Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sally Travels

“Two weeks of peace! You must be so excited!” Mrs. Ames adjusted her ever-present head scarf.
Mom and I looked at each other.
Okay, I was pretty sure she was speaking to my sister, Sally, but with Mrs. Ames, one is never really sure.
“I am!” Sally said, smiling broadly. “I’ve never done anything like this before!”
 “Whom are you going with, dear?” our neighbor asked.
“It’s my cousin, Ruth,” Mom put in. “She’s never married and spends most of her year . . . erm . . . exploring.”
“She thinks of the funnest things to do!” Sally was getting quite animated. “She’s climbed mountains and rafted rivers and dived out of planes and lived in skin huts and rode in camel trains and . . .”
She stopped for breath and I broke in. I could see that Mom was growing a little paler with the mention of each escapade. “Yes. She’s quite . . . adventurous.”
Mrs. Ames’ eyebrows had also risen higher as Sally spoke. One hand gripped the bodice of her bulky cotton house dress. “Oh,” she said at last. “Erm . . . where are you going?”
“Hawaii! We’re going to climb the volcano and go out in an outrigger and surf and . . .”
Again I cut her off. “Cousin Ruth has quite a full agenda.”
“Ah! Well, be sure to take lots of pictures,” Mrs. Ames said a trifle breathlessly.
“Oh, I will! Mom got me a new camera!” Sally dashed off.
“I take it you’re not going?” Mrs. Ames had turned her faded blue eyes on me.
“Oh. No. I really didn’t want . . . that is . . . well, Cousin Ruth and Sally have always gotten along like peas in a pod. It could be danger . . ." I glanced at Mom and bit my lip. "Anyways, I have work.”
Mom was staring at me.
“I’d better help Sally pack.” I hurried toward the stairway.
“I’ll be on my way as well,” Mrs. Ames said behind me.
Mom cleared her throat. “Thanks for stopping by,” she said. “I’m sure Sally will really appreciate the box of treats you brought for her to take along.”
“Well, I thought both girls were going. And I know these airlines don’t feed people anymore, so . . .”
“You’re so kind. Thank you!”
I heard the door close.
Sally appeared with her camera and the small red ladder that sits on her desk and holds all her necklaces. She peered at the door. “Where did she go?”
“Mrs. Ames? She left.”
“Oh. I was going to show her my camera.”
“She had to go.”
“Are you packed?”
Sally turned back toward the stairs. “I am! As soon as I finish picking which jewelry to take.” She looked at her watch. “Good thing, too, because Cousin Ruth will be here any minute!”
Ten minutes later, Mom and I somehow got Sally and all her luggage out the door and into Cousin Ruth’s waiting taxi.
Sally leaned out the window, waving as it started down the street. “I’ll see you in two weeks!” she screamed. “I’ll bring you a hula lamp!”
Mom and I waved until the taxi disappeared.
"Okay, what's a hula lamp?" Mom asked.
"We'll Google it," I assured her.
"Two weeks of peace,” Mom said quietly.
“What?” I turned to look at her.
“Mrs. Ames was talking about two weeks of peace when she was here.”
“Did she mean for Sally? Or us?”
I thought of Sally’s most recent escapades and frowned. “For us, I’m sure.”
“Do you think she’ll be all right?” She looked down the street where the taxi had disappeared. “I mean . . . There are sharks and stuff . . .”
I stared at her. “Mom. Whatever could hurt her? She can out-run, out-think, out-rascal and out-bother anything on the planet! I’d give a shark one chance in 100!”
Mom smiled and nodded, then high-fived me. “Score!” she said. “So . . . What would you like to do first?”

Stay tuned for Sally’s adventures in travel-land!

Each month, Karen of Baking in a Tornado issues a challenge. Give me your tired words, your poor phrases, my muddled lasses yearning to write free!”
Okay, maybe not like that, but she does distribute words we supply with the instructions, “Take these and do what you can!”
And we do!
The result? Use Your Words. The January Edition.
My words this month (picking ~ head scarf ~ red ladder ~ hula lamp ~ score) came via Karen from
A huge thank you!
Now go and see what the other members of our intrepid little group have wrought!  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Blues

‘Twas dark and dreary—
The twinkling long night stretching out before,
The cold air pinched—
It prodded round the windows and the doors,
Encased in warmth,
I huddled round the often-crackling fire,
And closely watched,
The warm flames reaching ever (and more) higher.
But though they warmed
Extremities, they somehow missed the soul,
Winter Blues
Had come, they weren’t about to let me go.
Then Husby hustled
Me out through the firmly frozen door,
We’d go places we’d not seen before,
And now I sit,
And watch the breakers lave the spark’ling sand,
The seabirds fly
Or dive and pounce on fishes near to hand,
And all about
The world, the sun with colour, it imbues
The sky and sea
Give new meaning to the Winter ‘Blues’!
 Each month, Karen and her followers publish a poem on a theme.
January's? Winter Blues.
I'm liking my 'Blues'!
See what the others have done!
Karen of Baking In A Tornado: Winter Blues
Dawn of Cognitive Script: Dark Days of Winter

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

That Night

It will always be THAT New Year's...

To celebrate the squeaky-clean beginning of yet another year, I'm going to regale you with the tale of our most memorable New Year's Eve.
It's a heart-stopper. 
Really . . .
We spent the evening, much like millions of other people, happily celebrating with friends.
Eating wonderful food that someone else prepared. (My personal favourite.)
Playing games: Charades. Word scramble. Card contests.
And visiting.
Sometime after midnight, we senior citizens called it a successful, wonderful night and left for our respective homes.
Husby and I were safely in bed by 2:00 AM.
All was well.
All was not to remain well.
Just as we were both deeply asleep, someone pounded on our front door.
In my half-awakened state, it sounded frantic to me.
“Grant! Something's wrong!” I screamed, leaping from the bed and switching on lights as I sped down the hall.
Mentally, as I ran, I tallied where my kids and grandkids were. Who had stayed in for the evening and who might still be out.
One family, I knew, had taken their little girls to a friends' party.
They could conceivably still be out.
What's wrong? What's wrong?
I reached the front door, heart racing and breathing heavily.
I peeked out.
No one.
I opened the door.
The front step was echoingly empty.
I stepped out and peered around.
No one.
The night was quiet.
The street deserted.
Nothing moved.
I came back inside and shut the door.
Then I peeked out again.
What on earth...?
By this time, my Husby was also up.
Doing a circuit of the windows and doors.
No one.
We looked at each other.
Did another circuit.
Still no one.
Puzzled, I headed back to bed while Husby locked up again.
He soon joined me and almost immediately dropped back to sleep.
I didn't.
For the next two hours, heart still racing, my mind spun through every terrible, horrible thing that could ever befall a family that (at the time) numbered twenty-five.
It was a long night.
We survived it.
None of the terrible, awful things happened.
I know, because this crazy mom/grandma phoned everyone as soon as it was light this morning.
Two facts remain.
  1. Someone pounded on our door last night. The reasons remain obscure.
  2. Somewhere in our bed is my Husby's liver, scared out of him when I screamed.
Happy New Year.

To my friends: I will be away for most of January. 
Picture me snorkeling or lying on the beach in St. Vincent. 
Cause that's where Husby is taking me.
I will be back periodically, depending on connectivity, but poetry Monday (which I totally missed yesterday) will be suspended.
Happy January! See you in February!
I'll miss you!

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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 . . .

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