Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Thursday, December 31, 2020

Farewell 2020

 


If I’d known in March that it would be my last time ‘eating out’,

I’d definitely have got dessert, ignored the Brussels sprouts,

Cause Season One of ‘20 hurt us more than just a bit,

Season Two was predetermined not to be a hit!

I never thought “I wouldn’t touch them with a six-foot pole”

Would someday be a way of life. And a global goal.

The dumbest thing I ever purchased, (bought at its premier)?

A planner to help schedule my 2020 year.

I can’t believe survival instincts kicked in on this wise:

To purchase toilet paper. (To keep you and yours alive?)

They said a mask and gloves were all I needed when I shopped,

They lied. The others all wore clothes. (And then they called the cops!)

“Please stand upon the big black X,” they told me right out flat,

But the Road Runner and Coyote taught me not to fall for that!

What and how much food you eat won’t matter one small bit,

Just know for sure your fav’rite earrings still will always fit…

We’re told that social distancing will make this virus pause,

The buttons on my shirts and jeans have taken up the cause!

I’m staying up on New Year’s. Not a party will I throw,

Cause I’m just staying up to make sure 2020 goes.


Here's to a MUCH BETTER New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Driving Miss Daisy

A guest post by my Husby, Grant.

Meet Daisy.
On the farm in the early 1960s, one of the daily chores – actually twice daily, morning and evening – was milking the cow. 
For a few years we had a super-gentle, highly-milk-productive Jersey cow named Daisy. 
In rotation with some of my brothers, our twice daily job was to go out into the north pasture, bring Daisy into the barn, and tease from her the twice-daily bounty of rich, creamy milk.
Milking Daisy wasn’t a terribly hard task.  She always stood very quietly while one of us milk-boys would sit on the three-legged stool beside her and extract her bounteous supply. 
Her only quirk – and I am convinced she knew exactly what she was doing – was that she quite enjoyed swishing her tail around to her human-occupied side, pretending to swat at flies but hitting us square in the side of the head with a rather hard and hairy-raspy appendage. I think it was her way of saying “hurry up, I haven’t got all day here!”  Daisy loved her rich pasture much better than the annoying milking barn.
Daisy’s pasture was directly north of the barn, and she seemed to always migrate to the far side, at least a half mile away.  When it was time for milking, we could always bet that she would be right in the far corner.  Bringing Daisy in was the hardest part of the milking routine, because we always had to walk out to bring her in – about a mile or more, twice a day.
Then, as a young lad, I discovered the concept of laziness.
I realized that Daisy was a gentle enough soul that I could actually hop up on her back and she would let me ride!  This cut down the twice-daily walking by half!! 
I thought I was pretty smart.
Except that Daisy liked her pasture. 
Oh, she would move alright when I was on her back, but she would head to yet another far corner of the pasture rather than towards the barn.
I decided that what Daisy needed was a steering wheel.  So one day, going out to get Daisy, I took an old corn broom with me, hopped up on Daisy’s back, and used the broom to “steer” her, so to speak.  She would start walking in a random direction, but if I wanted to steer her meanderings toward the left, I would cover her right eye with the broom – magic!  She would move left.  And of course the opposite happened when I needed to go to the right.  Within days I had the system perfected, and Daisy had been trained to take me right to the milking stall in the barn, complete with my laziness and broom steering mechanism.
Daisy was with us for many years.  I am sure my bones are still made out of her wonderful, fresh milk.  When Diane and I married, we bought two more lovely Jersey milk cows, Kitty and Bunny (that’s another story, click here) largely because of the good memories we had of Driving Miss Daisy.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Stuffed and Happy

A guest post by my eldest daughter, Caitlin.

