Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mark . . . and Doors

Mark, tricycle fiend. Or just fiend.

Mark was angry.
And no one could get angry like our little three-year-old.
Anyplace would be better than this one.
Grandma's was infinitely superior.
She never made him clean up his toys or eat his meals.
He was leaving.
He had his pyjamas and Kermit the Frog.
He was packed.
And out of here.
I sat, nursing the baby, and watched him walk down the hallway, one leg of his sleeper hanging out through the improperly closed zipper of his backpack.
My little independent man.
“I'm going, Mom!” he said loudly, without looking back.
His 'declaration of independence' continued as he moved along the hall . . .
“I'm going!”
“Here I go!”
“Yup. I'm going!”
“Going to Gramma's”
“You won't see me!”
Yup. Living with Gramma now!”
By this point he had made it the entire length of the hall and was out of my sight.
There was a short pause and I could hear the sounds of movement and a tiny grunt.
Then, “Mom! Can you come and open the door?”
Yup. My independent little man.
Walking to his Grandmother's ten miles away.
If he could make it out of the house.
* * *
Mark was outside, riding his tricycle.
His favourite pastime.
He would navigate over the rough terrain surrounding our farmhouse with ease, little legs pumping happily.
I frequently went to the window to check on him.
But he was a safe driver.
He never went near the road, and would happily drive back and forth between the house and the root cellar/pumphouse.
Doing laps.
Totally safe.
Okay, so adventurous, he wasn't.
Or so I thought.
One afternoon, his grandfather drove in.
With the family travel trailer hitched to his truck.
I watched him wave at Mark.
Mark waved enthusiastically back.
Not only did Mark love his grandfather, but he loved that trailer.
It had the one door in the world he could open.
Whenever he was at Grandma's, it was his playground.
His grandfather parked beside the pumphouse and got out to do something.
I watched my son ride his tricycle towards the pumphouse.
And really didn't consider the trailer.
I went back to my laundry.
A short time later, the truck and trailer pulled out and disappeared towards town.
I went to the window to look for my boy.
And couldn't see him.
A feathering of alarm.
I quickly dashed out of the house.
He wasn't on his normal tricycle route.
I ran towards the pumphouse.
And found his trusty tricycle, laying on its side.
But no Mark.
I looked towards the settling cloud of dust that indicated the path of Grandpa's truck and trailer.
I knew where Mark had gone.
He had gotten into the trailer.
Would he stay there?
Or would he get scared and try to get out when the trailer was moving?
Okay, full blown panic.
Praying frantically, I ran for the phone.
“Mom! Has Dad come in with the trailer yet?”
“Not yet, Diane. Oh, wait, yes, here he is.”
“Could you please see if Mark is in the trailer?”
“Could you just look please?” I was crying by this time.
My little boy.
My little boy.
In a moment, she was back on the phone.
“Diane? He's safe! He's here! He was hiding under the table!”
Some prayers are well and truly answered.


  1. Do you trounce him or kiss him when you get him back? It's a wonder mothers survive with what the little devils put us through.

  2. Kids!!
    They give you heart attacks. lol

  3. Oh dear! The things our kids put us through! :) Right after we moved to the ranch I "lost" Trayser. He was 3. I looked and looked. I was sure he had gone down to one of the ponds and would be drowned for sure. I called my husband at work and he rushed home to help me look for him. We looked everywhere. Just as my panic was at its peak we found him. He was asleep. UNDER his bed. :)

  4. What terror. I "lost" my daughter one night when I reluctantly agreed to let her go with friends I had nagging doubts about. They abandoned her and we both were shambles before I could catch up with her. Hard lessons.

  5. I enjoyed reading this story - you've got to love little children - life is never boring around them.


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