Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Starting at One

A re-post of our first date to commemorate our thirty-ninth anniversary.
First Dates are like Dress Rehearsal. If a Dress Rehearsal is terrible, the play will be great. Likewise, if the First Date is terrible, the Marriage will be great.                                                         Diane Tolley

Thirty-nine years today!
First dates.
Relationship killer or kindler . . .
I had known Grant for just over two months.
We attended the same church.
He was cute.
Really cute.
We decided to go on a date. Well, actually, I decided and he . . . never mind.
The first half of the date was fairly low-key:
He was driving a volleyball team to an away game.
Because he could.
The team played. We drove home. And that's as far as our plans went.
But there was still evening ahead.
What to do?
We stood there.
Rather awkwardly.
Finally he proposed that we go to his parent's house and see what movies were on TV.
It was the early 70's. Your choices were limited. In fact, you were pretty much stuck with whatever your one TV station had planned.
We were lucky. There was a movie programmed.
But that's where our luck ran out because it was a movie that both of us had seen.
And neither wanted to see again.
But we grabbed snacks and settled in.
I should point out here that Grant was the middle child of a large family. And yet we had the front room to ourselves.
On a Saturday night.
Moving on . . .
I watched the movie.
He slept. (Something that happens to this day . . .)
When the movie ended, sometime around midnight, I woke him and indicated that I was more than ready to go home.
Sleepily, he complied (real word).
The miles to the ranch were covered quickly as we talked and laughed.
A little too quickly.
Suddenly, by the light of his car headlights, we were staring at my parent's house.
What to do?
Shake hands?
It had been a wonderful evening. We had talked and laughed.
And he had taken a nap.
Yep. Wonderful.
We settled on a hug. And the promise of a second date the next evening.
And now perfect.
He walked me to my door. And we discovered that, for the first time in the history of the world, Dad had locked it.
It had never happened before.
I turned the knob in disbelief. What on earth was going on?
I walked around to the main doors.
Also locked.
I had somehow slipped into an alternate universe.
I went to my parents' bedroom window and tapped softly.
No answer.
I tapped louder.
Still no answer.
They must be out.
What was I going to do? Visions of staying the night in one of the barns flashed through my head.
I suddenly missed my bed.
I walked back to Grant, still waiting patiently beside the first door.
"Maybe we can open the window into Daddy's office," I said, pointing to the window beside the door.
I tried to push it up. It moved. Half an inch.
"Maybe if we pry it . . ."
Obligingly (great word) Grant grabbed a nearby shovel and pushed the edge under the window.
It slid up some more.
He applied greater pressure. Another inch.
Then, the shovel broke.
I am not making this up.
It really broke. The bottom edge came right off.
Huh. I didn't know they could do that.
Stupid, cheap shovel.
Fortunately, by this time, I could get my fingers under the window and was able to shove it upwards. I climbed through, turned and waved good-bye to my date and slid the window shut.
All was well.
The next day was Sunday. I was looking forward to seeing Grant in church and had settled myself in the chapel and was watching the door.
He finally came through it, rather red-faced, and sat beside me.
I stared at him.
He was embarrassed.
Later, he told me that, as he had entered the building, he had met my father and our Bishop just inside the front doors.
My Dad had grabbed his hand in greeting, then hung onto it and turned to the Bishop.
"Bishop, do you know that this young man broke into my house last night?"
Grant swears his heart fell into his shoes.
Dad then turned to Grant and said, "Didn't you get it?  I didn't want her back!"
Did I mention that Dad is a great joker?
But to this day, I wonder if he really meant it.


  1. Congratulations, you two!

    I love the punch line of this story :)

  2. Our first date was half blind. He knew who I was, but I was picturing someone else when my roommate set it up. It must have taken because here we are 45 years later.

    1. 45?! Well done! Half-blind also works! :)

  3. He just couldn't miss an opportunity to have some fun with your beloved.

  4. Your Dad. What a joker! (*~*)

    1. And now, at 90, he hasn't changed! :)

  5. When our son-in-law to be asked for Kris' hand in marriage it was made very clear that it was a No Deposit/No Return policy. Six years (+) and two kids (hopefully more +) later, and all is well.

    1. I should probably mention that Grant paid a dollar for me. So, technically, I could be returned. Except that I think my warrenty has long run out.

  6. Great first date story! Happy, happy anniversary!

  7. I read this on my phone over the weekend, and just realized I didn't leave the comment I had intended to! Happy Anniversary! Seems like your dad knew from the very beginning that your husband was a good guy!

    1. They were instant friends, Susan. Some things don't change! :)


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