Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Germ Warfare

You can almost see those germs...

Germs are a big thing right now.

When I was growing up, germs were something that lived in dog’s mouths.
Or cats.
Or any animals.
I was cautioned to avoid them.
Living on a ranch, that was a lot of avoiding.
It didn’t occur to me that there could be germs in someone else’s (human) mouth.
That paranoia didn’t show up until a few years later. When one of my friends wiped my germs off her pop bottle before she took a drink.
On with my story . . .
Supper time.
That special moment in the day wherein everyone gathers at the table to enjoy a home-cooked meal.
And some great visiting.
Okay, well, that’s what happens in the Tolley household.
Notice I didn’t say a great home-cooked meal.
Because, let’s face it, some of my experiments fail to jell.
Ahem . . .
On this particular night, I had made something that passed the ‘yummy’ test.
But also crossed the ‘sloppy’ barrier.
Most of us did well.
Four-year-old granddaughter (or GD4 for short) didn’t fare as well.
And needed tidying.
Her mother licked her finger and swiped at the little girl’s cheek.
The rest of us thought nothing of it.
We were obviously wrong.
GD4 looked passively at her mother in the midst of her cleaning. “You know, Mom, you just got germs all over my face!”
Her mom stopped. “Oh.” She looked at me. “Oops.”
I should probably mention here that GD4’s face failed to fall off.
Or turn green.
But we had been informed.
Coming from a four-year-old near you.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Equally Bad


Across the land, to one and all, the famine had a grip,

And rich and poor alike were in the famine’s membership,

And Widow Bette and teenaged son (named Jack, for all who care…)

Were skating rather closely to the edge of starved despair.


In desperation, Bette told Jack, “Take Emily...” (their cow)

“…and sell her.” (with the proceeds, they would get along somehow),

Obedient, the young man took the cow and started out,

Not knowing that the strangest tale was just about to ‘sprout’.


A stranger stopped the lad a mile or so along the way,

And asked him ‘whither, he was to’ on such a lovely day,

Jack indicated Emily and told him what was up,

And why Jack had embarked upon this personal ‘roundup’.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story: how our Jack endorsed the sale,

A cow for ‘magic’ beans. You know, a mistake of grandest scale.

How his disappointed mother threw those beans out on the lawn,

Then cried herself to sleep believing all her hope was gone.


You have to know those beans grew up. A stalk into the sky,

And Jack thought he'd explore (and have adventures by and by),

He climbed up to another land, where all folks were immense,

And there he pilfered lots of stuff--in situations tense.


That boy, he needed stealth, because you know, our little Jack

Was just the size and shape to be a giant’s midday snack,

It didn’t stop him stealing, though it kept him on the run,

Whene’er he heard the giant’s voice say, “Fee! Fie! Foe! And Fum!”


Then finally, he took the item Giant treasured most,

 (For evenings when relaxing or when parties he would host…)

A magic harp, the player of the sweetest music e’er,

Whose loss would surely fill our giant’s heart with deep despair!


The harp cried for his ‘Master!’ as Jack began to bear him hence,

It spurred our giant on to a more feverish defense,

He followed our young thief right down the beanstalk growing there,

And where the boy did lead, he neither thought about. Or cared.


But Jack was quick and reached the bottom. Turned and grabbed his axe,

Kept nearby for such things. (Now we've reached the tale's climax!)

When swinging frantically, he fin’ly chopped the stalk and all,

Not even mighty giants could survive that nasty fall.

Then Jack and Mom were happy as a family could be,

With all the stuff Jack stole they both could live quite comfortably,

Now I’ve heard theories claiming that the Giant stole them first,

The larger thief or small, opinions? Who d’you think was worst?!

Today is Fairy Tale Poetry Day!

Hop on over to my friend Karen to see what she posted!

You'll be happy you did...

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: The Moral is Morals

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Husby and I were on a holiday on beautiful Vancouver Island.

Our son lives there and as often as we could, we’d go out to visit.
To...ummm...see our son.
Not to walk the beaches and watch the ever-changing ocean or hike the endless woodland trails and visit the centuries-old trees or take a boat and deep-sea fish or gorge on freshly-caught cod and hand-made fries at our favourite restaurant...
Which incidentally makes the best coconut-cream pie I’ve ever tasted.
Just FYI.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. Island. Holiday.
One night, we were returning with our son from a day of rambles.
Our car was following the twisting, turning road into beautiful Courtenay.
A last long curve.
A curve marked by a line of reflective poles.
That lit up brightly as our car lights caught them.
One. Then the next. Then the next.
Each going dark as we passed them.
Watching them, I remembered something . . .

