Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Yarn

The store with everything.
At just the right price . . .
Dad was running an errand for his mother.
It was 1937 and the family had just recently moved to Lethbridge from Glenwood, Alberta.
He enjoyed the independence of being able to walk the few blocks downtown to the big stores and was happy to have an excuse.
Plus, his mother paid well.
She handed him a quarter and he set out.
A little side note . . .
The yarn that his mother wanted him to pick up for her at Woolworths cost fifteen cents.
Which left ten cents change.
All his for running the errand.
Also, the candy store came first on his route.
Moving on . . .
Dad happily calculated how to spend his newfound wealth.
Planning ahead is everything. And his planning quickly became reality.
Then, bag of candy in hand, he continued on towards Woolworths.
Only to discover that the yarn that his mother had sent him for was now seventeen cents.
He had already spent the change.
He didn’t have enough.
Dad looked down at his bag of candy.
No way would the store take it back.
And no way he could go home and confess to his mother what he had done.
How to fix this?
He stood outside the store for some time.
Dismay apparent.
Finally someone inside the store next door noticed him and came out.
“Something wrong?”
Dad explained.
“Oh, no problem, we have the same yarn. We’ll sell it to you for fifteen cents.”
Dad stared at them.
Surely his problem wasn’t going to be solved this easily?
But it was.
And in the right colour.
Happily he trotted home.
Clutching both candy and yarn.
I don’t know if his mother ever found out.
She had her yarn.
And Dad had his candy.
All was well.
The part of this story I have a hard time believing is not that someone noticed a forlorn little boy out on the sidewalk of a big city and helped him solve his monumental problem.
It was the fact that yarn cost fifteen cents.
And that he could buy a bag of candy for ten.
I'd like to have lived in those days . . .
The cause of so much trouble . . .

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Truth About Trousers


The two sisters were both loving and caring. Hardworking and generous. But there, the similarities ended.
One, Emily, was the elder. A tall, spare, maiden lady. Teacher. At times, self-professed critic.
The other, Mary, a shorter, rounder, mother of numerous children. Full of good humour and good conversation.
Emily lived with their mother in the city.
Mary, with her husband and children in the country nearby.
Mary had stopped off at her mother’s home for a short visit. Wearing—gasp!—trousers.
Something Emily had freely admitted in the past that she heartily disapproved of.
The sisters met as Mary strode down the hall toward the kitchen.
Okay, I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard the story and I think it went something like this:
Mary: Hello! I’ve dropped by for a visit! Is Mother here? (They always called Grandma ‘Mother’.)
Emily: Hello! It is so nice to see you. And yes, she is. She’s in the kitchen. (Emily and Mary had their differences in life callings, but they were always affectionate and friendly as sisters.)
Grandma enters the scene here and the visiting continues for a few minutes.
Until . . .
Emily: Mary, you’re wearing trousers.
Mary: Yes.
Emily: I really don’t care for trousers.
Mary: I know.
Emily: Mary, those trousers made your backside look big.
Mary (cheerfully): It’s not the trousers, Emily. My backside is big.
Emily: Ummm . . .
I mean, how can you respond to that?
I don’t want to make Emily look bad here. She was a kind person, who just happened to disapprove of women in trousers. Particularly her sister whom she loved.
But I’ve just decided. When I grow up, I want an attitude like Mary’s!

Some stupendous news!
The cover for my newest book, Daughter of Ishmael has been nominated for an award!
Please, please, please go to this site and vote for it.
I promise to love you forever . . .
And if you share this news among your friends, I’ll love you even more!

Monday, June 5, 2017

From Here to There

Source: I Heart My Snap
Boy on the bridge
Life is a bridge from here to there,
Some years of joy, some years of care,
It's sometimes hard, while forward bound,
To stop.
And take a look around.
At times, clear footsteps on the wood
Will tell you life is sound. And good.
With all things joyful in your track
You look ahead, and never back.
But other times the winds will blow,
And send down hail, and sleet, and snow.
The struggle's more than you can bear,
You're bowed before your load of care.
Then storms move off, as all storms do,
The sun returns, and warmth anew.
And life goes on, from day to day,
With times of toil and times of play.
Life is a bridge from here to there,
Some years of joy, some years of care.
And though it's hard, while forward bound,
Please stop.
And take a look around.

Welcome to Poetry Monday!
The perfect way to start a new week.
Delores and Jenny are also involved.
Zip on over and see what they have done to start their week!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Getting What You Want

Oh, hey. While you're up . . .
Okay, yes, he probably would have gotten it anyways.
But the genius is in the method of asking . . .
There was often pie in the Stringam household.
Fresh-baked and flaky and amazing.
Much of the time, amazing meals were followed by even this more amazing dessert.
Which just nicely topped off a very satisfying experience.
Or occasionally, later in the evening, a snack of the same would also go down very well.
Just because.
But when it didn't appear spontaneously, Dad would facilitate matters by asking.
And that's when things got interesting.
He could probably come out with such zingers as: Ooh, lovely meal! Did you plan to serve some pie? -or- I saw some of your wonderful pie! Any chance of getting some?
I mean, that's what I would have done.
But not Dad. No.
His requests were couched in a more 'creative' manner.
This was usually preceded by a clearing of the throat. "Enes, (my Mom's name) my dear, would you mind terribly getting me a small scoop of ice cream?" (Picture hands indicating something football sized.)
Then, as Mom nodded and started toward the freezer: "And could you please slide a piece of pie under it?"
See? Creative.
And soon Dad was happily munching.
Usually joined by whoever was present for the exchange.
A pause here while I picture past delicious-ness. Mmmm . . .
Occasionally, he would change things up a bit.
Come out with a request that was equally entertaining.
And effective.
"Enes, my dear. Grant (or whoever may be sitting nearby) needs a slice of pie and ice cream. And while you're at it, could you bring me one?"
Why just ask when you can ASK.
Hmmm. Now I'm craving pie.
Excuse me . . .

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