Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bull Stones

I have spent the past week with my Dad.
At 89 years of age, this former rancher and veterinarian has decided to move to the nearby Senior’s Lodge.
He and I and his good friend, Shirley, have spent the time packing.
Boxing away the memories of a lifetime.
The bronze horse that was a gift from his wife on their wedding day. The painting purchased for that same wife a few years later.
Instruments of torture Veterinarian tools and equipment. His leather surgical kit. A box of assorted needles from the days before disposable syringes. His ‘vet’ bag.
Games and dishes and jewelry and bedding and pots and pans and knick-knacks and pictures and clothing and coins and stamps and furniture.
A lifetime.
Some of them were of interest only to Dad . . . 
Shirley and I were collecting the assorted treasures off the top of Dad’s dresser.
There was a valet tray with an assortment of cuff links, tie clasps, buttons and Hereford-themed pins.
Grooming supplies.
And a tiny container, glass-topped, full of little . . . beads.
Shirley shook it. “What is this?”
She handed it to me. I peered at it closely. Multi-coloured little rocks. “Looks like little bits of gravel. From a holiday somewhere?” I handed it to Dad.
He looked at it and smiled. “Oh. These are stones I removed from bulls’ penises during surgery.”
“Oh.” Shirley and I said together.
I’m quite sure my expression mirrored her own.
How do you say ‘ewwww’?
Oh, right. EWWWWWW!
Dad sat back, looking at the little container, still with that smile. Obviously remembering, fondly, his days as a veterinarian.
Yeah. Some memories are a little too . . . memorable . . . for the rest of us.
Care to go through some boxes with me?
Some of the numerous awards his cattle have won over the years.

The keyboard that figured so prominently a day or two ago . . .

20 comments:

  1. And here I thought the topic was going to be "prairie oysters".

    Oh, right! Those would be EWWWW too!

    Ya learn somethin' new every day. EVERY day!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned something. Ignorance is bliss!

      Delete
  2. In my day they simply called it 'Water Belly,' or 'Urinary Calculi.' That's gotta hurt! But then, the cure is better than the disease.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I imagine this was a tender sweet time for your Dad. I actually loved going through my parents belongings because of so many memories associated. I am smiling..........on the small colored rocks. I found among some of my stuff not too long ago; baby teeth saved from my children; what was i thinking i would do with them??
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really has been a special time, LeAnn! Baby teeth, eh? I wonder what I'll find when I start through my stuff?!

      Delete
  4. I know how hard this must be Diane. I am so glad there will be happy memories too! My husband has been missing 6 brand spanking new pairs of white boxers that I know are somewhere in mom's drawers. For some reason he doesn't wantbthem back now!!! Haha you just have to keep laughing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many happy memories! You'll remember those boxers forever! And you're so right. Laughter helps!

      Delete
  5. As Rena said it must be difficult but at least there are those times that can bring a smile or even an eww.
    I won't tell you some of my patients have asked for their hip or shaved bones..and were serious..
    Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yikes! Imagine going through their stuff. And here's Grandma's _____! I know exactly how they would feel! :)

      Delete
  6. Every single thing has a story to tell, if only it could. Packing up a lifetime of memories has to be hard, emotional too, so I'm glad your Dad has you to help and also glad he is still alive to tell you some of the stories attached to some of the items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the great blessing in all of this. He's still there to tell the story. Thank you, River!

      Delete
  7. This is no Bullsh888t blog but a tender recount of a life in bits and pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some bits are a bit easier to take . . . :)

      Delete
  8. You are such a wonderful storyteller Diane, and I suspect you inherited that skill from your dad! I actually love that he saved that little vial of stones. It must represent many years of interesting work. I hope the move goes smoothly - for you both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Susan! Yes. Dad is the storyteller in the family. And, if the truth were known, I thought it was neat that he kept the stones. A small reminder of the glory days! :)

      Delete
  9. You know, DIane, I wonder whether any local museums might be interested in some of your dad's stuff? It sounds really interesting, and a part of Alberta history and culture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really good suggestion, Karen! I will look into that!

      Delete

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