Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Forever Bubbles

On the street where we lived...
The tricycle in the background sits on Penny's drive.
I asked my youngest daughter what her favourite memory of growing up was.
Her answer surprised me . . .
When our family moved to Beaumont, Alberta, our first home was ‘up on the hill’.
A term for all of the houses built before 1980.
When the town was still . . . small.
Every home on our lively little side-street was filled, quite literally, with children.
We once tried to count all of the kids.
And got lost somewhere around fifty.
Yep. Lively.
On any given day--rain or shine, sleet or snowstorm--the street seethed/boiled/churned with children.
They were running everywhere.
Between homes.
Through backyards.
To the semi-private park tucked neatly into the corner.
It was a safe, peaceful world in which to raise them.
Across the street from our house was the home of Penny and her family.
Penny was my best friend.
And our kids liked each other, too.
On a warm day in spring or fall, with the afternoon sun shining on her front yard, it wasn’t unusual for she and I to be found sitting on her front step, visiting and waiting for our school-age kids to make their way home.
And blowing bubbles for our still-at-homers.
Our little learners would come around the corner, spot us up there on the porch, and quickly join in the fun.
Talking about their day between batches of bubbles.
It was, in a word: peaceful.
I remember it as a fun, happy time.
My youngest daughter remembers it as the very best of times.
Penny and her family moved away.
We are still in touch, as time and distance allows.
But, sometimes, in my mind, I’m sitting on that front porch visiting with my best friend and waiting for my children to gather.
Forever blowing bubbles.
I think my daughter is right.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Navigating by Nose

Navigate this!
(Taken from Blarney Castle. Just after I kissed the famous stone.)
In Canada, we have The Dominion Land Survey.
And my husband has 'iron boogers'. 
These two are connected.
Maybe I should explain . . .
My husband's favourite program on TV was the Tim Allen show, Home Improvement.
In one episode, Neighbour Wilson told Tim that men are actually endowed with minute bits of metal in their noses that aid in navigation.
Tim, putting his twist on it, called them 'iron boogers'.
A term that my husby whole-heartedly embraced and endorsed.
When Canada was first being mapped/documented, it was divided into a perfect grid.
Or maybe an imperfect grid, but a grid, just the same.
We were raised in an area where the roads were straight and regular and one mile apart.
If one road was blocked, you could find 113 other ways to get where you wanted to go.
It was a perfect system.
People growing up in that environment developed an unerring sense of direction.
Thus, my husby.
See the connection?
Moving on . . .
We were traveling in Ireland.
Have you ever heard it said that there is no green quite like the green of the Emerald Isle?
It's true.
But I digress . . .
We had just driven into town and were looking for our bed and breakfast.
Our map only covered the specifics of reaching said town, not the particulars of what to do when we got there.
There was a woman walking down the street.
Grant pulled over and we asked her how to reach Thus-and-So Bed and Breakfast.
These are her exact words, "Oh that one. It's rather difficult to describe. You need to go up that hill (pointing) and turn right. There is a hotel there and they can direct you further."
We thanked her and did as she directed.
Except for the 'turn right' part.
My husby turned left.
At which time, I gave up.
He drove around for a total of thirty seconds, then pulled over to the side of the street. "Why don't we just stop here?" he said.
I looked out of the window and gasped.
Thus-and-So B&B. Right there.
In front of us.
I turned to stare at him.
He merely tapped his nose and looked at me significantly.
From then on, I used the map merely to get us to the next town, then tossed it into the back seat.
Grant was much better at finding our destination when he wasn't hampered by such distractions as maps.
Old Iron Boogers.
Old Iron Boogers.

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Little Bug-y

The theme for this Poetry Monday is BUGS.
I'm afraid I've done a bit of cheating today, owing to the fact that I spent a large slice of last week visiting doctors so they can hem and haw over my torn retina.
So, a little poem of mine,
Then my favourite 'Bug' poem.
Me and my one good eye thank you for reading...and listening!

It pro-bab-ly won't come to you as much of a surprise,
I don't like bugs, don't care their colours or their many eyes,
That is one reason Canada's the place that I call home,
The bugs are less and smaller here and less inclined to roam,
I do not find them in the cupboards, or upon my bed,
Don't find them crawling on the ceiling, don't take show'rs with dread.
My Son in Law is similar for his aversion, too,
When we were all on holiday, he caused a ballyhoo,
When his small daughter was affrighted by a centipede,
Whose many legs and six-inch length crossed the floor with speed.
Grabbing up a garbage pail, he beat that bug full sore,
T’was certain that it’d never threaten his girl anymore.
But I heard every ‘thump’ and must admit, it caused me glee,
Good thing he lives in Canada. With small bugs…just like me!

P.S. Don't ever threaten one of his kids...

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 now you’ve read what we have wrought . . .
Did we help?
Or did we not?

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