Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, May 1, 2020


What can I say of the sum: Forty-four?
How to describe? I've not been here before!
It follows behind Forty-three, it is true,
And lots of sums added together accrue,
At times you will find it in Times-table fun,
When using two, four and some others. And one.
It’ll cleanly divide if you use the right tools,
Just see above. And then follow the rules…
So what can I say of that number? It's fine?
It's solid? It's pretty? It's stately? Divine?
Well, to Husby and me, it's all the aforesaid,
Cause today, it's the years that we two have been wed!

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Gift Horse

There’s an old saying, ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’.
Now you should know that horses, as they get older, show it mostly in their teeth.
The older the horse, the more outward sloped the teeth.
I’ll talk more about this later . . .
We once received a gift horse.
Okay, well, it was a yellow Chevette.
But it was a gift.
And had several 'horses'.
The car was . . . old.
Rust spots bloomed like a garden.
The doors wouldn't open. 
Or if they did, they wouldn't close.
The internal organs alternately belched or squealed.
There was, literally, no back floor on the driver’s side.
And pieces quite frequently dropped off, made scraping sounds on the pavement, or detached altogether, only to be run over by the vehicle that had lost them.
The car had one thing going for it. It had a new engine – put there by our good friends, the former owners. People who then made the magnanimous gesture of presenting the car to us.
I'm quite sure you are wondering why they would do such a thing. 
They had finished school and made the recent move to newer, or at least less rusty.
And why we would go on driving our 'testament to rust'? 
We were still poor college students with four kids and little means of support. Who needed all the help we could get.
So ‘Rusty Yeller’ made the daily commute to college with my Husby.
Often, they would sit in traffic, cars around them humming or growling happily.
While this car made its convincing impression of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Without the cuteness.
Or magic.
This went on for several months.
Finally, my Husby neared graduation. He would soon have a Master’s degree under his belt.
It was time to move up a peg on the whole ‘commuter’ scale by selling the car.
We weren’t asking much.
Just pay for the ad and the car is yours . . .
No bites.
We tried to give it away.
Still no takers.
Finally, Husby took to leaving it parked at the college with the keys in it, hoping to entice some desperate--or at least near-sighted--student into taking it for a spin.
A long spin.
Oh, come on! Vehicle theft had reached near epidemic proportions on that campus!
Obviously, the students were a bit . . . judicious . . . with their choices. Choosing cars that were, oh I don't know . . . road-worthy? 
We finally got rid of the car.
Traded it on a push, pull or drag sale.
I think we even got $500.00!
So, back to the gift-horse scenario.
And the looking of said horse in the mouth.
In the usual sense, it means that one shouldn’t find the faults in a gift.
In our case, we did look.
Saw the new engine. 
And ignored the rust spots and obvious problems which later proved . . . rather important.
My lesson? Don’t bother to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Let the rust and disease put you off right from the beginning.
Close. Just add rust...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Idiot Sundae

This . . .

Plus this . . .

Plus this . . .

Plus this . . .

And finally, this.
Dad loved telling this story. 
First day as a father . . .
He had just left his newborn daughter and her mother sleeping happily (and healthily) at the hospital.
The newly-minted father stepped out into the sunshine and grinned.
He needed to celebrate.
He stood there for a moment.
Then it hit him. What better way to celebrate than with a dish of ice cream at the Spudnut Shop?
Soon he was standing in the familiar café, studying the menu on the wall.
Hmm . . . he’d always wanted to try the Idiot Sundae.
He took a deep breath and grinned.
He stepped to the counter and placed his order.
“Just take a seat, sir,” the soda jerk said. “We’ll bring it right out.”
He did.
And they did.
Now I should probably mention, here, that the Idiot Sundae was a concoction of twenty large scoops of various flavours of ice cream. With all of the fixings.
All. Of. The. Fixings.
And one spoon.
The . . . platter . . . was brought out.
And slid carefully onto the table in front of him.
Another grin as he picked up the spoon.
And started working his way through the melting mound of deliciousness.
He did well.
One scoop after another disappeared.
Finally, there were only three scoops left.
He stared at them.
Three scoops.
He groaned.
He dropped the spoon in defeat.
So close.
So very close.
To the day he went home, he remembered those three scoops left melting in the dish.
And wondered.
Was he an idiot for leaving them?
Or just an idiot for ordering in the first place.
You decide . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Forecast of Snow

George and Me.
One of us was smart . . . and the other has her hair in curlers.
I never was a particularly timid child.
In fact, if one were searching for words to describe me, 'timid' probably wouldn't have even been considered.
Boisterous. Cheerful. Loud. Noisy.
These all would have been correct.
But timid?
And yet, there were certain times when 'timid', even fearful could have been used with complete accuracy.
Let me explain . . .
It was the fifties.
We had a TV.
And one channel which came on the air at 10:00 in the morning and left the air at midnight.
I often watched as 'Oh, Canada' played in the morning. Because I had already been watching the Indian Head test pattern for half an hour, waiting for Friendly Giant.
I never got to hear the playing of 'God Save the Queen' at midnight. Because let's face it, I was four. By that point in time, I had been in slumberland for hours.
Moving on . . .
When the TV station was off-the-air, we had 'snow'.
And not the good kind.
White, yes, but that is where all similarity ended.
It was static-y.
And, when your brother turned the volume up loud . . .
Said brother discovered this early. (He says he had been watching when I discovered it. Let's just say I've erased that memory.)
And he used it often.
If he was playing in the living room and didn't want any Diane-shaped company, he would turn on the TV, confirm quickly that there really was nothing on, and turn up the volume.
Whereupon (good word) I would run, shrieking, from the room.
Heh. Heh. Heh.
Mom couldn't get after him because he hadn't said or done anything to me, personally.
And the room was cleared for another half-hour of uninterrupted fun.
Until Diane forgot everything that had just happened and ventured, again, into the front room.
TV. Volume. Repeat.
So you see where the word 'timid' comes in.
Unfortunately, the word 'brainiac' never applied.

Monday, April 27, 2020

I've Still Got It

He was handsome. He was fit.
And he loved me… A little bit.
His name was Snoopy—had a beak,
And feathers too, just take a peek.
He was attractive, had the moves.
(When I walked by,) got in the groove.
He gave his birdly parts a whirl…
Yes, this could all be yours, sweet girl!
But when I tried to show my man
The ruffled feathers, tail fanned,
Everything was slicked down flat,
And glowering ‘turkey’ eye said “Scat!”
When Husby left, the bird’s array
Was once again out on display,
It’s nice to know that at my age,
I still can make some males rampage,
Though I, sadly, must admit,
T’was a turkey vulture making it!

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 all of us, together, we,
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And when you’ve read what we have wrought . . .
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, because we have a few,
We’ll talk of FRIENDS that helped us through!

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!

Be Courageous!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?