Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hole in the Ice

Later...

Mom was in a panic.

She had looked away for an instant.
An instant.
And her toddler had disappeared.
Twenty-month-old Christine, dressed in her warm, little woolen snowsuit had been playing happily in the front yard.
Mom had zipped into the house to check on her new baby. Happily, rosily asleep in his cradle.
And now, seconds later, her eldest child was gone.
Frantically, Mom called and cast about for her little daughter's footprints in the snow.
There!
Leading . . . toward the river.
Mom was off at a run.
A few seconds later, she was standing on the bank.
The little tracks meandered out onto the snow-covered ice.
To a large, black hole.
Mom stared at the patch of dark, swiftly-moving water.
Her entire life crashing about her ears.
Feeling suddenly, completely numb, she stepped out . . .
Then she realized that the little footprints didn't end there.
No.
The trail turned and continued back to the bank.
Her heart beginning to beat again, Mom scrambled to follow.
And there was her little daughter, heading toward the barnyard.
Mom scooped up her baby and carried her back to the house.
Then spent the rest of the day alternately crying and hugging Christine.
Infinitely grateful for the divine intervention that had protected her daughter.
Mom raised all of her six children to adulthood on that ranch.
Rescuing them from such things as:
Altercations with the local livestock.
Wrangles with barbed-wire.
Numerous falls.
Differences of opinion with power tools.
An infinite number of scrapes and bruises.
And, yes, plucking them from the muddy jaws of death in a capricious river.
But she never forgot that moment of stark and frozen terror.
Standing on the bank of the river, looking at the trail of little tracks that ended at the great hole in the ice.
And how differently it could have ended.
Her very worst . . . and very best of moments.

16 comments:

  1. My heart did skip a beat as I read this. I can't even imagine that split second of devastation. Glad it all ended well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whenever she told the story, I could hear the devastation in her voice. And I knew the ending!

      Delete
  2. I know of three kids who died after falling through the ice. One case was when a boy fell through, and then his brother fell through trying to save him. It's a tragedy I can't even begin to imagine. I keep thinking of the movie: Dead Zone, where an entire team of hockey players falls through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That poor family! To lose two of their children! Yeah, that scene in Dead Zone always got me. Horrible!

      Delete
  3. What an awful feeling that would be. I am so glad it ended all right. Brrr. It's chilling to even think about!

    ReplyDelete
  4. i can just feel that sudden stopping of the heart...the icy trickle down the back. Thank goodness it turned out well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the horror! I feel it still. And I know what happens!

      Delete
  5. Oh my that was scary for a second. Another wonderful post and i enjoyed it all; especially the positive ending.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love a happy ending. Especially in stories like these . . .

      Delete
  6. Scary moment!!
    I'm as grateful as your mum must have been for whatever or whoever turned Christine back towards safety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She never forgot it. And never stopped being grateful.

      Delete
  7. This happened to me a very, very long time ago. I think I was about 8 and decided to take a short cut home. I didn't even know I was walking on a pond when suddenly I feel through. I can still remember the fear of not being about to find the hole again. I did but it was the longest, coldest walk home that I can ever remember and is still one of my biggest fears. Your poor mom I can't imagine how scared she much have been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. My. Goodness! You fell through and got yourself out?! It gives me the shivers just thinking about it! So happy that you are still with us!

      Delete
    2. Oh Rena - what an awful experience - but so glad you were able to get out and get to safety.

      Delete
  8. The scariest part of parenting! So glad her guardian angel was watching over her that day, and this story had such a happy ending!

    ReplyDelete

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