Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Monday, January 24, 2022

Almost Done...


His training had been going on for more than just a day,

And ‘learning with the master’ all of his mysterious ways,

From battle tactics, to control, his drills went on and on,

Until his coach admitted that his job was nearly done,

His master set a challenge that would test him fore and aft,

And let him know for certain that the boy had learned his craft,

He leaped from pole to pole that had been set around the room,

Where just one miss would surely spell the perky young man’s doom,

The boy made it look easy, as he leapt like a gazelle,

Not one misstep to make him have to bid this life farewell,

His master smiled and even gave his back a little pat,

“I’m glad you didn’t fall and leave this world as a splat!

“Now one more thing to test you, and your schooling I’ll acquit,

But nothing should be easy and I do like opp-o-sites!

You’ve made this task look easy as you leapt from pole to pole,

So now just do it backward and I’ll say you’ve met your goal!

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, we'll publish our mistakes
And share the typos that we make!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...
Opposite Day (January 24) Today!

Typo Day (January 31) Celebrate those funny (autocorrect) mistakes. 

Kites (February 7)

Valentine (February 14)

Predictions (February 21)

DNA (February 28)

Telephone (or Say Hello Day) (March 7) 

Genius Day (March 14) 
Celebrating Poetry (March 21) 
Respect Your Cat Day (March 28) (Richard II's 1384 edict forbidding eating them.)
Imperfection (April 4)

Friday, January 21, 2022

I’ll Be Here

I'll be here!
Every day, while Mama went to work, Tinesy Girl came to stay with Gramma.
Something all of us loved.
There was much hugging and kissing as Mama prepared to go out the door in the morning.
Many ‘I love yous’.
And not a few ‘see you soons’.
Then Mama was off and we were on our own.
We had fun.
There were toys and games to play with.
Books to read.
Plays to enact.
And yummy things to eat.
But Tinesy Girl still missed her Mama.
Now one of TG’s favourite toys was a musically interactive, eminently portable activity board.
On wheels.
There were buttons and keys to push, gears to spin, doors to open and close, and a small, purple phone.
To . . . umm . . . carry around.
And which, until that day, had been MIA.
A cursory and completely fruitless search had been conducted.
And the toy written off as one of those things that ‘will just show up later’.
Our daughter was (and still is) a theatre carpenter. Arriving at work and opening her toolbox, she finally discovered TG’s little purple phone.
Tucked neatly among the hammers and drills of her Mama’s tools-of-the-trade.
Arriving home from work, our grinning daughter triumphantly held up the phone.
TG grabbed it and refused to let go.
It went into the tub with her during her bath.
And ditto when she went to sleep.
The next morning, there was the usual ritual of hugs, kisses and ‘I love yous’.
And her Mama was off for another day of noisy measuring, cutting and piecing together.
As lunchtime approached, she drug out her backpack and zipped it open.
There, on top of everything was TG’s little purple phone.
Our daughter pulled it out and stared at it.
Then she laughed.
The message was finally clear.
“Call me!”

