Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, April 12, 2019

Doing the Dishes

“Wow! With the $50.00 you gave me, this makes $75.00!”
Say what you will about Sally, she can add.
Maybe a bit of background . . .
It was Sally’s birthday.
For one month of the year, we are the same age. Irish twins, people call us.
Whatever that means.
I think it has something to do with annoying because for that one month, Sally never lets up that we are the same age.
On this particular day, she was clutching the crisp new fifty-dollar bill that Cousin Ruth had given her.
In a bright, pink ‘puppy-wishing-you-a-yappy-birthday’ card.
Apparently, the girl was rich.
What was more important, she had enough funds for the new video game she had been begging mom for for the past five months.
Remember the sliding-off-the-roof virtual reality debacle of July?
Yeah, that game.
Back to Sally . . .
“I’m going shopping!” She disappeared into the hall.
Now normally, I would just let her go. It is Sally and one has to be cautious in her presence. But, for some reason, I followed her.
She dashed down the stairs and into the kitchen.
There is a large hutch in our kitchen. Old. Wooden. Belonged to some ancestor.
And atop this hutch sits Sally’s treasure box. Where she keeps all her valuables.
Which, mostly were only valuable to her.
It was here that I found her.
Clinging to the base as she scaled the side.
“Sally! Use a chair!”
My plea fell on deaf ears.
“Takes too long!” Sally grunted as she hitched herself higher. “I’m almost there!”
True. Her hand was within touching distance of her treasure chest.
It was also within touching distance of something else entirely.
Our sleeping cats.
Oh yeah. We got two cats. Remind me to tell you about that. Another red-letter day in our household.
Back to my story . . .
And Mom’s antique serving platter. The one that matched the dinner set bequeathed her by a well-meaning, but sadly ignorant grandmother.
I know you can see this just as clearly as I can, but allow me to reiterate: Tall hutch. Climbing girl. Sleeping cats.
Dinner platter.
All within the same sphere.
Things happened pretty fast.
“Got it!” Sally cried, just as she lost her tenuous grip on the edge of the hutch. And her reaching fingers grabbed the tail of one of the cats as she felt herself going.
Picture it.
Girl falling.
Cat reacting.
Things not conducive to dropping raining down in a cascade.
And Mom arriving in her patented what-did-I-just-miss technique.
She gaped at the mess.
And the girl sitting in the midst of it.
At first, she failed to realize the significance of what she was seeing. “It looks as though Godzilla has just been through here!” she said. Then she saw the platter. The formerly pristine in-one-piece platter.
No longer pristine.
Or in one piece.
I know you’ve heard about how angry hornets can get.
Well, they learned from Mom.
Her face got red. Her mouth opened.
Silently, Sally handed her the fifty-dollar bill. And her treasure box.
Mom just stared at the money in her hand. Then her eyes narrowed. “Let’s go shopping!” she said unexpectedly.
Both Sally and I stared at her.
“What are we buying?” I asked. "Another platter?"
Mom shook her head, her eyes still on Sally. “Nope. Something we could really use. Chains.”
All righty then.

 Each month, 
Each month, Karen of Baking in a Tornado issues a challenge--and a few words--to each of her followers/friends.
This month, my words: chains ~ sleeping cats ~ Godzilla ~ hornet ~ $75
came via Karen from my friend at Cognitive Script!

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Brother of a Joke

The year was 1922,
Nineteen years. A grown man, true.
Australia. Armed with book, not sword,
Expecting naught of fame. Reward.
To serve the land and serve the Lord.

On April 1, a telegram,
Sent to him from Pa and Mam,
“Great news!” it chortled. Not a joke,
(Cause you can trust your hometown folk!)
A baby brother had ‘awoke’.

He laughed and tossed the note aside,
Oh, what a joke, he then decried,
His Pa got better every year,
(With telltale grin from ear to ear.)
At making jokes his new career,

When he got home a few months hence,
And walked along the airport fence,
To greet his kin of cow and corn,
(That beautiful and sunny morn.)
He found a brother had been born!

He stopped and stared, then stared again,
His siblings now did number 10!
A crowd, a herd, a ‘not-a-few’,
(Yes, one more lad, they had accrued.)
His Pa just laughed at jaw askew.

He said, “My son, this Joke’s on you!”

Each month a tale, a 'tour de farce'
With wit that's plentiful or sparse,
All on a theme so fun. And new.
So tell me. How well did we do?

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: The Joke’s on You
Dawn of Cognitive Script: Joker’s Wild
Lydia of Cluttered Genius: Stuck on You

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

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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!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?