Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The 'Eyes' Have it

The Stringam ranch house had one delicious feature.
That kids love.
And parents hate.
The kitchen ran right into the hallway, which ran into the living room, which ran back into the kitchen.
Or, alternately, if one wanted to change things up a little - from the kitchen into the living room into the hallway, back into the kitchen.
It was a perfect setup.
For running laps.
Which we did.
Usually at mealtimes.
Because it kept us near the kitchen.
But not completely under Mom's feet.
Unfortunately, in an effort to keep us safe, Mom would inevitably holler, “You kids stop that before someone loses an eye!”
We would stop.
Oh, not because we were afraid of losing something important.
But because Mom usually had a large spoon or knife in one hand when she said it.
Okay, yes, we were afraid of losing something important.
Moving on . . .
It was suppertime.
Mom was cooking.
My brother and I were running.
Mom said, “You kids stop running! Someone's going . . .!”
That was as far as she got.
I skidded out on the corner.
Just going into the turn between the living room and the hallway.
There was a chair there.
It, and my eye, had what could only be called a 'close encounter'.
It won.
Remember what Mom said about 'losing an eye'?
Well, she was close . . .
There was the sound of contact.
Then the pause.
Then the shriek.
Mom came running.
I was writhing around on the floor, screaming.
Both hands clamped over my right eye.
I'm sure Mom's heart probably stopped.
She pulled my hands away.
Probably expecting to see the fulfilment of her prognostication (Oooh, good word!).
Fortunately for me, it hadn't happened.
The fulfilment, I mean.
My eyebrow had taken the brunt of the blow.
It puffed up and out quickly and remarkably.
I looked like a prize fighter.
Mom dragged me, still screaming, into the kitchen.
Where she produced her largest and deadliest-looking knife.
I stared at her, then clamped my hands back over my injured and puffy eye and screamed, “No, Mom! Don't cut it off!”
You see, when she picked up the knife, she had been looking for 'cool'.
Something to lay against my wound to take down the swelling.
I was looking at an instrument of a far more radical method of 'swelling removal'.
Fortunately, her more humane treatment was what we went with.
“Diane! I'm not going to cut it off! The knife is cool. It'll help the swelling!”
I finally dropped my hands and allowed her to continue.
She pressed the cool surface against my eyebrow.
Moms know everything.
I'd like to say we stopped running.
That we learned our lesson.
That one close call convinced us that Mom knew whereof she spoke.
I'd be lying.


  1. In the balance of things...losing an eye/laps....losing an eye/laps...laps...laps....

  2. Ouch! Darn Moms tend to know what they are talking about but I can't figure out why my kids don't realize that I know what I'm talking about. :)

  3. Oh my, isn't it scary when something just about happens... but as children we seem to forget them for the fun we have in the process.... Maybe I am still a child at heart:)

  4. I love this post. Is it okay if I just laugh at your weapon toting mom? Glad you still have that eye.

  5. You always make me laugh. I always thought that was what big houses were for, so we'd have room to run and roam, hands flapping, feet slapping on the floor. :-)

  6. Excellent post. I love the one's that make me think back to my childhood follies. Mom's are great aren't they?! Though they should be standing there telling us, "I told you so's!" They instantly begin the nurturing process. By the way, love the kitchen knife usage. The whole thing! The idea that something so frightful when in the right hands, can be comforting and healing. Looking forward to reading your future posts.


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