Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, May 17, 2019


“Nope. I’ve made up my mind. There’s no changing it!”
Mom and Sally were having a discussion in the kitchen.
Too often in the past, I had been front and center in their ‘discussions’. I knew how 99% of them ended.
This time I had gotten smart. I was hiding out in the living room, pretending to take in the view of our quiet street from the picture window. A dusty old grey Volvo went slowly past and turned into the alleyway just down the street.
“But, Honey. I simply don’t know . . .”
“Nope.” Sally was firm about whatever they were discussing.
“Well . . . if that’s how you really feel . . .” Mom’s voice went up in volume a notch. “Gwen? Sally won’t be needing this turkey-bacon! I guess you can have it!”
“What? No she can’t! Give that back!”
Mom went on. “I’m sure we can find vegetables enough to keep you going. I’ll have to stock up on other things you will need…”
“Yes, Sweetheart. Vegetables. Vegans eat a lot of them. If you intend to start following a vegan diet you will have to do the same.”
There was another silence and I could just picture Mom staring at my sister with that funny little crease between her eyebrows. I call it ‘Sally’s Crease’.
Because . . . Sally.
“Sally, just what did you think being Vegan meant?”
Mom laughed. “Anti-vegetable?”
“Well, Vegetable-anti, if you insist on being letter perfect. ‘Veg-an’ for short.”
I rolled my eyes. Why was I not the least surprised?
Mom laughed again.
This was getting better and better.  I leaned my head against the warm glass and listened harder.
Outside, I vaguely registered that the same Volvo was driving slowly past from the opposite direction. At least I thought it was the same. No way there could be two with the same dents.
And dust.
“See those Brussels sprouts?” Mom asked.
“Well get used to them because they’ll form a big part of your new diet.”
“Um-hmm. And the asparagus you detest? And anything else green? Or red? Or orange? Yep. Learn to like them because they will be your bread and butter. So to speak.”
“I didn’t know . . .”
“And forget the thick cream milkshakes. Or your favourite scrambled eggs in the morning. I understand there are some great substitutes that taste good, but . . .”
“Stop. Just stop. I only wanted a diet where I didn’t have to eat vegetables. That eggplant yesterday was like chewing on an old cotton rag!”
“Well, thanks a lot!” Mom sounded indignant.
“Is there such a diet?”
“No vegetables whatsoever? Yes. I think it’s called the “I-don’t-want-to-be-healthy-ever-again’ diet.”
Sally snorted and stomped out of the kitchen and into the living room. She spotted me and moved closer. “Did you know that vegans eat mostly vegetables?” she demanded.
I nodded. “Yep. No animals or animal products.”
“But I thought it meant . . .”
“No vegetables. I heard.”
Sally sighed and slumped back against the wall, her face a picture of disgust and/or discouragement. “I thought I had it!” she murmured mostly to herself.
“There it is again!” I said. I turned to look at her. “You know, that’s weird?”
“There’s an old grey Volvo that’s been driving back and forth past here for the last 15 minutes.”
Sally straightened. “Really? An old grey car, you say?”
“How old? How grey?”
I frowned. “Well on a scale of one to ten, I’d guess it was . . . old. And grey! Sheesh! How am I supposed to measure? There’s a big dent in the passenger side …”
Sally bolted to the door. “See you when I see you!”
“Sally! I made you a bag of carrot sticks and celery!” Mom emerged from the kitchen holding up a plastic bag.
“Ugh. Gross!” Sally wrenched open the door and hurried through it.
Mom smiled. “I guess that was the final, crooked nail in Veganism’s coffin.”
I didn’t answer. I was riveted to the scene outside.
Sally ran into the street just as the old Volvo made yet another pass. The car stopped abruptly. A young man opened the door and jumped out, a big smile on his freckled face.
The car began to roll slowly forward.
The young man leaped back inside and the car again jerked to a halt. Sally moved closer and leaned in to kiss him somewhere in the vicinity of his ear.
“I think we have bigger fish to fry,” I said over my shoulder.
“What’s that, dear?”
“Brace yourself. We’ve just entered a new trajectory.”
“What are you talking about?” Mom joined me at the window.
I put a hand on her shoulder. “I think Sally’s in love!”

12 times a year, the Friends of Karen submit words.
Those same words are then distributed to other Friends of Karen for subtle and effective story crafting.
The result is the Use Your Words word challenge.
Clever, right?
My words this month were: cotton ~ vegan ~ turkey-bacon ~ alleyway ~ Volvo
And were submitted by my good friend and fellow writer, Michelle at!
Thanks for the great words, Michelle! And Sally thanks you, too! ;)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My Mayday

When new engaged, my man and me, the toughest thing for us,
Was trying to decide a date. We’d much to be discussed.
“All girls hope for June,” he said. “And you must want it, too.”
I shrugged cause what I looked for was the whole thing to be through.
Then dad, a man direct and kind, took both of us aside,
“You know you want to marry and to be a groom and bride,
“And June is months away. You, each, the other one adores,
“You know you want to marry, what th’hell you waiting for?”
We blinked. Then saw he had a point, my wise and forthright Pa,
“What are we waiting for?” he asked. (Dad’s future son-in-law.)
And so we moved the wedding up by eight and forty days,
To May the first, in point of fact. Or May-Day, to rephrase.
And here’s the funny part because my goofy, Charming Prince...
I hope it’s love, but he has hollered ‘Mayday’! ever since.

Each month, our Karen and her team
We all write poems on a theme,
And now, you see, it's up to you
To go and read the others, too!

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: May Day, Mayday
Dawn of Cognitive Script: May Day

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