Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Till We Meet Again

On May 28, 2015, we said good-bye.
We've told stories and laughed and cried.
Now we have the memories . . .

Post from June 15, 2014
Husband, father, rancher, veterinarian, brother, friend, uncle, cousin.
Jokester.
My Dad is the youngest of eleven children.
At 89 years old, he is the last surviving sibling of a great progeny.
And he has made his mark in the world. (Oddly enough, his name is Mark. Apropos . . .)
He has served in numerous leadership roles in Church and community.
Been a voice for change in Provincial/Federal politics.
Lovingly supported his wife all her life and through her final illness.
Raised six kids, numerous grandkids and even more great-grandkids.
Built heritage clocks and other woodworking marvels.
Developed and refined his own award-winning genetic line of Hereford cattle.
Taught. Led. Supported. Pushed. Pulled. Guided. Built.
Worked.
But what do his progeny mostly remember this great man for?
His pranks.
Yep. Pranks.
This was the man who shaved his head into a ‘mohawk’ do, long before it was acceptable. And with red, curly hair, such a style was . . . noticeable.
Proof! Daddy's on the right...
Painted a large ‘48’ on the water tower at his Alma Mater in Guelph, Ontario.
Disassembled and re-assembled the headmaster’s car on the porch of the administration building.
Played the ‘wedding waltz’ when his youngest brother-in-law showed up with a girlfriend. And rigged a smoke bomb on the engine of said bother-in-law’s car at the end of that particular visit.
Served drinks in ‘dribble’ glasses.
Lit the bottom corner of a newspaper on fire when the reader was concentrating on reading the upper corner.
Used a syringe to squirt water through a nail hole, thus winning, once-and-for-all, the title of ‘water fighter extraordinaire’.
Also used a syringe to squirt skunk ‘essence’ through the keyholes of the 'Ag' students at Guelph Verterinary College. Can anyone say ‘stink’?
Floated a plastic ice cube with encased fly in guests’ drinks. 
Hid an unwrapped prophylactic in the headmaster's handkerchief, tucked into the man's tuxedo, to be revealed with notable results.
And other monkeyshines too numerous to mention here. But which will be the subjects of future posts . . .
The once-mighty rancher is frail now.
Still clear mentally, but moving slowly and with care.
And seldom venturing far from his comfortable chair and book shelf.
It would be painful to watch, if one were not buoyed by Dad’s own words. “I’ve had fun!”
Words followed by the familiar twinkle as he recounts past pranks.
And still looks forward to future ones.
During my last visit, a dear guest looked at her glass and said, “This isn’t one of those ‘dribble’ ones, is it?”
Daddy? Never change!
How I'll always remember him. Seated at his desk. Getting things done.
See you soon, Daddy!

17 comments:

  1. I still remember when his hair transitioned from red to white. It happened over the course of a couple years, soon after Gramma went to the care lodge. Except for his eyebrows. Those were red till he stopped making his clocks. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red or white haired, he was still the same amazing man! :)

      Delete
  2. He sounds like he was quite the guy! I am so sorry for your loss, Diane. May your many, many memories carry you and comfort you until you meet up again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kelly! He was one in a million. It was fun to hear people at the funeral who had only known him in his later years talk about how surprised they were that he was such a monkey. His stories will live on forever!

      Delete
  3. You have created a wonderful remembrance of your father for your family Diane, with all of these stories now in writing. My dad was born only a few years after yours - and lived in Ontario for a time, and Abbotsford as well. I can't help but wonder if they ever met ... but if they had, I suspect they would have become good friends.
    Thinking about you and your family a lot. Hoping it helps to know that we all care. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect the same, Susan! Your good thoughts help so much. Thank you!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for your great blogs about our Dad, Diane! You rock!
    Love you,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  5. The best thing anyone can say about one's life is, "I had fun". What a wonderful life he had. I am sorry for your great loss, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Today is Wednesday. Dad and I always met on Wednesday. One week we would have lunch at the lodge and the next week (if he was feeling OK) I would pick him up and take him out for lunch, and then to the bank or to do some shopping. Today would've been the day I took him out. I had to go to the store myself and it was sure different not having Dad hang onto my sleeve then utilize a shopping cart for a walker. It's going to take a while to get used to Dad not being close by but I eventually will--but never forget. In the meantime knowing that Dad is finally with Mom, and that he has actually met two of his brothers whom he never had the chance to meet down here. I'm going to miss him but I also accept that it is time for him to move on. As they say in the Navy: 'We now have the watch.'

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a full life - what a rascal - what a loved and loving person. Your writing will keep all of that alive for future generations. Thank you for sharing your memories with us, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So sorry to hear about your Dad. This was such a wonderful post about him. It is so much fun to hear your parents tell of their fun moments and I am sure his pranks are legendary.
    It is so hard to lose a parent no matter what. I still think about my parents almost everyday. My Dad was a little like yours.
    Enjoy the memories and stories. Prayers for peace and comfort and also hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Although it defaced currency, I always thought his quarter pounder was a hoot.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Although it defaced currency, I always thought his quarter pounder was a hoot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your dad. One of the world's very best people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh Diane....I'm so, so sorry. I feel like I've gotten to know your father through the many wonderful stories you tell of him. He was clearly an amazing person. I will be thinking and praying for your family.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Prankster and jokster, memory maker extraordinaire. Oh how we miss our Daddies.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You dad always sounded like such a larger than life person who enjoyed every second and made the most of them as well. I'm very sorry that you've lost him, but I suspect he will be remembered quite often! You have created a living legacy to him and I'm sure he was so proud!

    ReplyDelete

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