In better health...
Back in October 2006, I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. 
Aside from the morning sickness that would hit any time it liked, it was a good pregnancy. 
During this time, I would sometimes hop the bus to the mall and peruse for some clothing that would fit my altering figure.
And occasionally find something for my hubby or the babby-to-come. 
One time, I went into a maternity store, but the only thing that caught my eye was a little stuffed dog toy. I bought it, thinking the new baby would (eventually) like to play with it. I paid for it, popped it in my bag and forgot about it.
I would remember it later . . .
Around that time, I was working women's clothing retail. It was my job to get the deliveries unwrapped and properly hung for display. I loved it, because it meant I didn't have to interact with people as much as the other ladies.
Ahem . . .
Also around that time, a rather nasty bug was making its merry way through everybody who worked there. It was a short-lived stomach flu, but it was still nasty.
Now, at the best of times, I dislike being sick. But I was about 5 months pregnant then, so I didn't have just me to worry about! The other ladies were very conscientious about my condition, but the bug wasn't.
I knew I had caught the flu when my hubby and I went to bed, and I couldn't control my nausea. Normally, I'd get a swift bout and I'd either run to the bathroom, or it would settle on its own. This night, after I ran to the bathroom for the third time, my sweetie got me a bucket to keep by the bed. By 3 am, I hadn't slept a wink, and I was starting to bring up food I hadn't even eaten yet.
Panic ensued.
Hubby bundled me into a jacket, and, bucket to hand, got me onto the next bus heading to the hospital.
We made it to the emergency, and when they found out I was pregnant and bringing up last week's meals, they tried very hard to get me in quickly.
Now, this was a hospital emergency ward. There were several other just-as-imperative cases there, including at least one car accident which I found out about after I'd been ushered into a cubicle and hooked up to an IV to combat my dehydration. They'd given me some Gravol to help with the nausea, and both hubby and I had managed to snooze a bit. 
Around 5 am, they took me in for an ultrasound to make sure the baby was okay. (It was) and when they wheeled me back, I noticed a little boy in tears in the emergency cubicle across from ours. 
His was the family that had been in the car accident. He was fine, but both his parents were immobilized, pending further tests to ensure no damages to . . . well, anything. 
All that little boy knew was that he couldn't sit with Mommy or Daddy, and he didn't know anybody there. The nurses tried to keep him occupied, but judging by the tears, they weren't succeeding.
That's when I remembered the little stuffed dog in my bag.
I pulled it out and told hubby to give it to the nurse to give to the little boy. 
Since the crying stopped soon after that, I think my tactic worked.
I was judged well enough to leave around 6 am, and we packed up our few things to get ready to go. I happened to glance into the main area where the nurse's desk was, and saw the little boy laughing with one of the nurses. She was stuffing the little dog into a vaccuum tube and sending it zipping up and down the vaccuum chute in the emergency ward. Every time it popped back down, the little boy would giggle so cutely I couldn't help but smile. We left to the sound of giggles, and that's when I knew why that little dog had caught my eye.
It's been fourteen years, and I would love to know what happened to that little boy and his parents.
Sometimes, we're moved upon to do things that we wouldn't ordinarily do.
Like me buying stuff.
*snerk*
 Not even I can say that with a straight face . . .

Monday, December 28, 2020

Resolved

 

Bob’s party was a hit. And Jack had gladly overdone,
Sampling every drink and having an excess of fun,
But when the party ended, knowing he'd had too much stout,
Jack handed Bob his car keys and on foot, he started out.
He’d stumbled for a block or two, when a cop came from the dark,
And stopped him as Jack contemplated crossing Central Park.
“'Tis half-past four, and time you were at home and safely bedded.
Where have you been, my lad?” he asked. “And tell me where you’re headed.”
Well, Jack just looked at him and tried to straighten up his sight,
But everything stayed blurry, though he tried with all his might.
So finally, he shrugged and gave the cop a painful smile,
“I’m headed to a lecture, sir. And it will take a while.”
“A lecture at this time of night? Well, surely you are kidding!
Not that fun at all, in fact, it does sound quite forbidding!”
Well, Jack, he shrugged and then he frowned a tiny, little frown,
“It’s true, sir,” he defended. “And I'm going there right now!
I'm trying hard to save you from an incorrect conjecture,
I’m really on my way to sit and listen to a lecture!
And I'm thinking from this moment, I'll resolve to never revel,
'Cause that lecture's being given by none other than the devil!"
The cop frowned, “'Devil Lectures' in the wee hours of night?”
“Sir, I can get them any time, the devil is my wife!"

Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, our talents we'll apply
SPAGHETTI is the theme we'll try!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

PJ Game 2020

We have a tradition in our home.

Well, several, actually.
But I'm only going to talk about this one . . .
Pajamas. On Christmas eve.
And spaghetti, but that is another story.
So . . . pajamas.
Every year, Mom hunts up the most distinctive pattern she can find and everyone is forced excited to wear it.
So, in honour of this very special time, here are a few examples from the past.
Enjoy!
 Christmas, 2002.  And no, that isn't a cow print couch . . .
Christmas 2003. And yes, we do look like escaped prisoners.

2007.  Little jump, here.

2008 and our numbers are increasing.
You can't see the striped socks, but they're there!
2009. Things are changing radically . . .
2010. What a mob!
2011. Well, a small, but important sample.
2012. The year of the polka dot.

2013 The year of the Googly

2014 - also glowed in the dark.
2015. What can I say? Gingham.
2016 Gramma and Grampa and a choice selection of Grands.
And PJ's. What do you think?
About this time, my DIL made for me from a selection of past pajamas . . .
Fifteen years of Tolley PJs

2019...most of us...

Also 2019...a selection of the grands. With their 'Grampa Names'!

And now 2020!
Eldest Son and Family

Second Son, ditto

Eldest Daughter and Family

Youngest Daughter and Family

Youngest Son and Family

How was your Christmas?
Warm?
Colourful and bright?
I do hope it was MERRY!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Mrs. Christmas

My annual Christmas Eve poem.

Again with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore . . .



On the night before Christmas, long hours ahead
My babe still awake, I’d just got her to bed.
The stockings were hung in a haphazard row,
While Mama assembled new toys just below.

The kids were asleep. Well, except for that last,
Just waiting for morning to get downstairs fast.
I toiled on alone, ‘cause there wasn’t a dad.
I had broken a nail and my language was bad.

From out on the lawn came a very loud sound,
It brought me to my feet, had me looking around.
I flew to the window, and thought as I ran,
‘Are my neighbour’s cats rifling through my garbage can?!’

It was bright (as can only the moon on snow be),
And I narrowed my eyes to be able to see.
And what did I glimpse, coming over the way?
But some deer, all in harness, and a stout little sleigh.

With someone in a coat that looked comfy and soft,
And clearly, some magic to keep them aloft.
They flew like a Michael Schumacher on course,
While the driver attempted some will to enforce.

"Now Baby! Now, Jazzi! Now, Frolic and Jolly!
On, Cherub! On, Angel! On, Kitten and Folly!
I need you to get to the rooftop this time!
And a fine, gentle landing would be so sublime!"

To say that they flew like some leaves past the attic,
Would be perfectly true, it was quite that erratic.
I was holding my breath as they shot toward the sky,
And prayed that my windows and roof would survive.

Then finally (thankfully) up on the roof,
The unmistakable sound of thirty-two hoofs.
Then some noise in the chimney I’d not heard before,
And someone emerged, on their knees, on the floor.

The figure was dressed in a warm, sooty coat,
With some Uggs on their feet and scarf 'round their throat.
With toys, books and clothes in a gi-normous sack,
Which they dropped to the floor with the words, “Oh, my back!”.

And then sparkling eyes were directed at me!
From under a hat that was worn with esprit.
I surprisingly saw, not a lad, but a lass,
Was I scared? Well at first, but soon it would pass.

In white teeth, she had clutched a short pencil end,
And a notebook, she held in one mittened hand.
Her round, wrinkled face shone with laughter and fun,
Her laugh was contagious, could not be outdone!

She was joyful and glad, and just a bit round,
Her smile made me smile, 'twas so friendly and sound!
She gave me a grin and then winked an eye,
And I knew I was right to bid my fears goodbye.

