Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, September 28, 2013

My 1984

Us. In 1984. Without the parkas.
Why do I remember the winter of 1984 so vividly?
It was, in a word, COLD.
But that isn’t the only reason.
It was also the one time in my life I was able to do something simple (but extraordinary) for someone else.
Let me explain . . .
Winter hit with a vengeance on the 12 of September.
You heard me right. The 12 of September.
Thermometers everywhere hit the bottom of the glass.
And stayed there.
When everyone should have been waffling between long pants for the cool mornings and evenings, and shorts and T’s for the hot midday, we were frantically scrambling through the storage to find heavy coats, toques, boots and mittens.
Turning up the thermostat.
And piling on more quilts.
I sent my little eskimos off to school each morning, muffled to the eyebrows.
If one happened to be standing on the sidewalk outside the school at the appropriate time, one could witness the advance of hundreds of little, round, heavily-padded, slow-moving creatures, intent on one destination.
It was like a scene out of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic movie.
When Halloween time rolled around, we had already endured six weeks of the cold snap.
I use the word ‘snap’ judiciously.
Because we were ready to . . .
Then, Halloween day.
Intent on getting to school for the exciting afternoon party, one little boy ran out from between two parked cars.
And was hit by a passing motorist.
His leg was badly broken.
After we had seen him safely carted off in the ambulance, we parents milled about uncertainly.
And hugged our own children a little tighter.
Trick-or-treating that evening was a little more subdued.
A tragedy had been narrowly averted.
And the shadow of it still hung over all of us.
Hitting the streets with the old treat bag was also sadly curtailed because of the weather.
It was just so blessed cold!
My Husby took our kids around the townhouse complex where we lived.
And stopped at that.
It was as much as our little trick-or-treaters could handle.
But we had remembered to do one thing.
And this is where the extraordinary part comes in . . .
In a highly unusual move for our family, we remembered to take an extra bag around for our little friend.
People, thinking of the sad little guy, were happy to pile in the treats.
The next day, we went to the hospital for a visit.
Toting along that extra bag.
I’ll never forget the scene.
Little man in a hospital bed, his leg in a cast and suspended above him.
His mother and little brother seated on chairs beside him.
Sleepless night written in all three faces.
And how those same three faces lit up when we presented the bag of treats.
The cold continued until Boxing Day.
And when it finally broke, it stayed that way through until spring.
That little spot of warmth the day after Halloween kept us going.
The winter of ’84.

Memorable in so many ways.

12 comments:

  1. I remember 1984. It was the year of the April 28th blizzard down here in the Dakotas. Summer was definitely cut short that year. What a wonderful thing you did for the little guy! So glad you thought of it. Have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Donna! Looks as though it was a tough year, weather-wise, the whole continent over! Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  2. Can't say I have any memories of winter 84 but yours are both cold and warming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing that the worst experiences brings out the best in people? Things they didn't even know they had?

      Delete
  3. What a kind thing to do - I'm sure it is remembered to this day by the whole family - and by your own children, too. There's no better feeling than doing a truly good and unselfish deed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, isn't it that you perform the service, but you are the one who feels good afterward.

      Delete
  4. What a beautiful and simple thing to do! We could all use a lesson here. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't happen often enough. But I was happy it did this time!

      Delete
  5. You made me feel the cold all the way across the oceans. I had to turn on the heating. It was lovely of you all to collect treats for the injured boy, karma will reward you.
    I bet you were more than glad when the cold finally gave way to spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, River! Every long winter ends, finally. We sure were glad to see it!

      Delete
  6. What a lovely thing to do and also a sweet lesson for your children on kindness. You are such an inspiration and I love your stories.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, LeAnn! I so appreciate your kindness in visiting every day!

      Delete

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