Thursday, January 20, 2022


I love Alberta. 
It's beautiful.
Wide, grassy prairies.
High, majestic mountains.
Blue skies.
Clear air.
Warm temperatures.
Okay, I know that it gets cold in Alberta.
And yes, -40 (C or F) is not uncommon.
But, probably because of the extreme temperatures, Alberta is missing a couple of very important things.
And I'm not complaining.
1. Alberta is the only place on earth that has no rats.
None. They are stopped at the borders, asked to produce a current passport, then turned away.
Let's face it, have you ever seen a rat with any passport, let alone a current one?
There is even a designated rat un-welcome committee stationed at every border.
An effective one.
Equipped with guns and traps.
And lots of cheese.
I don't know about you, but that would certainly indicate to me that I wasn't wanted.
Moving on . . .
So . . . no rats.
2. Alberta also has no big bugs.
Okay, we have bugs.
Just not big ones.
I've seen the pictures of people holding cockroaches that reach to their elbows and spiders that could easily carry off small children.
I know what big bugs look like.
And we don't have them.
That makes me happy.
We know how blessed we are.
Case in point:
Our son was preparing to go out to milk.
It was cold.
Alberta cold.
He was layering up at the back door.
Long johns.
Cotton socks.
Wool socks over cotton ones.
Heavy shirt.
Heavy coat.
Touque. (Warm Canadian winter hat)
Yep. In Canada, we pretty much invented layering.
And going outside isn't something you do at the spur of the moment.
It takes thought.
And time.
I was preparing breakfast and I could hear my son moving around at the back door.
And mumbling to himself.
I dried my hands and walked over to him.
What I heard was, " . . . cockroaches."
I moved closer.
"We don't get cockroaches," he said.
As he pulled on one sock.
"We don't get cockroaches."
Second sock.
"We don't get cockroches."
"We don't get cockroaches."
And so it went.
The same refrain with each and every layer.
Psyching himself up to open that door and get the blast of cold air in the face.
We live in Alberta.
It is beautiful.
And cold.
But we don't have rats.
Or get big bugs.
Sometimes it takes the one to appreciate the other.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Out Bumperd

Or something similar...
That day, I lost my crown.

There was no ceremony.
Few tears.
And an audible sigh of relief.
Maybe I should explain . . .
In the main drive of the ranch, there was a light/electricity pole.
A large one.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to place it thus, but there it stood.
In the centre of the circular drive.
Any drivers had, of necessity, to be vigilant when negotiating our driveway.
Even though said pole had stood there, unmoving and in the exact same place, for years.
As a permanent resident of the ranch, I had always known of its existence.
I knew the exact place where one had to turn the wheel in order to miss it.
And just when to swing around when parking.
But this one day, I was . . . distracted.
Have you heard the ads on TV where they caution you not to drive while distracted?
Listen to them.
Ahem . . .
Without thinking, I shoved the gear shift of our large red and white Chevy Beauville 12-passenger van into reverse.
And started backing up.
After a few feet, I felt a rather large thump.
And the van made a sudden stop.
Frowning, I turned to look behind me.
Oh, right.
Sheepishly, I pulled ahead.
Then got out to inspect the damage.
The bright silver bumper had been neatly creased just to one side of the center.
A deep enough crease to force both the top and the bottom of said bumper . . . umm . . . out. Quite effectively preventing the back door from opening.
I must admit that when my Husby saw it, all he could do was laugh.
Then saw the top point off the crease so the back door would open.
And laugh some more.
That was nearly thirty years ago.
He has been laughing since.
Then one day, I heard another bumper story. A better bumper story. Told by my good friend, Jen.
Jen was backing out of her garage. It has been sleeting and freezing and her drive way was a sheet of ice.
She backed out cautiously.
After a few feet, the vehicle stopped moving.
Stupid ice.
She pressed harder on the accelerator.
Still no progress.
Just a bit more.
Suddenly, the bumper of her vehicle popped off.
The whole thing.
Right off.
And it was at that precise moment that she realized she hadn't, as she had thought, been slipping on the ice.
Her bumper had snagged on the garage door.
The door had won.
She stopped the car and got out to survey.
Then, abandoning her travel plans for the afternoon, she went back into the house and stayed there.
Some time later, her Husby and his dad came to inspect.
Jen watched them as they shook their heads and muttered to each other.
Finally, they picked up the bumper and refastened it.
With cable ties.
It had been 10 years.
They were still driving that car.
And that bumper was still attached.
I happily passed the crown to her.
She’d earned it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


A peaceful kingdom. And a powerful sorcerer who simply wants to go home. A perfect setting for Sinbad, the hero of Baghdad. (And for a month of nightmares for an imaginative four-year-old.)

