Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Passing the Torch

Foreground: Ranch.
Background: Machinery Hill
On the Stringam Ranch, there was a hill.
A large hill.
It had old machinery parked on top.
We called it the 'Old Machinery Hill'.
Okay, so creative, we weren't.
There, could be found the outdated, outmoded and discarded mechanical devices of ranch life.
Mowers, haybines, cultivators, tractors, cars and trucks.
All past their 'best-before' date.
All neatly parked in rows.
My brothers spent many blissful hours on that hill, deconstructing the various machines (and machine engines) to be found.
Excitedly, they would point out to me the valves and sprockets pulled from this amazing machine and 'Wow! Aren't they fantastic?!' Then proceed to explain just how these intricate little marvels fit into the whole 'making-this-machine-bale-hay' scenario.
To which I would nod and smile. Then run off to see what the horses were doing.
But that was just the beginning of my brothers' mechanical adventures.
Throughout their lives, I can picture them with various machine parts spread out neatly as they re-constructed and fine-tuned.
Something that still goes on today.
I should probably mention that the 'mechanical bug' hit me as well.
Later.
I took apart, fixed and re-assembled in my world, too.
Mom's piano-organ. Her toaster. Iron.
The only thing that defeated me were the clippers.
Oh, and the washing machine and I have a history, too.
But we won't mention those.
Please, let us not mention those.
Moving ahead . . .
Our four-year-old grandson was playing quietly in their basement.
A little too quietly.
Usually this heralded trouble.
His mother went to check.
She found him with one of his sister's musical toys disassembled in front of him.
Part of it had stopped working.
The need for new batteries had been ruled out because the other parts were still working.
He had rummaged through his father's tools and found the screwdriver he needed.
Then proceeded to take the toy apart.
This was when his mother came in.
He looked up at her.
“It wasn't working,” he said calmly. “So I'm fixing it.”
Now remember, this boy had just turned four in April.
The two of them saw that a wire had become disconnected.
They reconnected.
No response.
“It has a micro-chip,” he said suddenly, pointing. “See? It's fit in right there. Maybe it just needs a new micro-chip.”
His mother stared at him. “You're probably right,” she said, finally.
When she told us the story, I was reminded suddenly of my brothers.
With their tools.
And their sprockets and wheels.
The torch is truly passed.
The newest generation . . .
Photo Credit

22 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness -- this is so much like my grandson. Isn't it wonderful to watch their little minds at work - so alert! You brought back many memories of the farm. Thank you -- sweet story

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    Replies
    1. And thank you, Carol for visiting today! :)

      Delete
  2. Ha....Mr Fix It....every family needs one (at LEAST one).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmm. Thought I'd commented, but it's gone all invisible on me. I just wanted to say that my son used to do something similar when he was about 5--only it involved my computer doing things it had never been able to do before. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Already looking forward to hearing about it!

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  4. That's incredible - imagine what he might do by the time he is 20! Wonderful mind ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a friend who's three-year-old son took all of the screws out of the dining room table. With disastrous results! He's now a top-notch engineer! I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for our little guy . . .

      Delete
  5. The torch is passed and the new generation has kept up with the changes in technology.
    I didn't have brothers, and I definitely would have bypassed the hill to be with the horses! I never took anything apart, but I did once paint a (valuable) vase because I thought its brown color was too dull!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heehee! I totally would have done that. Purple, mom! Purple would look so much better!
      See you at the corral! :)

      Delete
  6. Wow, that's one smart kid. Maybe he could come over and fix some things at my house :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a very sweet story. It certainly shows how smart children are today and I guess it is part of genetic too.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My brother was the same, everything was taken apart to see how it worked, then put back together, sometimes with a part or two left over, yet the item still worked. One of my grandsons is the same, four years old and taking apart anything he could. He is 18 now and probably still takes things apart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a show on TV called 'How It's Made'. Fascinating! I could do a show called "How It's Taken Apart'. It's putting back together that causes problems for me! :)

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  9. You either have that gift...or not. This is one thing my superman cannot do. Yes it is kryptonite. He can take it apart just not put it back together. We forgive him because he has so many other fine talents. Mechanicals are left to me. At 16 I blew my first car up (drag racing w/o oil isn't a good idea). But I brought my beauty home took the old motor out and put a new one ALL BY MYSELF! My husband thought I might be exaggerating a little until it was verified by my 4 brothers who just sat and watched. I check my oil once a week now! Lesson learned!

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    Replies
    1. You continue to amaze me, Rena! I love cars. My brothers taught me much about engines, etc. but I don't think I could do anything approaching that! You maintain your hero status . . .

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    2. Ha! It was either that or walk 1972 Dodge Duster powder blue. My first child! The motor cost me a case of beer. I was so young my mom had to go in and buy it for me. She was worried to death who might see her buying beer!

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  10. I definitely think that some skills come with you when you're born. I've met a lot of guys in the repair business who, in reality, couldn't fix a wheel barrow. I often asked them why they chose to become a mechanic. 'Because there was nothing else to do,' was a common answer. Their work showed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! Could you please forward a list so I don't accidentally take my car to one of them? :)

      Delete
    2. So true! My hubby can saw it down, cut it up, split wood for days straight, push, pull, pack, even cleans. Strong as an ox he once broke a trailer ball hitch in half with his bare hands (accidently). Put a drill, screwvdriver or wrench in his hand he freezes like deer in the headlights.

      Delete

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