Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, August 14, 2020

Cookie Sail

I had been happily in dreamland.
I want to stress that because what follows did not promote any form of happiness.
Or dreams. Other than wishing the whole horrible experience was one.
I’ll start from the beginning…
I was happily in dreamland (see above).
When Sally jumped on the bed.
Scaring the snoo and almost something else out of me.
“Gwen!” she shouted. “Come on! Get up!”
“Gurfuzzitz?” Okay, I’m not at my best upon waking.
“Come on! It’ll be fun!” She grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the bed and onto the floor.
“What? What are we doing?” I looked up at her.
“Fundraising!” She bounced out of the room.
I blinked. Fundraising? She pulled me from my nice warm bed to go fundraising?
I heaved a regretful sigh and got to my feet.
Okay. I was up.
“Gwen!” Sally shouted from the first floor. “Hurry!”
I threw on some clothes and ran a quick brush through my hair. Then I grabbed a mask and left my room.
Sally, masked and ready, was waiting just outside the open front door. “Come on! He’s already gone!”
I hurried down the stairs. “Who? What’s going on?” I looked around. “Where’s Mort?”
Sally rolled her eyes. “He’s gone already. And is probably well on his way to outselling me!”
I had reached the doorway.
There beside her on the bricked patio was a bright red wagon stacked high with boxes of cookies, each colourfully wrapped and emblazoned with the crest for our local charitable children’s organization.
Sally grabbed my hand. “Come on, Sis! Mort and I are having a contest to see who can sell the most cookies!”
She hurried me along the path to the sidewalk.
Uh-oh. Sally. And a wheeled object. Going door to door.
I tried to turn back.
But her hold on my hand tightened. “Come on!”
Sighing, I followed her.
It was a beautiful summer day. Blue skies. Light, very light breeze.
Bright sunshine.
Kids were playing all over the neighbourhood.
People busily worked in their yards, visited with each other (properly socially distanced, of course), tinkered on cars.
It was a normal, perfect day.
We pulled up to the first house.
Mrs. Michaelson was deadheading her prize roses.
She looked up. “Sally!” She quickly got to her feet and stepped between us and her flower bed. “Ummm…what brings you by?”
“We’re selling cookies, Mrs. M.!” Sally said brightly. “Fundraising for S.O.F. You know. The children’s organization. They do good stuff for kids!”
“I know it very well.” Mrs. Michaelson looked toward the house and bit her lip. Probably she was weighing the prospect of being able to make it to the house, either to hide or to find her pocketbook before Sally accidentally set her house on fire. Finally, she reached into the pocket of her jeans. “I’ve got…twenty, twenty-five, thirty-five…thirty-five dollars! Will that be okay?”
“Perfect!” Sally said excitedly. “That’ll get you seven boxes of cookies!” She started to count them out.
“Never mind, dear,” Mrs. Michaelson said hurriedly. She gave us a brief smile. “I don’t really eat cookies anymore. Just take the money and…” She bit her lip again.
“Super! Thanks so much, Mrs. M. I make out a receipt.”
“Never mind that. It’s fine.”
“Well, I’ll drop one off, then.”
“How about I stop by your house and pick it up?”
Sally nodded happily. “That’ll be great!” She started to move up the street. “See you!”
At the next house, Bill Baggins (and yes he gets teased and no he’s not related to Bilbo) loomed over us at the end of his driveway, arms folded.
Sally began. “Hi, Bill…”
“How much to keep you out of my yard?”
I snorted.
But Sally took it in stride. “Buy all the boxes and you’ll never see me again.”
I gaped at her. We were at our second house and already Sally had moved her entire inventory.
“Let me help you with them,” Sally offered.
Bill held up a hand. “I’ve got this,” he said. He called his sons over and each of them took a stack.
Fortunately, he had five little Bill’s and so the wagon was soon empty.
The oldest one smiled at Sally. “Your last picture was great, Sally,” he said. “I especially liked the part when you…”
“Hurry along, son,” his dad said.
The boy blushed and hurried toward the house with his armload of cookies.
