Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Leaving Little Girls

Me. And my Daddy.
My first experience with the radio . . .

Mom must have heard the sobs.
She came out of the kitchen, drying her hands on a towel. “Diane?”
More sobs.
“Diane, where are you?”
She followed the heartbroken sounds to the couch.
To behind the couch.
To the little four-year-old who had crawled between the piece of furniture and the large picture window just behind.
I looked up at her.
Can’t you just see the little tear-stained face?
Mom smiled at me and reached out to pull me into her arms. “Diane, what’s wrong?”
The two of us sat down on the couch.
Mom dabbed at my face with her towel. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
“He left her, Mom!” I managed at last.
Mom stared at me. “Who? Left who?”
“He left her. His little girl. Why did he leave her?”
Mom’s face was a veritable cornucopia of expressions.
Worry.
Defiance.
Sympathy.
Defense.
With a large dollop of confusion.
“Honey, what are you talking about?”
“The man!” I looked at her intently through drenched eyes. Surely she knew him. She had been listening to him. I reached out and grasped her arm, giving it a shake. “The man you were listening to!” I looked away. “He was so sad ‘cause he had to leave his little girl in gings-tin-down.” I looked back at her. “Why did he leave her?”
Mom’s face suddenly lit up. “Oh. The radio!” she said.
It was my turn to stare at her. “The radio?”
She cuddled me closer. “Honey, you were listening to a man singing on the radio!”
“But he left his little girl! He said!” I scrubbed at my nose with a slightly grubby hand. “And he was sad.”
Mom smiled. “It was just a song,” she said.
“But his little girl!” I couldn't get past the thought that, somewhere, there was a little girl who was missing her daddy.
“He’s not actually talking about a little girl . . .” Mom began.
“But he said!” I broke in. “I heard him! He said his little girl!”
“In this case he’s talking about his wife or sweetheart.” She tightened her arms around me. “Sometimes men call their wives or sweethearts, ‘little girl’.
I felt my face twisting into my favourite - and most effective - confused expression. “What?”
She nodded. “It’s just their way of saying, I love you.”
“Oh.” I thought about that for a minute.
Just then the front door opened.
Tears and forlorn little girls forgotten, I leaped down from Mom’s lap and headed for the front hall. “Daddy! It’s Daddy!”
Tall and strong, he was there to scoop me up. “How’s my little girl?” he said.

True story.
And here's the exact song, by the incomparable Harry Belafonte. Enjoy!
I have Kleenex . . .

8 comments:

  1. Too sweet. Harry was so young and smooth!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this, Diane. It took me a moment. My story regarding listening to music as a child was asking my mother why every song was about love. And of course at my tender age there was no mention of sex. So Mom replied, Love makes the world go round. Perfect answer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ahhh, the empathy, even at four years old. You knew how much you'd miss your own dad . . . what a beautiful thing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read your lovely, vivid scene actually as I was sitting with my mom who is listening to the radio. You really have such a beautiful way with creating scenes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sweet, beautiful, touching, real. Wonderfully crafted, Diane! Thank you, Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE that song and when I was little I used to think he was singing about his little girl too, but mum had already left us by then, so I knew that sometimes parents have to leave.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really like your site and content so much,thanks for sharing the information keep updating, looking forward for more posts.

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    ReplyDelete

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