Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Life With Daddy

Happy Father's Day!
Husband, father, rancher, veterinarian, brother, friend, uncle, cousin.
Jokester.
My Dad is the youngest of eleven children.
At 89 years old, he is the last surviving sibling of a great progeny.
And he has made his mark in the world. (Oddly enough, his name is Mark. Apropos . . .)
He has served in numerous leadership roles in Church and community.
Been a voice for change in Provincial/Federal politics.
Lovingly supported his wife all her life and through her final illness.
Raised six kids, numerous grandkids and even more great-grandkids.
Built heritage clocks and other woodworking marvels.
Developed and refined his own award-winning genetic line of Hereford cattle.
Taught. Led. Supported. Pushed. Pulled. Guided. Built.
Worked.
But what do his progeny mostly remember this great man for?
His pranks.
Yep. Pranks.
This was the man who shaved his head into a ‘mohawk’ do, long before it was acceptable. And with red, curly hair, such a style was . . . noticeable.
Proof! Daddy's on the right...
Painted a large ‘48’ on the water tower at his Alma Mater in Guelph, Ontario.
Disassembled and re-assembled the headmaster’s car on the porch of the administration building.
Played the ‘wedding waltz’ when his youngest brother-in-law showed up with a girlfriend. And rigged a smoke bomb on the engine of said bother-in-law’s car at the end of that particular visit.
Served drinks in ‘dribble’ glasses.
Lit the bottom corner of a newspaper on fire when the reader was concentrating on reading the upper corner.
Used a syringe to squirt water through a nail hole, thus winning, once-and-for-all, the title of ‘water fighter extraordinaire’.
Also used a syringe to squirt skunk ‘essence’ through the keyholes of rival students at Veterinarian College. Can anyone say ‘stink’?
Floated a plastic ice cube with encased fly in guests’ drinks. 
Hid an unwrapped prophylactic in the headmaster's handkerchief, tucked into the man's tuxedo, to be revealed with notable results.
And other monkeyshines too numerous to mention here. But which will be the subjects of future posts . . .
The once-mighty rancher is frail now.
Still clear mentally, but moving slowly and with care.
And seldom venturing far from his comfortable chair and book shelf.
It would be painful to watch, if one were not buoyed by Dad’s own words. “I’ve had fun!”
Words followed by the familiar twinkle as he recounts past pranks.
And still looks forward to future ones.
During my last visit, a dear guest looked at her glass and said, “This isn’t one of those ‘dribble’ ones, is it?”
Daddy? Never change!
Shoe horn.


16 comments:

  1. Happy Fathers Day Diane's Dad.....you're one of the good ones.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Delores! I'll pass it on!

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  2. Hmmm. More on the Mohawk, please? (laughing)

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    Replies
    1. I have a picture! I couldn't get it to work. Still trying . . .

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  3. Your dad sounds like the kind of guy I'd like to know! Happy Father's Day to all of you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lana. He is such a good guy!

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  4. What a delightful post! His antics made me laugh. Now I will always check my drink! Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. you never know when someone is going to slip in a fly-embedded icecube. Or a glass that will let you down . . .

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  5. Happy Father's Day! Having read many of the stories from the Stringham family there is only one thing I'm absolutely sure of and that is Mr. Stringham and Mrs. Actually but it is Father's Day. Mr. Stringham has an amazing gift with his animals but more importantly his children. You can often judge a man by his offspring. If that is the case he must be an amazing man. You are all truly blessed.

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  6. Love the shoe horn.
    Your dad is a remarkable man that's for sure. He's had a wonderful life and has a great family following in his footsteps.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, River! I can't think of better footsteps to follow! :)

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  7. Happy Father's Day to your dad! It sounds like he's made a habit of getting the most out of every day.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, so true, Jenny! Never a dull moment!

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  8. Sounds like a life well lived!

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