Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hidden Treasures

Mom (seated in the light-coloured dress)
And her parents. And her eight brothers...
My Mom had eight brothers.
And each of them had a sister.
Most of the time, this was a good thing.
They played together.
Worked together.
And when someone put a banana peel down Mom's back at school, the boys 'protected' her.
It was a good balance.
Being the only other female on the farm meant work, however.
Besides helping with things outdoors, she had indoor chores.
Cooking, cleaning, dishes.
Laundry.
Those 'invisible' things that go unnoticed until they don't get done.
Of all of them, the most entertaining was always the laundry.
You never knew what you would find . . .
There was one very firm rule in the Berg household.
You cleaned your plate at mealtime.
Much of the food was produced on the farm and Grandpa Berg took a very dim view of any of it being wasted.
Each of the sons, and the daughter, had to show an empty plate before they were allowed to leave.
If they had been served something they didn't like, they had to eat it anyways.
Or get creative.
Uncle Leif, the youngest of the brothers, took the second option.
He knew that those vegetables and potatoes he had been staring at had to go somewhere.
Just inside of him.
What to do?
Hmmm.
No dog or pet was allowed inside the house, so one couldn't slip food to them under the table and his parents would notice any significant quantity of food simply thrown on the floor.
His options were definitely limited.
But he would think of something . . .
When Mom and Grandma Berg were doing the laundry, it was Mom's responsibility to turn out the pockets on the boy's trousers.
Inevitably, it was an entertaining enterprise.
Especially when they got to Uncle Leif's.
Because that was when they discovered what had been done with those unwanted and totally unnecessary vegetables and potatoes and that while he had been sitting there, contemplating, he had come up with the most ingenious and inventive method of making them disappear.He was wearing trousers. And they had . . . pockets.
What followed was inevitable.
Back in the laundry, Mom turned out each pocket to discover little, dried up memories of yesterday's dinner.
Clever.
And, as I said, entertaining.
And that was just the laundry.
Imagine what he could do with such things as chores.
Livestock.
But that is another story.

7 comments:

  1. I can relate. I mean, I can't tell you how many tissues I have washed and dried. And continue to. But so far? No veggies. Not yet.*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, my! I feel for your brother. I had such a small appetite when I was a child - one of those kids of whom parents would say "I don't know what keeps her alive, she eats like a bird". Many times I wished for a dog or some other solution to my excess food problem.

    I sort of wish I still had that problem, come to think of it - the pendulum has swung the other way!

    And I loved your line about housework: "Those 'invisible' things that go unnoticed until they don't get done." So true!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love my vegetables, but had I been served a hardboiled egg, it would've found its way into my pockets!!!

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  4. I liked vegetables, but hated meat when I was younger. I would put it in my mouth and pretend to eat it, but hold it there until I could "dispose" of it after dinner. I thought I was so clever, but I'm quite sure my parents noticed my chipmunk cheeks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I bet some days your mum longed for a sister to share the indoor chores.
    I never found food in my kids pockets. Plenty of other things though. Tissues, bandaids, chalk...

    ReplyDelete
  6. My brother used to cram things into his diaper. I guess that's fair--it all would have ended up there anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had 4 brother and they each had a sister and oh how I remember those days. My little brother was the hater of all things meat and had been known to chew a piece of pork chop for 6 hours to keep from having to swallow it!

    ReplyDelete

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