She didn’t say much, simply nodded my way,
And I watched as she worked – like a pudgy ballet.
She finished her job, made a note in her book,
Then nodded and smiled and her exit she took!

I heard her footsteps as she ran to her sleigh,
Heard her call to her team as they all flew away.
Then this sweet woman cried, as she flew o’er the town,
"Happy Christmas to all, don’t let life get you down!"

Merry Christmas, my friends! 
And a very, very Happy New Year! 2021 will be great!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Blue Christmas

I apologize for the somber tone.
It's been a hard year for all of us.
And for Santa...


You have to know that Santa has been very sad this year,

He hasn’t had his kiddie cuddles and ensuing cheer,

Not a single three-year-old has dived into his lap,

No precious, screaming babies and few gifts to make and wrap!

He misses all the bustle and the ‘hurry up and go’,

He’s trying to make do with lots of tinsel, lights and snow,

But sitting in his chair and gazing at a festooned tree,

Just is not the same without a child upon his knee,

This 2020 has been tough for everyone, it’s true,

But it’s robbed Santa of his kids. That makes him really blue,

When normally, he’d be enclosed by laughter and by love,

The screaming of excitement and the hi-jinks made thereof,

This gentle man who lives to make all children’s eyes shine bright

Just sits beside his tree and reads through these long winter nights,

There’s just one thing that’s positive and doesn’t make him weep,

For the first time in a ‘hundred’ years, he’s catching up on sleep!

I know the kids are missing him as much as he does them,

Missing parties, missing friends (and seasonal mayhem),

So could you pass along his wish for these ensuing days?

That they be happy, safe and well. That’s all that Santa prays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from
Santa and Mrs.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

When Santa Retires

It's time for my annual Christmas Poems!
This year, this poem takes on an extra significance as Santa has been in self-imposed 'retirement'!
“I’m too old for this,” sighed Santa, as he finished work that day,
“I have a pain here in my back that will not go away.
My eyes are tired, my feet are sore, my head is pounding so,
I fear the noises that it makes are heard in…Mexico!”

He sank into his easy chair, he closed his eyes and sighed,
He placed his feet upon a stool and very nearly cried.
“The miles and miles of snow up here are quite a sight to see,
But now I think that Florida should be the place for me.”

His wife brought in hot chocolate as he finished this remark.
“You silly man.” She chuckled. “You’ll be eaten by a shark!”
She looked into his troubled eyes and smoothed his soft, white hair.
“Now what’s the real problem, Dear? You know how much I care!”

He lifted up his chocolate cup and slowly took a sip,
Then in a thoughtful way, he pulled upon his lower lip.
He looked into her loving eyes, then down into the fire.
“The elves brought in a foreman elf they wanted me to hire.”

“With someone else to run the show, they won’t need me at all,
They said they could replace me with a schedule on the wall.
And someone kind of young would want to tackle greater things.
I feel the changes in the air this foreman’s presence brings.”

“He says he has a dozen plans to make our business grow,
He’s going to pay the elves much more and keep their hours low.
He says they’ll work much faster if they get more rest each day,
And all will go much better if I simply go away.”

“On his schedule, all is listed from the dawn to setting sun,
And if he’s right, by June the first, the toys will all be done.
The elves will then have time for play and do what they like best,
Or simply lie down in the sun and take a good long rest.”

He turned to look at her and wiped a tear from off his cheek.
“I’d time to think, they said, and gave me nearly half a week.
I said I’d answer right away, they didn’t need to wait,
I told them you and I would leave tomorrow night at eight.”

So Santa packed his things and sadly climbed into his sleigh,
And he and Mrs. Santa very slowly flew away.
In Florida, they found themselves a house down by the sea,
And soon they had a garden full of carrots, corn and peas.

They swam and fished and talked and laughed and laid out in the sun,
And no knew that Santa wasn’t really having fun,
For though they had so much to do—were always on the go,
He never could forget the snow. And work that he loved so.

