Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Santa for Sale

It's starting . . .
Today is our first 'Santa' party!




The best time of the year!
Maybe we'll see you at our next party!
With love,
Santa and Mrs.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weekend Friends

It really only looked scary.
Maybe I should explain . . .
Husby played basketball.
Actually, Husby played basketball well. As did his teammates.
Because of that, they were invited to many different tournaments.
But that has nothing to do with this story.
Okay. He was away. He found a great store that sold neat things.
He bought something.
I guess it has a little bit to do with the story . . .
The something he bought was a snake.
A large snake.
Rubber.
Convincing.
He thought it was cool.
When packing up from their tournament, he stuffed said snake into his backpack and headed for the bus.
The next morning, in a hurry, he dumped the gear from his ‘weekend’ backpack onto his bed to make way for his ‘going-to-school’ backpack.
Something stuck.
His new friend.
He pulled it out and gave it a toss among the other paraphernalia.
Then left.
Some hours later, another day of school behind him, he entered the front door of his family’s home.
And there was his mother.
Now it wasn’t unusual for his mother to greet her sons at the door when they came home.
Usually it was a cheerful exchange of ‘how-was-your-day?’ or ‘anything-exciting-happen?’ followed immediately by ‘I’ve-been-baking-food’s-in-the-kitchen’.
Today was different.
She was sitting in the armchair.
In the semi-darkened living room.
Actually, ‘huddled’ would be a more accurate term.
She was huddled in the armchair.
Husby walked in. “Hi, Mom!”
She turned to look at him. For some seconds, she said nothing.
“Mom?”
“What is that thing on your bed?”
Just FYI. When you bring a friend home from your weekend . . .
Tell your mom.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spider Sense

Gerry has an intense unnatural horrendous unhealthy paralyzing fear of spiders and all things spider-y.
And members of the same family working in the same place can be a blessing.
These two statements go together . . .
Logan and his mother, Gerry, both worked at the Raymond Mercantile.
She, upstairs: administration.
He, main floor: sales and everything else.
It was a sweet setup.
Most days he would climb the broad, wooden stairway in the center of the store and lunch with his mom in the upper reaches of the store, which, as it so happened, were completely open to the lower reaches, allowing the upper echelons to actually look down upon the lower echelons.
On this particular day, as Logan approached the stairs, he noticed a large bin had been placed as an endcap to the row of shelves nearest the stairway.
Anyone ascending – or especially descending – would get a full view of . . . whatever that bin held.
And that bin held rubber animals.
That would have been okay, except that many of those rubber animals were spidery in shape. And large in size.
He called the manager over. The conversation went something like this . . .
Logan: “Ummm . . . you have to move that bin.”
Manager: “Why?”
Logan: “Because my mom is up those stairs.” Points. “And she won’t be able to make it home because she won’t be able to come down those stairs.” Points again.
Manager (frowning): “What?”
Logan (patiently): “My mom has a paralyzing (see above) fear of spiders. If she sees this bin with the . . . erm . .  . spiders, she won’t be able to walk past it to leave the store.”
Manager: “What? No. Your mom is the most together person I’ve ever met.”
A little aside here. Yes. Gerry is the most together person you will ever meet. She also has a paralyzing fear of spiders. Back to my story . . .
Logan: Picks up a spider. Holds it for Manager to see. Then tosses it backwards over his shoulder into the upper reaches of the store.
Pause here for someone to take a large breath . . .
Gerry: SSSCCCRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCHHHHH!!!!!
Sounds of frantic scrambling and furniture flying.
Logan: “See?”
Yeah. He had her back.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Productive Boredom

Can't you just see the mischief?
Husby is crafty.
And by this, I mean the ‘he likes to make things’ crafty.
Not the ‘crafty’ crafty.
Although with further thought, he qualifies both ways.
Moving on . . .
At times when most young men his age were watching TV or getting into mischief, he was . . . creating . . . stuff.
Some of it useful.
And some . . .
Husby had been busy in the garage and in his bedroom. The periodic sounds of hammering and sawing alternated with the occasional lapse into quieter busy-ness.
Finally, all was silent.
His mother, in the course of her day, went into his room.
He was lying on his bed, reading.
A rope dangled down the wall. She frowned. Surely that hadn’t been there before. “What’s this?” she asked.
Her son looked at her. “Pull it.”
Now you have to remember that this was the mother of a son who would one day rig his car horn to honk only when the ashtray was pulled out (see here).
Among other things.
She was justifiably cautious.
She looked around the room.
Seeing nothing immediately dangerous, she shrugged.
And gave the rope a pull.
On the far side of the room, connected to a complex network of ropes and pulleys, a trap door opened.
Revealing, in large letters, the words: Works, Donit?
His mother frowned and released the rope. The trap door closed.
Grinning, she pulled it again.
With similar results.
Then, shaking her head, she left the room.
Husby smiled happily. Mission accomplished.
Or so he thought.
A short time later, his mom was back.
With one of her friends.
“Go ahead. Pull it!” Husby’s mom said, indicating the rope.
Gingerly, the friend reached out and gave it a pull.
Obligingly, the little trap door opened, again revealing the aforementioned words.
The friend stared. Then started to laugh. She pulled the rope several more times.
Then, “This is amazing!” She looked around. “I could spend all day down here!”
Okay. Now mission accomplished.

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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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