Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Kids of the City

City Kids!
My cousin was visiting.
For two whole glorious weeks.
She was a city girl but the only difference between a city girl and a ranch girl was location.
Right?
I took her swimming in the river.
She got sand in her suit.
She taught me ballet.
I fell over a lot.
I taught her how to swing from a rope in the hay loft.
She got a rope burn on her hands.
She taught me how to act out stories.
I . . . actually, I liked that. A lot.
I tried to get her to ride the pigs.
She stood outside the fence and made a face.
And held her nose.
She taught me gymnastics.
I fell and knocked the air out of me.
I decided it was time to teach her my most favourite thing.
Horseback riding.
I dragged her out to the corral and pushed her up to the top rail. Kicking and screaming.
Her, not me.
Looking back, I can see the differences between the two of us as we perched up on that fence.
The country and the city girl.
Me, in my inevitable shirt and jeans.
She in her white slacks and blouse and light blue sweater.
Even a fool would have found it obvious.
I wasn't a fool.
Well, actually . . . never mind.
The horses were drowsing in the corral.
She eyed them suspiciously.
“They're okay,” I reassured her. “C'mon.”
Trustingly, she followed me down and into the corral.
I picked out the nearest horse, Coco. “Here. This is a good one.”
“But she's so huge!” Her eyes got bigger as she drew closer.
“She's gentle!” I gave the large, coco-brown mare a reassuring pat. The horse reached out and lipped my hair. “See?”
My cousin moved beside me. “Okay. What do I do?”
I showed her how to stand beside the horse and grab a handful of mane. Then I cupped my hands, told her to step into them and boosted her up. At the proper time, she swung her leg.
She was aboard.
The excitement must be coursing through her! She must be palpitating with accomplishment and eagerness and a sense of 'the world is mine'!
I stepped back.
I must admit that everything my cousin did was graceful. Her walking. Her dancing.
Her falling off a horse.
It should have been all right. The horse wasn't even moving, after all.
But she didn't land on the ground.
Instead, she fell onto something much . . . softer.
I don't think she was pleased.
I guess some people have a problem with large, steaming piles of horse buns. Road apples. Horse puckies.
To the uninitiated, manure.
But then people are so weird.
She got to her feet. And looked down at her light blue sweater.
Her heretofore pristine light blue sweater.
Then she looked at me.
Uh-oh.
I never got my cousin back up on one of our horses.
Instead we spent the rest of her stay dancing. Doing plays and gymnastics.
Reading.
While Mom got the marks out of her sweater.
Before her mom saw them.
Yep. City girls.

14 comments:

  1. Oh, how I can relate. And you paint pictures with your words. I have to say that it's not only a country vs. city thing this one, I remember some friends of mine never daring to wade in the water, swim from the beach to the stones, roll down the grassy slope ... you get the picture, and we lived in the same town.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, one fall into horse poop would have done it for me too. Glad you found some common ground after all, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it would be fun to visit you. I'll remember to bring several changes of clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am smiling so broadly my face hurts.
    Many, many thanks.
    When as a child I visited some country friends they took delight in directing me to areas of the creek they knew were infested with eels.Thankfully my bare toes didn't tempt them.
    Even as a city girl I am a klutz. Gymnastics? Fail. Dancing? Fail.
    I would very happily watch and applaud plays though (and have had more than one close encounter with several varieties of manure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eels?! Yikes! Let's you and me sit in the audience and applaud. It sounds like the best for both of us! :)

      Delete
  5. I must say, I also have a fear of horses. I don't care how gentle they are. Once I'm on them, they want to wander off whatever trail we're on. "Don't seem nervous!" is always the advice and of course, I act the opposite. Horses are not dumb!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the biggest problem with horses. They aren't dumb! I can totally see your point now with my history of being injured (or causing other people to get injured) on horseback. Back then? I just thought it was odd she was afraid. *shakes head*

      Delete
  6. I'm a city girl but you won't get me anywhere near a light blue sweater. Or a horse. I got on one once and it ran away with me hanging on for dear life until it was at the fence and I thought it was going to jump so I fell off on purpose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too have been know to bail off at climactic horse-riding moments! Smart!

      Delete
  7. I do love how you tell a story, Diane!

    My city cousin used to visit from Ontario every summer and would stay with me for a few days of that visit. Even though our lives were quite different we stayed good friends for many years. It wasn't so much different activities as it was the Ontario versus Maritimes mentality. Being Canadian you may know what I'm describing. Ontario seemed to be five or ten years ahead of us in everything. That's how it felt, anyway. But it was nice to have a cousin who was also a friend. Now I have a different Ontario cousin whom I've gotten to know as an adult, and we too are friends. Did you stay close to your cousin when you got older?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, no. I met up with her a few years later when both of us were new grandparents. She was still as sweet as ever, though. I have stayed close with my cousins on my Mom’s side. I adore them and we see each other often! On my Dad’s side, however, they’ve scattered to the four winds and I know very little of what’s going on in their lives. Got the shock of my life a couple of weeks ago when one cousin messaged all of us to say that another of our cousins had died after a lengthy battle with cancer. I hadn’t even heard she was ill! I was a little sad for time lost.

      Delete

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