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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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Smoke/Dust Gets in Your . . . Eyes


Okay.
Which is more hazardous to your health?
This?
Two little ten-year-old girls had been given an assignment.
Then left alone to do it.
Mischief happens . . .
My family was raised on a large cattle ranch.
Dealing with cows, and the myriad tasks that followed them, was our daily life.And when our annual sale/production day approached, work increased as not only the cattle, but the entire ranch must be presented in their best light.
My little sister, hereinafter called ‘Anita’, and her friend, Jo-Ellen, had been given the assignment to sweep out the sale barn - a large building built for the sole purpose of exhibiting cattle, one-by-one, to scores of people seated in the bleachers.
Or this?
Said people were then expected to ‘bid’ on said animals.
On sale day, that building was the hub of all activity.
And, incidentally, sale day was the most exciting day of our entire year.
Moving on . . .
These two little girls had already had a busy morning. You have to know that we were a family of firm non-smokers. The only cigarettes and/or other smoking paraphernalia that ever came onto the ranch, came in visitor’s vehicles. These two little girls had spotted a packet of cigars in a prospective buyer’s car.  They had stolen borrowed liberated two cigars from it.
I know. What were they thinking?
And now, in sole possession of the sale barn, they neglected their duties to take turns pretending to be either ‘auctioneer’ or ‘buyer’. The one would take a seat at the high auctioneer’s booth while the other would light her cigar, sit on the bleachers, and ‘bid’.
Anita was the first ‘buyer’. She puffed at her cigar in her best ‘I’ve-watched-them-and-I-know-how-it’s-done’ manner, and nodded at the auctioneer at salient times. Then they switched places and Jo-Ellen assumed the buyer’s duties, cigar and all.
After a while, the two of them decided they had better get to work. Sweeping.
They pushed a load of straw and dirt out into the barnyard.
And that’s when Anita lost what little remained of her breakfast.
Oh, man she was sick.
And then the same thing happened to Jo-Ellen.
The two of them crawled up into the bleachers and sat down. For several minutes, they sat there, wondering what on earth had happened that both of them became so sick so suddenly.
They never did figure it out, though they concluded that it must have something to do with sweeping.
And/or buying/selling.
Either activity was obviously hazardous to one’s health.
Just FYI.
The ring-leader . . .

9 comments:

  1. She looks like a cigtar smokin' kind of a gal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How long was it before their story came out? Poor things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just asked Daddy that. He said he'd never heard the story. Sooo . . . NOW! :)

      Delete
  3. Oh how funny - I can't believe you guys smoked a cigar! YUCK! I've heard they make you really sick. Fun post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they actually had two smokes that day. Their first and their last! :)

      Delete
  4. Definitely the sweeping. One should never sweep...hmmm?

    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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