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

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

Giveaway ends April 08, 2017.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Real Woman

Mom being Mom
My Mom was amazing.
She was the force behind:
Meals appearing at clockwork intervals.
Soiled clothes in hampers being replaced by clean, folded clothes in neat stacks in drawers.
Floors scoured to a mirror finish.
Dirty dishes disappearing from the table.
Clean dishes appearing.
Yummy snacks, (ie. Puddings, cakes, pies, pastries) showing up with amazing regularity.
Gardens stretching, lush and weed-free for miles.
Lawns being mowed.
Pets fed and cared for.
Kids travelling to and from school.
Deadlines met.
Bills paid on time.
New, hand-made outfits appearing.
Hired men cared for.
Doctor's appointments kept.
Sewing and other women's clubs attended.
Bedtime routines honoured.
Sicknesses nursed.
Arguments refereed.
Church attended.
In fact, she was the driving force behind every facet of our daily life.
Always there.
To me . . . just Mom.
When I was four, she bought me a pair of skates.
Sat me on our front step and strapped them on my feet.
Then took me across the yard to the ice-covered street and taught me how to skate.
Once I got my balance, she skated along behind me for a while.
Encouraging, instructing and safe-guarding.
Finally, when she was sure of me, she struck out on her own.
Swooping and spinning across the ice like a bird.
I stopped and watched.
Mom?
This was the woman who spent her days 'looking after'.
Tending.
Feeding.
Supplying.
For the first time in my four years, I realized that there was more to my Mom than what I had always seen.
Here was a woman who had been talented enough to skate competitively.
I later discovered that she had also been invited to play ball professionally.
Offered a scholarship to university.
And many other opportunities.
All of which she set aside for my Dad.
My siblings.
And me.
I watched her as she spun in a tight circle.
Going faster and faster.
Coming to a final, breathless halt.
And skating smoothly away.
Backwards.
Wow.
My Mom.
She skated past me.
“Mom?”
She spun and looked at me.
“I'm hungry.”
She smiled. “Time to go in, dear?”
I nodded.
Immediately, she stopped and reached for my hand, helping me carefully back across the yard to our front step.
Mom was just 'Mom' again.
But just for an instant, I had caught sight of something else.
Someone else.
The woman inside.
That day.

20 comments:

  1. You've asked a question we don't ordinarily consider and I think it's a thought-provoking one. How lucky you were to see the woman inside.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely, Diane! She sounds like a special woman. Like her daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a sweet thing to say! Thank you, Karen! :)

      Delete
  3. You saw her at 4, some people never in a lifetime see their parent for the person they are outside of 'them'! Skating on the street cracks me up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just for the moment. But I remembered it forever!
      Yeah. We were pretty daring back then . . .

      Delete
  4. What a wonderful mom to grow up with ... and more to her than met the eye.

    My mom did a lot of those things, too, but not the skating or baseball :) but she took upgrading course at night and graduated with her education degree about 30 years after first getting her teaching license (which was at the age of 19) ... The generation before ours makes me feel slothful and lazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! 30 years?! Your mom's amazing! Aren't moms wonderful?

      Delete
  5. Such an amazing work ethic! But I think you have that as wel, I surmise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's definitely some of mom in me somewhere!

      Delete
  6. Don't know hat happened to my first comment but I'll say it again - a wonderful story, so clear in my mind, Diane. Congrats and thanks for sharing your life with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Dawn! And thank you for persevering! :)

      Delete
  7. Beautiful Tribute! My own mother just turned 83 this past week. Your post brought back many memories from my childhood. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the best compliment of all, Mary. If I can help someone remember stories from their childhood! Thank you!

      Delete
  8. Oh this story brought tears to my eyes! I absolutely loved this! That is one of the things that I love best taking care of mom. She is not so much "mom" in the cooking, cleaning, taking care of sense that is now my job but it is giving me the opportunity to learn who "mom" as a woman is. I love hearing her stories and she just recently told me another one that I am going to share on TDAC very, very soon! Great tribute Diane. I wish I could have known such a remarkable woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it doesn't even surprise me that, in all you have to do, you still take the time to make this experience a positive, learning one. You are amazing! I look forward to that story! :)

      Delete
  9. You must miss her so very very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every single day, Delores! Of course I sometimes hear her, when her sayings pop out of my mouth . . .

      Delete
  10. I never knew the woman inside my mum. I barely knew her as mum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's sad, River. I'm happy to share mine with you!

      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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