Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, October 11, 2019

To the Hilt

“And what are you going to do there?”
Sally shrugged. “Dunno.”
Mom sighed. “You’re telling me that you and Ruth are dressing up like the Pirates in some ridiculous books. Going to a something-or-other event at the Shrieking Slide Park. And you have no idea what it’s about?!”
Again, Sally shrugged. “I just know it’ll be fun. And, Mom. It’s the Adventure Slide Park.”
“You call it what you want. I’ll call it as I see!”
Perhaps a bit of background. Because those of you who know Sally will definitely understand Mom’s concern.
Cousin Ruth, had just returned from Mars . . . okay, not there, but I have no idea exactly where she was and even less chance of being able to pronounce it . . . and was already eyebrows deep into her next adventure.
This one was local, allowing the participation of the aforementioned Sally.
And just so you know, Cousin Ruth always invited me as well.
I just have too much sense to go. Ahem . . .
Sooo . . . invitation. Pirates.
Adventure Slide Park.
Cousin Ruth was on her way to pick up my sister. The two of them, if Sally was any indicator, were dressing to the hilt (I use this word purposely because Sally had a bona fide sword at her side.) for some ‘awesome pirate-y event’—I’m quoting her, of course.
Details of exactly what they were going to do at this APE (see above) were sparse and really rather iffy.
And Mom was torn between having a quiet afternoon with the distinct chance of storms later or keeping Sally home and giving up her afternoon all together.
A tough choice.
I sympathized. Again, those of you who know Sally . . .
A car slowed outside and we heard the distinct sound of the undercarriage scraping the curb as the driver pulled into our driveway.
“She’s here! She’s here!” Sally bounced up and down, then headed for the front door.
Before she could open it, however, all three of us heard something strike it from the outside.
Mom put a hand on Sally’s shoulder, holding her back as she reached for the knob.
Swinging the door wide, both she and I gasped.
A gleaming cutlass was buried, point-deep, in the heavy wood. A cutlass still quivering from the force of whoever had put it there.
“Ha!” someone outside shouted rather triumphantly.
Mom peered out cautiously, then she took a deep breath and I saw her chin jut out.
“Ruth, you idiot! You could have killed someone!”
“Pffff!” Ruth’s voice. “Stay out of the way of the door!”
“But this is MY DOOR!!!” Mom’s voice rose. A lot.
“Is Sally ready?”
“Ahhhh!” Mom jerked the cutlass from the door and charged outside, weapon raised. Sally and I followed as fast as we could. I really don’t know what would have happened if at that precise moment, a car hadn’t backfired.
It sounded like a pistol shot.
Mom gasped and stopped, her head snapping around toward the street.
Of course, it was Mort, Sally’s beau, arriving in his centuries-old but still trusty and now yellow-painted Volvo. He fell (rather than stepped) out of the front seat, long legs tangling in his own sword and sashes. Forcing a cheap pirate’s hat over his unruly head of hair, he grinned and saluted with, of all things, a sausage. “Ready, me hearties?”
Mom put a hand over her mouth as her gaze went from eye-patched and resplendent Ruth, to Mort and back again. Finally, she threw the cutlass down on the grass as Ruth’s booted feet. “You owe me a new door,” she muttered.
“Sure you don’t want to come?” At this point I figured, quite rightly, that Cousin Ruth was the bravest--or most foolhardy--person I had ever met.
Mom spun around and pinned her with a glare. Eschewing an answer, she lifted her chin. “If anyone wants me, I’ll be hiding under my bed.”
I looked at Cousin Ruth and her two companions. "Erm . . . have fun?"

Each month Karen's Bloggers participate in a word challenge. All of us submit words to our intrepid leader, and each month she shuffles and re-distributes. The result is Use Your Words.
And it's totally fun!
This month, my words: books ~ pirate ~ slide ~ yellow ~ sausage, came (via Karen) from my uber-awesome friend Rena at

Here are the Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado
Wandering Web Designer
Spatulas on Parade
Follow Me Home
Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


I must admit, I’ve never even seen a corn maze. True,
And if you set me down in one, I’d not know what to do.
But I’ve heard tales and you will see before this post is through,
Knowledge isn’t what you need to tell a joke or two.

"At first, I’ll tell of one young man who thought it was no joke
When inexperience got him corn-ered by some country folk!"
Okay, I’m sorry, that was bad, I did not mean to provoke,
And I’ll do better so some reader doesn’t have a stroke!

This one, you must admit the kiddies really think is bold!
3 of 4 expressed affection when we had them polled.
"A secret’s hard to keep inside a corn maze, so I’m told,
Because of all the ears beneath the tassels made of gold!"

I’m blonde and I have heard there is a corn maze just for me
And others, like me, who would travel out so they can see,
This truly splendid play place that is fun (and worry-free),
We all will be successful I can almost guarantee!

Okay, one more and then my maze poem will be at an end,
Come here and join me by the bonfire. Warm your hands, my friend!
If you adored it, checks and dollars really won’t offend,
Cause it’s the most a-maze-ing poem that I have ever penned!

Each month we write upon a theme
Some folks think we're clever!
And we have such a lot of fun,
We'll do this thing forever! 

