Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Husby and me. Don't look closely . . .
I told him not to laugh.
But he did.
I married him anyway . . .
It was a bright and sunny Tuesday.
But not just any Tuesday.
This was Tuesday, the 27th of April, 1976.
You may wonder why that particular date is etched so clearly in my mind . . .?
You have a right to know.
It was exactly four days before my wedding.
Four frenzied days of scheduled frenetic activity with plans of falling into bed exhausted each night, happy in what had been accomplished.
Four days that I needed to be--healthwise--at my very, very best.
The day started out well.
I climbed out of bed.
I felt a bit more tired than usual, but, with all I had been doing, wasn’t surprised.
I plopped heavily into my seat and stared at my plate as Mom bustled around, setting platters of steaming deliciousness on the table.
Grace was said.
And oblivious-ness set in as people dove for whatever was nearest.
Soon we were all chewing happily.
Mom passed someone a bowl of potatoes and looked at me. “So what have you got planned . . .?” she stopped, mid-sentence, and stared at me. “Diane? Are you all right?”
I looked at her.
She got up and moved around the table to me. “You look . . . flushed.”
I shrugged.
She placed a cool hand on my forehead. “You feel a bit warm.”
“I’m tired, but I feel all right,” I said, feeling a slight feathering of alarm.
She tipped my head back and looked at my throat.
“Oh, my word!” she said. “Mark, look at this!”
“What?” I said. “What’s wrong?”
Dad leaned over the table and peered at my neck. “Oh, my!” he said.
Okay, I was thoroughly alarmed by this point. “What?” I said. Did I grow an extra appendage in the night? Did I suddenly get a whisker? Or worse . . . a zit???!!!
Mom sat back on her chair and sighed.
“Diane, I’m pretty sure you have the measles.”
Whaaa . . .? I jumped up and ran to the closest mirror.
Sure enough, my neck and the lower half of my face were a mottled mass of tiny, red pinpricks. So many of them that, at first, they resembled a rosy flush on my skin. Only on closer inspection did they morph into what they actually were.
I. Had. The. Measles.
Four days before I was going to be married.
My life was over.
Mom bundled me up and hauled me into the doctor’s office. Where our local medical professional confirmed our suspicions.
German measles.
I dragged myself home. How could this be happening to me? Weren’t the measles a childhood disease?
And wasn’t childhood  . . . sort of . . . behind me?
I placed a call to my Husby-To-Be at his work.
Our conversation went something like this:
“Hi, Honey! How’s work?” *soft sob*
“Great! How are you doing?”
“Well . . . I have something to tell you . . .”
Slightly alarmed Husby-To-Be voice. “What is it? What’s the matter?!”
“Well . . . promise you won’t tell anyone. And that you won’t laugh . . .”
“Umm . . . okay . . .”
“I . . . have the  . . . German measles.”
A short pause, while he took in my news. Then, “Bwahahahahahaha!” Sound of phone being dropped. And Husby-To-Be moving through the office, telling every one of his co-workers.
Okay, which part of ‘don’t tell anyone’ and ‘don’t laugh’ did he not get?
We did get married.
I was totally fine. Except that in some of our photos, particularly the close-ups, you can see the barest hint of a red flush.
People simply dismiss it as evidence of excitement.
Now you know.


  1. ...and now you have a funny story to tell every bride-to-be in your family. Well, worth it!

  2. But if everything goes according to plan, where's the fun in that? :) (But, seriously, the measles - good thing you didn't get as sick as some people do!)


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