Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Memorable For All the Right Reasons

Husby is doing much better. Not out of the woods yet, but the forest is thinning . . .
Thank you, everyone for your good wishes.
They really help!
Christmas Elf: Caught in the Act . . .
It started out ordinarily enough.
Dad waving from the driveway as he started the long drive to Lethbridge to begin his Christmas shopping.
I should point out, here, that Dad always began and ended his shopping on the same day.
Christmas Eve.
He had a thing about children sneaking into his closet to peek at presents.
Not that I ever did. Personally, I think it had something to do with his own childhood and his own childhood foibles and tendencies.
Let's not talk about this any more . . .
We waved happily to him, then went back to helping Mom with the Christmas baking.
Our duties were carefully delineated.
She mixed.
We watched/hovered.
She finished mixing and dug out cookie sheets and baking pans.
We tasted.
She shooed us away and began to spoon/scrape.
We watched/hovered.
She turned to put pans into the oven.
We tasted.
She shooed us away and finished spooning/scraping.
She turned to put pans into the oven.
We licked the bowl.
Literally.
She shooed us away and started again.
She mixed.
We watched/hovered . . .
You get the picture.
But when pans started coming out of the oven, yet another duty was added to the roster.
Eating the now-baked deliciousness.
And so it went.
Everyone had their responsibilities clearly outlined and we did them whole-heartedly.
No slackers in this bunch.
Sometimes, though, baked goodies actually made their way past the ravening hordes children to the fancy Christmas platters set out to receive them.
Not often, I will admit, but frequently enough that we realized what those platters were for.
But I digress . . .
Other duties included:
  1. Hiding when the baking was finished and clean up was indicated.
  2. Giggling loudly during hide-age.
  3. Sitting under the tree and periodically shaking/squeezing packages.
  4. Teasing younger siblings that Santa Claus would never be able to find our ranch.
  5. Re-arranging Christmas ornaments.
  6. Breaking said ornaments.
  7. Hiding again.
It was a busy day.
Mostly for my Mom, but why haggle over details?
Finally, just as we were getting ready to climb into bed for the long, sleepless night, we would hear Dad's car pull into the driveway.
And then would begin another whole round of children milling about excitedly.
Sleep was further away than ever.
But, finally, we were herded into our beds and the doors firmly shut against peekage/sneakiness.
The wait was on.
I shared a room with my younger brother, Blair and my younger sister, Anita.
Somehow, I managed to keep them bottled up until some of us (not me) were ready to fizz over.
About 5 AM.
We could wait no longer.
Now the rule in the Stringam household was 'Look, but don't touch until Mom and Dad's feet hit the living room floor'.
On this particular Christmas, looking was especially exciting.
Because Dad had strewn his gifts over the living room floor.
The entire living room floor.
From the soft light of the Christmas tree, we were able to make out strange, long objects arranged at intervals from the doorway all the way to the tree itself.
What could they be?
We knelt down in the doorway, trying to get a better view.
Weird.
Had he opened a crate of something and left the boards flung about like flotsam?
Normally such behavior was reserved for the younger set.
Double weird.
Just when we were ready to burst with the excitement and curiosity, we heard our parents make their way up the hall towards us.
Finally!
Dad reached around the corner and snapped on the light.
Our eyes were glued to the newly-revealed treasures.
Skis!
The entire floor was littered with skis!
Beside each carefully arranged set of skis were a pair of poles and leather ski boots.
We hopped and skipped carefully around the room, checking name tags and finally settling beside the set that bore ours.
Mine were blue.
With long, silver poles.
And black leather ski boots.
I don't remember what else I got that year (sorry, Family).
Nothing could compare with my shiny new and wondrous skis.
Then I discovered that the excitement didn't end there.
The rest of Dad's gift included a week-long family skiing trip to The Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana.
The first of many such trips.
And the beginning of a whole new chapter for the Stringams.
Yup. The best Christmas ever.

Now, it's your turn. What was your best childhood Christmas ever?

8 comments:

  1. They were all fabulous. I couldn't possibly choose one. There was the Christmas we had the elf sighting....the Christmas of the trip to Toronto to see the parade and Santa Claus....the first Christmas I had my own money for gifts....but every single Christmas was special because I always had the full compliment of parents, grandparents and even a great grandparent and there was never a Christmas we weren't all together. THAT was the best part of Christmas every year.
    So glad to hear the husby is on the mend. They do cause us concern don't they?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You must be giddily relieved about your husby - so good to hear he is doing better!

    Your description of the baking/with kids is so funny and so true. You had a very patient mother!

    My Christmases were always good, but the years Santa brought me dolls were the best. There was the life-like baby doll, the 8 inch fashion doll with TWELVE outfits!, and the 11 inch fashion doll (not Barbie but similar, and she was jointed before Barbie ever thought of being that!). After those years it's all kind of a blur :)


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenny!
      Oh, those dollies. They do take our hearts!

      Delete
  3. Quite a memorable occasion for sure. I used those skis until one actually split down the center. I think my most memorable Christmases were the ones I spent at Dad's place after Mom passed away. We sat in his living room/kitchen, worked on a puzzle and watched Christmas programs on TV while rehashing Christmases past. After that the first one Mikenzie and I spent together had some special memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and Dad. Wonderful memories! Yep. I'd say Mikenzie makes some memorable memories! :)

      Delete
  4. So glad husby is doing better.
    I love your "other duties"-hiding when clean-up was indicated, that's a great one.
    I don't remember any Christmases before my seventh, that was the year I got one of those 'walking-talking' dolls, you tilted her and the box in her back would say mama, I also got a pram to wheel her around in. I was not a doll person and very jealous of the big chain driven tricycle my sister received, but I wheeled that doll, "Maryanne", around the block every day for a month or so and Mum was happy. I think she was already imagining grandchildren!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grandchildren that only talked when tilted. I dream of those as well . . .

      Delete

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