One day while they were on the beach just lying in the sun,
They noticed someone coming toward their beach house on the run.
“It’s Ralph,” Said Mrs. Santa as they scrambled to their feet.
Ralph Elf was the last person that they thought they’d ever meet!

“You must come back!” Ralph panted as he sank into a chair,
“The schedule simply doesn’t work. We need someone who cares!
Eight months, we’ve worked for Foreman and, by rights, we should be done,
But to tell the truth, my friend, the work has barely been begun!”

“Come with me now, I beg you, for there is so much to do,
We tried hard to do without you for we thought that you were through.
We thought you were too old to really help us anymore,
But now we know it’s love, not age is all that we ask for!”

“We need you so the children won’t be sad on Christmas day,
And the elves all say they’ll work for you without a speck of pay.
Come with me, please. We need you. Could you try forgiveness now?
If you can’t forgive, just help us help the children anyhow.”

Santa’s eyes were dimmed with tears as he looked at Mrs. Claus,
He smiled at Ralph. “We’ll get our things.” Then suddenly, he paused.
 “My friend,” he said as he looked at Ralph, “Do the elves all want me too?
“Or do they just want someone who will work as hard as you?”

Ralph smiled and said, “Dear Santa, we have found it’s you we love,
We couldn’t work for someone else for all the stars above!”
We are a team, or better yet, a father, girls and boys,
Most families have a hobby. And ours is making toys.”

“We work so well together and together, we should be,
We’ll make the toys for everyone for all eternity.
Come with me now. We need you so. We each would like to say
If you’re with us, we’ll have more fun with each and every day!”

So Santa went with Ralph that day and started with a will,
By Christmas Eve the work was done and every package filled.
They worked so hard throughout those weeks, that on that happy day,
The children never knew how Santa had been sent away.

So now on Christmas morning when you see that he’s been there,
Remember that it’s love that brings your presents through the air.
And if we work together, loving as a family,
Love can accomplish anything that’s good. Take it from me!

Yes. Santa does recycle...
Merry Christmas, my friends!
And I hope that 2021 is the Best. Year. Ever!!!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Soul-stice

 

They call it ‘Winter Solstice’. It’s a fancy name for sure,

It has all sort of meanings—some are common, some obscure,

Occurs when one of Earth’s two poles is furthest from the sun,

Which causes light at one end: darkness for the other one.

 

The march of days leads to or from. It happens once a year,

In late June for those living South, December for us here,

Though it truly lasts a moment, people celebrate all day,

With festivals and parties (and a chance to go astray?).

 

There’s some believed this solstice was the sign of sun’s rebirth,

Cause from that moment on, the days grew longer here on earth.

A very special moment, something major, a benchmark,

It doesn’t matter what they say…to me, it means it’s dark!



Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,

With POETRY, we all besought,

To try to make the week begin

With pleasant thoughts…

Perhaps a grin?

So JennyCharlotteMimi, Me

Have crafted poems for you to see.

And now you’ve read what we have wrought…

Did we help?

Or did we not?


Next week's the last one of the year!

It has been one of dread and fear,

Sooo...

Ignore the chaos 'fore us spread,

Let's hear all our 'RESOLVES' instead.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Family Light

 

My Siblings
Mom's Family: The Bergs

Dad's Family: The Stringams

My Family

In our corner of the world, in winter, the nights are very long.

