Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Friday, May 12, 2017

Something Scary

“Norma, have you seen—?” I stopped in the doorway.
My sister was standing atop a chair.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Standing on a chair doesn’t seem so strange.
What makes it unique in this case is that the chair was atop a table. With that table perched rather precariously on the couch.
So my rather cumbersome and less-than-svelte sister was on a chair. On a table. On a couch. With her white head a mere inch from the very, very tall ceiling in our front room.
Yeah. That was my reaction, too.
I hurried over to her. “Norma, are you insane?!”
She peered down at me and grinned. “Ummm—probably.”
I gazed up at her. “Do you mind telling me what you’re doing?”
She looked around, still with that large grin on her face. “Just—seeing.”
I frowned at her. “Seeing?”
“Mmm-hmm.”
“Seeing—what?”
“What she sees. She must float around up here—our ghost—looking down on us.” She raised her eyebrows. “It’s quite a view!”
I stepped back. “You are insane!”
“I know it’s kind of a roundabout way of doing it.”
I made a face. “You think?”
“And I know what you’re going to say.”
“I’ve already said it.”
She laughed. “You’re going to say, ‘Back in my day, people didn’t hearken to insidious voices that told them to stand on chairs.”
I stared at her. “I’ve never talked that way in my life.”
“Oh. Well. Someone would say it.”
I rolled my eyes. “And we both know who that someone is.”
Norma suddenly squeaked loudly and quickly began to lower herself to her knees.
“What?” I looked around. “What did you see?”
“Oh, Sis! I saw—” She stopped talking as the pile upon which she perched rocked dangerously. Norma stopped moving. When it settled a moment later, she finished climbing down from the precarious stack.
“What?! What did you see?” I repeated.
“Oh, you simply wouldn’t believe it! It was the scariest—” she said over her shoulder as she disappeared through the doorway into the kitchen.
Whatever scary thing I wouldn’t believe was lost as the door swung shut between us, blocking all sound.
What had she seen? Was our friendly neighbourhood ghost back in residence? Had Elvis returned? Had they invited friends? I walked over to the couch and looked up at the ceiling but could see nothing. Maybe if I stood a little taller.
I stepped up onto the couch and looked up again. Still nothing. Maybe a bit higher?
In a moment, I was standing atop Norma’s chair. I probably don’t have to tell you it was still perched on the table. On the couch. And yes, I did feel a bit foolish.  I put my hands on the ceiling and peered around.
What on earth had Norma been looking at?
Just then she came back through the kitchen door. “What are you doing up there?”
I looked down at her. “Ummm—seeing?”
“Well, while you’re seeing, could you please get that cobweb?” She handed me the duster and pointed. “We can’t have that in the house. It’s downright scary!”

Once a month, Karen issues a challenge. A word challenge. Words from each of her followers are distributed among the rest of her followers.
It’s fun.
This month, my words were: Insidious ~ Hearken ~ Back in my day ~ Roundabout
And were submitted by: The Bergham Cronicles

Here are the rest of Karen’s writers:
Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com
Spatulas on Parade                         http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/
The Blogging 911                         https://theblogging911.com/blog/
Bookworm in the Kitchen      http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/
The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com
Simply Shannon                           http://shannonbutler.org  
Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com  
Part-time Working Hockey Mom         http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/
Climaxed                                       http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Hood

My life has been spent in one gang or another.
My first was quite innocent: sisters and brothers.
From there, I moved up a bit: toddler who dared,
With my nursery gang, all of my exploits, I shared.
Later, my friends and I played in the street,
Our gang was the best and the fleetest of feet.
In school, I discovered a super new bunch,
We hung out together at recess and lunch.
In junior high, ‘cool’ was the group to be in.
And you’d do almost anything just to begin.
My friends in high school were the brightest and best,
Better, I thought, than were all of the rest.
And then finally, in college, the group I located
Was a gang who chased stories and issues debated.
But now I’ve discovered the best gang of all,
Yes, sometimes, they’re noisy and like to start brawls.
They messy, untidy. I do most of the work.
I feel like a cook, driver, cleaner. Or jerk.
But I love every one of them, I’ll not withdraw,
I’m in this gang forever, ‘cause they call me ‘Ma’!
I know in the world, there is stuff that is good,
But I’ll hang with my gang. We’ll be here in the ‘hood’.

Every month about this time, my good friend Karen of Baking in a Tornado give us a chance to contribute a poem on a theme.
May’s? Motherhood. My favourite topic!
See what the others have done!
Karen of Baking in a Tornado
Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Dawn of Spatulas on Parade
Sarah of Not That Sarah Michelle
Kristina Hammer, The Angrivated Mom

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cow Prophets

It's Poetry Monday again!
My favourite day of the week!
Ha! I KNEW it was going to snow!
“Look to the cows,” said Dad, the wise,
“And you will come to realize,
That by their actions, you can tell,
The weather patterns, fair or fell.”

And so I watched, and so I saw
That he was right, my smart ol' Pa.
And he knew what he talked about,
If you're predicting rain. Or drought.

The cows, they crowd together tight
And you know cold will be the night.
They seek the shed and shelter warm
If rain or snow will be the norm.

Then turn their tail and duck their head,
When wind is shrieking round the shed.
But stand out grazing peacefully,
If sun and warmth are meant to be.

But just today, I got a scare,
From cows around me everywhere,
For when I stepped outside my door
And glanced towards the purple moor . . .

(Oops, Alberta's where I live, you see,
And so I meant the wide prairie.)
My cows weren't where they're s'posed to be,
They sat on branches. In the trees.

So now I have to figure out,
Just what they're telling me about.

Delores and Jenny are the other participants in Poetry Monday.
Skip over and see what they're up to today!

P.S. I know I've been largely in absentia these past few weeks. Battling illness and/or travelling. I'm afraid it will continue. (The travelling. Hopefully not the illness!) I'll check in when I can! :)

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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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