Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, October 13, 2017


Saggot jumped back, colliding heavily with the front door and knocking a gusty ‘whoof’ out of himself.
The inspector merely stared at the hockey stick, wide-eyed, the colour draining from his face.
“Inspector? Are you all right?” I touched the man’s shoulder, but he didn’t appear to notice.
Slowly, he dropped to his knees and reached a shaking hand out toward the stick.
“Inspector! Don’t touch it!” Saggot shouted. “You don’t know where it’s been!”
The inspector looked up as his fellow officer, his face now suffused with brilliant colour.
Angry colour if I know my shades.
And I do.
The bushy brows had lowered threateningly as well. My late husband used to assume the same expression. I called it ‘dropping his visor’. I choked back a laugh.
“Saggot!” the inspector barked. “You’re off this case!”
The rotund policeman blinked. “But . . .”
“You heard me! Go wait in the car!”
“But . . . sir . . .!”
“Go. Now. Or. I’ll. Have. Your. Badge. And. Gun.”
I was suddenly glad this trim officer wasn’t looking at me. I was almost ready to hand him my badge and gun.
If I’d had either.
Saggot turned and fumbled with the door handle.
“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, can’t you even open a door? What are our boys in blue coming to?” Norma again.
Saggot froze, his mouth dropping open. His hand dropped from the knob and he stared as it turned smoothly without him. A moment later, the door swung wide, bumping into the stunned man.
“There you go!” Norma wasn’t wasting any time.
Saggot’s mouth snapped shut and, without a backward glance, he bolted outside.
The door closed smartly behind him, rattling the glass.
The inspector had risen to his feet, his arms clasped around the hockey stick. He looked toward the door, then shook his head and turned to me. “Could you ask your sister who . . .” he swallowed hard. “. . . who gave her this stick?”
“Norma . . .”
“I heard him!” Norma snapped.
“Well you don’t have to get snippy with me. I’m just the messenger.”
A sigh. “Fine. I’m sorry!”
“You don’t sound sorry.”
“Well I am! What do you want? You want it in writing?”
“Yes, I do.” I folded my arms across my chest.
A paper appeared out of nowhere, and drifted to the floor.
I scooped it up and turned it over. ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!!!!!!!!’ was written across it in Norma’s distinct scrawl, and, at the bottom, ‘You haven’t changed Reggie’s paper today.’
“Drat, Reggie!” I shouted. “He’s your stupid bird! You look after him!”
“I can’t! He’s afraid of me!”
“Well then, he’s finally gotten some sense!”
A distinct sniff. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“Norma! This isn’t very nice! Talking to you in the air. Having policemen barging into my home, speculating on my possible proclivity for murder and mayhem.”
“Ooh! Proclivity. Good word, Sis.”
“Thank you.”
“Oh, you may need this.”
A roll of toilet paper appeared much the same as the hockey stick and sorry note. It bounced a couple of times and came to rest against the inspector’s shoe.
“Why’d you take that with you?”
“Well, one doesn’t know, does one? I mean, isn’t it best to always be prepared?”
I picked up the roll. “I guess.”
“May I speak?”
I looked at the inspector and shrugged. “I guess so.”
“Norma?” He looked up into the air.
“I’m over here, sitting in the chair.”
Both of us leaned over and peered through the doorway into the living room. Reggie, his colorful feathers slicked down tight stared back at us.
“I got tired of standing around. I needed to sit down.”
“Oh.” Still clutching the hockey stick in both arms, the Inspector maneuvered through the entry and moved hesitantly inside.
“Have a seat.”
“Okay.” He shuffled toward one of the chairs.
“Not this one. I’m in it!”
“Norma, how is he supposed to know! You’re being woefully unwelcoming. You’re usually a bit more hospitable than this.”
There was a pause. Then, “You’re right. I’m sorry. Please take the blue chair, Inspector. It’s a bit more spacious and comfortable. Then we can have a nice, cozy chat.”
He perched gingerly on the indicated seat.
“So you want to know where the hockey stick came from?”
The inspector looked down at the stick clutched tightly in his arms, then over at the chair opposite. “I think I do.”
