Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moose-tly Terrifying

See? Scary!

Gramma Berg's house had a sunroom.

A wonderful spot.
All windows.
And one permanent tenant.
The sunroom was wonderful.
The tenant wasn't. At least to a very small girl.
It was large.
Dark brown.
With great, glassy eyes, a huge nose, a wooly beard.
And large ears.
Oh, yes, and an enormous pair of antlers.
Yes, I admit it - it wasn't your normal tenant.
It was a moose.
The quite obvious fact that it wasn't alive made no difference to its terror factor.
I was certain that, if I went into that room, the great creature would blink its eyes and 'get me'.
Okay, obviously I didn't think that through. The creature possessed no visible limbs, and for all of my life, had resided in the same place on the wall.
Just exactly how it was supposed to 'get' me, we'll never know.
But the truth remains, it terrified me.
And knowing this, my cousins made great sport of daring me to go into the sunroom.
Something which inevitably sent me screaming to some moose-less part of the house.
I loved Grammas house.
The moose and I tolerated each other.
So long as he kept his place, and I could see that place from a distance, we got along fine.
Kinda like a large spider.
But that is another story.
After Gramma passed, the moose was donated and hung where it could scare scores of other people.
Moving forward fifty years . . .
Several members of my family were holidaying in Banff, Alberta, this summer.
We spent a week scrambling about the mountains and wandering through the townsite.
We took the kids to see the 'stuffed animal place'.
Or Banff Museum, as it is officially named.
It houses hundreds of perfectly preserved birds and animals native to the Banff area.
Many of which were present when the museum opened.
In 1903.
On the second floor, it is quite possible to get up close and almost personal with the head of Sir Donald.
A bison.
Several of us were standing, looking at the great animal.
My six-year-old granddaughter peeked out from behind me.
“He scares me,” she whispered, shivering.
“But he's dead,” I said. “He can't hurt you.”
“He's scary,” she maintained.
Quite suddenly, I remembered Gramma's moose. And trembling in fear as my cousins dared me to go into his sunroom.
Yeah. It pretty much looks as though neither Sir Donald (nor I) had a leg to stand on . . .

14 comments:

  1. Yeah, I figure I've got enough problems, I don't need big dead glassy eyes staring at me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have a huge moose head, courtesy of an Alaskan hunting trip my hubby took a few years ago. It hangs in our garage instead of the house....one of the few fights hubby & I have ever had. I won :)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gahhh! I'd never go into the garage! Hmm . . . maybe that's a good thing . . .

      Delete
  3. I remember the moose. Up until Grandpa got that moose he went and hunted one every year. Never had any use for that old head, other than to help the cousins scare you...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm embarrassed to admit this because I was in my late 20's but one winter we had a huge ice storm that knocked out electric. It was in the evening and my husband called our friends up the street and they still had their electric so as the great friends they were we were invited to bring the kids and stay there. He's a hunter, a big hunter. He had 4 deer on his living room wall. I knew they were there but that night hubby, kids and I slept in said room. Well they slept, I didn't close my eyes the whole night I was so creeped out. My husband has a really big fish he caught and had mounted...it hangs in the garage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I feel your pain. And sleeplessness. Yeah. If we had a big fish, he'd be in the garage, too!

      Delete
  5. I can only imagine how scared you were. You were just a little sprout then!

    We've been having a few live ones wandering the highways and byways the past week or so. Not good for man nor moose. Let's just say one guy is a candidate for the wall and another woke up far away with a tranquilizer hangover. And during their forays into town, people and their kids were flocking to see them up close. No, people, no. We do not do that. Moose are big. And unpredictable. And looking for a lady moose. You don't want to get in their way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Scary or not, I've never been a fan of heads on walls. I don't understand why people do this. Take a photo and keep it in an album. A large album if you want life size photos, but don't put the real thing on walls in your house. Museums are different, you'd expect to see the real thing there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've never been a fan of pieces of some animal's body on the wall. Ick.

      Delete
  7. Moose, Elk, Deer and other heads are common tenants in Montana residents ... we have one, but it is rather unique as it was never hunted ... (I won't say more here as it will be the subject of a future blog post, I think!)

    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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