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

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Travels with Diane. Warning: Gross

Travel was so easy - Without Diane

Dad loved to travel.
And he was so much fun to travel with.
Dad would drive us to amazing places and show us amazing things, and sing and entertain us on the way.
And he took breaks.
'Breaks' which, for my Dad, meant pulling into a gas station and buying everyone a bottle of pop and a chocolate bar.
Notice, I didn't say 'healthy'. I just said 'fun'.
And sugar highs hadn't been invented yet.
To Dad, holidays were always taken across the border. He drove us all over the western half of the continental United States, with stops in California, Texas, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico.
We have pictures taken beside the 'Welcome to . . .' signs for all of them.
Travelling also meant meals on the road.
There were a lot of family-owned restaurants in the United States. And Denny's.
We saw them all.
And they made good food.
I love meals that someone else cooks.
And, let's just admit it . . . breakfast in a diner says 'holiday', doesn't it?
Sooo . . . breakfast. The most important meal of the day.
And the hardest one for Diane to eat.
Oh, I was enthusiastic.
And hungry.
But sometimes, it simply took a while for my stomach to awaken.
At least that's what Mom told me. And Mom was always right.
Plus, I ate too fast.
A character flaw that haunts me to this day.
Our family was travelling through . . . somewhere.
We had stayed the night in a hotel.
It was time for breakfast.
Dad took us to a nice restaurant at the edge of town.
We were handed large, colourful menus. With pictures.
I loved pictures.
And shiny things, but that is another story.
There was one photo, in particular, that caught my attention.
It showed waffles. A golden heap of them. Topped with, wonder of wonders, ice cream.
I think there was fruit atop the ice cream, as a sop to nutritional convention, but all I really had eyes for was the cold, sweet stuff.
Who ever heard of ice cream for breakfast?
And the final miracle? Mom let me order them.
All of my dreams had suddenly come true.
My waffles arrived, in all of their sweet, golden perfection. Ice cream just nicely melting on top.
Ecstasy on a plate.
I dove in.
And I do mean dove.
I shovelled fast and hard.
Before the rest of the family was half through, I was licking my plate.
Ice cream is not something that you can allow to get away.
And then . . . my wonderful waffles and ice cream hit . . . my stomach.
It wasn't awake.
It didn't like it.
It would . . . REACT!
And so, my beautiful breakfast, so briefly enjoyed, ended up back on the plate.
My horrified siblings fled.
My patient parents cleaned.
And lamented losing a breakfast they hadn't even paid for yet.
And a daughter who was suddenly hungry again.
Never again was I offered more than the usual at breakfast.
Good nourishing food.
That stuck to my ribs.
Well . . . stuck, anyways.


  1. Something else we have in common lol...eating too fast and paying for it later.

  2. They let you try. Good for them. Off you bucket list so many years ago.

  3. My oldest two got carsick on any trip over 15 minutes. This happened until they were each about 3 1/2. We packed a bucket, towels, wipes and a change of clothes for every trip. It was so not fun...

  4. Awwww! Good for your parents, though. They sound like good troopers.

    I never could eat right after I got up. I remember my mother trying to entice me with all kinds of things so I'd have something in me for school, but I just couldn't get it down! I used to eat something at morning recess instead.

  5. I was never allowed breakfast if a car trip was planned. Even with no food, I had to sit by a window for air, and hold a bucket on my lap. No wonder I was so thin as a 9 year old.
    Such a shame about the waffles and ice cream though.


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