Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, April 6, 2018

All Day Sucker

So nice! Sigh.

I played hooky.
Once.
For those of you who don't know, 'hooky' is a term coined to describe being absent without leave.
In my case, I was absent from school.
And I didn't do it alone.
I should probably point out that these were the days before the school phoned home "to inform you that your student 'insert name' was absent on . . . yadda yadda yadda . . ."
Back to my story . . .
We were in grade twelve. For the last semester of my grade twelve year, I lived with Debbie's family, the Joneses, on their ranch, and attended school in the town of Magrath.
Our school bus arrived promptly every morning at 7:30.
After an hour and a half commute, we would arrive, sleepy and slightly dishevelled at the Magrath High School to begin a day of instruction.
One morning, one of us really wasn't in the mood.
Oh, she got up all right.
Got ready.
Endured the bus ride.
But, standing there in front of those venerable halls of learning, she balked.
“I don't wanna go,” Debbie said.
I stared at her. “What?”
“I don't wanna go,” she said again.
“Oh.” What did one say to that?
“Let's play hooky!”
“Debbie, we can't play hooky!”
“Yes we can! We've never done it and the semester, the year, the school experience is nearly over!”
She had a point. Both of us had been exemplary students.
Precisely what our fathers expected.
“Deb, my dad would kill me!”
“C'mon, Diane, it's only one day!”
I looked at her. Have I mentioned that Debbie was the only reason I ever got into trouble? Well she was . . .
At that point, our friend Leonard, he of the pick-up truck, appeared.
“Leonard! Take us to Lethbridge!” Leonard looked at Debbie. Then he looked at me. I shrugged.
“Okay,” he said.
. . . and she got other people into trouble, too.
The three of us trailed across the parking lot and into Leonard's pick-up.
There was plenty of room on the wide seat.
We settled in for the 12-minute ride to Lethbridge, a city of about 75,000 just to the north of Magrath.
For a guy, Leonard had a surprisingly clean truck. No trash rolling around. In fact, the only thing on the dashboard was his brand shiny new 'Western Horseman' magazine.
“Oooh!” I said, picking it up. “Is this the new issue?”
“Yep. Just picked it up this morning!”
“Do you mind if I read it?”
“Nope. Just don't damage it.”
Leonard took good care of his things. Obviously magazines were no exception.
“I'll be careful.” I sat back happily while the two of them chattered all the way to the city.
Lethbridge is not a huge place, but one with several malls and lots of shopping.
We spent the day going from one to another.
And having fun.
At one of our early stops, Debbie and I bought large lollipops.
Large.
On long sticks.
We spent the rest of the day . . . ummm . . . licking.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to catch our bus. No sense in proclaiming that we had just spent the day somewhere other than where we should have been.
Leonard stopped his truck.
“This has been fun!” I told him. “C'mon Debbie, we'd better hurry!” I slid out.
At that point, a friend of Leonard's walked up to his window. “Hey, Leonard, where were you today?”
Distracted, Leonard turned to answer his friend.
Debbie started to follow me.
“Oh, my sucker,” she said, turning back.
Remember when I mentioned Debbie's name? Entwined with the word 'trouble'?
Well that would also apply here . . .
Now Debbie had gotten tired of holding the heavy sucker and had laid it down. Not certain of the surface of the dash of Leonard's remarkably tidy truck, she had chosen to lay it down on his copy of the Western Horseman.
That same brand new copy he had been so protective of earlier.
She grabbed the long stick, only to realize that the magazine came with it. 
Uh-oh.
Not only had the sucker stuck to the cover of the magazine, but it had also stuck the pages together.
“Ummm . . .” Debbie glanced at Leonard, still engrossed in his conversation. “We'll just leave that,” she said, and slid out after me. “See ya, Leonard!” She slammed the door.
Leonard, still talking, waved cheerfully and the two of us headed for our bus.
Leonard never mentioned his sucker-stuck magazine.
The one he obviously never got to read.
After he had toted two girls all over Lethbridge.
Some fellow hookey-players are just plain nice.

10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Nope. No one ever said a thing. Including Leonard . . .

      Delete
  2. What a nice guy! I hope HE didn't get into trouble, either!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He never said. But then Leonard never would . . .

      Delete
  3. I was never brave enough to truant. Though occasionally I had more or less legitimate reasons to be absent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always went for the legitimate reasons as well. Now Debbie on the other hand . . .

      Delete
  4. You've had me thinking of my own school days. I wasn't an "A" student and didn't make it to grade 12, but I don't recall ever playing hooky. I just preferred to be in school. maybe in the back of my mind was "small town, everybody knows me and someone would tell my dad who was also known to everybody"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was definitely me! Everyone knew my parents. Someone would see me for sure. Even miles away, you're always bound to run into someone who knows your parents. Sigh.

      Delete
  5. I was in a boarding school so couldn't play hookey. So instead, I just waited till I was 16 and ran away altogether.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saved up all your tardies for one grand swoop!

      Delete

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