Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

Giveaway ends April 08, 2017.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Troll. And Gruffs.

For three wonderful years, we lived in a perfect house.

Oh, don't get me wrong, all of our homes have been wonderful.
And very comfortable.
But this particular house was all of those things.
And a little bit more.
Because it had a stairway that was perfect for playing 'Troll Under the Bridge'.
It's a real game.
You can look it up. It will be found somewhere under 'Tolley: Favourite Games'.
True story.
Okay, my Husby made it up.
But it was still fun.
The stairway in our house consisted of a short upper set of six thickly-carpeted steps.
Ending at a wide, also-carpeted landing.
Then a 180 degree turn before descending the last six steps to the basement.
A beautiful hunting/trapping/escaping set up.
Which was very well used.
My Husby would pretend he was a troll and lay on the stairs.
His head just poking above the top stair.
All of his little Billy Goats Gruff could try to run past him along the upper hallway.
Screaming and giggling wildly.
One by one, he would nab them and demand to know who they were.
One by one they would answer, “I'm a Billy Goat Gruff!”
Whereupon (good word) he would shout, “No Billy Goats on my bridge!” and set them behind him on the landing/prison.
Then, as he hunted for more victims, the entrapped would escape back up the stairs, still screaming and giggling.
And join once more with their fellow little goats in teasing and tantalizing the troll.
This went on for some time.
Usually until Dad got played out.
Then, one day, we moved from that house.
Subsequent (Ooo, another good word!) houses had similar, but not quite as perfect designs for playing Troll Under the Bridge.
The family made do.
Move forward 20 years . . .
Our present house is entirely unsuitable for the game.
It is a bungalow with one long, very dangerous, grandma-nightmare-inducing stairway.
We have put a gate at the top, which is rigidly patrolled whenever grandchildren come over to play.
A great disappointment to grandchildren who have been raised on stories of Troll Under the Bridge, as fondly told by their parents.
But in our front room, we have a large hassock. (Ottoman, pouffe, footstool.)
Leather covered.
Padded top.
And it stands in front of our couch.
With a two-foot space between.
Hmmmm . . .
A few pool noodles strapped together with a bit of duct tape.
Voila!
A bridge.
Propped between the couch and the hassock, the scene for the new and improved Troll Under the Bridge.
Which the next generation of Tolleys has taken to with great enthusiasm.
With just as much noise and exuberance as their parents.
There are a couple of subtle differences, though.
  1. The grandkids are a bit craftier than their parents had been.
Our nearly-four-year-old grandson, when seized and questioned by the troll, answered readily, “I'm a troll.”
My Husby/Troll blinked.
This was a first.
But, since trolls are allowed on the bridge, the boy was allowed a free pass.
Smarty pants.
  1. The troll gets played out rather quickly.
He is, after all, an older troll now, with lots of grey hair and a few creaking joints.
Usually, he is finished long before the shrieking hoards are even close to admitting defeat.
And after they leave, he collapses on the couch and takes a nap.
Ah, the price of joy.

6 comments:

  1. Totally worth the price because you know those little gruffs will be telling this story to their grandchildren one day. These are the stories that childhoods are made of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't you just hear it? When I was a kid . . . :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds like an excellent game! And maybe it's just as well that it's played on the couch now; those stairs must have been a bit uncomfortable!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awwww.
    My father convinced me that bunyips lived in hollow trees. And spooked me on each and every visit to anywhere which might have a hollow tree (and would therefore have a bunyip).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, had to look this one up! I'm glad I didn't have bunyips to worry about. With the river feet away, I never would have gotten any sleep! :)

      Delete

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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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