For a period of time, the street lights are coming on when the school children are just getting home.
And don't shut off until said children are safely back in class the next morning.
One does everything in the dark.
Early morning walks.
Paper routes.
Extra curricular activities.
Chores.
You might think that it would be aggravating; having so few hours of sunlight during our 'waking' part of the day.
But I love it.
For a few months, Life seems to slow down.
Family comes home earlier.
And stays longer.
But I have one memory that makes the darkness . . . special.
Let me tell you about it . . .
On the ranch, meals were served like clockwork.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner appeared with amazing regularity.
And an equal amount of delicious-ness.
During winter, at least two of those meals were prepared and served with stars in the sky.
With the modern conveniences of electricity, this was not a handicap.
Mom worked with every imaginable electronic gadget.
In a brilliantly lit kitchen.
As the rest of the house darkened with the fading sunlight, the kitchen remained a beacon.
Calling to all of us.
As suppertime neared, I would shut off the lamp in my bedroom and, without stopping to turn on any more lights, walk quickly along the dark hallway.
And that's the part I remember most clearly.
Seeing the light flooding out of every doorway leading into the kitchen.
Moving from the dark into a world of light, fragrance, warmth.
And family.
Mom orchestrating and/or supervising numerous pots and kettles and children.
The rest of the kids gathering or already seated.
An evening of great food and wonderful company ahead of me.
Mom is gone, now.
My siblings scattered throughout North America.
But whenever I come from a darkened hallway into a lighted kitchen, I feel that same anticipation.
That same joy I first felt over fifty years ago - and that time and life experiences cannot fade.
Stepping from darkness into light.
The light that is family.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Seasonal Dressing

Clockwise from right: Aly (Hired man's son),
Anita, Blair, and Me - in my little gold beauty.
It wasn't often that we kids were able to go on a field trip with my Dad.
When it happened, we were eager.
When it happened at Christmas, we were beyond excited.
Ecstatic!
Exuberant!
Exhilarated!
Elated!
Euphoric!
Electrified!
That's all of the 'E' words I can think of.
Except that 'energetic' should be stuck in there somewhere.
And, for me, usually immediately followed by, "Empty all tanks!"
When I think about it, I guess it's not surprising that we didn't go on field trips with my Dad very often.
Back to my story . . .
Dad was taking us four oldest kids to the Sweetgrass Hills to cut down our family's Christmas tree.
It was the 60's.
Families did things like that back then.
But we had to make a quick stop in Milk River at the Robinson's store to get me a winter coat.
I had outgrown my old one and Dad wasn't excited about trailing me through the forest wrapped in my blanket.
Go figure.
So the excitement level for this trip had just been dialed way up.
In fact, I was so elated, that Dad didn't even wait for the 'announcement' (see above), but sat me in the car with a bucket already in my lap.
Smart man.
We made the 20 miles to Milk River without incident. (see above . . . again.)
And entered the store.
I should explain here that the Robinson's Store was the only shop in Milk River that featured clothing.
There were neat piles of everything wearable.
And the wood plank floors creaked delightfully.
And if you were really lucky, you got to watch Theo Barrows gift wrap packages at her counter in the middle of the store.
The curling of the ribbons was especially fascinating.
Where was I  . . .?
Oh, yes.
New coat.
Dad asked the manager where we could find coats in my size and was conducted, with me tagging eagerly behind, to a rack at one side of the store.
My eyes were immediately drawn to a gold, furry, wonderful garment.
I reached out a hand and brushed the soft fur.
Oooooh! "This one, Daddy! This one!"
"Okay, we'll try this one," Dad said.
I dropped my blanket and slipped my arms into the sleeves.
Perfect!
"I guess we'll take it," Dad said.
Good thing, too, because there was no way they were ever going to pry me out of that coat.
Dad paid and we trooped back out to the car.
The other kids excited now to get to the real reason for this trip.
Me brushing and brushing the soft fur on my arms and chest.
We had fun finding the tree.
I think.
We did end up with one.
I really don't remember much about it.
Me and my coat were happy, sitting in the car together.
And watching through the windshield.
Because, after all - one couldn't wear one's new coat out into nature!
What if it got soiled?
Dad later said something about 'waste of time and money'.
But who listened?
Later:
Anita and Blair (in my now-outgrown coat which he hated). 
The original recycling program

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Mitten of Invention

A repost of my favourite Christmas shopping story.

