Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Friday, January 9, 2015

Family Light

In our corner of the world, in winter, the nights are very long.

For a period of time, the street lights are coming on when the school children are just getting home.
And don't shut off until said children are safely back in class the next morning.
One does everything in the dark.
Early morning walks.
Paper routes.
Extra curricular activities.
Chores.
You might think that it would be aggravating; having so few hours of sunlight during our 'waking' part of the day.
But I love it.
For a few months, Life seems to slow down.
Family comes home earlier.
And stays longer.
But I have one memory that makes the darkness . . . special.
Let me tell you about it . . .
On the ranch, meals were served like clockwork.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner appeared with amazing regularity.
And an equal amount of delicious-ness.
During winter, at least two of those meals were prepared and served with stars in the sky.
With the modern conveniences of electricity, this was not a handicap.
Mom worked with every imaginable electronic gadget.
In a brilliantly lit kitchen.
As the rest of the house darkened with the fading sunlight, the kitchen remained a beacon.
Calling to all of us.
As suppertime neared, I would shut off the lamp in my bedroom and, without stopping to turn on any more lights, walk quickly along the dark hallway.
And that's the part I remember most clearly.
Seeing the light flooding out of every doorway leading into the kitchen.
Moving from the dark into a world of light, fragrance, warmth.
And family.
Mom orchestrating and/or supervising numerous pots and kettles and children.
The rest of the kids gathering or already seated.
An evening of great food and wonderful company ahead of me.
Mom is gone, now.
My siblings scattered throughout North America.
But whenever I come from a darkened hallway into a lighted kitchen, I feel that same anticipation.
That same joy I first felt over fifty years ago - and that time and life experiences cannot fade.
Stepping from darkness into light.
The light that is family.

18 comments:

  1. This is just beautiful, Diane. Simple and evocative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Karen. One of my fondest memories...

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful beautiful memory. So many bloggers today bringing tears to my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful! I'm tearing up, too. How fortunate you are to have this memory and association with the darkest days of the year. I've found much the same thing, except as the "mom" person now, I have to make that magic happen. If a day is dull and dark, a bit of baking or cooking changes the whole feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing how such a simple, repetative activity can make such a difference to a dark day!

      Delete
  4. Wonderful memories Diane.
    There's something about a lighted kitchen with delicious aromas emanating that tugs the heartstrings.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a beautiful memory, and a lovely perspective on those dark nights. Where I live it's dark from about 4pm until 7am these days, and my husband teases me about lighting the house up like a beacon. I shall refer him to this post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. That was such a lovely memory. There is nothing like precious family moments.
    Blessings for the feelings on this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LeAnn! Funny how that memory has stayed with me. And I think of it every time I walk down a dark hallway toward a lighted room!

      Delete
  7. This actually made my heart ache - it is so touching. It brought me back to walking home from the school bus on cold snowy afternoons when I lived in Alberta. I always dread the shorter days of winter. Remembering this will help me learn to savor them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it stirred your memories! My work here is done!

      Delete
  8. You gave me goosebumps! I loved it! You are so talented!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is such a beautiful memory Diane. I also like it when it gets dark early. It just seems you spend more time together. In the summer which I like too everyone is running here and there but everyone is basically home on a cold winter's night!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! The darkness brings us closer together. I love winter evenings!

      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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