“That’s forty boxes of cookies at five dollars each.” Sally said. “So you owe me two hundred.”
Bill nodded and reached for his wallet. He laid a couple of fifties into her palm, then added a stack of twenties. “There you go.”
“Can I make you out a receipt? Your donation is tax deductible.”
“Never mind,” Bill said. “It’s for a good cause.”
“Any more of those cookies?”
We all looked up.
A young boy with tousled, red hair and freckles stood a few feet away.
Sally tipped her head to one side. “I don’t know you.”
“I’m Gary. My family just moved in.”
“Oh! You’re one of the Townsends!”
He nodded.
“Hey Gar! We’re almost ready!”
He looked over toward another boy on a lawn a short distance away. “Hang on!” He turned back to us. “So do you have any more cookies?”
“I’m sorry, but we’re all sold out.” Sally crouched down beside him. “So do you like it here?”
“Yeah. It’s cool. Well, I gotta go!”
“What are you doing?”
“My brother and me are going to set off our rocket!”
“That sounds exciting! Can I watch?”
He shrugged. “Sure.”
Sally abandoned her wagon, and me, and followed him.
I weighed my options. I could do the same.
Or I could leave quietly before chaos started.
I decided to stay. Things had been rather dull lately.
Gary and another boy had a little rocket set up on a small home-made Launchpad.
The other boy, who looked a little older than Gary, but with the same red hair and freckles held a lighter.
“I’m ready to light it, Dad!” he shouted.
A man waved from the shadows on the front deck.
“Wait!” Sally said. “What if we were to move it over there! There’s a bit of a rise. It’ll go way higher!”
The two boys frowned, then nodded. “K,” the oldest one said.
He grabbed the rocket and Sally brought the Launchpad. “Ooh. A bit rickety,” she said.
“It’s okay if you prop it up on this side.” Gary pointed.
“Like this?” Sally braced one of the legs against the platform.
“Countdown: Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Ignition!” The older boy touched the flame of his lighter to a short fuse at the base of the rocket and all of us stepped back.
“Oh, wait!” Sally darted forward. “The leg’s fallen over!”
She reached for the rocket just as it sputtered and ignited…
And tipped over.
With unerring accuracy, the small missile shot toward the house, shattering the huge front window and disappearing inside.
There was a shriek and the twins sounds of thumping and crashing and the rocket suddenly reappeared through the same hole, startling all of us. It lay on the lawn, still sputtering but obviously almost out of oomph.
A red-headed woman appeared in the space left by the now-missing pane of glass.
The two boys had been staring aghast at the damage, but now lifted their eyes to her.
“That’s our mom!” Gary gasped out.
Sally smiled. “Hi, Gary’s mom!” she said brightly. “Welcome to the neighbourhood!”

Each month Karen’s fans donate words to the cause.
Karen then redistributes said words among all of us.
And thus, the ‘Use Your Words’ challenge is born.
 appear ~ dreamland ~ horrible ~ rocket ~ startle
This month, my words came from my wonderful (and knowledgeable) friend, Rena at Wandering Web Designer.
Thank you so much, my friend!

Now go and see what the others have done with their…assignment!


  1. Well, that'll let the new neighbors know everything they need to know about Sally. Wonder if they have some kind of grace period on the purchase of their new home. They're gonna need it.

  2. "I was happily in dreamland when Sally jumped on the bed."

    That about tells us everything we need to know... ;-)

    I wonder about the size and level of equipment of Sally's Mom's liquor cabinet!

  3. I think I need a Sally story at least once a week. I think there should be an interview post of her... just saying!

  4. And now Gary's mom is a part of the neighbourhood.

  5. I'm glad I have boring neighbors! Well, not really, but a story for another time, perhaps.

  6. Sally's family has the most amazing patience. I would have been done when she woke me up.

  7. What a way to meet the neighbors. Great episode, Sally stories never disappoint.


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