I was four and traveling with my family.
Nose pressed against the glass because I had been looking at a book but it had grown too dark to see anything.
Oh, and also because seat belts hadn’t been invented yet.
Every so often, we would pass by some small posts that lit up as we approached.
It was magical.
First one.
Then another.
I stared at them long and hard.
How did they do that?
How did they know to light up just as we were passing?
I thought about it.
Then finally figured it out.
Somewhere inside, there were little people who waited until we approached.
Then lit them just for us.
It was very kind of them.
And I was sure to thank each one.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Mom looked at me. “Who are you thanking?”
I pointed. “The little pole people.”
She didn’t ask.
She was used to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Shoes hide.

They do.
Especially when there is something important that they need to be at.
Movie night.
Going outside.
There are solutions.
Some of which are—creative—
Little sister was getting ready for Church.
She had been scrubbed shiny.
The only thing keeping her from heading out the door to the waiting car was a pair of Sunday shoes.
Oh, she could find her ratty every day sneakers.
Her manure-y boots.
Even her tall, black rain boots.
But nothing that resembled (or smelled) like it could be worn to church.
She had asked everyone.
Including—as a final act of desperation—Mom.
Who had responded with her patented: “I have no idea where I left them when I wore them last.”
In tears of despair, she sat down on the floor.
And that’s when she saw them.
The shiny tips of her black tap shoes.
Hmmm . . .
Not smelly.
Gleaming with care.
Definitely church-approved.
She grabbed them and put them on, jumped to her feet and headed for the door.
And that’s when their one drawback became apparent.
Remember when I said ‘tap’ shoes?
Well, that comes into play here.
In church generally, we are, for want of a better term, quiet.
And tap shoes...aren’t.
Let’s just say that Mom and Dad could keep track of everywhere she went.
And everything she did.
As could the rest of the congregation.
Yep. Creative solutions.
Sometimes more creative than solution.
But definitely memorable.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Looking At It


They had all been at their cousin’s birthday party.

It had been a much-anticipated opportunity for fun and games.
And had delivered on every level.
They had played in the pool.
Dashed through the sprinklers.
Had a water fight.
Screamed and laughed through several games.
Gorged on food and treats.
Sang and stuffed their faces with rich, gooey birthday cake and meltingly-creamy and delicious ice cream.
Tired, but entirely satisfied, they were lined up, ready to go home.
It was then they received the last perfect surprise to what had been a perfect day.
A large, loaded—identical—treat bag.
Brimming with anticipation, they dashed out to their car and their waiting Mama.
Submitted to the mundane but necessary process of seating and buckling.
Then, at last, the opening of that last hurrah.
That sweet, final cap on the day.
The icing on the cake, so to speak.
Sister dipped in her hand and emerged, holding a large, hand-frosted cookie.
“I got a flower!” she exclaimed.
Brother did the same.
Pulled out the same.
 “I got a flower, too!”
Little sister reaching eagerly into her bag of treats.
Grabbed her flower cookie by the other end and pulled it out and held it aloft excitedly.
“I got a squid!”
It’s all in how you look at it.

Monday, February 22, 2021


I love poetry, I do!
The rhythm and the cadence, too. 
Like dancing, but with words. And find
It brings my poem-loving Dad to mind.
And something else, taught long ago,
Before this girl'd begun to grow.
At long last to our topic. See?
My favourite word that starts with 'D'!


When I was four, my dad adored, and followed him around,
The things he did (to this small kid) did fascinating sound.
From ‘doing chores’ and things outdoors, to office work. With pens.
Well, I’d appear, interest sincere, and lots of time to spend.

Our barn, it burned, all were concerned, that year that I turned four.
Soon things were bought and experts sought. A barn was built once more.
Then we ranch folk (in a masterstroke) with this new elbow room,
Thought we’d have fun, perhaps some sun would clear away the gloom.

We’d have a dance. Some wheel and prance were what was needed now.
Our neighbours, too, would gloom eschew, and our new barn endow.
We hired a band who took command, and music did ensue,
We ate and twirled and stomped and whirled from hello through adieu.

