Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Putting Them Off

See the guy in the background? That's Dad. Entertaining the troops.
Foreground, the troops. 
My Father-In-Law (hereinafter known as ‘Dad’) was a farmer.
A good farmer. In over fifty years of dry land farming, he only failed to bring in a crop once.
And that was during a great drought year, when no one brought in anything.
He was careful and meticulous.
Smart and efficient.
And had a great sense of humour.
One that wasn’t always appreciated by the next generation . . .
The drive from Fort Macleod to the largest nearby city, Lethbridge, was a distance of about thirty miles.
Not a great distance, but an uneventful, rather boring, ride.
At least it was for the boys who had tagged along.
Halfway between the two destinations was the small hamlet of Monarch.
And there, at the side of the road in Monarch, was a gas station.
With a pop machine.
On really good days . . . really, really good days . . . Dad would pull in to the station and purchase – at the great price of seven cents – a bottle of pop for each of the boys.
Would it be a great surprise if I mentioned that said boys wanted every trip to Lethbridge to be a really good day? And end with a stop for pop?
Probably not.
On the days when the gas station appeared . . . and then disappeared just as quickly, a small head would bob up from the back seat. “Da-ad! I wanted a pop!”
To which Dad would reply, “The well at home is brimming with pop!”
At first, this stumped the boys. Their well had pop? How had they missed that?!
Then they realized that he was simply ‘putting them off’.
“Da-ad! The well’s full of water!!!”
Sigh.
Dad was also known for his store of treats. Something saved for a rainy day.
And called, interestingly enough, ‘Rainy Days’ (told here.).
Usually when his kids clamoured for a treat, he could slip into his bedroom and come out with a bag of candies. Or chocolates. Or, on a good day, licorice.
But sometimes, he would be caught somewhere other than home, without a treat in the landscape.
On those occasions, he improvised.
Picking up a small rock, he would hand it to whichever kid was making the most noise and say, “Here, suck on this. The flavour will come.”
My Husby hasn’t told me how many times Dad did this.
Dozens.
And the kids actually tried.
At least once.
Each.
Putting off kids.
Some Dads just have it.


10 comments:

  1. And the extra benefit was the silence while the child tried to get the flavour going :)

    Your father in law definitely "had it"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Husby never told me how long he tried to get the flavour going . . .

      Delete
  2. Rock candy? Tastes just like real rock and lasts forever.
    I'm still laughing......

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm pretty sure Dad inherited the same trait of 'story-telling'...

    ReplyDelete
  4. HA HA! It sounds like he and my husband would have got along fabulously! It totally sounds like something he'd say. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Smart man! Smart, smart man! Great story.

    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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