“A rather nice young man gave it to me.”
The man caught his breath and his eyes filled with tears. “A young man, you say?”
“Yes.” There was a pause and Norma’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Yes, I’ll tell him.” Speaking normally once more, she went on. “He’s here now, Inspector. Would you like to talk to him?”
The man looked like he’d just seen the coming of the Lord. Tears spilled down his cheeks. “C-can I?”
“Well, I think so. I’m not really sure how these things work.”
“Inspector?” The voice was husky, soft. A young man’s voice.
“Yes. It’s me. Inspector Wilson. Who . . . who are you?”
“You know me as Benny, Inspector.”
The man sucked in in a quick, sobbing breath. “Benny?”
“You’ve been looking for me for a long time.”
“You were my first, Benny. The case I just couldn’t solve. You’ve . . . pardon the expression . . . haunted me for over forty years!””
The young man laughed. “Well, I appreciate that you kept on trying. I know it was hard for my parents, not knowing.”
“You just . . . disappeared.”
A sigh. “Well, I can finally tell you. I was playing hockey on the ice on the lake and fell through. I know it was stupid to be there by myself, but I wanted to practice something new on my own. The recruiters were coming and I just had to impress them!”
“So you weren’t kidnapped. Or murdered. Or a runaway.”
“Nope. Just stupid. I’m so sorry.”
“I never figured it out. You were supposed to be at training. It never even occurred to me you were training. Just by yourself.”
“Can you tell them, Inspector? So they can finally stop . . . wondering.”
“I . . . yes, I can.”
“Thanks, Inspector.”
“Thank you, Benny.” The inspector mopped at his face with his sleeve.
I pulled a long piece from the toilet paper roll and handed it to him.
He nodded his thanks. “Benny?”
“He’s gone, Inspector,” Norma said.
He shook his head and set the hockey stick on his lap so he could blow his nose. “After all this time.”
I touched his shoulder. “What will you do?”
He smiled wryly. “Go and tell his parents.” He looked up at me. “If they’ll believe me.”
“Well I believe you,” I said.
“And I do as well!” Norma added.
“Well of course you’d believe, you silly old girl. You’re there with him!”
“Oh sure. Cloud the issue with facts!”
“I think I’ll be going,” the inspector said, getting to his feet. “Erm . . . can I take the stick?”
I shrugged. “Norma?”
“Well I don’t want it. What would I do with it?”
I sighed. “Yes, take it.” I followed him through the foyer. “Good luck.”
The door opened on its own as he approached it. He shook his head, then paused just inside. “I’ve been working on this case my whole life. It’s hard to take in.”
“Well take it in and close the door! Reggie will get a chill!”
I rolled my eyes. “I apologize for my sister, Inspector.”
“No need.” He looked at me. “I’ll be in touch.”
He pulled the door shut behind him.
I turned just as another paper appeared, fluttering to the floor. I picked it up.
'Bird cage', it said.
I sighed and headed for the living room.

Enjoying this episode of the Sputterling Sisters?
Catch up with them here:
Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.  
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

My words for October:   colorful ~ spacious ~ brilliant ~ woefully
They were submitted by:

Now go and see what the others have done with the challenge!


  1. Wow, that was a turn I wasn't expecting. Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. "Use your words" - great summation!! Another wonderful instalment :)

  3. This is so really needs to be in solid form so it can be purchased and read and reread and reread and.....

  4. Love your writing! I want to sit and read all of it in one sitting......


Thank you for visiting! Drop by again!

My Newest!

My Newest!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Follow by Email

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

Google+ Followers

Networked Blogs

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

About the Mom

My photo

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 . . .

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!

Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?