Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Bumper Prize

Today, I lost my crown.
There was no ceremony.
Few tears.
And an audible sigh of relief.
Maybe I should explain . . .
In the main drive of the ranch, there was a light/electricity pole.
A large one.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to place it thus, but there it stood.
In the centre of the circular drive.
Any drivers had, of necessity, to be vigilant when negotiating our driveway.
Even though said pole had stood there, unmoving and in the exact same place, for years.
As a permanent resident of the ranch, I had always known of its existence.
I knew the exact place where one had to turn the wheel in order to miss it.
And just when to swing around when parking.
But this one day, I was . . . distracted.
Have you heard the ads on TV where they caution you not to drive while distracted?
Listen to them.
Ahem . . .
Without thinking, I shoved the gear shift of our large red and white Chevy Beauville 12-passenger van into reverse.
And started backing up.
After a few feet, I felt a rather large thump.
And the van made a sudden stop.
Frowning, I turned to look behind me.
Oh, right.
Sheepishly, I pulled ahead.
Then got out to inspect the damage.
The bright silver bumper had been neatly creased just to one side of the center.
A deep enough crease to force both the top and the bottom of said bumper . . . umm . . . out.
Quite effectively preventing the back door from opening.
I must admit that when my Husby saw it, all he could do was laugh.
Then saw the top point off the crease so the back door would open.
And laugh some more.
That was twenty years ago.
He has been laughing since.
But today, I heard another bumper story.
A better bumper story.
Told by my good friend, Jen.
Jen was backing out of her garage.
It has been sleeting and freezing and her drive way was a sheet of ice.
She backed out cautiously.
After a few feet, the vehicle stopped moving.
Stupid ice.
She pressed harder on the accelerator.
Still no progress.
Just a bit more.
Suddenly, the bumper of her vehicle popped off.
The whole thing.
Right off.
And it was at that precise moment that she realized she hadn't, as she had thought, been slipping on the ice.
Her bumper had snagged on the garage door.
The door had won.
She stopped the car and got out to survey.
Then, abandoning her travel plans for the afternoon, she went back into the house and stayed there.
Some time later, her Husby and his dad came to inspect.
Jen watched them as they shook their heads and muttered to each other.
Finally, they picked up the bumper and refastened it.
With cable ties.
It has been 10 years.
They are still driving that car.
And that bumper is still attached.
I happily pass the crown to her.
She’s earned it.


  1. There's one crown you can happily do without.

  2. Ahem, I'd like to thank all the people that made this award possible....

  3. Diane, I worship at the altar of both of you ladies! bwhahaha! Oh my goodness! The visual of both bumper mishaps had me giggling non-stop! And how considerate of Husby to laugh. I don't know many men who would have such a reaction, so you are indeed blessed! ha! But the bumper tied up with cable ties? Priceless! :)

  4. Laughed out loud at this one! My Mom and Dad still talk about the time my mother was going to teach me to drive. We went into the garage, got into the car, and she told me to put my foot on the brake. I did. Then she told me to put the car in reverse. Somehow it got stuck in "D" and lurched forward. She's screaming "brake, brake!" I pushed in the brake ("push" - now it would have been helpful if she'd used that verb when telling me about the brake in the first place) and we came to an abrupt stop. Up against the garage foundation. It took my dad a really long time to knock the garage back onto its foundation with the blunt side of the axe. True story. If you want to hear it firsthand you are welcome at my parents' house any time the family gets together. I'm told they regale strangers with this story when we're not there too. I'm pretty sure that's true. Always love my visits with you Diane! Smiles!

  5. lol that's the kind of accident I make At 0 miles per hour.

  6. Our teenage daughter had a fender-bender and put the bumper back on with twist ties:} What a child. We still laugh about it.

  7. I remember the day my mum decided she'd put the car in the garage for dad. She doesn't drive, but decided it couldn't be too hard. She put the gear in reverse instead of forward and backed into the big old (very old) stone wash-house and collapsed it. Oddly enough, the car was fine.


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