Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Parents Always Find Out . . .

Not-Quite-Sanctuary. The family ranch in Fort MacLeod.

You can't hide things from your parents.
Just ask me.
Okay, I'll tell you . . .
I had my first 'official' job.
My Dad would argue this, as I worked for him for eight years.
But my first job-away-from-daddy's-ranch job.
It involved moving to Calgary, a city two hours to the north.
And all the things that 'moving out' entails.
Back to my story.
I had been an official Monday to Friday resident of Calgary for four months.
And feeling mighty independent as I made my weekly drive to my parent's ranch to fill my gas tank and stock up on food.
You look at 'independence' your way and I'll look at it in mine.
Just as I was driving into Claresholm, a small town just north of  the ranch, an ad came on the radio.
A rather effective ad, as it turns out.
Wherein (good word) different people were asked what is most important in their lives.
There were various answers, the last of which is 'family'.
Followed immediately by the sound of screeching tires and an obvious vehicle collision.
I hadn't seen my family in six days.
Okay, yes. And I'm a wuss.
The ad hit me hard.
I started to cry.
At that point, things got a little confused.
My Old English Sheepdog, Muffy, happily ensconced in her seat of power (commonly known as 'shotgun') came unglued.
Tears did that to her.
She alternately tried to lick my face.
And crawl into my lap.
Neither of which is very desirable when one is hurtling along the road at 40 MPH.
Which, if I could have seen clearly, should have been 30 MPH.
You can guess what happened next.
Red and blue lights erupted just after the last intersection.
And a wavery figure was indicating, rather forcefully, that I pull over.
He poked his head into my car, took one look at my red-rimmed eyes and tear-drenched face and immediately withdrew.
"Come to my car when you've composed yourself," he mumbled.
Then disappeared.
I dried my face and blew my nose.
Then calmed Muffy, who was still under the mistaken impression that I needed some good, doggy-style comforting.
Then I made my way over to the officer's car.
We had a nice chat, which culminated in an issued ticket for $25.00 and a warning to 'be more careful'.
Then, just as I reached for the door handle, the officer said, "If you don't mind. Why were you crying?"
I rolled my eyes. "It's silly, really," I told him.
"Do you mind telling me?"
"No." I related the entire fiasco, sparked by the ad on the radio.
It lost nothing in the telling.
I so love a good story.
He chuckled.
Yes. People did that back then.
Chuckled, I mean.
"I remember when I first went out to Regina for my RCMP training," he said. "I was one homesick puppy! I had never been away from home and I really missed my family."
We chatted a while longer.
Mostly about families and missing them.
And the incongruence (real word) of airing radio ads about car accidents specifically designed to make people cry.
And cause more car accidents.
I know. It doesn't make sense to me, either.
Then I left.
A few days later I paid my ticket and all was forgotten.
Or so I thought.
Moving forward several weeks.
I was sitting at the kitchen table when my parents came back from a quick trip to Calgary.
Dad came in and stopped beside my chair.
"How do you know an RCMP officer in Claresholm?" he asked.
I stared at him.
RCMP Officer? I didn't . . .
I had to tell them the entire story, which I had formerly neglected to tell them.
Due to my reluctance to confess.
Dad chuckled.
See? Chuckling again. It did happen.
"So how did you find out?" I demanded.
"Your mother and I just went through a check-stop in Claresholm," Dad said.
"Oh," I said.
"And this very kind and cheerful officer took one look at my license and asked me if I had a daughter, Diane."
"Oh," I said again.
"You can't blame us for being curious."
"Umm . . . so . . . what did he say?" I could feel my face getting red.
I hate it when that happens.
"He just told us that we had quite a daughter."
"Your Mother and I agreed with him." Dad smiled. "He handed back my license and waved us off."
"Oh." For a normally talkative person, I was really groping around for something to say.
Dad patted my arm.
"And don't speed," he said.
See? Parents always find out.


  1. Diane, too right! Parents always find out! Sadly, they find out the bad stuff more often than they do the good stuff. hee hee! I could never do anything without my mother getting word of what I was up to. There was always a neighbor, a friend, or any eyewitness willing to give testimony of what she or he had seen. I think half the times I was grounded, it was because of these eyewitness accounts! :)

    1. You're so right! Why is it that bad news travels the fastest? Rotten eyewitnesses. My parents often knew what I'd been up to before I even got home . . .

  2. :-)

    It's a small, small world.

    And rightly so!


    1. You know, I just thought of something. That RCMP officer was cute! I definitely dropped the ball on that one . . .

  3. Darn those tear-jerker ads! They get me all the time, too! Even if someone else is just describing them to me!

  4. ya it's like you have it written on top of your forehead lol
    Small world lol

    1. Is that is? It's written on the top of my head?! Why didn't I think of that?!

  5. Cute Mountie, huh! "Dropped the ball on that one," huh!!! Harrumph!

    Chopped Liver Husby

  6. This story elicited a chuckle from me as well! Reminds me of my own run-in just a few months ago with two different policemen within two weeks... I was crying my eyes out with the first one... after running through a red light and then running a stop sign just around the corner. There are times it's a really good thing to live in a small town! He let me go... on both counts.

    PS - I love your husband's comment just above mine! haha

    1. My husby's so tickled that you realized it was him! And I love small towns, too! Sigh.

  7. It is not just hard to drive through tears, it's hard to type. I remember once visiting my parents farm and as I left my Dad asked " Do you wear your seatbelt?"(This was before it was mandatory). I answered that I usually did but that I always belt the girls up in their care seats. He said "So if you get in an accident your girls will be safe. They may not have a mother but they will be safe". I have not forgotten those words and even though my Dad has been gone from this world for almost 25 years his words live on. Oh how I miss him.

    1. Oh, Marlene, what a sweet memory! 25 years! Make sure you write them down! They only get sweeter as the years pass by!


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