Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Song Allergies


Oh, please! Not that song again!

I grew up on a large old Southern Alberta ranch.
Among cattle, horses and hired men.
I loved it.
I spent many happy hours riding (or sleeping) on the horses.
Chasing the barn cats.
Catching mice.
Wandering through the corrals and feed lots.
Or my favourite, watching the hired men.
It was while doing the last, that I received both my nickname and my signature song.
Let me tell you about it . . .
The Stringam Ranch generally employed six or more hired men.
They worked hard.
Wrangling cattle.
Breaking horses.
Fencing.
Doing one of the myriad tasks that were ranching.
But, inevitably, each job included one extra chore.
Watching over Diane.
I don't want to say that I was always under foot but . . .
Okay. I was always under foot.
When they were in the corral with the horses, I was perched on the fence.
When they were milking the cows, I was sitting on one of the empty stools nearby.
When they were hauling hay, I was in the cab of the truck, nose pressed against the back window.
Yep. If anything was happening, you can bet Diane was in the middle of it.
I should point out, here, that these men were good men.
Hard working.
Dependable.
A bit rough around the edges.
But that I never heard one curse word from any of them.
Ever.
Looking back, I'm sure they knew these words.
They just never used them around me.
Believe me, I would have repeated anything I heard.
Back to my story . . .
It must have been a trifle . . . inconvenient . . . having the boss' four-year-old daughter always under foot.
They never complained.
In fact, they even had a nickname for me.
Danny.
Which I loved.
And gave me my very own song, “Danny Boy”.
Which I didn't.
I'm not sure who was the first to discover this song.
Or my aversion to it.
But the word quickly spread.
Soon, whenever I would appear, someone would begin singing, “Oh, Danny boy . . .”
Whereupon (good word) I would cover both of my ears and scream, “Noooooo!”
Then run away.
It was magical.
Not one word need be said.
And they could continue their work in peace.
Genius.
Moving forward thirty years . . .
When my youngest son Tristan was born, he was our 'Little Warty Boy'.
I'm not sure who came up with this.
Or why.
He didn't have warts or anything.
It just seemed to fit.
He even got a song. (Sung to the tune of 'Surfer Girl')
“Little tiny warty boy,
Fills my heart with so much joy.
Do you love me,
Little Warty Boy?”

We sang this for years.
Until he was about four and abruptly developed an aversion to it.
Suddenly, he began covering his ears and screaming, “Noooooo!” whenever someone started singing.
I felt his pain.

19 comments:

  1. That's so funny! I had a song I made up for my children when they were little and a couple of weeks ago my son called and when I answered he was singing that song! He said he woke up with it in his head and couldn't get it out! I couldn't believe he remembered it, my daughter yes my son not so much! He's a 25 year old former marine singing "My name is dandy Randy and I have a prissy sissy and every time we get together we always eat peppermint candy! Silly I know and still brings a tear to my eye! Thanks for sharing Diane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's wonderful! What a family legacy! I can see them singing it to their kids! :)

      Delete
  2. Used to sing "I love you, a bushel and a peck" which daughter loved but now at age 39 when she hears that song she goes ballistic. Huh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hilarious! Wake Up Maggie was played incessantly on the radio when hubby and I were first married. I can't even listen to it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! I'm the same way with ol' Maggie!

      Delete
    2. I love Maggie May and pretty much anything else Rod Stewart recorded.

      Delete
  4. This is so funny! I have the warty boy song in my head now, complete with surfer music.

    Smart ranch hands.

    ReplyDelete
  5. :-) Very nice!

    Now have the Beach Boys in my head. "Little warty boy" indeed!

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, those tunes we endure (or run away from, if we can)! Now I have Surfer Girl in MY head, too! Fortunately it's a good one :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. My song is "It's a Small Small World". My gr-daughters started singing it the other day in the car as I drove them home. I turned on the CDs really loud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always think of the scene in Lion King when the chief nasty asks his slave bird to sing something cheerful and said bird starts into that song. The reaction is priceless. "Anything but that!"

      Delete
  8. Ha Ha, this is funny. I have song aversions, but of a more recent nature. They are songs that I hated from the first time I heard them on radio and now when the classics station plays them I still cringe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! I like that word: Cringe! Perfect!

      Delete
  9. Oh how sweet. How lucky you were to have such a great world to explore as a little girl, it sounds beautiful, so different than mine (NJ). And, it's sweet how nice those ranch hands were to you as a little girl :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were wonderful to me! And I loved it!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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