Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

(S)now Day


I was raised on a ranch twenty miles from the nearest town.
It was a wonderful place in which to grow up.
I lived and worked and spent my days with family and farm animals.
A peaceful, beautiful sunlit life.
Except when it snowed.
And then it was something else entirely.
It became perfect.
Maybe I should explain . . .
To get to school each day, my siblings and I rode the school bus.
There were flaws in the system.
The bus driver of the day refused to make the entire trip to the ranch.
And instead, would meet us at Nine-Mile Corner.
Situated nine miles from the ranch.
Okay, so, creative name-ers, we weren't.
Moving on . . .
Every day, Mom, and occasionally Dad, would drive us to meet the bus.
So we would be driving a vehicle to the middle of nowhere to meet another vehicle.
We didn't always connect.
At which time, Mom, and occasionally Dad, would have to take us the remaining eleven miles into town.
Sigh.
And all of this was when the weather cooperated.
When it didn't, things were a tad different.
During the winter, when it stormed, driving to the school bus was very nearly impossible.
But our parents would gamely try unless told to do otherwise by someone in authority.
The announcer on the radio was just such an authority. 
When we awoke to howling winds and/or thickly falling snow, we would wait breathlessly to hear the magic words.
Which schools were being closed.
Inevitably, Milk River was on the list.
At which time, we would rejoice, loudly, and proceed to plan out a day of skating and/or sledding and/or playing in the snow. With fresh doughnuts and hot chocolate to follow.
The very best of days.
Because a Snow Day is a gift and isn't to be wasted.
Moving ahead . . .
When my own kids were growing up, schools were never closed due to snow.
But buses were often cancelled.
When that happened, even when our family was living in town, I kept my kids home.
Because a Snow Day is a gift and isn't to be wasted on going to school.
Moving ahead again . . .
A few days ago, a blizzard blew into Edmonton and area.
A large blizzard.
Preceded by freezing rain.
Which made the roads almost impassible.
The commute to work quickly became a snarled mess of broken automobiles and frustrated drivers.
I kept my Husby home.
Because a Snow Day is a gift and simply isn't to be wasted on going to work.

13 comments:

  1. You are so right - a snow day is a gift! We live on top of a very big hill - and our schools are famous for holding classes, but cancelling buses. My feeling is if the bus can't get here to pick up my kids, I can't get them to school either. My boys wholeheartedly agree with this opinion! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And you have a great weekend as well!

      Delete
  2. I don't remember very many snow days when I was growing up and taking the bus to school, but I do remember my own kids' snow days - I loved them as much as they did! No running, no hurry, kids full of fresh air and activity, something good in the oven ... heaven! I'm glad your Husby got to have a snow day - everybody should have one now and then! (Did you make him doughnuts and hot chocolate?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, no doughnuts, but hot chocolate definitely!

      Delete
  3. You kept him home.....that's so cute.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love snow days too...though when one works from home, it's a little harder to justify on the grounds of "can't get to work safely." :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm . . . you're right. That is a problem. We'll have to work on that one . . .

      Delete
  5. We had a similar thing with heat wave days. When the temperature exceeded 100F school was let out early. If a higher temperature was expected, school was optional. On those days the town swimming pool was very very crowded and the beach was too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, rats! I'll have to spend a day floating in the cool water. Yep. I totally get 'heat-wave' days!

      Delete
  6. I've had kids in the school system in Montana for 14 years - plenty of snow and temperatures way below zero .. and never once a snow day. I am sad for them ...

    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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