Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Missing Mom



Magic happening

Life on the ranch demanded creativity and resourcefulness from every member of the community.
Except for me.
I was four.
Oh, I was resourceful.
Just not in a productive way.
Moving on . . .
In this spirit of inventiveness, my Mom had taught herself to sew. And she was good at it.
From her hands and her trusty little machine emerged fantastic and wondrous articles of clothing. Dresses, blouses, skirts, shirts, trousers, all were created quickly and efficiently, with only a bit of cloth.
I know. I watched her.
I also watched her peel potatoes with equal economy, but that is another story.
And a very different outcome.
Ahem . . .
Occasionally, Mom's sewing machine would give her grief, but my Dad instructed me not to say those words.
They must have been sewing words.
Years later, I would use them as cow herding words, but I digress . . .
Mom could also fix things with her electric marvel.
The most hopeless wardrobe disasters could be quickly and perfectly repaired with ease and just a couple of strokes of the needle.
A couple of words, here, about the needles she used.
They were sharp.
Enough said.
My Dad had a work shirt.
Green.
Sturdy.
He hated it. Something about the fit or the material.
One day, while fencing, he caught a fold of this shirt on some barbed wire and tore it.
Quite badly.
Rather gleefully, he told Mom to just throw it into the rag bag.
But Mom was far too thrifty to do that.
This was a good, serviceable shirt, with plenty of years of work left in it.
She repaired it.
Dad sighed and wore it again.
We were branding.
Dad caught the shirt on the squeeze handle and, again, it tore.
Again, the advice to scrap it.
Again, the repairs.
Another sigh.
Dad was working in the shop and caught the shirt on the work bench.
Another tear.
This was becoming a pattern.
But this time, he was determined to be rid of the hated, but indestructible shirt once and for all. He extended the tear into something . . . longer.
Then proceeded to rip the rest of the shirt apart.
He came into the sewing room, and delivered the scraps to my astonished Mom. “Rag bag,” he said.
Then he made the mistake of leaving the room.
Mom looked at the little pile of scraps and . . . smiled. Have I mentioned that Mom has a very good sense of humor?
I probably should have.
She removed whatever project she was currently sewing and started to work.
And giggle.
In a short time, she had reassembled the dreaded shirt.
Oh, it didn't look quite the same.
Frankenstein's monster comes to mind for some reason.
But it was, once more, complete.
She folded it carefully and put it in Dad's drawer.
Then waited.
She didn't have to wait for long. The next morning, Dad opened that drawer to get out a shirt and let out a little scream.
And no, it wasn't a girly scream.
He emerged, pale-faced, clutching the shirt. “It's back! It's haunting me!” he said.
Mom laughed and laughed.
We all did.
After that, the shirt finally made it to the rag bag.
It had finally served its purpose.

16 comments:

  1. All the Mothers Day posts today are leaving me teary eyed and stuffed up....thanks for the giggle..I really needed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome. Mom was always good for lightening the mood. She obviously hasn't lost her knack!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. And Happy Mother's Day to you, too, Lynn!

      Delete
  3. Oh Diane, your mom had a very witty sense of humor ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll be stopping by to see Mom today. I'll tell her you said, hi, and that we all love her and miss her still.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, George, thank you! Now I'm crying . . .

      Delete
  5. I smiled at your remembrance of your mom over on Delores' blog, and grinned over here. I remember my mom and grandmother darning socks. My aunt, too. I tried recently with some wool socks I knit for my grandson. As my brother used to say about swimming, I know how, I just can't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally remember my mom trying to teach me to darn socks! The only thing I caught on to was stuffing the lightbulb into the toe. That part was fun! The rest . . . not so much!

      Delete
  6. This made me giggle out loud, Diane! How you must miss this lovely woman. What a wonderful way to remember her!

    Happy Mother's Day to you and your readers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Jenny! I miss her ever single day. But I have so many stories I can tell that keep her close.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thank you LL! And wishing you a Happy Day as well!!!

      Delete
  8. Brilliant!! I think her daughter inherited some great genes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HeeHee! Thank you Susan! Great Genes? Or great Jeans! I'm sure she could make those too! :)

      Delete

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