Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Legs of Winter

Daddy at Work: Winter
Daddy at work: Summer
Daddy at church.

Daddy at leisure
Daddy at play.
 I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I just spent six whole weeks dressed in shorts.
In the middle of the Great Canadian Winter.
I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t experienced it.
Of course I was nowhere near Canada when it happened.
Still . . .
On the last day of our holiday I was lamenting to Husby about having to put on long pants to go home. And it reminded me suddenly of my dad . . .
Daddy dressed pretty much the same every work day.
Neatly creased blue jeans. Tough but tidy work shirt.
Laced up work boots.
Gloves. Hat.
On Sundays, he wore neatly pressed dress pants and crisp, white shirt and tie. Or a full suit.
Polished boots.
No gloves. Dress Sunday cowboy hat.
When the rest of us swam, he watched and guarded, fully clothed.
My point in telling you this is: I saw Daddy’s bare legs maybe half-a-dozen times in my life.
In. My. Life.
Daddy didn’t go for shorts.
Even in the towering heat (it does happen) of a three-week Canadian summer.
Maybe he was self-conscious about the colour of his legs? Glistening white, as would be expected of the skin of a redhead that never, ever sees the light of day.
Skinny? Oh, they were well-muscled. But riding horseback all day, every day, makes wiry muscles as opposed to massive ones.
Hairy. Okay, this one goes without saying. Everyone’s legs are hairy.
Ahem . . .
Whatever the reason, he was never seen in shorts.
Until that day . . . (cue music: Dun Dun Duuuuun!)
Daddy was living in a senior’s apartment complex in Taber, Alberta.
It had been near his sweetheart when she was confined to a nursing home in her last years.
He stayed on after she was called Home.
He liked it there.
Enjoyed the activities. The amenities.
The peace and quiet.
Liked the people.
His neighbours were affable, social people. He and they got along well.
Mostly.
On that day, he and his neighbour stepped into the hallway at the same time.
His neighbour stopped. Stared.
Daddy was wearing shorts.
Exposed were about 16 inches of unnaturally white skinny-ness.
The neighbour grinned. “Mark!” he said. “Are those your legs? Or are you riding a chicken?”
Yeah, I’m pretty sure those shorts went right back into hibernation.
P.S. Those skinny ‘Stringam’ legs have been passed down. My youngest sister got them. And the other day, I was watching a group of my grandkids running along, draped in a sheet that covered all but their lower legs and feet.
There, in the middle was a pair of skinny, white legs.
When we pulled off the sheet and matched legs with owners, I realized that my #3 grandson is all his grandfather ever was.
And more.




16 comments:

  1. Dad never wore shorts or bathing trunks.....he never took his shirt off in public either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the line about riding a chicken! And who says men don't think about their appearance? My dad had a fondness for purple and mauve. And I made sure he had some in his wardrobe for the eight years after his stroke, despite the one caregiver who wouldn't "let" him wear them. Oh dear, I've just veered into different territory altogether . . . sorry to rant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiss and spit. I gave my father a burgundy silk shirt. He loved it. And wore it and wore it. After many washes it was decidedly pink. And he still loved it. And wore it.

      Delete
    2. Oh, my goodness. 'WOULDN'T LET' him wear them? Don't get me started . . .

      Delete
  3. I don't recall EVER seeing my father in shorts either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess Dads' knees weren't meant to see the light of day! ;)

      Delete
  4. My dad wore shorts at home in the summers, but long pants for work, so his legs were paler, but we're a light-olive toned family and the rest of the town was either Greek or Italian and English, so there were tanned people and sunburnt people. I don't remember seeing anybody with truly white skin until a girl from Scotland joined our high school and even she developed a pale tan soon enough. Much later when my daughter was in high school, her best friend was a whiter-than-white redhead who didn't even freckle when she went out in the sun. Porcelain white she was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The porcelain white? That would be my family . . .

      Delete
  5. Men always dressed more "properly" in the good old days didn't they Di? I can imagine your dad's embarassment from the riding a chicken comment - the neighbour was lucky not to be clipped over the back of the head for the insult! Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I would have liked to see that! :)

      Delete
  6. What a lovely story and memory of your Dad. Life was different back then wasn't it although living in Sydney at the time, my Dad did wear shorts so I did see his legs! Thanks for sharing your memories with us at #MLSTL and I shared on SM.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your dad had legs?! I have to sit down . . .
      ;)
      Thanks so much for sharing, Sue!

      Delete
  7. My Dad loved to swim, so all of my summer time memories are of him in swimming trunks, or even cut off jean shorts. Anything that would work for a quick dip in the water.
    Great memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing, ins't it, how different--and yet the same--our lives can be?! Love hearing about your dad!

      Delete
  8. What a wonderful story. My dad did wear shorts. We all tan like anything and never burned plus he retired to Fl. Back in the day Sunday was a dress up day.

    ReplyDelete

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