Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Friday, February 8, 2013

And Now For the News





My Dad loved to read the newspaper at the breakfast table, after we had finished eating.
Let me rephrase that.
My Dad loved to read the newspaper at the breakfast table . . . you get the picture.
Oh, he absorbed the important news stories.
And took note of local and international events and even sales.
But after he had digested the headlines, he would continue to read.
And . . . umm . . . put his own twist upon what he found there.
“Huh. Look at that. Jeffrey James died.”
There would be a pause as everyone in the room tried to decide if they had ever heard that name before.
Finally, some curious soul would ask the question, “Oh? Who was Jeffrey James?”
“Haven't got the slightest idea.”
There would be a general groan and much head shaking.
But that's my Dad.
Sometimes he would embroider a story, improving it for our benefit.
And it wasn't until the story got too outlandish that we would realize it.
“Well, it says here that they're planning a new bridge across the Old Man River near Fort Macleod.”
Again, someone would take the bait. “Really?”
“Yeah. Four lane. The works.”
“Well, it is the Alaska Highway. They probably need the improvement.”
“Suspension.”
“Well, that'll be nice.”
“Yep. It's just going to hang there. Suspended. Be hard to get on and off of.”
At which time, he would get a smack on the arm.
Or a platter of scrambled eggs upended over his head.
Sometimes, Dad would cut the story out of whole cloth.
“Our taxes are going up.”
“Oh, no!”
“Yep. They need the money for a new fund.”
“Really?”
“Yep, the Town Council Mexico fund.”
“What sort of fund is that?”
“It's the fund where all of the town council get to go to Mexico.”
“What for?”
“Well, to hold their meetings.”
Or . . .
“Well, look at that. The President of the United States is going up with the next Moon Mission.”
“Well, that sounds dangerous. Why?”
“I guess he wants to see for himself what all of the excitement is about.”
And, for some time we would think that the story was true.
In fact, we were even known to spread the rumour.
With embarrassing, but amusing, results.
You'd think we would learn.
But Dad wouldn't limit himself to making up stories.
Oh, no.
Sometimes, he would improve the staid old news in other ways.
By inserting his favourite poems.
Have I mentioned that he loves to recite?
Little Johnny took a drink,
But he shall drink no more.
'Cause what he thought was H2O,
Was H2SO4!”
We would nod and smile.
That part, we had gotten used to.
Anyone new to the family, however, would be understandably confused.
Once, my nearly sister-in-law was seated at the breakfast table with us.
Dad was hidden behind the newspaper, filling us in on the day's happenings.
Suddenly, his tone changed.
The boy stood on the burning deck.
His feet were in the fire.
The Captain said, You're burning up!”
The boy said, “You're a liar!”
She peered timidly around the paper, trying to see where he was reading.
Finally, “Where does it say that?”
Mom rolled her eyes. “No where, dear. It's in his head!”
“Oh.”
And still she joined the family.
Go figure.

But that's part of the Stringam legacy.
To this day, I can't simply read the paper.
I especially have great fun with the classifieds.
I guess I just had too good an example.

7 comments:

  1. I do that as well. Of course my wife doesn't get taken in like others do. Kristi made up for it though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Important family traditions need to be carried on. Good for you!

      Delete
  2. Now that's entertainment! Much better than real news :)

    Hope your dad's health is improving.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your Dad was/is an evil genious. Do you think he did it to get you kids interested in current events?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Those days will always be etched in my mind! Thanks for sharing, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What is H2SO4?
    Maybe I should start reading the paper.

    ReplyDelete

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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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