Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, January 15, 2021

Come Fly with Me

This story actually happened. During a flight in 1990 between Birmingham, England and Malaga, Spain.

What fun to involve Sally!

Okay, I didn’t believe it, either.

I’ll start at the beginning . . . Or maybe the end . . .

Sally had a movie job in Arkansas.

Mom and I (and definitely Mort) were a tad worried about all this.

I mean, with Covid and all.

But Sally reassured us she would be all right, that they were taking precautions. It was a great opportunity. She needed our support. She would be taking her lucky bamboo. Etc. Etc.

You have to know that Sally can be persuasive.

Anyway, a big car pulled up outside and honked and Sally, mask and face shield donned, hugged Mom and me, kissed Mort and ran out to meet it.

And silence descended.

Well, not totally so, because we do have Scary Gary living just up the street and if anyone can liven up a normal day in a quiet suburb—with Sally gone and Covid raging—my money would be on Gary.

In the three days since Sally left, he managed to let our neighbour’s pigeons out, crash his bike into the Mayor’s garage, and get his foot stuck in the manhole cover in front of his house.

That last was because he had found a crowbar and pried the thing up, intending to . . . I don’t know . . . maybe go exploring? . . . and it slipped.

For the first time in living memory, the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles had nothing to do with my family.

It was a wonderful moment.

Okay, well, not so much for Gary’s family, but you can’t please everyone.

Sooo . . . back to Sally.

She arrived back this afternoon. The same car, or something similar, dropped her out front and she sauntered in, Sally fashion.

When we tried to question her about her shoot, "absolutely nothing exciting had happened".

Of course we didn’t believe her.

She patted a hand with chipped and broken fingernails over a wide yawn.

Mom looked at that hand and frowned slightly. But knowing Sally's history (who doesn't) just smiled and said something to the effect of “maybe you should go take a nap” and Sally nodded and disappeared into her room.

A short time later, we could hear the unmistakable sounds of ‘Sally in Slumberland’.

Mom and Mort and I were just sitting down to eat when someone knocked at the door.

Mort did the honours. 

The Mayor was standing on our front step. At least I think it was him. Have you noticed that even people you know well are nearly unrecognizable when they have their masks on? 

True story.

“Is Sally here?” he asked.

We looked at each other. Mom got to her feet and joined the two at the door. “She is, Bill.” (Mom calls the Mayor ‘Bill’, because he’s her gardening buddy and let’s face it, you can’t call the man digging in the dirt beside you ‘Your Worshipfullness’. Well maybe you can, but it would sound weird.

Moving on . . .

“She’s taking a nap right now. Do you need me to get her?”

He put up a hand. “No. No. That’s all right. I’ll talk to her later.”

“Is there something we can help you with?”

He just raised his eyebrows. “Did she say nothing when she came home? About an incident on the plane?”

Mom shook her head. “Nary a word.”

He snorted softly. “Well, ask her when she wakes up. I’m thinking we need a celebration. As soon as Covid lets us.”

He smiled and left.

Mom frowned and looked from Mort to me. “She didn’t talk to either of you, did she?”

I shook my head.

“Nope,” Mort said.

“Huh. I wonder what that was all about?”

“I’m afraid to ask,” I said.

Mom shrugged. “I guess we’ll find out.” She looked over at the small TV on the cupboard near the table. “Switch on the news, Mort. Let’s see what’s happening in our catastrophic political scene today.”

Mort did so.

“You know, Sally should run for political office,” I said as he pressed buttons. “She can make a disaster out of almost anything!”

The weather forecast was on. It provided a soft background accompaniment to our meal.

Then, just as we were finishing, Mom’s head suddenly spun toward the set. “Did you hear that?”

Mort and I looked at her. ”What?”

“They just said Sally’s name.”


“I’m sure!”

Mort turned up the volume.

“. . . At the very least a citizen’s award of some sort? Things like this do not happen every day.”

“Oh, no!” Mom whispered.

“Shh,” Mort and I said together.

He turned up the volume again.

But the report was over.

Whatever it was that may or may not have had to do with Sally had finished.

Maybe we’d never know.

Pffff . . . Who was I kidding?

A short time later, Sally joined us, once more glowing with freshness. Mom warmed her meal and set it in front of her and she happily started to chow down on spaghetti.

“So, Sal, honey,” Mom started out. “Anything happen while you were gone?”

“Nope. Oh, the shoot was fun. A bit awkward because of the restrictions, but we got through. Anything happen here?”

I lost patience. “Come on Sally! The Mayor was here talking about you and everything!”

Sally wrinkled a smooth brow. “Really? Huh. I didn’t think he was speaking to me after the Halloween party.”

I shuddered. “Apparently, he’s willing to let it slide.”

“Oh, good.”

“Sally! What happened?!”

She shrugged. “Maybe they’re talking about the pilot on the plane?”

“Yes . . .?”

Sally sighed. “Well, we were up in the air and the big front window of the plane popped out and he got sucked out. And I was there having a tour and I managed to grab his legs and hold on till we could land.” She shovelled more spaghetti into her mouth.

