Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Pain of the Brain

I’m famous.
Well, at least quoted.
Okay, not famous, but quoted once.
Maybe I should explain . . .
You know those pithy sayings that people spout?
Things like:
The pun is mightier than the word.
The road to success is always under construction.
All my life I've always wanted to be somebody. But I see now I should have been more specific.
When I was a boy I was often told that anybody could become president. I'm beginning to believe it.
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
Attempt to get a new car for your spouse—it'll be a great trade.
I said "no" to drugs, but they just wouldn't listen.
Hypochondria is the only disease I haven't got.
Every day is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Good judgment comes from experience and experience ... well, that comes from poor judgment.
Just because your doctor has a name for your condition doesn't mean he knows what it is.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel - if there isn't, it's not a tunnel ...
No pain, no gain.
It was this last that, in 1983, I changed to suit my own purposes. My version: No brain, no pain.
Okay, yes others have said it, but I swear I'd never heard it when I came up with it.
I said it a lot—especially to my kids (and me) whenever we bumped or stubbed or fell. 
My saying was picked up.
And repeated . . .
My good friend, Kelly, was preparing chicken for supper. She had bought a whole bird and was busily cutting it into pieces to fry.
This requires a knife—preferably sharp—which she had.
And finesse. Which came and went.
She was ready to separate a wing from the body. Had set the knife just so. And pressed down. Hard.
The knife slipped.
And caught her innocent bystander of a finger instead.
The blade nearly severed it.
Yes, I know. Horrible.
But now comes the part in between the injury and the medical care.
The part where she grabbed her finger in a tight grip and did the dance of pain around the kitchen.
Accompanied by the words: “I have a brain! I have a brain! I have a brain!”
Later, with her poor hand cozily wrapped, she told me, “All I could think was ‘No brain, no pain.”
See? Famous.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

When Kids Speak

Chris and Jerry. And a less embarrassed Mom.
They have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the right time . . .
Mom and Dad were travelling with Chris and Jerry, my eldest sister and brother, then aged 3 and 2. The little family stopped in at the Palomino restaurant in Forth MacLeod, Alberta (a town about two hours from the ranch).
The stop had been two-fold. A much-requested bathroom break.
And subsequent feeding station.
A table was secured near the restroom door.
The two kids were immediately taken to ensure fulfillment of the first need.
Then resettled at the table as their parents went about satisfying the second.
After their order had been taken, the wait began for the forthcoming delicious food.
With nothing to occupy their attention, Chris and Jerry spent those intervening minutes studying the other people in the busy restaurant.
And missing little.
As they sat there, a young couple came into the restaurant and took the table next to them.
Chris watched as the young man got up, murmured an excuse to his partner and headed for the restroom door.
“Are you going to go potty, too?” she asked.
In her clear, carrying, three-year-old voice.
The restaurant hushed for a moment as all eyes turned to the red-faced young man who ducked quickly through the restroom door. They then turned to the even more red-faced young mother sitting at the table with the tiny broadcaster.
Entertainment and embarrassment all rolled into one neat, cuddly bundle.
Don’t leave home without one . . .

Monday, February 24, 2020

A Puzzlement

A puzzle is a wondrous thing,
As tiny bits, together, string
And from it, something lovely comes,
From pleasant scenes to contests run.

But is there something else around
That’s similar—in sight or sound?
Where little pieces make a whole,
When sorted from the rig-ma-role.

Oh, my word, yes! Just look and see,
Small pieces bring big things to be.
And these collections of small parts,
Are where the big things really start.

I think right off of dogs or cats,
Or even chickens, pigs or rats,
Each is a sum of tiny bits,
From heads to toes from hearts to wits.

The bigger things are just the same,
The trees of less (or larger) fame,
The mountains with their wondrous towers,
That make so great, this world of ours.

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise,
That even going down in size,
No matter how minute things get,
They’re made of smaller bitsies yet!

To quote Siam’s great king, Monkut,
“Tis a puzzlement”. Aptly put.
To think that even us and him,
Are puzzle pieces, limb to limb.

I know you’ve heard it now, and then
‘Someone’s’ a ‘puzzle’. Big amen!
But there’s no need to scream and shout,
It means they’re hard to figure out.

But . . .
Though we’re assembled, more or less,
From pieces made and then compressed,
There is much more to you and me,
Than puzzle pieces that you see.

Cause Monday’s do 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 crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought . . .
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, it’ll be my first back home,
Let’s talk of gnomes. Or combs. Or foam.

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