Things looked good in the kingdom of Persia. The neighbours were happy. The king was happy. The princess, Parisa—affianced to Sinbad—was happy. Sinbad had come home safely. All was well.

 Except that Sinbad had brought with him a traveler, Sokurah (EES-Expert of Evil Sorcery), plucked from trouble during Sinbad’s latest adventure. And who, now that troubles were well past, wanted his own bed. On his island.

Not one to brook refusal when it was unhelpfully offered, Sokurah EES curses the princess (see above), shrinking her to ‘Barbie’ doll size. Which Barbie, I should probably mention, hadn’t been invented yet.

Somehow avoiding suspicion it was Sokurah EES, himself who had done the deed, he offers help. IF they take him back to his island where he has the proper ingredients.

Confronted with the choice between a permanently-tiny daughter (under threat from everything including the family cat), and possible death and dismemberment, the King agrees. And equips a ship with men, stuff…and Sinbad.

The voyage is uneventful, apart from a few machinations à la Sokurah EES, one or two life-threatening storms and the agonizing and uber disorienting shrieks of sirens. You know—a normal ocean cruise.

When they come, at last, to the island, Sokurah EES conveniently disappears, taking Parisa with him, and leaving Sinbad and his men on their own. Ugh. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

But will Sinbad allow such small things as dragons, giant two-headed birds, cyclops and drunk sailors to bar his way to tiny true love? You obviously don’t know Sinbad very well. And…no. 

I should mention here that this is where we discover the reason Sokurah EES wanted to come home. It was to get the Genie’s lamp—with the genie—stored with the cyclops’ treasure.

And also: the scene where the cyclops is trying to eat Sinbad’s men by reaching into his treasure cave where they’re trapped? That is what gave me nightmares. Welcome to my world.

Soon Sinbad and his men have left a litter of dead bodies—see above vis-à-vis dragons, two-headed birds and cyclops—and found their way to the island’s very heart. And Sokurah’s very castle.  

Now all that stood between Sinbad and his lady love were three deceptively agile, sword-wielding skeletons. (Note: If they’re such good fighters now, how did they die in the first place? Hmmm?)

Of course, Sinbad wins against the Boney ones and confronts Sokurah EES, who turns out to be rubbish at anything resembling hand-to-hand combat. And of course, Parisa is restored, albeit by sword-tip encouragement.

Sinbad and Parisa flee, making a careful circuit around the dragon who guards the castle—because of course Sokurah would have a dragon guarding his castle—and reach the up-till-now deserted beach.

There they are reunited with the sober-and-still-alive half of Sinbad’s men. There they also confront the dragon, released and egged-on by a rather disgruntled Sokurah EES (some people you just can’t shake off).

There is a short battle between another cyclops who conveniently shows up, the dragon, and the genie (remember him?) in which the cyclops slays the dragon (and—oops—Sokurah ex-EES) and chases Sinbad.

Reduced to throwing rocks (albeit large ones) at the retreating Sinbad and crew, the cyclops then heads back to his part of the island to supposedly live in monocular happiness ever after.

Sinbad and Parisa and the remaining sailors set sail for home. But their surprises are not over. Unbeknownst to them, the genie has magic-ed (Diane word) the cyclops’ treasure to Sinbad’s cabin.

And don’t you love it when that happens?


Today’s post is a writing challenge. Each month one of the participating bloggers pick a number between 12 and 50. All bloggers taking part that month are then challenged to write using that exact number of words in their post either once or multiple times. 

This month’s word count number is: 32

It was chosen by: Mimi!


Check out my fellow bloggers and see how they used the number!  


Links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Messymimi’s Meanderings

Monday, January 17, 2022


We’d had our troubles in the past, but somehow we got through,

We'd gotten (fin'lly) to the year of 2022,

And as the New Year dawned, we had resolve, yes, it is true,

And gladly parked ourselves there in the ‘resolution queue’.


