Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Fortune-ate Truth

Excuse me, Sir . . .
That process, every few years, when the Government gets to perform ‘roll call’.
So to speak.
In 1981, Mom applied for, and was awarded, the job of Census supervisor.
The job entailed working closely with a team of women who quickly became her friends.
The work was, for the most part, fairly mundane, as each of the women went door-to-door, collecting information on who lived there.
There were a few ‘hold-outs’.
And one or two downright nasties.
But the group managed to get the work done.
Noses counted.
And reports filled out.
It was time to celebrate.
Mom suggested that they all go out for a commemorative Chinese Food dinner.
Reservations were made.
The women gathered.
Eating and hilarity ensued. Mostly at my Mom’s expense as her co-workers proceeded to ‘roast’ their good-natured and long-suffering boss who had become such a good friend.
The end of the meal approached and fortune cookies were duly delivered to their table.
Each person seated there selected one.
Then they made a game of standing and reading their fortune aloud.
Finally, it was Mom’s turn.
She got to her feet.
There was a breathless pause. (Hey, it’s my story; I’ll tell it how I want . . .)
Mom grinned. “Oh, this is entirely appropriate,” she said. “It’s time to make new friends.
Who says you can’t find truth in a fortune cookie?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Those Little Ears

It hadn’t been a good day.

For the normally organized and industrious mother of the family, a frustrating and unproductive day.
Impatience was bubbling perilously close to the surface.
She dropped a plate.
Which then shattered into a quadrillion pieces.
Spreading itself over the entire kitchen floor.
It was at that moment that the frustration finally broke through.
“Oh, damn it all anyway!”
Her husband looked up from the paper he was reading at the dining room table and blinked in surprise.
Maybe I should explain that this really wasn’t her usual form of expression.
Back to my story . . .
He glanced meaningfully at the little three-year-old girl playing happily on the floor at his feet, seemingly oblivious to the conversation. “Ummm . . .” he said, “. . . darn it?! Dang it?!”
The little girl looked up. “No, Daddy,” she said. “Damn it!”
Little ears.
Always turned on when you least want them to be.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Avoiding the Scary

My granddaughter (hereinafter known as Little One, or LO, for short) has the occasional use of her mother’s Ipad.
On long trips or when she has been particularly active and needs some quiet time.
Said Ipad has several movies installed. Good movies. Deemed by her mother and/or me to be suitable for a child her age.
Those of us closeted with her regularly hear most of The Princess and the Frog, Wreck It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero Six, Toy Story (1,2,and 3), Up, WallE, Brave, Monsters, Inc., and many others.
And I do mean ‘most of’.
Because LO will watch a movie closely from the opening credits through to . . . well, let me illustrate.
On a recent trip to take care of errands, she was absorbed in the colourful antics of a little, dark-haired girl with ‘race car driver’ in her genetic code; and a large, lovable troll of a man whose job was to wreck things. The movie was rolling rapidly toward its usual conclusion.
Okay, I admit it, I was absorbed as well.
And, quite suddenly, I was transported to the Deep South as Louisiana jazz filled the car.
I looked at her. “Why did you change it?”
She lifted her head and said, matter-of-factly, “It was getting scary.”
“Oh.” I said nothing more and let myself get carried into the current story: Young woman with dreams and grit and young man with charm and a penchant to idleness on a course toward things life-changing and dark and . . .
“Oooh. Scary.” And once again the program changed. This time to a couple of current enemies and future best friends on their first day of college.
See? ‘Most of’.
But she was happily engrossed and I have a strict policy of ‘never disturb a happily engrossed child’, so I left her alone.
That evening, Husby and I were watching the news just before turning in for the night. And I can think of nothing more likely to induce nightmares than a recap of yet another day in our often-scary global situation.
And, just for a moment, I found myself wishing I could just change the program.
Okay, I know that nothing is accomplished if one simply turns away from unpleasant situations or tasks.
And that if the good stop trying, the bad have free rein.
But, just for a time I wished I could do what LO does. Turn to another program when things get scary. Or better yet, make the scary things disappear entirely.
The children obviously have the right idea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Skating Circles

When I was four, my Mom laced me into my first pair of skates.
And put the icy street in front of our Milk River home to something more useful than spinning cars.
I wrote about that first day and you can read it here.
Go ahead.
We'll wait . . .
Skating was a favourite pastime for many years.
But it somehow got forgotten in the decades of raising and launching our children.
I watched them skate. But for some reason, it never occurred to me to join them!
I know. Silly.
Yesterday, all that changed and after a hiatus of over 40 years, Gramma hit the ice. Fortunately without too much force. (Because we all know that hardest thing about skating is the ice, right?)
Today, my elbow hurts and my knees are wondering just what happened, but it was fun and I'll do it again!
Childhood recaptured!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tut. Tut.

This day, in 1922,
Carter entered King Tut’s tomb,
And found a treasure there disclosed,
Though the king was, sadly, decomposed.
3000 years. The artifacts,
Had escaped the robbers’ pacts,
And led to golden knowledge, true,
Amazing facts for me. And you.
But I wonder as these details, read,
If you filled a room with all my needs,
Then buried me and all my stuff,
Then waited for just long enough,
3000 years. Or give a few…
Would I then be worth something, too?

Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we three besought,
To try to make the week begin
With pleasant thoughts--perhaps a grin?
So Jenny and Delores, we,
Have posted poems for you to see.
And now you've seen what we have brought . . .
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week please join us on this spot,
We'll talk of GIFTS that we have got!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

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 and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and 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!

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


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


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


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

The Babysitter

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


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


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?