Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bear-ing the Memories

It was Christmas.
The time of magic.
Wonderment.
And gift-giving.
For a single mom with two little girls, an income sufficient for the necessities and little else, it was a time to get creative.
And Pinterest hadn't been invented yet.
She desperately wanted to give something to the family who cared for her two girls, but what could she afford?
She saw some little clay ornaments in a magazine.
Perfect!
She and her girls would make a set of those.
They spent several evenings mixing.
Rolling.
Assembling.
Baking.
Painting.
And detailing.
Six little Christmas bears emerged.
Perfect and beautiful.
They were wrapped and presented.
And very, very much appreciated.
Move forward a few years . . .
Those same Christmas bears were the Tolley family favourite.
A reminder of the precious years when we welcomed two little girls and their lonely single mother into our family.
They were the first things out of the box when we decorated our Christmas tree.
And always handled with care.
Until that Christmas.
Let me tell you about it . . .
Our family had welcomed in two little special needs foster children.
A brother and sister.
Both had come from . . . difficult circumstances. Christmas was something that had been observed only from a distance.
They were enthralled with everything.
The gifts.
The lights.
The baking.
The tree.
Especially the tree.
Three-year-old Little Girl spent hours looking at that tree. And when looking wasn't sufficient, she would pull the decorations off.
Systematically tasting each one.
Most were inedible.
But the little salt-clay Christmas bears, that so closely resembled cookies, could, with just a little effort, be eaten.
She did so.
I caught her at it.
“No! Those aren't for eating!”
I took them away and tried to instruct and advise.
Then moved them up, out of reach.
But when I was downstairs doing laundry, she got into them again.
By climbing the tree.
And knocking it over.
A few minutes later, I sadly rescued what was rescue-able.
It wasn't much. Only scattered, semi-chewed pieces remained.
One precious bear remained intact enough to still hang on the tree.
It hangs there today.
Still 'bear-ing' the scars of its trauma.
But it isn't just a bear.
It's memories . . .

6 comments:

  1. Oh, the sweet memories on this one. Even the trauma part is sweet in it's own way. Love the little bear and I am happy you at least still have one of them.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Poor bears...but poor little girl, too--that salt dough stuff is pretty ghastly to the taste. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. Of course.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aw, what a cute little bear ... and that little girl must have been pretty determined if she took more than one bite of that stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sad fate for the bears, but what joy to be able to give the Christmas experience to two little ones who had never had that before.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a touching story! Very very sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember my daughter doing this with an unpeeled Easter egg at one time! If she didn't eat it she tried to stick it up her nose!!!

    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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