I don’t recall that much at all, I do remember this:
My dad was there, in shined footwear, and nothing was amiss.
He took my hands and had me stand upon those shiny toes,
Then slowly lead (my fears all fled), and love for Daddy rose.

The days have passed, the years amassed, I don’t remember much,
Though far I gaze, that’s day’s a haze, of people, stuff and such.
I know they had both good and bad, some happiness and woes.
One thing that’s best above the rest. I danced on Daddy’s toes.

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 JennyCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Of course, it must be recognized,
Its flavour has us hypnotized,
So this next Mondy, you'd won't dread,
Cause on it PEANUT BUTTER's spread!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Peanut Butter Day (March 1)
Be Nasty Day (March 8)
Pi(e) Day (what else would it be?) (March 15)
World Poetry Day (March 22)
Something on a Stick Day (March 29)
Read a Road Map Day (April 5)
Favorite invention (From Mimi) (April 12)
National Garlic Day (April 19)
The ocean or beach (From Mimi) (April 26)
The best thing about spring (From Mimi) (May 3)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Borrowed Hammer

 I love ancestor stories . . .

The Council House was being built in Manti, Utah, using volunteer labour.
And borrowed tools.
My Great Great Grandfather (hereinafter known at GGGrandfather) Jeremiah Stringam was one of those labourers.
With one of those borrowed tools.
In this instance, a hammer, lent to him by his friend, Augustus Dodge.
GGGrandfather, together with the rest of the crew, was busily laying flooring on the upper level of the mostly-finished building when the call came for lunch.
Setting the hammer down, he happily answered said call.
When he returned, he discovered that everyone had not left when he did, but had continued working.
And the entire floor had been finished.
In dismay, he looked over the beautiful job, knowing that, somewhere under those boards, was the hammer he had borrowed.
Yeah. I know. That happens to things I borrow, too.
Back to my story . . .
He found Augustus and told him his dilemma. He added, “If you’re around when that building is demolished, I guess you can claim your hammer.”
Moving ahead . . .
In 1910, fifty-plus years and a new century later, the Council House was scheduled for removal to make way for a spanking new library.
GGGrandfather, now an elderly man, heard the exciting announcement and went to observe the proceedings.
When the time came for the floor in the upper story to be removed, he was on hand to personally examine the space under every board as it was pulled up.
And finally, there it was.
Augustus Dodge’s borrowed hammer. Safe and sound.
There's a lesson in this.
Always return what you borrow.
Even it it's centuries later.
P.S. I wonder what the fine would be on that 'library book'?!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Washed. And Red


In Canada, we have SEASONS.

I emphasize the word because some of them are extreme.
Particularly our winter.
But during the shoulder seasons (Spring and Fall), it isn’t unusual to see four different kinds of weather in one day.
We can go from sun to rain to snow to hail. All during one lunch hour.
There is a saying: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.
I have a reason for telling you this.
All this weather is hard on vehicles.
Those trusty steeds that must weather . . . the weather.
They get—for want of a better term—filthy.
Okay, yes, we have car washes.
A plethora (Ooh! Good word!) of them.
And, for the few minutes of every sunny day, they are CROWDED.
So one has to be ready and able to head to the nearest car wash at a moment’s notice.
People with children and schedules may wait months to get a place in line.
Enough background . . .
DIL had taken her family to the library so her kids could sled down the library hill with their father.
And, as the day was sunny, took the opportunity to get into line for the car wash.
She returned sometime later to pick up her breathless and weary, but exhilarated family.
She bundled up her smallest daughter and packed her to the car.
As they approached, her daughter asked, loudly, “Where is our car?”
Her mother pointed to the shiny red beauty in front of them. “Here it is.”
Her daughter looked at it, then at her mother. “Our car is red?!”
Yeah. Wash your cars.
You may be surprised at what you find...

