Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Harvesting Memories

Mom always maintained a large garden.
Hmmm . . . let me reword.
Mom always maintained a humongous, gargantuan, colossal, huge, enormous, vast, giant, mammoth (that's all the big words I can think of right now) garden.
Better.
Okay, well, that's how it appeared to us kids.
I will admit, here, that my help during the weeding and hoeing was minimal.
Mostly my nimble fingers came into play during the shelling and snapping.
And the rest of me got very involved with the eating.
Ahem . . .
Mom and the older kids would come in from the garden with bushel baskets of freshly-picked peas and/or beans.
Us kids would find comfortable spots on the lawn in the shade of the huge pines. Each would have a bowl which we would replenish now and again from the central stock. Chris would turn on her radio.
And we would shell/snap. And talk.
Sometimes the talk would get quite serious. For example, it was while my older sister and I were shelling peas that she explained the facts of life to me.
True story.
At other times, we would get very animated and silly, quoting heavily from Mad Magazine or one of our favourite movies.
The hot sun.
The cool shade.
The soft grass.
The top 40 on the radio.
The smell of pine and sage and green, growing things.
Occasional snitches of deliciousness from my bowl.
My brothers and sisters around me.
It is one of my most treasured memories . . .
This year we got a terrific harvest from the garden.
Peas, beans, beets, carrots and rhubarb.
And the next generation got involved in the processing.
Here's to many more years of gardening.
And a whole new passel of memories.
Snapping.
Shelling.
Heaven.

6 comments:

  1. So many of my favorite childhood memories are about family traditions. It's so much fun to see the next generation join in. You've been lucky enough to see the one after that too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a big, close-knit family, Diane, since I had only one brother. I'm getting a pretty good idea from your writing. Thank you for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for sharing it with us, Jenny!

      Delete
  3. Your final word says it all. Heaven.

    ReplyDelete

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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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