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

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Vanity, You Heartless Wench

   
Ready to work.
If you look closely, you'll note the absence of glasses.
And the presence of the band-aid.
     1. My new boyfriend had a medical condition I wasn’t aware of.
           2. The world refused to coalesce into remotely recognizable shapes when I wasn’t wearing my glasses.
           3. I was vain.
There. I think I’ve covered all of the bases.
Would you care to try to convene these statements into a story?
I’m almost sure it would be better than mine.
Fine . . .
My new boyfriend was ‘working’ for my Dad.
Which meant that he spent a lot of time on the ranch, following me around, and occasionally did some actual work.
On this bright summer afternoon, we had been assigned the arduous task of moving the milk cow from her pasture on the east side of the buildings to the more convenient pasture on the west side.
We were on foot.
He was heeling.
I was heading.
Which meant that I was in the front to get in the way if said cow decided to turn in the wrong direction.
He was behind in case she suddenly felt that she couldn’t bear to leave her former pasture.
I should probably point out here that I always wore glasses. There’s nothing more embarrassing than discovering after a lengthy, one-sided conversation, that the person you are talking to is actually the neighbour’s mule.
I will say only that he was a good listener.
Back to my story . . .
On this bright and sunny afternoon, I had removed my glasses because I was trying to improve my tan lines. Large, white, goggle-shaped circles on one’s face weren’t conducive to beauty.
Oh, I also had a band-aid on my nose for the same reason.
Lets’ not talk about this any more . . .
At first all went well.
Then, they didn’t.
I ran ahead to stand as a human shield when the cow crossed over the entrance to the ranch buildings.
Once I was in position, I turned to ascertain progress.
The cow had turned and was heading back to familiar ground.
Trevor had disappeared.
Whaaaat?
I quickly ran up the road, got around the retreating animal and turned her back in the right direction.
Then spent the next twenty minutes sweating, hollering and cursing.
Oh yes. I cursed. For the whole story, read here. It’s not a pretty tale, but we’ll wait till you get back . . .
Finally, I had the stupid, perverse, ornery, cantankerous, belligerent, of-questionable-heritage, stupid (I repeat the word, deliberately) animal where she needed to go.
Daddy picked me up for the short ride to the ranch buildings.
And that’s when I remarked that my boyfriend, he of the dubious intelligence, had abandoned me.
Had just disappeared.
Dad frowned.
He turned into the drive to the ranch.
Then stopped.
Shoved the truck into reverse.
And, tires squealing, sped back along the main road.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Your boyfriend,” Dad said, coming to a skidding stop.
“Oh.”
And there he was. My boyfriend. Lying in the ditch.
How had I missed that?
Oh, right. Glasses.
Turns out that he had a medical condition that caused him, at times, to faint.
Who knew?
Fortunately, he had simply slid down into the soft, thick grass that lined the ditch and slept peacefully in the warm sun until we discovered him.
Dad got him up and we helped him make his woozy way to the truck.
By the time we reached the ranch buildings, he was well on his way back to normalcy.
After we had gotten him seated on the couch and supplied with drinks and eats, Dad turned to me. “Glasses,” he said simply.
 I nodded sheepishly and went to fetch them.
I learned something from this:
         1. When acquiring a new boyfriend, always ascertain health concerns.
         2.  Don’t ever try to outguess your optician.
         3. Don’t be vain.
       You learned it here.

12 comments:

  1. Just for a few minutes there I thought you may have been herding the boyfriend instead of the cow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hahaha Delores... I thought the same thing for a moment:)

    Oh Diane, I totally understand the glasses, I hated mine when I was growing up too... I am so glad they make smaller pretty ones now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Mine were pretty much the size of picture windows. Left little dents in my cheeks.

      Delete
  3. Oh my! What a great story! You sound like you were a feisty thing, between the cow herding and the indelicate language!!

    I understand the glasses, too. I had cat's eyes frames, wire-rimmed granny glasses, then those large LARGE dark frames ... had contacts for awhile but they bothered my eyes too much ... had cataract surgery but my astigmatism couldn't be fully corrected, so I'm STILL wearing ... glasses.

    I never could go without mine, so while I could always see, I did not always look good. So to speak :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tried all of those as well. Sigh. You and me, Jenny! We four-eyes have to stick together . . .

      Delete
  4. Oh dear! Poor Trevor. At least he wasn't hurt. I've worn glasses since I was 22 and the optometrist who examined my eyes was surprised that I hadn't worn them all my life, since he found I had astigmatism. He said he didn't know how I got through school and being a devourer of books too. It did explain all the early years of motion sickness, with my eyes being unable to focus fast enough on moving images through the car windows. I've never been vain about them, I was just pleased to be able to see better. My younger daughter wears glasses too and can you believe I don't remember what age she began wearing them? The older daughter had laser surgery a few years ago and doesn't need her glasses anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh. Now my constant motion-sickness when I was younger suddenly makes sense!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. I teased him about being a slacker. Me being me. But I was secretly glad he was all right!

      Delete
  6. Diane,
    You never have a dull moment! Life is always an adventure when I am with you, or reading your blog.

    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  7. This was a LOL for me. You are so good at describing your adventures. It is such a delight to read your stories. What a gift you have. Thanks, for a much needed laugh for my day.
    Blessings!

    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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