Red Mittens - not just for hands any more!
We were shopping. I will admit, here, that shopping is not my favourite activity. I need a really good excuse.
It was Christmas.
Okay, Christmas is a really good excuse . . .
My youngest two children and I were out to find a gift for Husby.
Their Dad, my Sweetheart.
The hardest person to shop for.
After much wrinkle-browed thought, we had decided that whatever we were seeking would best be found at Lee Valley Tools. My husband's favourite place on earth.
Really.
It is a long-standing family joke that he must go once a month to LVT to pay homage to Thor, the Tool God.
But I digress . . .
We set out.
It was December.
Winter.
In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, winter equals snow. Ask anyone.
But avoid those with chattering teeth. Th-th-they c-c-c-can n-n-n-never be t-t-t-trusted.
Or understood.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Winter. Shopping. Setting out.
At first, things went well. A heavy, wet snow was falling thickly, but the window wipers were managing to keep the windshield clear – sort of.
We made it into the city. And immediately slowed to a snail's pace.
Let me describe the scene for those of you not familiar with travel accompanied by snow: All roads are now white. And slippery. All surfaces have become heavily coated in ice. Nothing is recognizable. Little is even visible.
The windshield wipers are your best, and only, friends.
But even they, too, get clogged with snow and need the occasional boost. This is accomplished by stopping. Getting out of the vehicle. And slapping said wiper against the window hard enough to remove any accumulated snow.
Or, if you are my husband, by opening the driver's window and catching the wiper when it is in its furthest upright position and giving it a quick snap while it is still in motion.
It's all about timing. And coordination.
Neither of which I have.
And both of which were to be needed shortly.
Several times, I pulled out of the crawling traffic and performed the necessary operation to clear the windshield. Then waited for a break in the traffic and pulled back in. Total time wasted? Hours.
Okay, well, it seemed like hours.
There must be a better way. I would try Grant's method!
Genius!
When the traffic had stopped for yet another light, or stalled vehicle, I quickly rolled down the window. Then I reached out.
I waited for just the right moment, when the wipers were at their apex (neat word, right?)
Closer. Closer. There!
I reached out and caught the top of the wiper.
Snap! Okay, that didn't sound good.
As the wipers began their downward stroke, I realized what I had done. The blade was still in my hand.
I had snapped the entire thing off its arm.
Umm . . . oops?
The window quickly became covered in a blanket of white. Well, half of it at any rate.
Unfortunately, it was the driver's half. Rather necessary if you want to see where you are going.
And usually, the driver does.
Something needed to be done. And there was no one but me to do it.
Rats!
Quickly, I climbed out and switched my only remaining wiper blade to the driver's side. Okay. Now I could see. That's important.
But now, the other side of the windshield was suffering from the lack of wiper-age.
Hmm.
I looked around. Our options were . . . limited.
“What about this?” My daughter's voice from the back seat.
She was holding up her red mitten.
I stared at it. Huh. Might work. I took it and, climbing out into the storm once more, proceeded to tie it to the other wiper arm.
There.
Perfect.
We switched on the wipers.
Wipe.
Wipe.
It worked!
Now we had a wiper and a . . . mitten.
I don't have to tell you how it looked. In point of fact, we giggled every time that mitten came into sight.
We finished our trip. Shopping done. Purchases made. Van safely parked back on the driveway.
And Husby replaced the wiper that had so inconveniently decided to come off.
Stupid thing.
The wiper, not Husby.
I learned several things from this:
1. Don't shop.
2. Don't drive.
3. Don't live in Canada
4. Don't go anywhere without your red mittens.
Okay, you're right. I didn't learn anything because:
1. I still shop.
2. I still drive.
3. I still live in Canada.
Pack your mittens!
You get the picture . . .

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Goldi-Locked

 


She was supposed to be weeding the garden. But the warm afternoon sun beckoned and, let’s face it, she had a short attention span. So Goldilocks dropped hoe, dusted hands, and went exploring.

Okay, so it’s not like she was strictly ‘forbidden’ said activity. It was more like an understood… erm… understanding that dire things could happen if she did so. And Little Goldie lacked discipline.

Deep into the forest that bordered her mother’s small patch of ground, Goldie walked. Enjoying the warm sunshine and the plethora (real word roughly meaning: lots) of birds, scurrying furry animals and insects.

