Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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All of My Friends

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sucker(s)

So nice! Sigh.

I played hooky.
Once.
For those of you who don't know, 'hooky' is a term coined to describe being absent without leave.
In my case, I was absent from school.
And I didn't do it alone.
Maybe I should explain . . .
We were in grade twelve. For the last semester of my grade twelve year, I lived with Debbie's family, the Joneses, and attended school in the town of Magrath.
Our school bus arrived promptly every morning at 7:30.
After an hour and a half commute, we would arrive, sleepy and slightly dishevelled at the Magrath High School to begin a day of instruction.
One morning, one of us really wasn't in the mood.
Oh, she got up all right.son
Got ready.
Endured the bus ride.
But, standing there in front of those venerable halls of learning, she balked.
“I don't wanna go,” Debbie said.
I stared at her. “What?”
“I don't wanna go,” she said again.
“Oh.” What did one say to that?
“Let's play hooky!”
“Debbie, we can't play hooky!”
“Yes we can! We've never done it and the semester's nearly over!”
She had a point. Both of us had been exemplary students the entire four months.
Which is precisely what my father expected.
“Deb, my dad would kill me!”
“C'mon, Diane, it's only one day!”
I looked at her.
Have I mentioned that Debbie was the only reason I ever got into trouble?
Well she was . . .
At that point, our friend Leonard, he of the pick-up truck, appeared.
“Leonard! Take us to Lethbridge!”
Leonard looked at Debbie. Then he looked at me.
I shrugged.
“Okay,” he said.
And she got other people into trouble, too.
The three of us trailed out of the school and into Leonard's pick-up.
There was plenty of room on the wide seat.
We settled in for the 12-minute ride to Lethbridge.
For a guy, Leonard had a surprisingly clean truck. No trash rolling around.
In fact, the only thing on the dashboard was his brand shiny new 'Western Horseman' magazine.
“Oooh!” I said, picking it up. “Is this the new issue?”
“Yep. Just picked it up this morning!”
“Do you mind if I read it?”
“Nope. Just don't damage it.”
Leonard took good care of his things. Obviously magazines were no exception.
“I'll be careful.” I sat back happily while the two of them chattered.
Lethbridge is a city of about 75,000 just to the north of Magrath.
Not a huge city, but one with several malls and lots of shopping.
We spent the day going from one to another.
And having fun.
At one of our early stops, Debbie and I bought large lollipops.
Large.
On long sticks.
We spent the rest of the time . . . ummm . . . licking.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to catch our bus. No sense in proclaiming that we had just spent the day . . . somewhere other than where we should have been.
Leonard stopped his truck.
“This has been fun!” I told him. “C'mon Debbie, we'd better hurry!” I slid out.
At that point, a friend of Leonard's walked up to his window. “Hey, Leonard, where were you today?”
Distracted, Leonard turned to answer his friend.
Debbie started to follow me.
“Oh, my sucker,” she said, turning back.
Now Debbie had gotten tired of holding the heavy sucker and had laid it down. Not certain of the surface of the dash of Leonard's truck, she had chosen to lay it down on his copy of the Western Horseman.
That same brand new copy he had been so protective of earlier.
She grabbed the long stick.
Only to realize that the magazine came with it.
“Uh-oh,” Debbie said.
Not only had the sucker stuck to the cover of the magazine, but it had also stuck the pages together.
“Ummm . . .” she glanced at Leonard, still engrossed in his conversation. “We'll just leave that,” she said, and slid out after me. “See ya, Leonard!” She slammed the door.
Leonard, still talking, waved cheerfully and the two of us headed for our bus.
Leonard never mentioned his sucker-stuck magazine.
The one he obviously never got to read.
And after he had toted two girls all over Lethbridge.
Some fellow hookey-players are just plain nice.

8 comments:

  1. I remember playing hookey once. Actually I found myself in a semester where my classes didn't line up and twice a week, I had all afternoon off. Me and Steve took off to Lethbridge and when we got back we had that (some people referred to him as principal but we had more specific terms for him, and still do for that matter) 'authoritative figure' to content with. He attempted to suspend us but Steve's dad came in and all but threatened to plaster the walls with the prinicpal, who promptly rescinded the order.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darn. I would have loved to see the Steve's dad Deck the Walls with . . . never mind.

      Delete
  2. My, your Debbie was always thinking up ways to get in trouble wasn't she...

    Did Leonard ever chat with you guys again? Probably, he was boy, lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you spell mischief? D-E-B-B-I-E. Yes, Leonard remained a friend. I guess it took more than a new issue of WH to drive him away! Such a nice guy!

      Delete
  3. I never played hooky in my life. I lived in a very small town. Where would I go? What would I do? So I went to school. I knew people who played hooky and they'd spend the day at the beach, but since I was at the beach every day after school anyway, I didn't see the point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't imagine what it would be like to be able to go to the beach every day! Wow! But I'm with you. That was my one-and-only time. I'd rather be in school.

      Delete
  4. I'm not so sure I can believe this column word-for-word -- like the part where Diane was always innocent and Debbie was always the trouble-maker . . . . . .

    Anonymous Spouse/Husby Figure

    ReplyDelete

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