Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Monday, January 30, 2012

First and Only

- or- Why I never became a smoker . . .

I come from a long line of non-smokers.
Generations of puff-nots.
But my best friend had a cousin staying over for the summer.
A cousin from the big city who had seen it all.
And done most of it.
I was about to get an education . . .
My family lived on a ranch twenty miles from Milk River, in southern Alberta.
Life out there was bliss.
And, because of a lack of outside influences, completely under the control of my parents.
I had seen people smoking.
Certainly I had.
But I had never considered the possibility of being one of them.
Not even for an instant.
Moving on . . .
My parents owned a house in town.
When Mom got tired of driving the twenty miles to take us kids to school and activities, we would move into town.
Until Dad got tired of driving out to the ranch every day to do ranching stuff.
Then we would move back.
It was a fun and exciting way to live.
The benefits of town living.
The joys of the ranch.
But one or the other of our houses sat empty in the interim.
That summer, we were firmly ensconced on the ranch.
So the town house was sitting vacant.
A perfect place for 10-year-old girls to get an education from the 11-year-old-far-more-experienced-and-world-weary cousin from the big city.
My parents had dropped me off at my best friend's house for a - gasp - three day sleep over while they went out of town.
We: my BFF, her younger sister and the Cousin (notice the capital letter) had been knocking around town for most of two days.
It had been an education.
It was about to become more so.
The Cousin bought a packet of cigarettes.
She was going to show us country hicks how to smoke.
Okay, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Our biggest problem lay in finding a secret place in which to do our teaching/learning.
Idea!
My family's empty town house.
I found the key and let us in.
The place echoed emptily.
Perfect!
We went into the main bathroom and dug out the cigarettes.
Cousin proceeded to light up.
Oooh! She looked so cool!
The rest of us were excited to try.
In no time, we each had a cigarette.
She helped us light them.
Soon, my BFF and her sister were blowing smoke in the most approved manner.
It took me a bit longer.
But I got it, once Cousin pointed out that one need to suck.
Not blow.
Oh.
I should point out, here that my parents weren't due to pick me up from my BFF's until the following day.
And, even then, they had no reason to come to this house.
Our smoking education could continue apace.
Without threat of interruption.
But parents never do what they say they are going to.
My BFF's little sister went out to the front room.
And immediately returned, wide-eyed.
"Your parents are here!"
"Sure, sure," I said, taking another puff. "Nice try!"
We all laughed.
A sound that broke off instantly when my Mom appeared at the door.
"Oh," I said. "Ummm . . . hi, Mom."
She looked at me. Looked at the cigarette I held in my hand.
Then turned and left.
Without saying a word.
We quickly cleaned up our mess and headed for the front door.
My parents were waiting in the car.
I said some quick good-byes and climbed in.
For several minutes, my parents said nothing.
Finally, Mom turned to Dad and sighed.
Then Dad turned to me and said, "I very disappointed, Diane."
I was completely crushed.
He didn't know it, but those four words had just killed my cigarette habit.
Forever.
What price education?!

12 comments:

  1. Talk about parenting skills. What an effect at 11--or any age, for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dad had parenting down to an art, Joanne! He never had to raise his voice or strike anyone to get his point across. It was always done quietly or without a single word being said! And man, did you ever learn!

      Delete
  2. And I'm willing to bet that when you wrote this you got teary eyed when you typed your Dads comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right, Delores. It was the most profound teaching moment of my life. I NEVER wanted to disappoint him again!

      Delete
  3. Aww that was truly sad to betray a trust like that lol
    Pays to choose your friends even though people don't like that. lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Parental disappointment, the most effective punishment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can still remember the weight of those four words. Brrrr!

      Delete
  5. Oh yes... I understand... I never did try smoking, but I can imagine the horror you must have felt when your parents caught you and to see how disappointed they were in you. Sometimes the best discipline is a look. I'm so glad you shared this story. I need to ask my dad the story about his Dad catching him the first time he tried smoking as well... it was something similar to yours, but I can't remember it all... now I will have to ask him to tell me again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, do get the story. And then write it. I'd love to hear it! Isn't it amazing how worrying about disappointing our parents can be the best discipline of all?

      Delete
  6. Diane, why is it that hearing the words "I'm so disappointed" is worse than a death sentence? I had to chuckle reading this post because it reminded me of the first time I took a puff. My sister, a good friend and I found a box of brand new cigarrettes near some bushes at the back entrance of the mall. We promptly went to the JC Penneys bathroom and proceeded to light up. Don't ask me where we got the matches cause I can't remember. What I do remember is the coughing fit all of us suffered. We are stupid when we're young, aren't we? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I'm not alone! You're right. Kids can be stupid! Stupid and made out of rubber! That's how we survived! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! :)

      Delete

Thank you for visiting! Drop by again!

Daughter of Ishmael

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

Follow by Email

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

SnowMan

SnowMan
A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.

Translate

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

Essence

Essence
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 Smashwords.com

The Babysitter

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

Melissa

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

Devon

Devon
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?