We three just stared at her blankly.

“Whaaaat?” Mom said.

“Yeah. The whole thing was just too weird.” She held up her cleaned plate. “Any more spaghetti?”

Use Your Words is a writing challenge.

Karen’s followers supply a few words every month. Then those words are re-distributed among said followers. You don’t know who’s going to get your words or what they will do with them. 

We have a blast! Sound fun? Join us!

My words this month were: 

blank ~ history ~ support ~ opportunity ~ freshness ~ lucky bamboo

And given to me by my Good friend, Tamara at:             

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

The Crazy Mama Llama 

P.S. I've had requests for a recap of Sally's Adventures!

If you're interested, here they are, beginning at the...beginning:

Half Baked

When Mom’s Away




Getting Real

Left at the Fork

Left Hanging

Sally Travels

Hanging Out in Hawaii

Almost Home

Doing the Dishes


Job Expedition

House Haunting

Putting the ‘Buff’ in Buffet

To the Hilt




The Ransom of Sally

Gwen’s Turn


A Little Mousy

A Lockdown Knockdown

Truth, Forgiveness and Chocolate


Cookie Sail

Learning Manners


Too Cozy Cabin

Sally Sitting

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Rather Scary Story

Story Teller extraordinaire.
Storytellers come in all shapes.
And sizes . . .
I am a storyteller.
I come from generations of the same.
Mealtimes were especially noted for the ‘visit’ after the actual ‘stuffing-your-face-with-yummy-food’ part.
A visit that sometimes went on for many enchanting hours.
When we were raising our children, the tradition continued.
One evening we finished eating, then sat visiting until midnight.
True story. And the very best of nights.
Our children are carrying on with their children.
Case in point:
Our eldest son and his family were camping.
Their favourite part of camping is sitting around the campfire and—you guessed it—telling stories.
Everyone has a turn.
Including their newly-minted, just-turned four-year-old, hereinafter known as LeahSqueeah, or LS for short.
LS came out with such notable efforts as: This one night a guy sailed on a ship. Then he flew away. The end.
Okay, admit it. That is adorable.
But she truly shone when telling ‘scary’ stories.
Picture her. Blond hair a nimbus of curls around her little face. Dark eyes shining.
A creepy, 4YO voice.
And little hands curved into claws.
This is her story:
This one night?
There was a GHOST!
And I DIPPED him in hot chocolate.
And ATE him!
The movie rights are available.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Getting It Wrong


Two sweet faces
Occasionally, Moms make mistakes.
I just want to get that out there.
They do.
Not often.
But occasionally.
Moms are busy. Usually keeping at least three balls in the air at any given moment.
It's totally understandable . . .
My younger brother, Blair was playing in the front room.
Because he was always quiet.
Our baby sister, Anita, was playing nearby.
Less quietly.
Because she . . . never mind.
She had disdained her basket full of colourful toys and was climbing up on the coffee table and sliding off.
This had been entertaining her for several minutes.
Then, she mis-calculated. Slid off a little too quickly and bumped something important.
Tears ensued. Bringing Mom in a hurry from the kitchen.
She picked her sobbing daughter up from the floor where she lay in a crumpled, miserable heap.
“Blair! What did you do?!”
Blair looked up from the book he was reading, his mouth a perfect 'O' of confusion. “Ummm . . .”
He, too was picked up. 
And summarily parked on the piano bench.
The 'you've-done-something-terrible' spot.
Blair blinked and frowned thoughtfully. Had he done something? He didn't think so.
He had been quietly reading.
Anita had been playing a few feet away on the coffee table.
“But Mom . . .!”
“Don't you 'but mom' me! You stay there and think about what you did!”
Mom marched back out to the kitchen.
Leaving a very confused little boy sitting on the piano bench in the front room.
Anita, tears forgotten, was back crawling onto the coffee table.
Yep. Moms make mistakes.
Fortunately for the future of the world as we know it, it doesn't happen often.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Least Favourite

These days, with duty, sure are rife,

It goes along with living life.

The chores that make our happy home

A somewhat clean and safe biome,

Now, mostly, they don’t bother me.

They satisfy my need, you see,

To have things neat and organized,

And make the house feel harmonized!

But though my house is ‘mostly’ clean,

Before I (in your praises), preen,

I have one chore that I admit,

Perturbs me just a little bit.

And this is it, I will confess:

I clean the floors under duress,

It’s true, you heard it here, from me,

My floors aren’t what they’re s’posed to be,

Okay, they’re ‘clean’, I would suppose,

No clutter, trash, no dirty clothes,

But cleaning as I did in youth?

It’s really hard, and that’s the truth!

Please understand my sad dismay,

I guess it’s not the ‘chore’ each day,

That fills me with so much concern,

And makes me for my freedom yearn . . .

Each day to get to bended knee,

The further the floors are from me.

Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
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, to honour "Winnie-the-Pooh Day"
We'll all, in our inimitable way,
Talk of him. Or take a look
At a fav'rite' guy from a fav'rite book!

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

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Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

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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!

Grab and Add!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?