Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, December 29, 2017

Rabbit Duck Turtle

I used to sew most of my children’s clothes.
Especially their blue jeans.
Let’s face it. When one’s son wears a 28 waist and a 38 inseam, you learn how.
Out of desperation.
Now any of you blue jean aficionados know that the back pockets are the face of the garment.
Pun intended.
It is on the back pockets that one can really show one’s artistic merit.
Okay, yes, my merit lacked oomph. But I tried.
I sewed designs.
Pictures.
Initials.
And it is this last that brings me—finally—to the point of my story . . .
Our second son, Erik, was the boy who needed the ‘stretched out’ jeans. His initials were, understandably, E.T.
You probably remember the cute, classic movie of yesteryear called, simply, “ET”. And you probably also know of grade school children’s proclivity for teasing.
Somehow, I simply couldn’t expose my son (pun also intended) to that by putting ET on the back his jeans. So I went with option number 2. His full initials. ‘EBT’.
It worked. Comfortable jeans he liked.
And no teasing.
An important point.
Now the next brother, Robin, upon glimpsing the . . . ummm . . . work of art that was Erik’s jeans, loudly requested the same.
Thus the initials, ‘RDT’ appeared on his much smaller pair.
Cute.
Unfortunately, the teasing I had avoided with my patented technique on the first pair of jeans found its way to this second pair. Via the boy’s father.
Sigh.
Dad: “What’s that on your pockets? RDT? What does that stand for?”
Son: “Robin Duff Tolley!”
Dad: “What?”
Son (a little louder): “Robin Duff Tolley!”
Dad: “No. I think it stands for Rabbit Duck Turtle.”
Son: “Robin Duff Tolley!”
Dad: “Rabbit Duck Turtle!”
Repeat ad nauseam.
Moving ahead 30 years . . .
I was making my now-thirty-seven-year-old son’s Christmas stocking. He’d had another. A classic. But somewhere between moving to the coast and LIFE, it had been lost and I needed to fill the hole it left in my Christmas display.
Me: “What should I put on your stocking, Son?”
Him: “How about Rabbit Duck Turtle?”
Sometimes it just takes a while . . .

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bunked

Just add child...
I just woke up from a fair night’s sleep. For me ‘fair’ is as good as it gets.
And I know because, once, I had a fantastic sleep. The best sleep of my life. It happened when I was eight.
Let me tell you about it . . .
Dad had taken my brothers . . . somewhere.
Exactly where they went is blurry.
The important point is that they were away. And that their wonderful bunkbed in the bedroom next to mine stood empty.
I should mention here that I had long coveted their beds. They were made of beautiful, solid maple and were soooo comfortable.
But I digress . . .
My older sister, Chris, and I saw an opportunity for some fun and adventure.
We’d stay the night in our brothers’ beds!
Wow!
Okay, I admit it. We didn’t have a very exciting life.
Moving on . . .
Chris took the upper bunk and I snuggled into the lower.
We talked and laughed.
Mom made a couple of visits to the doorway to threaten to separate us and finally to *shudder* make us go back to our own beds.
It was this second warning that made me finally give up and close my eyes.
My shoulder started to ache so I decided I should turn over and get more comfortable.
I opened my eyes.
Sunlight was streaming into the room.
At first, I didn’t recognize it for what it was. I had never seen the world go from black to light quite so dramatically.
I thought someone had turned on the lamp.
I turned to look at the window.
Nope. I was right. It was sunlight.
Somehow, morning had instantly followed bedtime.
Instantly.
It took some time for me to realize that I had just had a night of deep, dreamless sleep.
I know it happens to other people, but it had never happened before.
Or since.
To me.
But I have that one night.
And, believe me, in the sleepless hours between midnight and four A.M., I often think of it.
Sigh.
Where’s a stolen bunkbed when you need it?

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Year That Santa Retired

“I’m too old for this,” sighed Santa, as he finished work that day,
“I have a pain here in my back that will not go away.
My eyes are tired, my feet are sore, my head is pounding so,
I fear its thumping may be heard way down in…Mexico!”

He sank into his easy chair, he closed his eyes and sighed,
He placed his feet upon a stool and very nearly cried.
“The miles and miles of snow up here are quite a sight to see,
But now I think that Florida should be the place for me.”

His wife brought in hot chocolate as he finished this remark.
“You silly man.” She chuckled. “You’ll be eaten by a shark!”
She looked into his troubled eyes and smoothed his soft, white hair.
“Now what’s the real problem, Dear? You know how much I care!”

He lifted up his chocolate cup and slowly took a sip,
Then in a thoughtful way, he pulled upon his lower lip.
He looked into her loving eyes, then down into the fire.
“The elves brought in a foreman elf they wanted me to hire.”

“With someone else to run the show, they won’t need me at all,
They said they could replace me with a schedule on the wall.
And someone kind of young would want to tackle greater things.
I feel the changes in the air this foreman’s presence brings.”

“He says he has a dozen plans to make our business grow,
He’s going to pay the elves much more and keep their hours low.
He says they’ll work much faster if they get more rest each day,
And all will go much better if I simply go away.”

“On his schedule all is listed from the dawn to setting sun,
And if he’s right, by June the first, the toys will all be done.
The elves will then have time for play and do what they like best,
Or simply lie down in the sun and take a good long rest.”

He turned to look at her and wiped a tear from off his cheek.
“I’d time to think, they said, and gave me nearly half a week.
I said I’d answer right away, they didn’t need to wait,
I told them you and I would leave tomorrow night at eight.”

