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!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

DogGONE Dog Days

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer.
They were historically the period following the rising of the star system Sirius, which has routinely been connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.
They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Homer had it.
From Homer’s Iliad: The baleful effects attending the return of Sirius:

…Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion's Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity…

My take is a little different:

It’s summer (at long last), I’m glad to report,
I’m out of my long johns and into my shorts!
The sun overhead is as warm as can be,
And it’s toasting my toes as it smiles down on me.
I lie in my hammock, too lazy to read,
Eyes closed in content, I’m in Heaven, indeed,
Beneath me, flat out, is young Pandy, my dog,
My companion, it’s true, but eschews dialogue.
She rolls over and gives out a big, happy sigh,
I smile and then, lazily, bat at a fly.
What more could I ask you when all’s said and done?
But a cloudless, blue sky and a hot, happy sun?
You know that the weather in Canada’s rough,
Of these ‘dog days’ of summer, there’s never enough!

Each month, our dear Karen, a challenge portends,
And ‘Dog Days’ went well through her legions of friends,
This theme, for the most part, was easy to pen,
I will need to recall…when it’s winter…again.

Karen of Baking In A Tornado: A Dog’s Day

Monday, August 10, 2020

Over Dreamt

My Mom and Dad on their anniversary...
The day before their thirtieth, a woman woke from sleep,
“I had the strangest dream,” she said. “Twas something really deep.
“A gift box you did give me, to celebrate our day,
“I gave you a kiss, and tore it open right away.
“Inside that box, I looked and found another box. It’s true!
“I smiled and gave another kiss. Just happy ‘twas from you.
“I opened up the second and found there inside a third,
“Though it seemed a little strange, I set to work without a word,
“And there, behold! I found a fourth. (Now this was getting weird!)
“But I was sure it couldn’t be as strange as it appeared.
“So I opened up the fourth and there inside I found a ring!
“A diamond, much more big and bright than any other thing!
“So I’m wondering, my darling, if this dream’s a thing foreseen?”
Her eyes, they sparkled brightly. “And if so, what does it mean?”

That night they went to dinner, just they two, to celebrate,
And as things were winding down, he set a box beside her plate,
Smiling, she opened it and what should be inside?
You're absolutely right, there did another box reside.
And in that box another box, each wrapped so beautifully,
She hated to unwrap them (And you almost would agree!)
Then next she found a fourth box (just exactly like her dream!),
By now her hands were shaking and her eyes were all agleam!
With much anticipation, she tore off the wrapper there,
The contents were surprising, she did nothing else but stare,
Some people seem to heed. But what they hear’s not what it seems…
Inside the fourth box was a book—"HOW TO INTERPRET DREAMS".

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 Jenny, Charlotte, Mimi, me
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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My FIRST murder mystery!

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My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

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Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

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A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

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Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

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First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

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A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

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My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

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New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

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The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

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Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

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What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


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Essence: A Second Dose

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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

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Pearl, Why You Little...

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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!

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Ghost of the Overlook
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