Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, May 25, 2018

The Punch Line

The Stringam kids loved a scary story.
Okay, yes, it usually meant that one of us (ie. me) couldn't sleep afterwards.
And needed to leave a light on.
Or, better yet, crawl in with my parents.
But still, I loved to be scared . . .
My older sister, Chris was a master at it.
Scaring, that is.
She knew dozens of deliciously frightening tales.
It was a perfect partnership.
The scare-er and the easily - and very vocally - scared.
Chris would gather whatever siblings were near by.
And, with them cuddled close, launch into her current favourite.
Her soft voice would wind through the story, slowly spiralling up in volume and suspense . . .
Or suspenders, as my dad used to call it.
. . . to the end.
Her reward? Several squeaks of alarm as she loudly barked out the climactic line.
“I've got you!”
Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!
“Bloody boots!”
Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!
“Ivory soap floats!”
“Eeeeeeeeeeeee!”
Okay. I admit it. She had it down . . .
My parents were building a cabin on St. Mary's Lake.
The fact that it wasn't quite finished didn't deter us from actually using it.
In fact, our summer was usually spent . . . finishing.
We had finally gotten to the painting. Had actually spent most of yet another glorious summer morning doing just that.
Lunch was finished.
Chris had gathered my younger brother and I on our parent's bed.
For a few delightfully shivery minutes, we could have story time.
I should mention that, unbeknownst (Oooh, good word!) to us, Mom had finished the lunch dishes and returned to her painting.
Right outside the window of the room we were gathered in.
Chris was building to her usual grand finish.
Bloody boots!”
Blair and I were completely absorbed.
Bloody boots!”
We barely breathed.
Bloody boots!”
Hands started twisting.
"Bloody Boots!"
Hearts were starting to pound.
Mom stuck her head through the window. Bloody boots!
Her timing and delivery were perfect.
Our story teller proved that she was as capable as any of us of being startled.
And Mom was rewarded with three squeaks of alarm.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Yep. Mom got it.

8 comments:

  1. Timing. Is. Everything.

    Most especially in horror.
    Or comedy...

    ReplyDelete
  2. My dad called it 'suspenders' too...and the expression has survived to a second and third generation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like your mom was the master and Chris learned well from her!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So cute! You sound like you had a very fun family!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a wimp. I didn't and don't like my heart racing in panic.
    But I have to ask 'Ivory soap floats'....?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have Ivory Soap in your neck of the woods, EC? It's very soft, mild hand soap that floats if you drop it in the water. My sister's stories always had some mysterious person saying a statement louder and louder. That one was a particular favourite. "It floats! It floats! It floats!" Finally the frightened person yells out, "What floats?" With the above response. Frightened the snoo out of me when I was little! :)

      Delete
  6. If you're looking for me, I'll be with EC, plugging my ears and singing 'LALALALALA' ...!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah, the delicious anticipation of the squeal moment :)

    ReplyDelete

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