And there, in the center (or as close as we can estimate without a yardstick) of those woods stood a tidy, little cottage. A cute little cottage. Owned by someone Goldie didn’t know.

Now that fact alone would have caused anyone else to either knock politely and await a response, or, at the very least, holler. And when either greeting failed to raise a resident—leave.

Remember where I said Goldie lacked discipline? Turns out she also lacked common courtesy. And basic manners. Because though she did knock, perfunctorily, she didn’t await a response, but simply walked right in.

Now, this little cottage wasn’t owned by just anyone. Nope. The three names on the title (they are still there if you’d care to look) were Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

Of course some time has passed since the happenings penned here, so Baby Bear is no longer a baby, but an enormous fully grown Papa himself. With a large family of his own.

But for our purposes, we’ll stick to the timeline wherein these things actually took place. Sooo… Goldilocks. Cottage. Lack of courtesy. Trespassing. I think that takes us all where we need to go.

The first thing she noticed in the tidy kitchen that opened directly off of the back door were three steaming bowls of porridge. Well—one steaming. And two in varied stages of cooling-off-ed-ness.

It was at that moment Goldilocks realized she hadn’t eaten in some time. Since breakfast, in fact. Her stomach and several attached and/or dependent systems suddenly reminded her with a low growl.

And just like that, she decided that a bowl of yummy porridge in the hand was worth any number of distant and possibly uninteresting lunches at home. No matter who it belonged to.

She found a spoon and tasted the first—largest—bowl. “Yow!” she wailed. “Too hot!” Okay, yes, the steam should have been a dead give-away. It suggests a distinct lack of observation skills.

She moved to the second-biggest bowl. “Ugh. Too cold.” Say what you will about Goldilocks—though her talent for observation may be lacking, this girl is an authority when it comes to porridge.

And she doesn’t give up easily. By the time we had reached the third bowl, many of us would have thrown in the spoon. But Goldie remained undeterred by her two appetite-curbing failures.

Still tingling with enthusiasm—and/or hunger—she dove in. And was correct (if not right) by so doing. The third bowl, though the smallest, was perfect in both temperature and content! Trés yummy!

In no time, the porridge was gone. And Goldie was needing a spot to sit and rest her weary—though distinctly dishonest—bones. A chair was indicated. Remarkably, there were three on offer.

One too hard. One too soft. And one just right. But surprisingly poorly constructed. Or at least that’s what Goldie told herself when the whole da…darn thing collapsed into a heap of splinters.

Now urgently needing a place to recover from the shock of becoming subject to the foibles of shoddy construction practices, Goldie sought out the bedroom. And the three tidy beds she found therein.

Again a short-term dilemma. Too hard. Too soft. Just right. Goldie sank into the comfy mattress and immediately was lost in the arms of Morpheus. A fictional character. Unlike Goldie who is…never mind.

While she slumbered, the aforementioned cottage owners returned from wherever they had gone. They noticed immediately that something was amiss. Let’s face it, what Goldie lacked in manners…she also lacked in neatness.

First they spotted the empty bowl. Then the shattered chair. Yes, you’re right. Pretty hard to miss. And finally, they came upon the culprit, soundly and rosily asleep in Baby Bear’s little bed.

It was at that moment Goldilocks woke up. “Three bears!” she screamed. Leaping up, she again showed her lack of societal training and manners by simply running past them and out the door.

Papa, Mama and Baby bear looked at each other. What had just happened? Not only were they the victims of a home invasion, they had been made to feel distinctly labeled and typecast.

Mama Bear looked out the window as the golden-haired (thus, her name) eater of porridge, breaker of chairs and sleeper of beds disappeared into the woods. She sighed and turned to her family.

“I feel distinctly labeled and typecast(!),” she said. Baby Bear nodded, “And I feel violated. I’m the one who lost my breakfast and my place to sit. And should probably wash my sheets.”

Papa Bear put a fatherly hand on Baby Bear’s shoulder. “So what do we learn from this, son?” Baby Bear frowned. “Even though we live in Canada, we should learn to lock doors?”

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