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Way Past Speeding

I'm quite sure this flashed past.
And I do mean flashed.
We teenagers in Milk River lived an hour from the bright lights of Lethbridge.
Let me start again. 
Everybody in Milk River lived an hour from Lethbridge.
The teenagers . . . a little less.
Maybe I should explain . . .
It was Friday night.
The only theatre in Milk River was showing something that none of my group was interested in seeing.
It happened occasionally. 
Now that we were old enough to legally drive, we were becoming less and less enamoured with what our small town offered and more and more interested in what we could find in the big city.
Twice as many choices for movie-watching, for example.
The only problem on this particular evening was our timing.
We had decided, en masse, that the movie we were all assembled to see was far less interesting than one of the choices currently running in Lethbridge.
And we had decided this while we were standing on the sidewalk, waiting to get in.
Half an hour before either movie was set to start.
Could we make it?
Our driver of the evening gave a nonchalant shrug of the shoulder and a flippant toss of the head. “Of course!”
That was all we needed.
We, ten of us, piled – and I do mean piled – into his car. Four in front. Six in back.
Seatbelts hadn’t been invented yet.
And we were off.
We cleared the town limits, then our driver ‘buried the needle’.
And that’s when the reality of the situation hit me.
What we were doing went beyond speeding.
I’m quite sure we were flying.
At one point, I think I glimpsed Saturn.
I should probably point out, here, that I don’t like traveling at high speeds. In fact, horse and cart is my usual form of transportation. And let’s face it, Old Bessy really wouldn’t make much of a showing on the Indianapolis circuit.
Back to my story . . .
I was so terrified that I spent the entire trip flat on my stomach on the back floor under everyone’s feet. It was the safest place I could think of.
Once I poked my head above the seat and stared in awe at the needle. 
Which was flat against the little pike at the bottom of the speedometer.
How do you say ‘yikes’?
Oh, right. 
We made it safely.
In twenty-four minutes.
The only casualty was my equilibrium.
I don’t even remember what the movie was.
Can anyone say ‘irony’? We took our lives in our hands for a movie that none of us can even remember. The very essence of being a teenager.
But if any of my grandkids try this . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Sweet Ride to Morningtown

Have you ever felt that if your life winked out tomorrow that would be all right with you?
Because you know that you would be remembered?
Well, that just happened to me.
To understand how I’ve arrived at this conclusion, you have to know this:
That our family has its ROUTINES when it comes to bedtime.
Set in stone.
Don’t mess with this.
There will be cosmic significance.
Allow me to describe said ROUTINE . . .
There are several steps beginning with the Bath and the all-important choosing and donning of the PJs. Then the nearly as important bedtime snack (or three) followed by the brushing-of-the-biters. (Probably the least favourite part of the whole getting-ready-for-bed routine.) Once the teeth are shiny, we have prayers, story reading and lights out.
Then the song.
The culmination of the whole sequence.
This song, like the story and prayer, can vary, depending on the mood of the child.
It just doesn’t.
For this part, you need a bit of background . . .
When our oldest grandchild was two, she had her first sleep-over with Gramma and Grampa. Gramma sang Gramma’s favourite ‘sleepy’ song, Morningtown Ride.
And, unwittingly created a legacy.
Now every grandchild, whether going to sleep at Gramma’s or at home, has to have Morningtown Ride sung.
At least once.
How do I know this?
During a holiday, our DIL, Barb, was putting her two youngest chicklets to bed.
And suddenly, from their bedroom came the familiar words Train whistle blowing . . .
Later, DIL explained that every one of her children—and their cousins—have to have that song sung every night.
It was truly brought home during a ‘cousin’s sleepover’ (pre Covid). Gramma was putting all the younger girls, and one boy, ages 6 to 10) to bed. When it was time for the culminating song, the unanimous choice was (you guessed it) Morningtown Ride. When Gramma started to sing, six little voices joined in. (And then carried on alone because Gramma was crying.) 
Yep. Gramma could die tomorrow.
And she’d be remembered.
Wanna hear the song?  Morningtown Ride

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Muffet Conundrum

First of all, a little background...
Little Miss Muffet, Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, And sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away. Just FYI, I can’t claim this little ditty…

 But I’ve always loved it. And you know why? Because that little girl could have been me. Yep. I love cottage cheese. And hate spiders. Both of which feature rather strongly in this sweet little tale of gluttony and cowardice.

Let’s look into the story, shall we? Examine it with just a little more depth? Because don’t you just love to lift the skirts and get to the petticoats of a story? Hmmm…maybe that’s an unfortunate way to put it.

Miss Muffet, (We’ll call her Agnes, shall we?) was a happy, cheerful little girl. Full of hopes and dreams. Perhaps just a bit more of the latter than was practical, but, let’s face it, she was only just past six.

