicles

Ralph, who started it all
With, from the left, Flint, Iggle and Muffy

I love cars.
Especially old ones.
We have owned many vehicles which have taken our family, in it various incarnations, to many places.
Most of the cars worked.
Some didn't.
All were old.
And all had a personality of their own.
In the early days of our marriage, my husband and I had a Dodge Colt.
On which my Dad had made the down-payment before turning the monthly payments over to me.
My husband used to tell people that he married me for my car - and got the payments.
Moving on . . .
And we had an old beater of a truck.
For which my husband paid $200.00.
The Colt, we called The Pumpkin.
Because it was orange.
The truck we named Ralph.
Both were dependable.
One had character.
I know you're wondering, so I'll tell you.
It was the truck.
Ralph would start completely without a key, which was notable.
And under any conditions.
In Alberta, Canada, that could mean anything.
Ralph's horn honked when you pulled out the ash tray.
I have to admit, here, that the horn renovation was my husband's handiwork.
He liked character.
After Ralph and The Pumpkin, we went through a steady stream of vehicles.
An Impala that looked really, really good, and was only missing one part.
A transmission.
Let's just say that transmissions are really, really important and move on.
An old Chevy van (with a home-made bench seat bolted to the floor), that we got by trading in a rusted set of harrows.
A station wagon that we got by trading in the van.
Actually, that station wagon, an old brown Chevy, was interesting to start.
Oh, it would.
Start, I mean.
It just took a little 'coaxing'.
And by coaxing, I mean that Grant would have to crawl under it with a hammer and give the solenoid a little tap.
For those who do not know, a solenoid is a little wire coil that theoretically acts as a switch or relay between the car battery and the motor.
In reality, it is designed to act as aggravation for the car owner.
Especially when it is pouring rain or is -40.
As often happens in Alberta.
On consecutive days.
Continuing on . . .
We traded that old brown wagon for a newer blue one.
Then we traded that one for a 12-passenger Beauville.
Trust me, we needed the space.
Then, as our family began to move out, we traded the big van for a nice car.
A really nice car.
Root beer brown. My husby's favourite colour.
For a few wonderful years we knew what comfort was.
But, like us, it aged.
And finally, pooped out in our front drive.
We could never replace it, so we did the next best thing.
Replaced it with an almost new Olds van from some good friends.
Which is still running today.
Oh, and my Dad's old Sonoma truck.
Which isn't.
Some days I wish we were back where we started.
So to speak.


  1. Good thing all the old vehicles we went through aren't still parked in our driveways.

  2. Diane, I've only owned one car--a cheap Japanese import which I named Bobby. He's still alive, although he's no longer with me. Now he resides in the garage of one of my mother's homes. After reading your post, I would definitely want to have Ralph--dependable and possessing character? What's not to love? :)

  3. My mom named all our cars--Sarah. I never knew how important this is until I was driving the eastern US on my own. I named my van Sarah. "I'll take care of you and you take care of me." We did. She never let me down, going on 200,000 miles when I retired.

  4. Nothing beats the sight of dogs in the back of a truck - love it!

  5. I just recently bought an old used car myself....who can afford a new one?! Thanks for sharing this fun history with NOBH!

  6. those were the good ol days. I had a pink panther pontiac parisienne with white bucket seats I loved. My Dads old car. And I had a Vega I called my yellow Canary. She was my best girl cause she had an aluminum engine and heated up in winter so fast. She was also standard so I really enjoyed driving her.

  7. We have something in common. My family names our cars too:)


Thank you for visiting! Drop by again!

All of My Friends

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Follow by Email

Hugs, Delivered.

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

Google+ Followers

Networked Blogs

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

About the Mom

My photo

Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!

Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?