Perhaps it was a vow to lose the weight once and for all,

Get organized, learn something new, save more, spend less, stand tall,

Quit smoking, spend more time with family, both large and small,

Travel more and read more, don’t just live life at a crawl.


Yes, one or more of all these vows, we made while toasting drinks,

To (with the New Year coming on), renew ourselves, one thinks,

But then the days go hurtling past, much quicker than a wink,

And ‘life’ and problems take control ‘fore you can even blink!


Then January seventeenth is somehow there once more,

And, sadly, things look much the same as all the years before,

Your resolutions made so firmly had become a chore,

You’d skipped a day, then two or three, then fin’lly closed the door.


Please don’t think that those New Year’s vows were more than you could chew,

Allowing thoughts of ‘failure’ to creep in and make you blue,

And don’t be hard upon yourself, just look at what you do,

Achieving in a week what took past kin a month or two!


Those resolutions that you made weren’t signed or iron clad,

But mere suggestions you’d considered, be you lass or lad,

So here is my idea that will never make you sad…

Resolve to live each day in such a way that makes you glad!

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, we're back (or maybe front),
For OPPOSITES, we're on the hunt!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...
Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions (January 17) Today!

Opposite Day (January 24)

Typo Day (January 31) Celebrate those funny (autocorrect) mistakes. 

Kites (February 7)

Valentine (February 14)

Predictions (February 21)

DNA (February 28)

Telephone (or Say Hello Day) (March 7) 

Genius Day (March 14) 
Celebrating Poetry (March 21) 
Respect Your Cat Day (March 28) (Richard II's 1384 edict forbidding eating them.)
Imperfection (April 4)

Friday, January 14, 2022

Wrapping Up the Season

Of course it would happen.

Mort’s eyes were wide as he and Sally charged through the front door. “Hide us!” he screamed.

“What?” I jumped up from the couch where Peter and I had been happily—and normally—looking through a photo album. Why?”

The two of them stopped for breath.

“I don’t know!” Mort said. “The police were after us as we were walking back through the forest!”

“How do you know they were after you?”

“Because they hollered at us to stop.”

Yeah, that would be a fairly broad hint.

Peter had joined me. “Why? What did you do?”


I looked at Sally, who shrugged.

“We were just taking the tree to dump it in the forest,” Mort said. “Like everyone around here does.”

Sally nodded. “Maybe we shouldn’t have used a wheelbarrow?” Sally looked at him, then back at us. “Mort isn’t very good with a wheelbarrow and he lost the tree halfway across the levee. It fell all the way down into the aqueduct.”

“Or maybe it was because we walked across the levee?” Mort said. He looked at me. “Aren’t we allowed to cross the levee?”

It was my turn to shrug.

Peter looked out the window. “They’re here.”

“Oh, man! You have to hide us!” Mort said again.

“Mort, where?! They know you live here. Unless we find a capsule to stuff you and Sally in, or discover a way to transport you instantly to the Old Town and somehow erase our entire external surroundings, they’re going to find you!”

Peter shook his head. “Sally, I don’t know how it is you manage to incite shady activities from the most normal of actions, but, sister dear, this time you’ll have to accept the subsequent consequences!”

Sally shrugged again.

“But we didn’t DO anything,” Mort moaned.

“Then you have nothing to fear.” Peter crossed the entryway to answer a smart knock at the door. “Some in, officers,” he said.

The two men took off their hats as they entered. “We’re looking for Sally Hart . . .” the first one began . . .” Then, seeing Sally and Mort standing there, he put his hat back on. “Sally Hart, Mort Humphries, you need to come down to the station with us for questioning.”

Sally looked at him. “Why?”

“You were seen—by several witnesses—disposing of a body over the edge of the Ferness Aqueduct. Our men are looking for it now. Please come with me.”

“Ooooh!” Sally suddenly grinned and her eyes sparkled. “Can I be handcuffed?”

The man frowned. “Erm . . . yes?”

“Me, too!” Mort said, holding out his wrists.