Her days were spent either in her pretty little bedroom, playing with her numerous toys or in the garden, having Adventures. (Notice the capital ‘A’ in adventures? That’s cause they were Amazing!) There, she was limited only by her imagination.

Oh, and by spiders. Well, most bugs. But especially spiders. Because they had so many spiky, hairy legs. And were just so…crawly. With a knack for showing up at awkward and unexpected moments. And in the wrong (ie: close) proximity.

One fine day, Agnes was playing with her puppy, Dribble (named by her normally placid father following a rather unfortunate episode involving a too small puppy bladder and Papa’s bedroom carpet), or ‘The-Right-Honorable-Poopsie-the-Third’ as he was in this story.

The two of them had just conquered ‘Mount Olympus’ (Agnes’ nanny had been reading to her from the Big Book of Greek Myths. That Hercules. Am I right? Yow.) and were in the process of much celebratory eating and drinking.

Okay, yes, in the myths, said eating and drinking included such things as wine. And wine poured over roasted meats. Definitely some wine-soaked bread. And cheese. Agnes was six. From that menu, her choices were extensively limited. Ummm…yeah.

Sooo…cheese. In this story, like Agnes, said cheese was in its infancy, before all the sweet stuff has been squeezed out and the whole lot aged. (ie: grown up). In modern terms, cheese from the farmer’s own kitchen. Or…cottage.

Agnes loved it. In fact, most mornings/afternoons/evenings, one could find Miss Agnes seated on her favourite low stool (or tuffet for those who don’t have access to Wikipedia) with a tasty little bowl of the stuff. And a spoon.

Many a triumph had been celebrated to its creamy, clarion call. Many a defeat drowned. Many an Adventure summarily interrupted. And always, the sweet rapture of that first delectable taste. The soft, melting curd. The salty tang of the whey.

Agnes had just seated herself prettily on her tuffet—heels and knees together. Head up, spine straight and shoulders back (This was the 1800’s after all) and received her little bowl of tasty, delicious-ness. Wasting no time, she tucked in.

And that’s when Dribble started to whine. Now, at first, Agnes assumed (not surprisingly), that what had pressed her little dog into vocalizing was that innate ‘doggins’ desire: food. In fact, Agnes' instinctive, effective, corrective spoon had already been raised.

Then Agnes realized Dribble’s sharp brown eyes were not—as per usual—trained on his mistress’ treat. Rather, they were watching something…beside her. Now I don’t know about you, but when someone is alarmed about something ‘beside’ me, I...react.

Agnes lowered her spoon and slowly turned to see what it was Dribble was so doggily concerned about. She sucked in a breath. A spider. Making its spiky, hairy-legged way across the tuffet in her direction. Panic was decidedly indicated.

Now you may picture an elegant departure from said tuffet, heels and knees together and spine straight. Myself, I’m going with a bowl shooting straight into the air, skirts and petticoats flying as a screaming little girl disappears somewhere spider-less.

Little Miss Muffet may have lived in the 1800’s, but I’m a modern 2021girl. And BTW, what’s with those skirts and petticoats? I think I’ll picture her in dusty jeans and slightly muddy boots and with a spunky, can-do attitude.

In fact, I think I’ll stick with my Daddy’s version of the story: Little Miss Muffet, Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey, Along came a spider, And sat down beside her...So she squashed it with her spoon.



'Word Counters' is a totally fun once-a-month challenge featuring a specific number of words. No more. No less.

This month’s number was: 40

Chosen by our intrepid leader, Karen of Baking In A Tornado

Ready to explore some more?

Hop over to the other amazing participants!

Karen of Baking in a Tornado

Mimi of Messymimis Meanderings

Monday, February 15, 2021

Through Our Pets' Eyes


My sweet Pandy-girl. Who saves me every day.

Do you ever wonder what fur babies think?

When they’re around us, do they reckon we stink?

If we’re standing there, naked, and they stop and stare,

Are they wondering how we stay warm with no hair?

And rolling in things that we people condemn,

Do they snigger and smile cause there’s more just for them?

When we throw a ball for them, day after day,

Do they shake their heads wond’ring how it gets away?

When we go for a walk, are they just helping out,

Making sure that we’re healthy while moving about?

And watching us eat with those big, solemn eyes,

Do they simply ensure that no problems arise?

When we stare at a screen for the hours on end,

Are they thinking, “You’re rotting your brain, my dear friend!”

