Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

DUI. Of Children.

The Behemoth
Things move.
Big things.
They move.
I have proof.
On the ranch, we had a large power/light pole.
Full sized.
Firmly planted.
It had been there since the beginning of time.
So . . . for quite a while.
It stood in the very center of the turn-about.
People driving in would go around it, conduct their business and complete the turn as they drove out.
Unless you lived there.
Then you would have to drive in and park.
Preferably somewhere out of the way so the next person would have a place to drive in and turn.
At times it got a little . . . tricky.
I lived there.
I had parked.
I needed to leave.
This entailed backing the van up, manoeuvring into the lane, then completing the turn to head out.
I should probably point out here that our van could quite easily have been described as a behemoth (good word!). It held 12 passengers.
Or two parents and six children, neatly spaced to avoid argument-age.
Well to try to avoid argument-age.
Well . . . never mind.
I loaded in the kids.
I sorted out the first argument.
I started the van.
I sorted out the second argument.
Good so far.
The third argument started.
I began to unknot that disagreement just as I stepped on the gas.
The van reversed, as it should.
Straight back.
All of us inside were concentrating on the ongoing conversation.
None of us (ie. me) noticed the pole directly behind the van.
Well, not until we (ie. me) smacked into it.
I pulled ahead and got out to survey the damage.
The bumper had a lovely crease in it, bending it towards the van and forming a point that made it impossible to open the back door.
Double oops.
Later, when I showed my husband, he laughed, shook his head and simply sawed the top point off the dent. Just enough so the door would clear it.
But leaving the dent for all to see.
The conversation went like this . . .
Husby: "Honey, didn't you see the pole? The large one that has been standing in the center of the yard since forever?"
Me: "Ummm . . . I don't know how to answer that question."
Husby: "You did know about the pole, didn't you?"
Me: "Ummm . . . yes?"
Husby: "You did see it?"
Me: "Well, it was like this . . . I was backing out carefully . . ."
Husby: "Yes?"
Me: "And then . . . that nasty old pole just jumped behind me!"
Husby (with just the right amount of scepticism): "Jumped."
Me: "Yes."
Husby: "Right out of the ground."
Me (getting into my story): "Yes. It was the weirdest thing!"
Husby: "I'm going to go lie down."
True story.
P.S. I also have an experience with Cuba, also been known to move. But that is another story.


  1. Isn't that something? The pole just jumped out in front of you? I thought that stuff like that only happened to me...

  2. And I also thought that stuff only happened to me. Like that time I was in Ottawa and backed our rental car right into the stop sign. Or the time I drove another rental car right into that pole in Hawaii. So far things just leap out at the rental cars. I'm beyond impressed that they now also leap out at your behemoth ...

  3. I sideswiped my van one time pulling out of a parking lot when I hit a pole---and my vehicle wasn't nearly the size of your van. How on earth did you drive that thing???

  4. We had a van just like that only blue. It was perfect for vacations. I've hit my share of poles a time or two or three.

  5. Door jambs do that to me all the time. I have bruises on each arm to prove it. Probably just as well I don't drive.

  6. I'm with EC - door jambs hate me and never fail to let me know it. DUI of children is something I know quite well also. The poles and the kids are in cahoots, aren't they?


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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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