Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our Worst First Job

Not his favourite picture!

It was my husband's first job following our marriage.
He was . . . excited.
Foreman of a home-building company.
Sounded prestigious.
And it would be.
Once they got the plant built.
His new boss had a plan that would cut down on initial costs significantly.
They would remodel the boss' pig barn.
It was the right size.
It was in fantastic shape.
It just needed a few touches.
First, and most important, the removal of the pigs.
Then, and nearly as important, the cleaning of the sewer system, still full of . . . ummm . . . sewer stuff.
For those who don't know, a pig barn has little ditches running through it. Ditches that are covered by grates and which catch all of the 'icky' stuff.
When the system gets too full, a truck is brought in.
A special truck, with a large tank and hose.
This hose is inserted at the proper place and all sewage is quickly and cleanly removed.
The truck drives away and discharges its load onto the nearest farmer's field, providing nutrition to growing plants.
Not a pleasant job.
But a necessary one.
And it needed to be done before the building of the building factory could continue.
Grant's boss brought in the truck.
The two of them made quick work of draining the sewers.
Then, the next step.
The discharge.
Normally, this would be the easiest part.
You would simply remove the hose.
Reverse the switch.
And stay upwind.
Things started out well.
Sewage was being discharged at a normal rate.
Then, suddenly, it stopped.
Oh the motor was still running strongly.
It's just that nothing was coming out.
Cautiously, the two of them leaned over to peek into the discharge valve.
"Ah!" Grant's boss said. "I see the problem. Look. It's plugged right there." He pointed. He straightened and began to walk around, kicking at the dirt.
Finally, he spotted a large stick and brought it back to where Grant was still waiting.
"I can fix it," he said, cheerfully. He poked the stick into the valve.
"No, wait . . ." Grant started.
He got no further.
Kaaaablooooie! Or words to that effect.
Let me put it this way . . . neither of them had time to get out of the way.
I'm sure I don't need to describe the scene.

There is an addendum.
It was nearly time for Grant to get home from work.
I was just checking on our evening meal when his truck pulled into the yard and ground to a halt.
Ah! Early. Good. We could have a visit before we sat down to eat.
I glanced through the window.
Just in time to see my young husband, in his underwear, leap from the truck and scamper towards the house.
I admit it. My first thought was, 'Wow! Eager!'
He whipped open the door, tossed me a brief, 'Hi!' and headed directly for the bathroom.
There was the sound of the shower, then a loud, "Ahhhh!"
Now there's something that didn't happen every day.
I walked into the bathroom. "Hard day, Honey?"
"I'll tell you about it!" he said over the sound of the water.
And he did.
I thought it was hilarious.
He didn't.
Extra note: Grant's hastily shed clothes remained in the box of the truck until weeks of weather made it possible for them to be removed to the trash.
But the memories remained.
Some things you just can't wash out.


  1. There are some things you would like to forget but can't...

  2. Thanks Diane for joining my blog. And how fun is yours ? Hwata great way to share your families legacy. I'll be back ! (yes, part threat part promise)

  3. well a little fertilizer never hurt anyone.
    I bet it made the hair on his chest grow. lol
    Poor guy lol

  4. So funny. I think pig smell is the worst:) Hope he recovered from his ordeal unharmed:)

  5. "Hard day, Honey?" lol

    You are a wonderful story teller. I'm sure your husband is thankful you remember the "good" times. =)


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