Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Monday, June 25, 2012

All That's Necessary


Finished at last.

For one summer, the Stringams lived in a quonset.
Between moving from one ranch to another.
And waiting for our house to be finished.
You can read about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, or here.
(It was a long summer . . .)
We had electricity, but no indoor plumbing or heat.
It could easily have been an ordeal.
My ultra-organized mother made it an adventure.
But even SuperMom couldn't control the weather.
And summers must end.
Especially in Canada.
It had been getting colder.
Noticeably colder.
We could lay in our beds and see our breath.
A fact that made us reluctant to leave said beds.
And we were setting new records for getting dressed.
Mom was starting to gaze longingly at her nearly-finished house across the field.
The one that didn't yet have any indoor plumbing or heat.
Rather like the place she was living in.
But it did have one attractive attribute.
One modern convenience.
It had a fireplace.
Okay, well, maybe not such a modern convenience.
Moving on . . .
Mom had been nervously studying the weather forecast every day.
And eyeing the house.
Which crept all-too-slowly towards completion.
Which would come first?
Winter?
Or her beautiful new home?
And then, the day arrived when all discussion became moot.
Because no one tells winter when to arrive.
Which it did.
With a fury.
A not-so-rare September blizzard.
We had a little lead time.
Schools were quickly closed to give students time to bus home.
Anyone who's ever been caught out on the shelter-less prairies in a blizzard knows that that is something to be avoided at all costs.
When we arrived at the quonset, it was to see Mom and Dad frantically packing.
For the next couple of hours, we carted carloads of necessities from the quonset to the house.
By late afternoon, though, the time was definitely up.
One could no longer see to drive.
Even in the barnyard.
We would have to make do with what had already been hauled.
Mom started organizing.
A few hours later, everyone was quite comfortably settled in the one room of the new house that was inhabitable.
The downstairs family room.
Mom had bedrolls laid out.
An electric stove set up.
And ropes strung to hang things on.
The kids were soon fed and in bed.
The dishes washed and stacked.
Mom still didn't have indoor plumbing.
In fact, nothing in the house worked.
And there was a monster storm was raging outside.
But Mom was doing something she had been dreaming about since she first set foot in the quonset, months before.
Sitting in front of a fire.
With every part of her warm at the same time.
Life was good.

14 comments:

  1. We just don't realize how good we have it until we look back on what our parents had to deal with and do without.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure makes me appreciate all of my conveniences! My poor Mom!

      Delete
  2. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, beats sitting in front of a roaring fire when it's snowing out.

    Especially if you have a good book and a mug of hot chocolate beside you... Mmmmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a great story! Please come by and link up sometime!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nicole! Glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  4. It is something isn't it what our parents had to deal with. I remember my grandmother having to wash clothes on a washboard, that was not that long ago... times have changed and now they are changing even faster:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Mom did when she was younger (wash on a wash board, that is) When I knew her, she had graduated to a wringer-washer. Wow! :)

      Delete
  5. there is nothing quite like a wood burning fire. we have a wood stove and when it's -30 and the wind is howling we feel warm and safe. great post
    bev

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I'm with you! Any excuse to sit by a warm fire!

      Delete
  6. I love this. It really was that way back then wasn't it. They worked hard. Played hard. And appreciated every single thing that was good.

    Awesome post. I can just picture it. I bet your mom slept well that night. There is nothing like watching your children sleep in a safe and warm place .....all together under one roof. ; )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I was so anxious to see my children grow up and progress and learn. And now I'd give almost anything to have them all safely under my roof once more. Warm. And safe.

      Delete
  7. Hi all World historical events,Android apps tamil news,World news on android Breaking news for iphone

    ReplyDelete
  8. What an adventure! Mom was quite a gal!

    ReplyDelete

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