Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

In The Beginning . . . Part 1


Yep. Mine!
Grant didn't have a chance.
Really.
Maybe I should explain . . .
My Dad sold the Stringam Ranch in Milk River and bought another ranch in Fort Macleod in the spring of 1974.
We – those of us still living at home - were rather excited.
Alright, yes, it was hard to leave the town where we all grew up.
And where the Stringam's had been a fixture for two generations.
But we were about to meet new people.
Have new experiences.
We packed our boxes and headed out.
I won't describe the move to you.
Mainly because I wasn't there for most of it.
I was studying Journalism at college.
But I managed to show up on weekends.
Mom and Dad worked their usual magic.
And within a few weeks, the Stringam family was officially ensconced in its new digs.
It was a beautiful spot.
In the shadow of the Porcupine Hills.
Just below Head Smashed In buffalo jump.
More about that later . . .
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with Grant.
Especially when he was living in France at the time.
Wait for it . . .
Our family are church-attending folk.
The first Sunday after moving found us standing at the door to our new chapel.
About to meet our new congregation.
It was a time of . . . hesitance?
Excitement?
Doubt?
Exhilaration?
No. I think fear more aptly describes it.
We entered and stood, uncertainly in the foyer.
Hanging on the wall directly across from the door, was a picture frame.
I walked closer.
It was actually a picture of . . . pictures.
Young men, ranged from the top to the bottom in a row.
Twelve of them.
With a country and dates listed beside each name.
The missionaries currently serving from that congregation.
I ran a practised eye down the row.
Hmm . . . pretty cute.
Also pretty cute.
Wow! Most of these guys were gorgeous!
I started at the top again.
This time, I looked a little more closely.
There! I thought to myself.
Third from the top.
That one's mine!
I sounded out his name.
Grant Tolley.
Yep.
Mine.
I studied the information beside his picture.
He was serving a mission in Paris, France.
Cool.
He had been gone six months.
That meant . . . eighteen months before he got home.
I'd be ready by then.
Time passed quickly.
And, suddenly, it was time for Grant to come home.
By this time, I knew his family quite well.
The anticipated Sunday when he was supposed to make his first appearance arrived.
No Grant.
“We've lost him!” his brother told me.
And they had.
Sort of.
Cancelled flights.
And a night's stay in New York had put him in the airport in Calgary a a day behind his anticipated arrival.
A lost telegram put his family at the airport at the originally scheduled time.
They waited in vain, finally giving up and making the two hour trip back to Fort Macleod . . .
Grant arrived.
I should tell you that the return of a Mormon missionary is pretty important.
His family and friends all gather at the airport and scream and make fools of themselves welcome him home.
Grant got off the plane, expecting his loved ones.
Picture here the quiet chirping of a lone cricket.
Okay, it wasn't quite that deserted, but you get the point.
He made a quick phone call.
And two hours later, his excited and worried family was gathered around him.
Ah. This was a little more like it!
The next Sunday, I finally got the meet him.
Mr. Third-From-The-Top.
Mr. I-Live-In-France.
Finally.
Mine.
Yep. He didn't have a chance.

Tomorrow. Grant's side of it . . .

20 comments:

  1. What do you mean Grant's side of it...men don't get a side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Husby would agree with you!!!

      Delete
  2. I love this story... I am using this with my David... he is mine, he doesn't stand a chance:) I know what you mean about when a missionary comes home, it is always a huge deal. I love it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell your David it's a good thing!!! :)

      Delete
  3. I sure do remember that except for your picking Grant out of a dozen mugshots. You fit in well with the ward there. I must've derailed somewhere along the line because I was a fish out of water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll let you in on a little secret . . . we were ALL fish out of water there! I was just the bubblehead that didn't know it!!!

      Delete
  4. That is the coolest love story ever! They should make a movie of it. You see a picture and know he's the one. Just like that. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    Can't wait to hear his side of the story!

    P.S. My wedding photo looks just like yours....in front of the original gates of the temple. ; )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynn! It gets even better . . .
      I wondered how many people would recognize that shot of the temple gates!

      Delete
  5. I adore a good love story! Can't wait to hear Grants side of it.

    Stopping by from Red's blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, MJWC! I DO think it's a good love story! I'm excited to hear what you think of the rest! Thank you for stopping by! I love Red's blog!!!

      Delete
  6. I love this story! Can't wait to hear the other side!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I do hope you enjoy it!!!

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Hehehehehehe! And that's a good thing, right? :)

      Delete
  8. HI Diane,

    I always get a smile on my face after I read your posts and I loved this post too! :) I love you met your husband and were already married to him before he knew you! :) How cute! Can't wait to hear his side soon! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tracy! I always seem to get the cart before the horse, don't I? Well, wait for the second part . . .

      Delete
  9. Love this story! I picked my husband out of a missionary photo (a Canadian thing?) too but we had grown up together. Thanks for sharing with us at NOBH :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Canadians must spend far too much time indoors - looking at pictures! :)

      Delete
  10. Oh that's fabulous! What a great beginning to your love story. It sure beats mine where I didn't even know my husband was alive even though he swears he was desperately trying to get my attention. Until I came out of Sunday School one morning and saw him sitting alone in church and just thought, "Oh, honey, no one should have to sit alone in church!" So I sat with him. The rest, as they say, is history. But I can't wait to read your sweet husband's side of the story! Thank you so much for sharing. I just love your stories! Smiles -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a cute, cute story! It is so sweet that you ended up getting together because you were simply being kind!

      P.S. I want to know what he was doing to get your attention!

      Delete

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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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