So Santa packed his things and sadly climbed into his sleigh,

And he and Mrs. Santa very slowly flew away.
In Florida, they found themselves a house down by the sea,
And soon they had a garden full of carrots, corn and peas.

They swam and fished and talked and laughed and lay out in the sun,
And no knew that Santa wasn’t really having fun,
For though they had so much to do—were always on the go,
He never could forget the snow. And work that he loved so.

One day while they were on the beach just lying in the sun,
They noticed someone coming toward their beach house on the run.
“It’s Ralph,” Said Mrs. Santa as they scrambled to their feet.
Ralph Elf was the last person that they thought they’d ever meet!

“You must come back!” Ralph panted as he sank into a chair,
“The schedule simply doesn’t work. We need someone who cares!
Eight months, we’ve worked for Foreman and, by rights, we should be done,
But to tell the truth, my friend, the work has barely been begun!”

“Come with me now, I beg you, for there is so much to do,
We tried hard to do without you for we thought that you were through.
We thought you were too old to really help us anymore,
But now we know it’s love, not age, that really writes the score!”

“We need you so the children won’t be sad on Christmas day,
And the elves all say they’ll work for you without a speck of pay.
Come with me, please. We need you. Could you try forgiveness now?
If you can’t forgive, just help us help the children anyhow.”

Santa’s eyes were dimmed with tears as he looked at Mrs. Claus,
He smiled at Ralph. “We’ll get our things.” Then suddenly, he paused.
 “My friend,” he said as he looked at Ralph, “Do the elves all want me too?
“Or do they just want someone who will work as hard as you?”

Ralph smiled and said, “Dear Santa, we have found it’s you we love,
We couldn’t work for someone else for all the stars above!”
We are a team, or better yet, a father, girls and boys,
Most families have a hobby. And ours is making toys.”

“We work so well together and together, we should be,
We’ll make the toys for everyone for all eternity.
Come with me now. We need you so. We each would like to say
If you’re with us, we’ll have more fun with each and every day!”

So Santa went with Ralph that day and started with a will,
By Christmas Eve the work was done and every packaged filled.
They worked so hard throughout those weeks, that on that happy day,
The children never knew how Santa had been sent away.

So now on Christmas morning when you see that he’s been there,
Remember that it’s love that brings your presents through the air.
And if we work together, loving as a family,
Love can accomplish anything that’s good. Take it from me!

Yes. Santa does recycle...
Merry Christmas, my friends!
And I hope that 2018 is the Best. Year. Ever!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Other Side

By Christmas Eve request, My Women's Night Before Christmas. 
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore . . .


On the night before Christmas, long hours ahead
The toddler awake, I’d just got her to bed.
The stockings were hung in a haphazard row,
While Mama assembled new toys just below.

The kids were asleep. Well, except for the last,
Just waiting for morning to get downstairs fast.
I toiled on alone, ‘cause there wasn’t a dad.
I had broken a nail and my language was bad.

Then out on the lawn rose a terrible noise,
A talent that only my oldest employs.
I flew to the window, and thought as I ran,
‘What's he doing out there, my nine-year-old man?!’

It was bright (as can only the moon on snow be),
And I narrowed my eyes to be able to see.
And what did I glimpse, coming over the way?
But some deer, all in harness, and a stout little sleigh.

With someone in a coat that looked comfy and soft,
And clearly some magic to keep them aloft.
They flew like a Michael Schumacher on course,
While the driver attempted some will to enforce.

"Now Baby! Now, Jazzi! Now, Frolic and Jolly!
On, Cherub! On, Angel! On, Kitten and Folly!
I need you to get to the rooftop this time!
And a fine, gentle landing would be so sublime!"

To say that they flew like some leaves past the attic,
Would be perfectly true, it was quite that erratic.
I was holding my breath as they shot toward the sky,
And prayed that my windows and roof would survive.

Then finally (thankfully) up on the roof,
The unmistakable sound of twenty-four hoofs.
Then some noise in the chimney I’d not heard before,
And someone emerged, on their knees, on the floor.

The figure was dressed in a warm, sooty coat,
With some Uggs on their feet and scarf round their throat.
With toys, books and clothes in a gi-normous sack,
Which they dropped to the floor with the words, “Oh, my back!”.

And then sparkling eyes were directed at me!
From under a hat that was worn with esprit.
I surprisingly saw, not a man, but a miss,
With no  beard (though a tweezer would not go amiss).

In white teeth, she had clutched a short pencil end,
And a notebook, she held in one mittened hand.
Her round, wrinkled face shone with laughter and fun,
And I don’t think her happy laugh could be outdone!

She was joyful and glad, and just a bit plump,
Her smile made me smile, and her laugh made me jump!
She gave me a grin and then winked an eye,
All my fears passed away and I waved them goodbye.

She didn’t say much, simply nodded my way,
And I watched as she worked – like a pudgy ballet.
She finished her job, made a note in her book,
Then nodded and smiled and her exit she took!

I heard her footsteps as she ran to her sleigh,
Heard her call to her team as they all flew away.
Then this sweet woman shouted, as she flew o’er the town,
"Happy Christmas to all, don’t let life get you down!"


Merry Christmas, my friends! And a very Happy New Year!

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

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 Amazon.com and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

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

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
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!

Follow by Email

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

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

SnowMan

SnowMan
A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.

Translate

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?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven

Essence

Essence
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 Smashwords.com

The Babysitter

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

Melissa

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

Devon

Devon
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?