Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Picnics are a fixture of the great Canadian summer.
Something anticipated throughout the long, dark winter.
The reward for spending months huddled around the wood stove.
Okay, I'm exaggerating.
But Canada does have winter.
And Canadians definitely look forward to summer.
And picnics.
The trouble with picnics is that they are so dependant on so many factors.
Weather is a biggie.
For instance, it's rather hard to picnic in the rain.
Though it has been done.
Wind, too can play havoc with one's plans.
As well as one's picnic blanket, napkins, paper plates.
And smaller guests.
But one of the most insidious of picnic problems is the uninvited guest.
And, believe me, they show up for every picnic.
They show up if a picnic is merely being contemplated.
I'm sure they have poked their noses in at your picnics.
And I do mean poked.
I'm talking mosquitoes here.
Those little, lighter-than-air messengers of doom.
Irritators extraordinaire.
High-pitched precursors to prolonged itch and expressive words.
Known to achieve sizes heretofore only seen in the pre-Cambrian days.
With the ability to carry off unsuspecting small animals.
The reason Canadians wear their winter gear year round.
And learn to eat quickly and with one hand.
While the other hand feverishly stands guard.
My friends were picnicking.
Their entire family had turned out.
They were visiting.
Enjoying the beautiful day and fresh air.
And generally doing those things that make a picnic so enjoyable.
Grandmother was seated at one of the many picnic tables.
Enjoying a hamburger.
With a sesame seed bun.
In the company of one of her young grandsons.
That's when the uninvited guests arrived.
One particularly determined individual was making life miserable for said Grandmother.
She lifted a hand and grabbed at it.
Now the normal hand motion is: Grab. Look. And if one is successful, Smash.
She completed the first two manoeuvres.
Rats. She had missed.
But she did see a sesame seed, stuck to her finger.
Which she then, happily, licked off.
Now I should probably mention, here, that the grandson was seated opposite, watching his beloved grandmother.
I probably don't have to describe what he thought he saw.
But I will.
Grandmother grabbing mosquitoes.
And eating them.
His horrified expression and the words 'Grandma! Yuck!' which burst out of him alerted her to what he was seeing.
She quickly explained.
And peace and appetite were restored.
But she raises an important point.
Instead of making mosquitoes the uninvited guests at a picnic, why not make them the picnic?
Who's with me?
Smashing hands up!


  1. Replies
    1. How do you like your hamburger???!

  2. Fricassie of skitter....charbroiled skitter....skitter ala salsa. I never have been a fan of eating out of doors.

  3. Oh my, I would have loved to see the look on his face, lol.

  4. I'm definitely the odd person out here because mosquitos only bother me if there's no one else around. I remember sitting around the fire at 40 Mile Lake on a warm summer night, clad in cut-offs and T-shirt while everyone else was wrapped as if to ward off a major snowstorm. And they were slapping at their faces and hands while I was enjoying myself.
    Sorry but mosquitos very seldom chose me...

    1. Oh, that is just wrong, wrong, wrong! I'm muffled to the eyebrows and you can walk around in shorts and a T-shirt? I'm not talking to you for at least the next ten minutes.


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