The men shrugged and handcuffed the pair, then led them out the front door.

“Woohoo!” Sally screeched as they crossed the front yard. She held her hands up. “Mort and me are being arrested!”

Any neighbours who hadn’t been pulled from their houses by the flashing lights of the two police cruisers were certainly attracted, now, by Sally.

As usual.


I probably don’t have to tell you that Sally and Mort were soon home, dropped off by a rather red-faced patrolman who simply nodded. And left.

And that the crime they had been arrested for had not been a crime at all.

Merely, at the very worst, littering.

But, to be absolutely truthful, it was all Sally’s fault.

And she should have been arrested.

For crimes to wrapping . . . 

Our tree.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. Participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.


My words for today? subsequent consequences ~ pull together ~ capsule ~ Old Town ~ external surroundings ~ incite shady activities

They were submitted by my friend Tamara at    

Having fun? Here are the links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado 
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Small Lessons

My Husby had taken me to see The Hobbit.
We both loved it.
It is the story of a small, seemingly unremarkable person.
Who changes the course of his world’s history.
My favourite kind of story.
There is a place in the tale, where the man who was instrumental in starting this small person on his remarkable journey is asked why he did so.
Why did he choose as he did?
His answer?
He had noted that it’s the small things that truly make a difference.
The little, daily acts of kindness that matter.
Those ‘seemingly insignificant’ people whose small efforts effect the biggest changes.
I cried.
Because that is my reaction to everything.
And it got me thinking.
A few years ago, I wrote a novel, Magic. It is the story of one person who lives in a world which thinks that the sad, ill treatment of a particular group of people is, woefully, acceptable.
He stands against this thinking.
Alone, for the most part.
It is a story of courage.
A story of doing what is right, even when everyone around you disagrees.
The abused people in the tale?
They react to their ill treatment with kindness.
Even love.
In the ensuing years, I have been invited to visit dozens of schools in my area to discuss the lessons in this book with the children. To deliberate with them whether it’s okay for one group of people to treat another group with disdain.
Even cruelty.
At one point, to put things into their perspective, I have asked them to consider what they would do if a bully pushes them down, bruising and scraping their hands.
Then runs away laughing.
And shortly after falls, breaking his arm.
What would they do?
Every student . . . EVERY STUDENT . . . says immediately, that they would go and help.
I pretend to protest. 
“But he has just hurt you! He pushed you down!”
Universally, their answer, “But it’s the right thing to do!”
One young man said, “You don’t want to descend to his level!”
I have learned something amazing.
These smallest, seemingly unremarkable people in our world, are capable of the greatest acts of kindness.
The most forgiveness.
The purest love.
Qualities less seen among the adults. Especially in this present age of political division and differing ideologies.
So when do we lose that ability?
We must have had it.
But somewhere between childhood and growing up, it gets . . . lost.
I know I would think twice before going to help that person who was just mean to me. Or feel sorry for someone who ‘brought it on themselves’.
I think I would do it.
I hope I would.
I hope I would be like the children.
Would you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Ol’ Watercooler

