Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, March 16, 2018

Reunited

I spun around.
“Your door was open and I called and I called. I even used my ‘foghorn’ voice. But you didn’t answer.”
I let out my breath and brushed self-consciously at my cheeks. “Hi, Edith,” I said. “You startled me.”
She eyed me for a moment--my reddened eyes. The obvious tear tracks down my cheeks. “You did invite me. Didn’t you?”
I nodded.
“I could hear you talking to someone, so I knew you were here.” She looked around, puzzled. “You were talking to someone, weren’t you?”
I sighed. Okay, I know that Cousin Edith is my closest relative apart from she-who-is-everywhere-but-cannot-be-seen. But let’s face it. Hers wasn’t the face I was hoping to see.
“Oh, this is for you.” She held out a basket. “I’m assuming, anyways. It was on your front step.”
I peered at it suspiciously. “On my front step?”
“Yeah. I figured someone must have left it there. It was in a pretty obvious ‘trip-over-me’ location.” She looked around. “Where do you want me to put it?”
I blinked. “What’s in it?”
She set the basket on the table and we pawed through it together.
“Huh. Pre-cooked turkey. Pre-cooked potatoes and vegetables. Pre-cooked everything!” I held up a small, stone crock. “Even pre-cooked . . .” my voice caught, “. . . Swedish meatballs.” I felt a bright stab of . . . something that approached both pain and happiness. “Whoever sent this definitely knows me. This is my idea of Christmas dinner!”
Cousin Edith finished sorting through the packages. “Look! Some nice, rum-filled chocolates to end with.”
“Or start with.” I reached for the box, deftly slit the cellophane wrapping and flipped the lid to the table. Yes. I have to admit, I’ve done this before. “Want some?”
Cousin Edith balled up plump fists and waved them excitedly. “Ooooh! Maybe just one.”
You have to know that, for women like us, ‘just one’ could mean many things. Just one chocolate. Or, more likely, just one row or, better yet, one layer.
Half an hour later, I foiled the last chocolate's escape attempt, catching it before it could roll to the floor. Cradling it in my hand, I sat back and muzzily surveyed the room. My cousin nearly comatose in the chair opposite, the empty chocolate box upside-down on the floor between us, and Reggie looking at both of us in patented bird-disgust.
He ruffled his feathers, clicked his beak and croaked out, “Smelly old broad!”
I threw the chocolate at him and he squawked and said something rude.
I turned away and slumped down comfortably in my chair, certain I was supposed to be doing something. But not caring one whit if it ever got done.
“Ohhhh, my head!” Edith said.
“My stomach!” I said in much the same tone.
Party animals, we’re not.
“I’ll get the Tums.” I got to my feet, then gripped the arm of the chair I had been sitting in as the room assumed a parabolic swing.
“And maybe a cool cloth for my head?” Edith said, hopefully.
I nodded carefully, then with equal care, started toward the kitchen. Halfway across the room, I stopped. Listened. I looked at Cousin Edith. “Did you hear that?”
She looked up at me a bit blearily. “Hear what?”
“Never mind.” I continued across the room and flipped the door back.
Norma straightened from in front of the oven and glared at me. “When I sent this food, I didn’t mean to see it left here on the table to decompose!”
I stopped breathing and just stood there, staring, the effects of my recent close encounter with rum draining away.
She lifted the chocolate box lid and looked around for the chocolates. “I see the most important things got taken care of.”
“Norma?” My words had a hard time getting past my tight throat. “Norma?”
She smiled and spread her arms wide. “Surprise!”
My legs felt rubbery as I gingerly crossed the kitchen. I reached out and touched her shoulder. “Norma?”
“Merry Christmas, Sis!”
I wrapped my arms around her plump form and squeezed. “Norma!”
She hugged me, patting my back as I took a sobbing breath. Then I gripped her by the shoulders and held her away so I could look at her. “Are you all right? Do you need to bathe? Are you . . . hungry?” Okay, yes, I guess you could say my mind was justifiably firing in many different directions.
She laughed. “I’m fine, to answer your first question. Yes, I could use a bath. They don’t have them over there, but they don’t really seem to be needed. And I’m planning on sharing this . . .” she glanced over the pre-prepared dinner sitting on the table, “. . . erm . . . feast with you and Cousin Edith.”
“Norma?”
We both turned. Cousin Edith was standing in the doorway. The expression on her face must have been a mirror image of mine.
“Hi, Cousin Edith!” Norma said, brightly. “Merry Christmas!”
Edith isn’t made of the same stern stuff as me.
Edith fainted . . .
Christmas dinner happened. Probably not as fancy as feasts in other homes.
Or as plentiful.
But, though at least one member of the party was rather peaked-looking, I don’t think there was another celebration that was as happy.
Funny how you don’t really appreciate something—or someone—until they are taken from you.
Fortunately for me, Norma was returned.
Much the same as she had always been.
“Mama’s home, Baby!” she said brightly as she reached into the cage for her looney handful of beak and feathers.
Reggie danced up her arm to her shoulder, sat there a moment, blinking and bobbing, then reached out and bit her on the ear, drawing a bright drop of blood.
“I love you, too, sweetie,” Norma crooned.
Yep. Much as she had always been.
Weird old bird.
Use Your Words is the brainchild of Karen at Baking in a Tornado.

A writing challenge with a twist. Each participant contributes a set of words.
And then Karen re-issues those words to someone else in the group.
It’s fun.
And challenging!

My words this month decompose ~ foghorn ~ location ~ pursue
came to me from:
Thank you, my friend!

Now hurry over and see what the other challengers have done!

18 comments:

  1. ‘Foghorn’ voice, love it! Next time go for Batman voice? But that's not the point here. Your message "Funny how you don’t really appreciate something—or someone—until they are taken from you." certainly hit home. We buried hubby's uncle / godfather yesterday, and while we did appreciate and love him, we didn't expect him to lose his battle so soon. Cancer stinks. That's all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry about your uncle. Cancer does stink. Thinking of you...

      Delete
  2. If Norma was going to come back, Christmas dinner was the time to do it. Even if she did make Edith faint, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hooray.
    I am so glad that Norma is back - but wouldn't have wasted the last chocolate on Reggie.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Home for Christmas...wonderful....um....any of those rum balls left?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Reggie's is still around . . .

      Delete
  5. I love your definition of "just one"!! I'm glad Norma is home safe and sound :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. P. S. The picture is so appropriate!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Norma is a ghost? What a great story, the food description had my mouth watering and the rum chocolates brought memories of my dad who also loved them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure your dad wouldn't have wasted one on the goofy bird. Am I right?

      Delete
  8. Glad to see Norma make it back! Now, I must go eat!

    ReplyDelete

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 Amazon.com and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

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

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?!

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

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?