When they poke with the nose or lay down on the keys,

Are they saying that we need a break? (If you please!)

And when they refuse to respond when we call,

Merely pointing out what we would do, is banal?

Do they spend their lives trying to make us behave?

With the hope that so doing will Master’s life save?

Extending their lives with our caring and fuss…

Have you thought that they’re doing the same thing to us?

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 JennyCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Check next week with us, you'll see

Our favourite word that starts with 'D'!


Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?

We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...

Favourite Word that Starts With D (February 22)

Peanut Butter Day (March 1)

Be Nasty Day (March 8)

Pi(e) Day (what else would it be?) (March 15)

World Poetry Day (March 22)

Something on a Stick Day (March 29)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

God's Tree

My 18th novel has just become 

available to order!

Need something warm and wonderful during these cold, winter months/cool summer evenings?
How about a story about some very special children?

Children are our heritage.
But throughout the world, children are suffering. Disease, famine, war.
It breaks the heart.
What if there was a way to heal these children? To simply take them to a place where any malady: genetic, bacterial, viral, accidental could be freely and instantly healed.
God’s Tree is born from this wish . . .
When DeeAnn and her small family move to the Midwestern United States, they are merely seeking convenience for her husband’s rapidly-growing IT business.
And trees.
What they find, or rather their eight-year-old son, Bryce, finds is something much, much more. One special tree guarded by a creature with a sword.
This ‘Guardian’ allows the young boy to eat the fruit of its tree. And to bring other children to do the same. In each case, these children are instantly and remarkably healed.
By the tens, then by the tens of thousands, children are brought.
And healed.
But in this world, no miracle can go unchallenged. Where most rejoice at these recoveries, there is an element—those whose careers involve the treatment of childhood illnesses—who do not.
The two parties meet in the court case of the millennium, and it is Faith that is on trial.
Who will win? And will the outcome end the miraculous work that goes on at God’s Tree?
This story was a work of love for me.
Because nothing—nothing—is more important than our precious children.
They are our future. Our next generation.
The ones who will be caring for me and my peers when we become too aged and feeble to do so ourselves!
I do hope you enjoy God’s Tree!

Friday, February 12, 2021


“Well, I can’t believe you’d just recycle it without at least letting me know it had come!”

“Come on, Sal, it was just a stupid letter from the bank. One of those ‘We can make you glowingly rich if you give us all your money’ offers.”

“Addressed to me!”

“Or ‘Occupant’.”

“Well, it was my first one and I would like to have been able to at least read it.”

Mort spoke up for the first time. “Isn’t it still there?”

We both looked at him.

“Isn’t it still there? I mean trash day isn’t until tomorrow. So doesn’t that mean the letter will still be in the bin at home?”

“Huh.” Sally suddenly grinned. “Yeah! Clever boy, Mort!” She and Mort shared a high five.

“Come on, you two.” Mom waved a hand. “The elevator’s here.”

“I love these old elevators,” Sally said as she and Mort followed Mom and me inside. “The ones with the old accordion gates. It’s like stepping back into time!”

“Yeah.” Mort’s freckled face was dimpled with smiles. “Cool!”

He and Sally carefully pulled the door shut.

I shook my head. “Well they make me nervous.” It’s true. They do.

Mom looked at me. “Don’t worry, Dear. They inspect these things all the time. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe!” She pushed the button for ‘six’.

I snorted. Of course, we were going to the sixth floor. Why couldn’t the eye doctor take up residence closer to the ground? Like sensible people?

The elevator groaned and started to rise. Slowly. I rolled my eyes and leaned against the brass rail that ran around the inside wall.

Mort and Sally were watching the floor indicator above the door as it passed the two. The three. The four.

And that’s where it stopped.

Along with elevator. With a galvanic jerk that nearly sent us all to our knees.

I gripped the rail. Perfect.

“There’s no box,” Mom said.

“What?” I looked at her. She was indicating the wall beside the controls. “No box.”

“No phone?”

She shook her head.

“Better and better.” I pulled out my phone. “Well I, for one, am not about to…” I held the phone up. Then lifted it above my head. Then walked around the prison…erm…elevator. Then shoved the useless thing back into my pocket.

“No reception?” Mom asked.

“Of course not,” I told her. “We’ve actually stepped back in time.”

“Oooh!” Sally clapped her hands excitedly. “An adventure!”

“Cool!” Mort added.

