Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, November 15, 2019

Normal


Have I mentioned that Sally never—ever—has any good ideas.
Maybe I should re-word: Sally has awesome ideas, but they never come to anything ‘good’.
Better.
Oh, she often has good intentions.
But the outcome seldom is what any normal person could predict.
I mean, it was only last week that she, ably encouraged and abetted by her boyfriend Mort and our Cousin Ruth, managed to turn an innocent celebration of all things ‘pirate’ into a ‘sink-the-enemy’s-ship’ debacle. Sending The Adventure Slide Park’s life-sized model of the Jolly Roger to Whatshisname’s locker.
I can still see the look on Mom’s face when I fished her out from under her bed and told her.
Then there was today, for another example . . .
It started out as an innocent shopping expedition.
We needed milk.
And eggs.
Such normal activities, right?
But Sally insisted on coming along.
For a while, all was well. We entered the store like normal people. Wandered the aisles. Perused shelves and produce.
Collected. Purchased. Bagged.
And left.
I remember pausing in the doorway on the way out. So this is what ‘normal’ is like.
As I stood there, I noticed store employees popping out all over like tree buds. Employees who had been noticeably absent while Sally had been in the store.
Hmmmm . . .
I turned and followed Sally across the parking lot.
We walked along the sidewalk toward home, each laden with a couple of grocery bags.
It was a warm day. The sun was shining. I could hear birds in the trees, singing madly at each other.
It felt, for want of a better word . . . normal.
We were walking along the high, page-wire fence that enclosed the long-abandoned Paxton’s Shoe Factory and warehouse.
Sally suddenly stopped and turned toward the great, grey-weathered, windowless structure.
I stopped behind her. “What is it?”
“I heard something.”
I put on my best ‘listening’ face and tipped my head toward Sally.
Huh. Someone was crying. Loudly.
“Do you hear that?”
“The crying?” I asked.
She gave a short nod, her eyes focused on the building.
Suddenly, she hooked both of her bags over her shoulders, grabbed the fence with long fingers and scaled it.
Like a monkey.
Or a spider.
I blinked, then hurried back the way we had come and went through the wide-open gate, shaking my head as I did so.
Trust Sally to make the showy entrance.
I joined her just as she darted through an entryway.
It proved to be a short walkway lined with rickety shelves that opened into a large central court, overgrown with weeds and the repository of many, many years’ worth of trash.
On the far side, we could plainly see a man standing over a girl. He was . . . well . . . not shouting, but talking loudly and poking her with a stick or something with every phrase.
She was cowering away from him, trying to push at the stick and sobbing heavily.
Sally didn’t pause for even a moment. She pulled the bags from her shoulders and, swinging them wildly, charged across the open space.
I took a deep breath and followed, not quite sure what the two of us were getting into.
I saw the bag in Sally’s right hand connect soundly with the man’s head, knocking him off balance.
Then before he could react, her left came around and laid him out.
Flat.
I stopped and stared down at him.
His unconscious face wore a look of complete and utter surprise.
And fear.
As Sally stood triumphantly over him, grocery bags at the ready, the girl he had been abusing rose to her feet.
Tears seemingly forgotten, she asked, rather breathlessly, “What are you doing?”
Sally turned to her. “Helping.”
“But . . .”
“CUT!” someone roared.
Uh-oh.
Sally and I turned toward the voice and noticed, for the first time, the cameras and crew lined up in the shadows along the far wall.
Oops.
One rather red-faced man was advancing toward us followed by someone with a clipboard and someone else carrying a little case of something.
I’m not really sure, but I think the first man may have had steam coming from his rather prominent ears.
He stopped beside the guy on the ground. “Is he dead, Brady?”
The person with the little case knelt down. “No, just stunned, I think. He’s coming around now.”
The man then turned to Sally. The words that exited his mouth contained more than a few expletives, so I will edit. “What the ********************** are you doing?!”
Sally looked at him calmly. “Helping.”
“Helping?! ********************** who are you **************************** helping?!”
She pointed toward the girl, who was frantically shaking her head.
The man took a deep breath. “I could have you ************************ arrested and charged! I could . . .”
“Mr. Armin, sir? I think you should see this . . .”
The man turned. One of his cameramen was gesturing.
He gave one last glare to Sally, then with a brief “We ain’t ************************** finished with this, yet, Honey,” he started toward his cameraman.
The two men stood by the camera, looking at the screen.
A short conversation followed in which the words, ‘natural’, ‘born-for-this’ and ‘magic’ featured prominently.
Mr. Armin slowly retraced his steps, stopping beside Sally once more. “Ummm . . . sooo . . . would you like a job?” he asked.
It was the first time in my life I can remember Sally speechless.
I took the opportunity. “Hey, Sally. Were you carrying the eggs?”

Today is a word challenge.
Karen’s Girls, as we affectionately call ourselves supply words to our intrepid leader. Who then shuffles and re-distributes. 
We can then craft our given words into whatever we see fit.
Fact. Fiction.
The choice is ours.
This month, my words were: 
warehouse ~ crying ~ short ~ shelves ~ fence
And given to me by my good friend Dawn at https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Thanks so much, Dawn! Your words were awesome!
Now go and see what the others have done with their challenge...

17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I just love Sally. She keeps life...interesting. Say, isn't that a curse? "May your life be interesting". Now I understand Sally so much better! :)

      Delete
  2. OMG what a GREAT imaginative way to use the words! I feel honored. LOVE what you did. Sally is a mess and wow, that was seriously not what I expected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HEehee! Great words! Sally has just taken on a life of her own!

      Delete
  3. Baahahahahaha, way to beat your eggs!
    Wow, Sally got herself a movie gig while "helping".
    Never a dull day when she's around.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sally is a STAR!! I love her antics and the way your create them. What a fun character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Michele! She is such fun to write!

      Delete
  5. As much as I love Sally, I love watching her from the outside. Don't ever add me to that script, I don't think I'd survive it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ah! What a great twist at the end! I admire Sally for diving into what she thought was a bad situation, though, without even a second thought! I know that's generally her downfall, but it can be a good thing, too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes that place where angels fear to tread needs to be tread-ed by...someone!

      Delete
  7. Nothing is ever normal with Sally, and i hope she takes the job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maybe Sally can start making enough for restitution of all her previous mess-ups. (Rena)

    ReplyDelete

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