Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Making His 'Mark'

The scene of the crime
University of Guelph
Notice the tower in the back.
That's all. Just notice it . . .
It's the end of June and the high school graduations have been ongoing for weeks.
They remind me of another grad that I only heard about, but that will stay with me forever . . .
I don’t want you to get the idea that my Dad, Mark Stringam, was a trouble- maker.
Okay, maybe I do.
Dad was a trouble-maker. I think it had something to do with being born on April 1.
If the theory that ‘the day makes the child’ means anything.
Okay, yes, I just made that theory up.
Moving on . . .
So Dad was born on April 1 and thought it was as good an excuse as any to be . . . mischievous.
His pranks at home and in grade school are many.
And varied.
And will be dealt with in future blogs.
This story is about a prank from his college years. One where foresight would have been helpful.
Another of his smellier pranks is illustrated here.
Back to my story.
Dad went to Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.
Named for the beautiful province of Ontario, where it resided.
Okay, so creative naming wasn’t their strong suit.
It was an excellent college.
It managed to take a young goof-ball.
And turn him into a learned, young goof-ball.
He graduated in 1948.
It was a date worth celebrating.
So his classmates did.
With bottles and glasses of things alcoholic.
But Dad didn’t drink.
He had to get creative and endanger himself in a whole different way.
Something he accomplished by hanging (with a couple of friends) from the water tower and painting a large ‘Grad 48’ on the side.
Dad’s 'celebrating' could be seen for miles.
He was very proud.
Not everyone saw the beauty and creativity in Dad’s accomplishment, however.
There were words.
Loudly and irately spoken.
By people in authority.
Which Dad ignored.
And then a team of steeplejacks was brought in from Toronto to paint out his sign.
And obliterate what the management considered his lack of creative and artistic talent.
Pfff. What does management know?
Dad watched the men clamber around on the tower.
Taking hours to do what had only taken him minutes.
But he learned something:
1. Jobs requiring you to dangle 100 feet off the ground should be undertaken with safety apparatus.
2. Any job worth doing is worth doing well.
3. Steeplejacks make more money than veterinarians.
Oh, I’m not saying he internalized what he learned.
He just had fun learning it.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! I didn't realize how prolific you are. You are one accomplished writer Diane. Fun to read the excerpt above and all your titles on the sidebar.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just think, if your Dad had gone to MIT, the pranks he could have pulled there. Chuckling!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to ask.
    Did your father's prankster genes get passed on?

    ReplyDelete
  4. That IS a rather tall tower, isn't it ... well, it was probably good practice for living on a farm, with tall barns and other buildings.

    He really was fearless, wasn't he?!

    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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