Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Monday, June 22, 2015

Ranch TV

A guest post by Little Brother, Blair Stringam.

It's either the news ... or Bonanza.
A few (okay, many) years ago, my sons asked me how old I was.
I paused for a moment, thinking “Do I tell them my age and have them run around the neighbourhood saying my dad is ## years old?”
Then I remembered something that my dad did when, as a young boy, I asked him questions.
Deflect.
I told them, “I’m so old, we didn’t have calculators when I was your age”.
My boys looked puzzled.
I then said, “I’m so old, we didn’t have computers when I was your age.”
Now they really looked puzzled.
I thought, “Hey this strategy is working!”
Then I used my greatest line, “I’m so old, we didn’t have colour TV when I was your age and when we tried to watch TV this is all we could see.” I turned on the TV to a channel that had snow and the familiar, buzzing, electric, static sound. My boys stared at me, sighed, and went off and found something to play with.
I silently congratulated myself. Now my boys wouldn’t be stating that their dad was old as dirt. Or at least they wouldn’t have the hard facts to support that story.
Okay, yes, I had just given them other facts about calculators, computers and TVs, but a 6 and 4 year old will have a difficult time trying to express/explain that to their friends.
Genius.
I have reflected on that brief brush with possible neighbourhood embarrassment a few times since then.
Despite being accused of saying: “When I was your age I had to milk 50 cows and walk up hill to school in a blizzard when it was 40 below” (all fact, BTW), the things I said to my boys were true. 
Really.
Growing up on the ranch, we didn’t have a computer.
I got my first calculator when I was 14.
And the TV reception was bad despite the fact that the antenna was on the hill where all the old machinery (with the extra metal to help with reception) was parked. I remember wondering why there were snow storms in programs based in Hawaii and California. 
I will admit the snow came in handy when a scary program was on such as Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte or Dracula. I was still scared because of the music and talking, but all I could see were shadows.
Well, when I came out from under the coffee table to look.

4 comments:

  1. I'm totally trying your "diversion" tactic with my boys. Love how you answered the question without answering the question.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When my daughters asked how old I was, I replied, "I'm as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth." It took them some years to figure that one out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used to tell each child how old I was when they were born and then say "you work it out"
    I remember 'snow storm' TV.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've used the walking uphill to school both ways in a blizzard trick before I'm not sure it worked though. Maybe I'll try it with the grandchildren!

    ReplyDelete

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