Or you could do it that way . . .
There was no lawnmower in the early days on the Berg Ranch.
When the grass got long, the hay-mower could be used, but in smaller areas, this proved impossible.
One had to get creative.
The four-footed lawnmowers were brought out.
Usually, the well-trained saddlehorses would take care of the problem—filling their bellies and tidying the area at the same time.
But one year, three angus bulls were given the job. They spent their days tethered out among the trees, contentedly munching the long grass and growing fat in the cool shade. 
For water, someone would untie them, lead them across the yard to the trough by the barn, then take them back to continue their ‘work’.
It worked well. Till the ‘incident’.
Anyone who has lived on (or near) a farm can tell you that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ day.
Usually the dust-ups and uh-ohs are just something to laugh at.
And that was the case here.
One evening, several of my Berg uncles were leading the three members of their lawn maintenance crew to water. Grampa Berg happened to be standing there beside the trough as they approached.
Meanwhile, across the barnyard, two salesmen in a car slid to a stop. Seeing Grampa out in the yard, they started toward him.
All went well to this point. Bulls. Uncles. Grampa. Salesmen.
Now the bulls were used to their Berg attendants. And knew all of them by sight.
But these salesmen were new.
The inquisitive bulls decided they were worth investigating.
At a run.
Towing the boys.
The salesmen were understandably alarmed. And decided, individually and collectively, that their best course was to run.
Which they did.
Right into each other. 
Resulting in two stunned salesmen trying to crawl away along the ground.
The bulls stopped short and stared. Yep. Here was definitely something new . . .
I know you'll agree with me that there is all sorts of entertainment for us humans at our local ‘watering holes’.
Turns out it’s the same for the four-footed variety as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Day in the Life

Berg Family about 1940. Front row far left: Leif
Just off camera: Patsy
Without Patsy, things could have ended much differently.
Maybe I should explain . . .
Patsy was a German shepherd dog. Unremarkable in looks.
But loyal, playful, smart, fun, an excellent companion and confidante and—as you will see in this story—attentive and protective.
Patsy was little Leif’s constant companion.
Where the one went, so did the other.
If Mother was looking for her small son, she simply stepped to the door and called Patsy.
Who immediately steered her young companion home.
On a large mixed farm like the Berg family ran, it would have been easy for the youngest son to find himself in difficulties.
But not with a Patsy as companion.
And that’s where our story begins . . .
Leif and Patsy had been playing in the warm sun of a late summer day. Their explorations had led them to a large field of grain immediately adjacent to the farmstead.
The combination of the warm sun and tall, ripened grain were most inviting to a small boy and a snooze seemed appropriate. He curled up in a comfortable spot and nodded off.
At the same time as our little explorer drifted off to sleep, his elder brother and their father arrived with tractor and binder to begin harvesting the field. A small boy happily, rosily asleep in one of the furrows was completely invisible to them.
As they approached the place where Leif was asleep, they noticed Patsy.
Remember where I said ‘constant companion’?
Well that comes into play here.
The faithful dog was standing guard at the edge of field. They decided to stop the machinery and take a moment to check things out.
Patsy led them to where Leif was sleeping.
The boy was roused. With Patsy in close attendance, the two started the trek back toward the farm.
Instead of tragic, the incident was written off as 'another bit of farm life adventure'.

Just a regular day in the life of a good dog. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Too Peculiar

Let's celebrate peculiar people!

A man rode into town, ‘twas at the very end of day,

He and his trusty steed had both been long upon the way,

A drop of whiskey’s what he wanted; water for his horse.

Followed by a bite to eat and comfy bed, of course.


The only person moving in this most peculiar town,

Was the sheriff crafting gallows. The man looked them up and down,

The man, he saunters over, asks the sheriff, “Who’s the dupe?”

The sheriff answers, “Come on down and I’ll give you the scoop.”


“We have a most peculiar man in town, named Brown Bag Pete,

“And everything he wears? Made of brown paper. Head to feet,

“His hat (it’s true!), his boots are too, his shirts, his chaps, his slacks,

“Why even all his underwear—like big ol’ paper sacks!”


The man looked at the sheriff, then he frowned, “But tell me why

"You’d hang a good man just because he’s a peculiar guy?

“Is peculiarity a crime? For it, you kill him dead?

“What else has he committed, friend?” “Rustling,” the sheriff said.

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week when we all come to play,
It's 'Ditch Your Resolutions' day!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...
Peculiar People (January 10) Today!

Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions (January 17)

Opposite Day (January 24)

Typo Day (January 31) Celebrate those funny (autocorrect) mistakes. 

