Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Irreverence

No explanation needed.
We are a church-attending family.
Always have been.
We love it.
The quiet, peaceful feeling that comes from stepping into the Lord's house.
There is only one problem.
One is expected to keep that quiet, peaceful feeling by being . . . quiet.
And peaceful.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but our family isn't very often quiet.
Well, seldom.
Okay. Never.
Sigh.
So, going from loud and noisy to . . . less loud and noisy takes effort.
And resourcefulness.
Something my Mom had 'in spades'. (A gambling term for 'a lot of'.)
Not that I've ever gambled.
Ahem . . .
She would tote a huge bag of books and things quiet to church every week in a bid to effect reverent behaviour.
It worked.
For a time.
Then we outgrew her books and toys and games.
I know. I know.
That's about the time we should have been able to sit and listen without visual aids.
We couldn't.
Instead, our teen-aged selves resorted to more grown-up ways of entertaining ourselves.
And remember – electronic diversion existed only in the mind of Gene Roddenberry at this time.
We had pens. We had paper.
We drew pictures.
But not just any pictures.
No.
Pictures designed specifically to make whichever sibling was sitting next to us, laugh. 
And get glared at and shushed by Mom.
It was a fun game. My next older brother, George, was the best at it. He could quickly sketch the weirdest people or animals or machines.
Then supply them with the best captions.
His was a rare form of genius.
I will call it spiritualavoidance supersonicus.
Or SAS for short.
He could have taught classes.

There is a codicil:
My Husby always had his pockets full of strange and wondrous treasures specifically designed to keep our youngsters quiet during our hour-long Church service.
I often marvelled at his ingenuity.
And resourcefulness.
His little figures and toys kept all six of them entertained right up until the time that they moved out and into their own lives.
But shortly after the youngest left, I realized that Grant's toys weren't specifically to entertain his kids.
Remember SAS? And having somethings 'in spades'?
That would apply here as well.
Grant still had his pockets full of animals.
I wondered why.
I didn't wonder for long.
I lead the music.
Several times during the service, I had to make the short trip to the front of the chapel.
While he remained sitting on our bench.
Second back, directly in front of me.
That's when his little friends came out to play.
Solely for my benefit.
Picture it.
I'm at the front, waving my arm and trying to act dignified and serious.
He's on our bench, making his little friends dance and sing to the music.
I should mention, here, that his favourites were the little animal heads on a stick, whose mouths open and close by working a trigger system.
And those little suckers could sing!
His goal?
To make me smile.
It worked.
Where's my Mom when I need her?
P.S. Sometime I'll tell you about the wrong words he sings to the hymns.
Sigh.

12 comments:

  1. I can't get the smile off my face and I haven't even SEEN his interprerive stick figure performances. Now there's a blog post for you... a video of his performance to your music. Maybe some rowdy teenager could record it for you during service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh! I know I'd have several volunteers . . .

      Delete
  2. Nooooo! How funny! But didn't the people behind him also see what was going on? ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I stopped looking at him, because every time I did, I'd smile, and then the entire congregation would try to see what he was doing. Baaaad Daddy . . .

      Delete
  3. p. s. We'll wait right here while you whip up that post about the wrong words to hymns, too ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Big smiles. Which I don't have to attempt to hide.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your husby sounds like fun! I'm loving the mental image I have of the singing and dancing animals. I'm betting his performance is very good after so many years of practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my word. You have no idea! I can see those little stick figures hitting the high notes in my dreams!

      Delete
  6. My wife has a hard time keeping a straight face when we're in church and trying to sing a song that is supposed to be sung with vigor and enthusiasm but somehow the organist and the director had just come from a funeral or a DNC convention. I'll start to sing like my speed has been turned down from 78 to 33.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You always made church so much more entertaining . . .

      Delete

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