Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Out in the Blizzard


On the prairies, winter storms can blow up very fast.
Obliterating the countryside and bringing visibility to zero.
One can lose one’s way walking between the house and the barn.
The best thing to do is to get inside where it’s warm and stay put.
If one has warning, one can get to the nearest safe place.
If one doesn’t . . .
A storm was coming. The local school had been emptied of children, sent home with strict instructions to get there as quickly as possible.
Most of them made it.
One little girl did not.
As the storm closed over the area, frantic searchers were sent out, fanning the countryside for one tiny figure in the vast, freezing blizzard.
A hopeless search.
It was many hours before my Uncle Owen found her, nearly frozen solid.
He hefted her on his back and began to make his way toward the Stringam home. Partway there, he met his father and the two of them managed to carry the poor, frozen figure the rest of the way.
My Dad remembers the scene well as they carried the still and silent girl into the house. As he told us, her feet ‘clopped together like two wooden blocks’.
She was handed over to my Grandma Stringam, who was largely accepted as the ‘doctor’ in the area.
Grandma took the little frozen body and laid her on the bed. Then, throughout the night, she tended her, rubbing her extremities with coal oil.
By the next morning, the girl was awake and improving.
She survived - her only damage the loss of the nail from one little finger - largely due to the knowledge and care of my grandma.
Pictures of the prairies show a soft, gently-folded landscape. Largely treeless, but covered in waving grass and sagebrush. The occasional stream or river flows through and the sky is clear and endless.
A perfect world.
But, in winter, it is a place to be respected.
Anything can happen.
And when it does, thank goodness for people like my Grandma.

16 comments:

  1. yep, that story could've had a terrible ending. Thank goodness it didn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew the ending, but all my life, whenever that story was told, I'd shiver in horror and pray for the little girl!

      Delete
  2. Your Grandma was a wise and caring lady. What a lucky little girl to survive that experience.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really interesting story! Your family saved that little girl's life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still makes me shiver to hear about it!

      Delete
  4. What a blessing that your grandma was there for that little girl. She's a treasure indeed. I wonder what happened to the girl after that. Do you know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She grew up, married and raised a family. As an adult, years later, she came back for a visit and stopped by to see my Grandma. Pretty touching reunion!

      Delete
  5. Yes indeed, thank goodness for people like your Grandma and the old methods which saved many a life before modern medicine made such advances. Here on the other side of the world, we ooh and aah over the prettiness of snow covered fields and homes, we have little knowledge of the fierceness of such an environment apart from what we hear on the news when there is a tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So pretty. So deadly. But you have your challenges, too! Your coral reefs and the dangers that can lurk in your beautiful blue waters!

      Delete
  6. Two miracles. Finding her and reviving her. What an amazing story.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Truly a miraculous story. That little girl ended up in just the right place with your Grandma!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a miracle! I sure have lots of great memories of grandma! I miss her and Aunt Emily a lot!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love hearing stories about your Grandmother. She has taken on hero proportions in my mind...and it seems in real life. I've always said from the time I was little that I was born way to late. I would have loved to live that life blizzards and all!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Neighbors who risked everything to help one another. I'm with Rena, I think I was born way too late! Your grandma sounds like an incredible woman... Thanks for bringing these memories to life. :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. Susan sent me - and I am so glad she did. What a lucky little girl, and a wonderful story of that disappearing marvel, a community. Thank you - and your grandma.

    ReplyDelete

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