Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Frump Village Grump

Horace P. Flee was the Frump Village grump,
No loveliness in his demeanour,
He lived all alone near the old county dump,
Developed his skills as a screamer.

Whenever he heard just so much as a bump,
His head would pop out of the door,
With a noise that would make almost everyone jump
And his displeasure then underscore.

One day to the village known solely as Frump,
(Please don’t think it’s for fashion expression!)
Came a strong-minded widow, quite pretty and plump,
With her children that numbered eleven.

Now, when moving, one’s household goods come in a clump
And are sorted through carefully after.
And necessitate many a trip to the dump,
For the children: Adventure With Laughter.

Now, Horace P. Flee, that old village grump
Wasn’t happy with all of the joy.
So he shouted a phrase that made all of them jump,
He intended to hurt and annoy.

Then Abigail, she who was pretty and plump,
But possessed of a lively, bright spirit,
A piece of her mind, she gave that village grump,
And forced him to stand there and hear it.

Then something strange happened that day at the dump,
With all of the parties together,
For Horace’s heart hit his shoes with a thump,
While Abby’s beat light as a feather.

Their marriage was viewed by the Village of Frump,
With the two of them there in the heather,
The minister stood on a great old tree stump,
With a smile, he joined them together.

Now the villagers using the Frump Village dump,
(If it’s not too hard to believe . . .)
Found the happy noise now from the home of the ‘grump’,
Was far more than what they could achieve.

Horace P. Flee was the Frump Village grump,
Until life with his Abby ‘begun’,
When you least expect it, you’re knocked on your rump,
‘Cause there’s someone for ev-er-y-one.

Monday, January 2, 2017

That New Year's

To celebrate the squeaky-clean beginning of yet another year, I'm going to regale you with the tale of our New Year's Eve of a few year's past . . .
It's a heart-stopper. 
Really . . .
We had spent the evening, much like millions of other people, happily celebrating with friends.
Eating wonderful food that someone else prepared. (My personal favourite.)
Playing games: Charades. Word scramble. Card contests.
And visiting.
Sometime shortly after midnight, we senior citizens called it a successful, wonderful night and left for our respective homes.
Husby and I were safely in bed by 2:00 AM.
All was well.
All was not to remain well.
Just as we were both deeply asleep, someone pounded on our front door.
In my half-awakened state, it sounded frantic to me.
“Grant! Something's wrong!” I screamed, leaping from bed and switching on lights as I sped down the hall.
Mentally, as I ran, I tallied where my kids and grandkids were. Who had stayed in for the evening and who might still be out.
One family, I knew, had taken their little girls to a friends' party. They could conceivably still be out.
What's wrong? What's wrong?
I reached the front door, heart racing and breathing heavily.
I peeked out.
No one.
I opened the door. The front step was echoingly empty.
I stepped out and peered around.
No one.
The night was quiet.
The street deserted.
Nothing moved.
I came back inside and shut the door.
Then I peeked out again.
What on earth . . .?
By this time, Husby was also up.
Doing a circuit of the windows and doors.
No one.
We looked at each other.
Did another circuit.
Still no one.
Puzzled, I headed back to bed while Husby locked up again.
He soon joined me and almost immediately dropped back to sleep.
I didn't.
For the next two hours, heart still racing, my mind spun through every terrible, horrible thing that could ever befall a family that then numbered twenty-five.
It was a long night.
We survived it. 
I mention it because I know you were worried. 
None of the terrible, awful things happened.
And I know that, because this crazy mom/grandma phoned everyone as soon as it was light the next morning.
Two facts remain.
  1. Someone pounded on our door that night. The reasons remain obscure.
  2. Somewhere in our bed remains my heart, scared out of me the moment someone did said pounding.
Happy New Year.

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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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