Kites (February 7)

Valentine (February 14)

Predictions (February 21)

DNA (February 28)

Telephone (or Say Hello Day) (March 7) 
Genius Day (March 14) 
Celebrating Poetry (March 21) 
Respect Your Cat Day (March 28) (Richard II's 1384 edict forbidding eating them.)
Imperfection (April 4)

Friday, January 7, 2022

Getting the Point

I had saved forever!

It was mine!
It's not fair!
Maybe I should explain . . .
In the early sixties, exciting things came in the mail.
Okay, yes, they still do.
But somehow, getting stuff in the mail is just a bit more exciting when you are eight.
Isn't it a beauty?
At least it was for me.
Probably because it didn't happen often.
Dad would stop at the post office and come out with the usual bushel basket of ranch mail.
Whereupon (good word) I would pounce.
“Dad! Is there anything for me?”
He would look at me, smile and say,” What's your name?”
“Sorry. Nope.”
I got smarter. Or at least more efficient. “Dad! Is there anything for me? My name's Diane.”
But the answer seldom changed.
“Sorry. Nope.”
But when I was eight, I discovered that you could 'order' stuff.
Free stuff. Lots and lots of it. The back pages of literally every magazine had rows and rows of ads from companies who were just aching to mail it to you.
It was a whole new world.
I scoured every magazine, gleaning offers of free stuff and sent out dozens of requests.
Then started receiving packages in the mail.
Games and puzzles.
It was like Christmas every time Dad went for the mail.
Now he no longer asked what my name was, he simply handed me packages.
Ahhhh. Valhalla.
Then I discovered something else.
First a little sidenote: Dad always kept a stock of ice cream and ice cream treats in the freezer.
For special times.
We weren't allowed to eat them without permission, though.
But that was all right because we received permission a lot.
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with ordering stuff.
That part comes now . . .
The ice cream treats had wrappers. Normally, we would simply throw them away when they had fulfilled their purpose. Then I discovered that there were offers printed on them.
From 'Popsicle Pete', whoever that was.
Offers for 'free' stuff.
Okay, I realize that they weren't strictly free, being as you had to buy the ice cream.
But I digress . . .
If you collected 'X' number of wrappers, you could order 'Y'.
I studied the selection.
I made my choice.
And hoarded my wrappers.
Eons later, I finally had enough. I could order that super amazing, extra special . . . knife.
Just what every eight-year-old needs, right?
Oh it wasn't just any knife. There was a picture of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman on it.
And it cost me every one of my 14 wrappers.
It was to become the heart of my collection.
Of stuff.
I sent out my wrappers.
And waited.
And waited.
Finally, Dad handed me that extra special package.
I tore into the paper and triumphantly held up my knife.
Whereupon (Oooh. Twice in one post.) Mom grabbed it.
“Diane! What are you doing with this?”
I stared at her. “It's mine. I ordered it.”
“You can't play with a knife!”
“I wasn't going to play with it!”
“What were you going to do with it?”
“Ummm . . . cut stuff?”
“Right. Your fingers, probably.” Mom carried my special treasure to the cupboard.
The one above the fridge. Incidentally, the only one in the whole house that I couldn't get to.
“Mom! I bought that!”
“I know, dear,” she said. “And I will give it back to you. After you turn ten.”
I stared at her in disbelief. “Ten?!”
“Yes. By that time, you will be old enough to own a knife.”
Ten?! That was forever!
I stared up at the cupboard.
Then at my Mom.
She couldn't possibly mean it.
“But . . . I bought it,” I said again, weakly. Maybe it would have more impact this time.
“I know, dear,” Mom said.
“But . . .” I could think of nothing else to say.
That's when the tears started.
Even those failed to move her.
For years, my knife had its home in that cupboard. Not to be discovered until we moved.
“Huh,” she said. “Look, Diane. Here's your knife.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot,” I said. I took it from her and looked at it. “Cute.”
“Diane! Can I have the knife?” It was my little brother, Blair.
Age? Ten.
I handed it to him.
One should never have to wait for their fun.

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?