Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Being Neighbourly

Off to visit the neighbours.
Theirs wasn’t the most sought-after homestead in the community.
Their home was humble. Built in 1917, they raised eight children and lived to 1948 without electricity or running water.
They weren’t the best housekeepers. Their home with its worn floorboards and non-existent screens (allowing the entrance of many bugs and even the odd chicken) was often known as ‘Fly Spec Inn’.
But the love and kindness shone out of every crack and every chink in the siding.
Their children loved to return there.
And, if a guest should drop by . . .
Mom and Dad had been married a few months. Dad had introduced his new bride to every family in the district, save one. Their nearest neighbours eight miles to the west.
He decided the time was right, so the two of them climbed into the car and made the trip.
They were welcomed with open arms.
Quite literally.
Invited to stop and yarn a while.
Then pressed to stay for supper.
The youngest daughter set the table. Then, at the urging of her mother, re-set with the ‘company cups’. Which, as it turned out, were the cups without the black lip stains from constant use and less-than-stellar cleaning.
The food was hot and plentiful.
Bread came fresh from the oven in a massive, round loaf.
If one asked for a slice, one got a SLICE. Mama would grab the loaf, hold it against her round belly and cut away with a large knife. Then, using the same knife, she would flip the wedge across the table to whoever had asked.
Her precision was unerring. And her grin when successful exposed toothless gums all the way back to the spaces left by absent molars.
It was a memorable meal. Memorable for all the right reasons. Not for the ‘fly specs’ or the missing screens or the worn floorboards, or even for the lacking electricity and running water. No, it was memorable for the kindness. The cheer. The love.
A few months later, that home was improved and enlarged to accommodate its becoming the community Post Office.
Though Mom and Dad invited the family over many times, they never went back.
It simply wouldn’t have been the same.

2 comments:

  1. The charm of that memory could not be repeated, so it is awesome that they visited the one time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. soooo different to what we have now isn't it Diane? And I think the couple in the picture would be polar opposites to the couple in the story :)

    ReplyDelete

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