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: Lost and Found
Dawn of Spatulas On Parade: A Fiery Twist

Sarah of Sarah Nolan: Autumn Joy

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Jelly Good Time

When Husby's family took a trip to the ocean, they had all sorts of . . . experiences.

As told by Grant Tolley

Grant, age 3.  Jelly Fish rescuer.  And cutie.
It looked like a blob.
It was a blob.
A blob of jelly-like substance, trailing long streamers and lying inert on the dark, sandy shore.
We stared at it. Walked around it. One of my brothers touched it with a tentative toe.
Yep. Blob.
The rest of my family soon lost interest and walked away. I squatted down and continued to study the strange . . . thing.
We were children of the prairies and knew, intimately, the frogs, snakes, minnows and other creatures that inhabited our little river. But here, facing the great and awesome expanse labeled 'ocean', we were . . . out of our depth (pun intended).
And this? This was something new. Something unheard of. Something mysterious.
I think it was a jelly fish, but, somehow, admitting that takes away the magic.
I continued to study it.
It didn't move. Probably a good thing, considering that it was roughly the size of a chicken.
I narrowed my eyes. Something about the creature was wrong.
Oh, I might be from the prairies, but, believe me, I know when something is out of place. And that jelly fish was definitely out of place.
Somehow, in my mind, I could picture it . . . floating happily.
That's it! Floating!
I was a genius!
All I needed to do was to somehow get this creature back into the water where it belonged.
I walked around it again. Maybe I could pick it up . . .
I reached out. Then stopped and looked at my hands. Then back at it.
No. That didn't seem right.
Another circuit.
I had it!
I would find something to lift it as unobtrusively (and yes, that is a word) as possible and send it home.
I ran up and down the beach, and finally spotted a worthy tool for the job at hand. A long plank, weathered and beaten by the waves.
I drug it across the sand and carefully maneuvered one end of it underneath my . . . erm . . . blob.
Gently, I slid it further and further, careful not to jar or disturb my stranded friend.
Finally, I had pushed it completely underneath.
I was ready.
Carefully, I lifted the plank.
With . . . most . . . of the jelly fish aboard.
In horror, I watched the strange creature disintegrate.
I mean, I've heard of going to pieces, but this thing really did.
Imagine trying to lift a blob of jello with a board.
Soft jello, like my Mom makes. Not the concrete kind that they serve in restaurants.
You get the picture.
This was worse.
It left it's legs and arms and a good portion of the rest of it on the sand.
Umm . . . Ick.
Panicked, I swung my board and threw the portion I had managed to collect into the water.
The rest, I abandoned.
What would be the point?
I'm pretty sure both halves were dead.
Or at least very, very ill.
Who is it that says that no good deed goes unpunished?
They were right.

Monday, October 7, 2019


The little boy, with pens and glue,
And sheets of paper, old and new,
Decided he would make a friend,
Who’d be with him until the end.

(Of course you know that little boys,
Soon tire of their made-up toys,
And that this thing which he then made,
Would be forgotten. Or mislaid.)

But I’m a little bit ahead,
I first should tell you what he did,
He made a little paper man,
With suit and tie and business plan.

He played a while with his new friend,
With deals to make and bucks to spend,
But then, as kids will often do,
He laid him down and said, “Adieu.”

And so the little paper man
With suit and tie and business plan,
Was lonely and a wee bit scared,
For single life, was unprepared.

And day by day, he simply stayed,
Upon the shelf where he’d been laid,
But secretly, he hoped that he,
Would find someone, a friend to be.

But months went by and dust accrued,
The paper man grew more subdued.
The maid, when gathering trash, did take,
He thought his paper heart would break.

Then in the dark and in the bin,
He finally thought that he’d give in,
No way that he’d find someone now,
His doom was seal-ed anyhow.

And then the maid came back again,
With paper trash for dumping in,
She tossed a handful, closed the door,
All’s quiet as it was before.

“H-hello?” a voice said, near his knee,
“Is someone there? I cannot see!”
And paper man’s small paper heart,
Near tore his paper chest apart.

“I’m here,” he said, but softly spoke,
So as not to frighten other folk,
“Oh, thank you!” the small voice replied,
“You can’t imagine how I’ve cried!”

“I was as glad as I could be,
“When playing with my Mel-o-dy.
“But of paper dolls, she soon grew tired,
“Now in the trash can, I’m retired.”

“Well I’m here now, please don’t be scared!
“I’ll be your friend,” the man declared.
“I, too was simply thrown away.
“I’m glad you’re here. You’ve made my day!”

I know you think there wasn’t much,
That they could do as trash and such,
But there’s a moral here you see,
For everyone. Plus you and me.

It doesn’t matter where you live,
How rich you are, how much you give,
With lots or few days till the end,
Life’s just better—with a friend!

Mondays to get knocked a lot,
With Poetry, we all besought,
To try to make the week begin
With pleasant thoughts. Perhaps a grin?
So all of us together, we,
Have posted poems for you to see,
Please go, see what my friends have done,
I’m sure it will be lots of fun!
And now you’ve seen what we have brought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Our Jenny gave our ‘Paper’ theme,
Next week’s my turn to give the ‘meme’,
I’ll be away, but I won’t miss,
We’ll talk about Our Bucket List!

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

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
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?