Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Moving Meeting

See? 4-H. Totally important.
 I was raised on a ranch near the small town of Milk River, Alberta.
On the Alberta/Montana border.
Farming and ranching country.
We were, quite literally, children of the prairies.
Big brother, George. And calf.
And the highlight of our young lives - the very pinnacle we could aspire to – was 4-H Calf Club.
Our world was small, I admit it.
Yep. When we turned the age of twelve, we could – at last! – join the calf club.
We learned many things there.
Of course, the main (and most obvious) were the care and feeding of your calf.
In my case, handled almost exclusively by my big brother, George.
Because he’s amazing. (Are you reading this, George?)
Big brother, Jerry, ditto.
But there was also the record keeping. (Which George completely refused to do for me. Sigh.)
And the monthly meetings.
Wherein (Oooh! Good word!) we were supposed to learn the proper, accepted, efficient way to run a gathering of that type.
I emphasize the words ‘supposed to’.
Because we didn’t.
Always.
In fact, at some point during many of our meetings, our current club president would throw up his hands and exclaim, in loud and carrying tones, “I don’t know why I do this! I’m getting outta here!”
Something he never did.
Returning to the idea of running a proper meeting . . .
Me. With glasses. And calf.
We had been taught that, if we had something to offer, we should do it in the form of a ‘motion’. As in: ‘I would like to make a motion.’ And then followed by ‘I move . . .’
We were getting it. We were.
One evening, the meeting had been going well.
Everyone had been unusually attentive.
And our leader hadn’t, even once, cried out in despair.
Then one shy young man stuck up his hand.
He was recognized by the ‘Chair’.
And he proceeded. “I-I-I w-would like to m-make a movement!”
There was silence. Then some sniggers.
Umm . . . first door down the hall? Says ‘boys’ on the door?
One of the leaders whispered into his ear, “Motion.”
“Motion!” he corrected himself, turning bright red. “I-I w-would like to make a motion!”
Things carried on.
But the mood had definitely been lightened.
Who says meetings have to be boring?
4-H. Don't you wish you were here?

The grand finale.

17 comments:

  1. Ha ha! That poor kid! I am thinking of signing my little guy up for the 4-H next year (Clover Buds?). He loves animals, especially of the feathered variety. He already helps my mom's neighbor with her chickens, so I think that's a good place to start. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it! It's amazing what they learn! :)

      Delete
  2. Uh oh ... I had a feeling that might happen! Good title :)

    4-H wasn't around in my little community when I was young, but I wish it had been. I would have been the little skinny girl with glasses like yours, with the bunny and the sewing project. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A bunny! and sewing?! Now that's a 4-H I could get behind!!!

      Delete
    2. Are those things not done where you are?

      Delete
    3. Nope. We had the calf club and then, later on we had the (gasp) horse club. I hear about all these different 4-H clubs now and think they would have been so fun!

      Delete
    4. Hahaha - so when I was a kid, maybe the only option WOULD have been calves! That's how much I even know about 4-H - I was thinking about the clubs that formed after I was away to university :)

      Delete
    5. You could have had a calf. My brother George would have looked after yours, too! :)

      Delete
  3. My good (late) friend Arby, so called because his initials are R-B. He stuttered when he was younger but managed to get rid of most of it when he was out of high school. Miss the crude jack-(donkey). We had a lot of good times over the years. But, like my friend, Rob, I've managed to immortalize him in my books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's the greatest joy and reward for being an author. You get to remember all the people you grew up with and save them forever!

      Delete
  4. I belonged to the Home Making 4-H...because that was what girls did in my Midwest area. AT least that is what my parents made me do. It was a great experience, but our meetings were dead dull.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So were ours! That's why we had to liven them up a bit. Hence our leaders constant moans and complaints! :)

      Delete
  5. When I turned twelve, well, I was just older than eleven but not yet a teenager. Nothing special going on at all. A lot of the girls I knew were allowed to wear lipstick once they turned twelve and began going to dances too. I wasn't the least bit interested in such stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you. I was never much interested in make-up. Now dances on the other hand . . .

      Delete
  6. Hi, I've been lurking around your blog for a while, now, but when I saw the picture with the sign for Milk River, Alberta, I wanted to ask if you know, or knew, a lady named Francis Swanson? She was my grandfather's sister. He homesteaded somewhere around Milk River over one hundred years ago. I've completely lost track of the family.
    I always wanted to join 4-H but never got to. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely remember Francis Swanson! The Swanson kids went to school with all of my siblings and I. It was a wonderful time to be alive! And you definitely missed out with not being in 4-H. It was a blast!

      Delete

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