Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

In the Eye


The Stringam ranch house had one delicious feature. 
That kids love.
And parents hate.
The kitchen ran right into the hallway, which ran into the living room, which ran back into the kitchen.
Or, alternately, if one wanted to change things up a little - from the kitchen into the living room into the hallway, back into the kitchen.
A perfect setup for running laps.
Which we did.
Usually at mealtimes.
Because it kept us near the kitchen but not completely under Mom's feet.
Unfortunately, in an effort to keep us safe, Mom would inevitably holler, “You kids stop that before someone loses an eye!”
We would stop.
Oh, not because we were afraid of losing something important.
But because Mom usually had a large spoon or knife in one hand when she said it.
Okay, yes, we were afraid of losing something important.
Moving on . . .
It was suppertime.
Mom was cooking.
My brother and I were running.
Mom said, “You kids stop running! Someone's going . . .!”
That was as far as she got.
I skidded out on the corner just going into the turn between the living room and the hallway.
There was a chair there.
Large.
Heavy.
It, and my eye, had what could only be called a 'close encounter'.
It won.
Remember what Mom said about 'losing an eye'?
Well, she was close . . .
There was the sound of contact.
Then the pause.
Then the shriek.
Mom came running.
I was writhing around on the floor, screaming. Both hands clamped over my right eye.
I'm sure Mom's heart probably stopped.
She pulled my hands away probably expecting to see the fulfillment of her prognostication (Oooh, good word!).
Fortunately for me, it hadn't happened.
The fulfillment, I mean.
My eyebrow had taken the brunt of the blow - puffing up and out quickly.
And remarkably.
I looked like a prize fighter.
Mom dragged me, still screaming, into the kitchen.
Where she produced her largest and deadliest-looking knife.
I stared at her, then clamped my hands back over my injured and decidedly puffy eye and screamed, “No, Mom! Don't cut it off!”
You see, when she picked up the knife, she had been looking for 'cool'. Something to lay against my wound to take down the swelling.
I was looking at an instrument of a far more radical method of 'swelling removal'.
Fortunately, her more humane treatment was what we went with.
“Diane! I'm not going to cut it off! The knife is cool. It'll help the swelling!”
Oh.
I finally dropped my hands and allowed her to continue.
She pressed the cool surface against my eyebrow.
Ahhh!
Moms know everything.
I'd like to say we stopped running.
Forever.
That we learned our lesson. That one close call convinced us that Mom knew whereof she spoke.
I'd be lying.
George and me. (Pre-running days)
Beneath us . . . the chair!

21 comments:

  1. I'll bet it didn't stop you from running laps did it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, no. I was a bit more cautious in the turns though. For a while...

      Delete
  2. My younger son always "led" with his head when he was little. He had a perpetual bruise on his forehead, and he gave me many heart attacks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You well know the 'thump', 'pause', and 'shriek'. Or as I like to think of it the 'TPS'. Right?

      Delete
  3. I remember that shiner. You wore it proudly for as long as it lasted.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a wonder any of us made it to adulthood intact, isn't it? So many ways to get injured! I'm glad your eyebrow was on the job :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many 'entertaining' ways to get injured! Yep. My eyebrow has what it takes! :)

      Delete
  5. That must have scared the heck out of your mother... it takes us s long time to realize our moms knew best ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. My kids did the same thing back and forth. My daughter toddling after her older brother not as sturdy with her steps as he but determined to follow anyway. She ran into the edge of the arm of the couch. Four stitches. Six months later same place same time 3 more stitches. She finally learned! She was my daredevil always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaahh! At least it only took me once.
      Now the arm of the cattle squeeze...well, that's another story! Ouch!

      Delete
    2. ... and I hope you're going to tell it ...!

      Delete
  7. That's one solid chair! I wouldn't like to run into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Made back when furniture was a force to be reckoned with!

      Delete
  8. I'm happy to say we never got the cool knife treatment. For us it was a bag of anything frozen that happened to be in the freezer. Usually ice, sometimes peas.
    Very glad to hear you didn't lose an eye though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Glad that part of her prophecy didn't come true . . . :)

      Delete
  9. Oh those childhood lessons learned the hard way. Again, I think they are often repeated because as children we don't learn easily. However, as an older adult I haven't learned a lot of the lessons I have had.
    Loved this one and blessings to you for another great read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! Definitely the hard way! :)

      Delete

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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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