Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Calling All Animals

Our Steed. I'll explain . . .

Our oldest daughter believed that there was something called the 'Universal Animal Call'.
It was a simple whistle. A single note rising in pitch at the end.
She swore it worked on all animals.
We all thought she was hilarious.
Enough background.
My husband, for our 25th anniversary, surprised me with a trip to Greece.
And a cruise around the Mediterranean on a tall ship.
My dream of a lifetime.
And the vacation of a lifetime.
Ten days of unbelievable bliss.
I should probably mention, here, that I enjoyed it.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . .
Where was I?
Oh, yes.
During the cruise, we discovered the joy of laying in the nets beneath the spritsail at the bow of the ship.
Watching the Mediterranean slip past far beneath us.
It was the most relaxing experience of my life.
On the second last evening of our cruise, we introduced several new friends to this delicious experience.
Let me describe the scene . . .
The sun was setting. It glowed orange and red on the clots of cloud floating far above us in the darkening sky. There was just enough breeze to fill every rosy sail and push us forward through gentle, perfect waves on the impossibly blue water.
The air was a caress. Soft. Fragrant.
The only sounds were the occasional call of the sea birds as they floated on still wings alongside us.
Rocked gently, we hovered at the edges of complete peace.
Conversation lagged as, one by one, the members of our party flirted with the idea of succumbing to the call of Morpheus.
Drowsily, I turned to my husband and said, "What a perfect evening."
He laughed. "No, we need one more thing to make it truly perfect."
"What is that?"
He was right.
The last perfect touch would be dolphins, chittering and giggling as they leaped and played in the water beside us.
"We could always try the Universal Animal Call."
We had explained the UAC to our new friends.
And had a good laugh.
Then I whistled.
Tweee-eet! Tweee-eet.
And we laughed again.
Silence settled over us once more.
Silence broken, suddenly, by . . . chittering and giggling.
We looked down.
Several dolphins were leaping and playing alongside us.
I blinked and stared, open-mouthed.
Then rubbed my eyes and stared again.
Yes. There really were dolphins.
And yes, they really were playing beside the ship.
My husband and I looked at each other.
And laughed.
Happily, this time.
Maybe the UAC actually worked.
Maybe it was just an amazing coincidence.
Or maybe a trick by some gifted and very 'on the spot' magician.
It had made the evening truly perfect.
And I'll never, ever forget it.


  1. Wonderful imagery with your words. This is such a good post. I want to go to Greece now! It sounds heavenly! :) That's so awesome that you could go and do that for your 25th anniversary.

  2. Boom-netting (as it's called in OZ) is a wonderful experience even without the dolphins!! FAAAAABULOUS!!!

  3. Incredible story, delicious writing :)


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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 . . .

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