Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Riding the Wave

Now wave! It might be someone we know.
The Stringam Ranch was twenty miles from the Town of Milk River.
For the first ten miles out of town, you were passing through other ranch properties.
So your chances of meeting another motorist were pretty good.
After that, there was just one destination.
The Stringam Ranch.
Any traffic that came out that far needed emergency veterinarian assistance.
Or knew the family and my mom's cooking.
This is a long-winded way of telling you that, on any given trip into town, Dad knew every single driver that we passed.
A cloud of dust would appear on the horizon, growing larger. Finally a small dark spot could be detected, right at the base of said cloud.
The speck grew larger.
And larger.
Finally became recognizable as a vehicle.
Dad would slow down and pull over to the right side of the road.
Because lines hadn’t been introduced into our part of the country. And who could paint a line on dirt anyway?
The other driver would also slow and pull to his right.
The two would give each other a friendly wave.
And continue on.
Whereupon (good word) I would bob up out of wherever.
“Dad! Who was that?”
“That was Mr. Angel.”
“Oh.”
I would disappear again.
Another vehicle.
Another wave.
Me bobbing up.
“Dad! Who was that?”
“Mr. and Mrs. Lindeman.”
“Oh.”
As we grew closer to town, the vehicles were more numerous.
“Dad! Who was that?”
“Mrs. Swanson.”
“Oh.”
I should mention that there was one vehicle that recognized. Even as a four-year-old.
It was an old car, driven very, very slowly.
I don’t remember what year or model though my brother, George, will.
It was driven by a hat.
I am not kidding.
A hat.
A nice men’s hat.
I would stare in astonishment as this particular, peculiar vehicle drove past.
Yep.
Just a hat.
It was the one time during our entire trip that I wouldn’t bother my dad.
Because I knew who that hat was.
It was Grampa Balog.
After it passed, I would slump down on the seat.
Why couldn’t have a hat for a Grampa?
A hat that could drive cars.
Some kids have all the luck.
Moving ahead many years . . .
Yesterday, I was driving with one of my grandkids.
One of the hundred-or-so cars that we passed was driven by someone I knew.
I waved.
“Gramma! Who was that?”
And I was instantly transported back fifty-plus years.
I was four years old again.
And my Dad knew everyone on the road.

6 comments:

  1. It's rare to see people wave nowadays, here at least. But it's such a good thing to do! We should start a revolution - go back to the old way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! All in favour, raise your hands!

      Delete
  2. Awww. And remember when you knew everyone in town? And stopped to say hello at least?
    Some at least of the old days were definitely good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember when my Aunt Grace would drive by. When she recognized you, she would lift both hands to wave excitedly. Then grab the wheel and keep on driving! I miss Aunt Grace...

      Delete
  3. I remember waving to every passing car and we didn't know any of them. We waved to all the truckies too and they always waved back, some even blew the air horn for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that. Just wave. It doesn't matter if you know them or not...

      Delete

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