Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Less Than Quiet

It's 'take a friend to Church' day!
Take these!

We are a church-attending family.
Always have been.
We love it.
The quiet, peaceful feeling that comes from stepping into the Lord's house.
There is only one problem.
One is expected to keep that quiet, peaceful feeling by being . . . quiet.
And peaceful.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but our family isn't very often quiet.
Well, seldom.
Okay. Never.
Sigh.
So, going from loud and noisy to . . . less loud and noisy takes effort.
And resourcefulness.
Something my Mom had 'in spades'. (A gambling term for 'a lot of'.)
Not that I've ever gambled.
Ahem . . .
She would tote a huge bag of books and things quiet to church every week in a bid to effect reverent behaviour.
It worked.
For a time.
Then we outgrew her books and toys and games.
I know. I know.
That's about the time we should have been able to sit and listen without visual aids.
We didn't.
Instead, our teen-aged selves resorted to more grown-up ways of entertaining ourselves.
And remember – electronic diversion existed only in the mind of Gene Roddenberry at this time.
We had pens.
We had paper.
We drew pictures.
But not just any pictures.
No.
Pictures designed specifically to make whichever sibling was sitting next to us, laugh.
And get glared at and shushed by Mom.
It was a fun game.
My next older brother, George, was the best at it.
He could quickly sketch the weirdest people or animals or machines.
Then supply them with the best captions.
His was a rare form of genius.
I will call it spiritualavoidance supersonicus.
Or SAS for short.
He could have taught classes.

There is a codicil:
My Husby always had his pockets full of strange and wondrous treasures specifically designed to keep our youngsters quiet during our hour-long Church service.
I often marvelled at his ingenuity.
And resourcefulness.
His little figures and toys kept all six of them entertained right up until the time that they moved out and into their own lives.
But shortly after the youngest left, I realized that Grant's toys weren't specifically to entertain his kids.
Remember SAS?
And having somethings 'in spades'?
That would apply here as well.
Grant still had his pockets full of animals.
I wondered why.
I didn't wonder for long.
I lead the music.
Several times during the service, I have to make the short trip to the front of the chapel.
While he remains sitting on our bench.
Second back, directly in front of me.
That's when his little friends come out to play.
Solely for my benefit.
Picture it.
I'm at the front, waving my arm and trying to act dignified and serious.
He's on our bench, making his little friends dance and sing to the music.
I should mention, here, that his favourites are the little animal heads on a stick, whose mouths open and close by working a trigger system.
And those little suckers can sing!
His goal?
To make me smile.
It works.
Where's my Mom when I need her?

15 comments:

  1. My dad had a pocket full of dimes, that way when we acted up, he could pay the 10 cents to haul us into a stall and spank our bums. We didn't like when dad reached into his pockets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahahaha! Now that's teaching reverence!!!

      Delete
  2. Ah yes, the 'singing animal heads'. I remember the T-rex and the moose.

    I also remember "Scatter Skittles"...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The moose was harder to hide in a pocket. The antlers were rather . . . obvious!

      Delete
  3. I like a noisy kid in church..they give you an excuse to leave the sanctuary and walk around for a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right! Sometimes, I considered pinching someone, just to have a little break. Only considered, you understand. Ummm . . . never actually . . . oh, never mind.

      Delete
  4. :-)

    I believe there was a Seinfeld episode of this nature, where Jerry made a friend laugh (using a Pez dispenser) during a piano concert...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I missed that one! I wonder if my Husby saw it. That may explain a few things . . .

      Delete
  5. In our church there are songs that should be sung joyfully and others that are less than that. We were listening (should've been singing) to one joyfully song that I'm sure was being played in 16 or 33 1/3 at best. Of course I mimicked it and sang at 16 or slower only to get that well-aimed elbow in the side, followed by a stifled laugh, a put-on dirty look with another stifled laugh. My wife enjoyed it immensely...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoying and keeping up appearances at the same time. Genius woman! She must have it tough, being married to you. You could always make me laugh!

      Delete
  6. You all are making me laugh today, and I've hurt my back. I'll bet (wager..and I don't gamble either) more than a few people who can see the toymaster at work smile and go home even happier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you've hurt your back, but I'm glad you enjoyed the story. There were a lot of people who would watch to see what he was going to do next. And I did see a lot of smiles!

      Delete
  7. Lol. You made me think of an occasion when I was leading up front, in an older chapel where the sacrament table was about 4-5 feet from where I stood. My husband was home with a sick child so I had my 3 year old with me. I set him in a chair up on the stand with me thinking he could handle when I stood to lead the music just a couple feet in front of our chairs. I was leading the sacrament song and glanced to my left just in time to see my son reach up and grab some bread off of a tray. The priests were just smiling. I continued to lead with my right hand and stepped to the left and took my son by the hand and pulled him by my side and stepped to the right again. I let go of him because it was difficult to lead and he went right back for the trays. I was so embarrassed. Looking out into the congregation I saw a lot of smiles, no help.

    Reverence was so much easier when my kids were little. My kids do exactly what you described. Last Sunday my son drew a picture of the different toilets or substitutes each family member uses. Here's a sample of their artwork you'll need to scroll to the bottom of this blog if you don't want to read the story behind it.
    Http://teiners.blogspot.com/2011/10/i-am-such-dork.HTML.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great story! People absolutely love it when someone else's child is getting into mischief. It makes their day. And also makes a normal, uneventful Sacrament meeting into something noteworthy. (I mean, apart from the whole 'spiritual' aspect . . .)
      :)

      Delete
  8. Oh this is great, I fear I'd just have to put the song on pause and bust a gut!!! I admire ya for keepin' it under control sister!!!

    As teens we'd play the old Hymn Titles + underneath the bedsheets. My bad! Heeehehehehe!!!

    God bless ya and have a glorious weekend sweetie!

    ReplyDelete

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