Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, October 28, 2016

(Not Quite) Past Mistakes

Something like this.
Dad had a new toy.
A small musical instrument called a ‘musette’.
The fact that he was in his first year of university didn’t stop him from playing it.
He and a group of friends were riding the streetcar home from Sunday Services.
They were a happy bunch.
Talking.
Laughing.
Dad was tinkering about on his new toy.
Much to the discomfort of the other passengers.
I should mention, here, that Dad has a beautiful singing voice.
I’ve never heard him play the musette.
Possibly because of what follows . . .
The streetcar conductor called back to the group of boys, “You! On the harmonica! Please stop playing!”
Dad stopped.
For a moment.
Then, thinking that the conductor could no longer hear him over the noise of the rest of the passengers, he started again.
“You! Stop playing or I’ll have to kick you off the bus!”
Dad sighed and dropped the musette into his lap.
He looked down at it.
Just one more . . .
“Okay. That’s it!
The bus slid to a sudden stop.
“You! With the harmonica! Off!”
Dad got to his feet.
“And the rest of you with him! Off!”
His friends looked at each other.
Then, disgusted, they too got to their feet and followed the author of their misfortunes off the bus.
And began the long walk back to the University.
Moving ahead seventy years . . .
My Husby and I had moved our family to Edmonton.
Six hours north of where I was raised.
I met an elderly couple at church.
We started to visit.
They discovered that my maiden name was Stringam.
“Well, who do you belong to?” the man asked.
“Mark is my dad,” I said proudly.
“Mark,” he said. Then, “Mark! He got me kicked off the streetcar!”
The good things we do are quickly forgotten.
The mistakes?
They go on forever.

19 comments:

  1. LOL, and yet those mistakes make the best stories, don't they?

    ReplyDelete
  2. All I can think of as I read this is "Meet Me In St. Louis" with Judy Garland - one of my favorite movies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Anytime someone mentions a 'streetcar'.

      Delete
  3. Great. GREAT. Excellent story of things we never, ever forget, whether we should or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only I remembered the important stuff too . . .

      Delete
  4. I agree with Karen! When things go as usual - THAT's boring :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm . . . making boring interesting. THAT'S a challenge!

      Delete
  5. Possibly one of the few streetcar trips he remembers...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Some things, you seriously never live down!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Shoshanah! Literally seventy years later! Yikes!

      Delete
  7. OMG I can't believe he still remembered that day!! Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably couldn't have told me what he had for breakfast, but he remembered that!

      Delete
  8. I have fond harmonica memories, my dad had one and played for us in the long summer evenings as we kids played outside, he had a piano accordion too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What wonderful memories! Do you have pictures? Videos?

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    2. We didn't own a camera, and video cameras hadn't arrived in Australia in the fiftes.
      We didn't even have a TV, not many people did.

      Delete
  9. What a great story! I've sung about a musette in "Il est né, le divine enfant" before! But I never dreamed it looked like a harmonica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Daddy's was a bit bigger. Still made the same about of noise, though! :)

      Delete

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