“Are you kidding me?” Okay, I wasn’t in the best of moods to start with. Because…letter. And maybe a bit of animosity. And now this?

Sally bounced up and down on the balls of her feet.

I put out a hand. “Please stop that.”

She did, but her wide grin went on. And on.

 “Well, we’ll just have to wait until we’re discovered,” Mom said.

I stared at her. “In this centuries-old box? Hanging from a geriatric string hundreds of feet in the air?”

“Honey, I’m sure it’s been inspected…”

“Then why didn’t they install a call-box?”

Mom was silenced.

We slid to the floor, well, Mom and I did. Sally and Mort were making fun new discoveries.

“Look, Mort. Behind this little door is some of the old wiring!’


“And this little light. I don’t ever think I’ve seen a bulb like that.”


“Wow. Think how old this elevator must be! Probably the oldest one in the whole city!”

Or the oldest one…ever. I tried not to listen.

“I think they just painted over the old wallpaper. Look. It’s flocked. I’ll bet it’s as old as the elevator itself!” The two of them went on.

I put my earbuds in and turned on some music.

Eight songs later, Sally, who had finally been convinced to sit down by the entreaties of a tearful Mom, got to her feet. “Well, I’m not going to sit around here and wait. Come on, Mort.”

I pulled my earbuds out. “What?”

“We’ll be right back.” Sally climbed on Mort’s shoulders.

“Can you reach it?” he asked.


I stood up as well. “What are you…?”

Sally was pushing up on a little hatch in the ceiling.

“It’s a door,” she said. “Probably for the people who inspect this elevator.”

“Sally, it’s never been inspected in its entire existence.”

Sally grabbed the upper edge. Then she pulled herself up. “Hey! Lookit this!” A moment later, a rope ladder tumbled down from the hatch. “Come on Mort!”

Mort tested it with a foot. Then with his weight. “Looks good.” He started to climb.

Mom stood and put out a hand. “Mort, honey, I’m not sure if this is wise.”

I rolled my eyes. Sally and/or Mort and ‘wise’ in the same sentence?

“It’ll be fine, Mom. We’ll be right back!” He disappeared.

Mom and I stared up at the little hatch, listening to the sounds of the two of them finding their way out.

“Yay!” we heard them say, faintly. Obviously, they had been successful.

Mom and I sat down once more. And waited.

I kept expecting to hear the sounds of men and equipment. Maybe a siren or two.



“We’re back!”

Mom and I looked up to see Mort’s smiling face in the hatch opening. “Here. Take these!”

He handed down a little tray with four ice cream cones in it.

Mom and I got up and reached for them. “Erm…”

“We’re coming down!”

First Mort, then Sally descended the ladder and were once again standing with us in our little box.

Mom and I stared at them.

“Sally,” Mom began. “Did you…?”

“Better start eating them,” Sally said. “You don’t want them to melt.”

Instinctively, I reached for one of the cones and started licking. It did taste good.

Mom did the same.

Sally and Mort happily sat down, enjoying the treat.

Just then, we heard the sounds of knocking. Someone…outside. “Anyone in there?!”

“Yes!” Mom and I jumped to our feet. “Yes! We’re in here!”
“Stand away from the doors. We’ll get you out!”

The doors opened a crack and we could see the tip of a large pry bar. Then, as the doors were forced further apart, we could see faces. And emergency gear.


Finally, the doors were forced fully back. A man in a fireman’s hat was looking up at us.

“You folks been in here long?”

“Oh, an hour or so,” Mom said.

He looked at the ice cream cones melting in our hands. “An hour?”

“It was so cool!” Sally said, jumping to her feet. “This is the most awesome place! Have you seen the old wiring and lightbulbs?”

“Uh…yeah, we have.”

The four of us were helped down to the floor by some very confused-looking emergency workers. 

We thanked them and headed for the nearest stairway. 

Finally, standing, once more, in the foyer on the good old ‘safe’ ground level, I couldn’t wait any longer. “Sally, when you left, didn’t you go to get help?”

She looked at me. “Are you kidding? And miss all the fun?” 


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 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.

My words this month were: animosity ~ elevator ~ letter ~ recycle.  And given to me by my sweet friend, Rena at :

Come and see what my other friends have created! 

BakingIn ATornado                   


Part-timeWorking Hockey Mom    


TheCrazy MamaLlama                            


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