Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, February 5, 2021

Prayer Time

 


Ours is a house of prayers.

And of family meals.

Both of which just, naturally, go together—with each of us taking turns...

This morning, over a feast of dollar-sized pancakes, it was two-year-old, second youngest granddaughter’s (hereinafter known as Cutie#11—or C11 for short) turn.

Now, to this point, C11 had been stacking up her little mound of hotcakes and cooing at them because they were just ‘so cute!’

She wasn’t ready to stop.

Mama: It’s (C11’s) turn to say the blessing.

C11: No.

Mama: Dear Heavenly Father…

C11: No!

Mama: We’re thankful for this food…

C11: No! No!

Mama: Please bless it…

C11: No! No! No! No!

Mama: In the name of Jesus Christ…

C11: No!

Mama: AMEN!

C11: NO!

We’re all a work in progress…

 

 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

High Strung

 

Okay, I’m a farm girl!
I had never heard of things like this!
Sigh . . .
I learned to play the guitar when I was twelve.
After an afternoon spent with my big brother, Jerry.
He made it look like so much fun.
We were sitting downstairs on the piano bench.
With an opened ‘Reader’s Digest’ music book propped up on the piano.
We were singing, “When You Wore a Tulip”.
Loudly.
And happily.
With Jerry strumming the guitar enthusiastically.
Picture it: “When you wore a tulip, a sweet, yellow tulip, and I wore a big red rose” . . . whereupon (good word) he’d stop and say, just under his breath, but completely in rhythm, “I don’t know that chord!”
“When you caressed me . . .” And the song would continue.
We sang and laughed for hours.
After that, I insisted on learning to play.
Patiently, he handed me the guitar and then taught me.
Fortunately for him, I caught on quickly.
And went on playing.
I was never an expert, but I enjoyed myself and played for family and friends.
Moving ahead . . .
I was happily playing “Puff the Magic Dragon” for my two young sons.
Well, ‘playing’ would be largely a misnomer at this point, because the oldest one kept trying to ‘help’.
Resulting in the dull ‘thump’ of a muted string.
Finally, one of the strings broke.
Rats.
I removed it and coiled it, then set it aside.
When my Husby returned home that evening, I handed him the string and asked if he could pick me up another.
He nodded. “Sure.” Then, “Do you know which string it is?”
“Yeah. G.”
“You want me to pick you up a new G-string?” He started to laugh.
I nodded. “Yeah. I need a new ‘G’ string.” I frowned at him. “Why are you laughing?”
“Because you just asked me to pick you up a new G-string.”
I stared. Was he getting goofy? Had marriage and fatherhood finally tipped him over the edge?
“Yeah. I broke my ‘G’ string and I need a new one.”
 “You broke . . .?” He laughed harder, bending over and holding his sides.
“Yeah. What’s the matter with you?”
“Nothing.” He wiped his eyes.
“Well, can you get me a new ‘G’ string?”
Another paroxysm (ooh, another good word) of laughter.
Then, finally, “You don’t know what a G-string is, do you?”
Remember where I said the words, ‘farm girl’? That would apply here.
“No.”
He explained.
“Oh.” I suddenly understood his laughter.
He got me the string.
After a laugh with the guy in the guitar shop.
But, in true Tolley fashion, never let me forget the lesson . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Not Quite Clean


Okay. Let's see you do this without getting grimy . . .
Ranching doesn't encourage cleanliness.
You heard it here first.
In fact, ranching and cleanliness don't go together.
At all.
Let me tell you about it . . .
I had worked on the ranch all my life and had finally been promoted to 'herdsman' where I served for two glorious years.
This included such things as:
Riding herd.
Checking herd.
Feeding herd.
Treating herd.
Worrying over herd.
Hovering when herd was ready to calve.
Calving out herd.
Recording herd.
Eating and sleeping with herd.
Okay, maybe that last is a little extreme, but you get my point . . .
Sooo . . . cleanliness.
Cows aren't naturally clean.
I know this will come as a shock.
I'm sure you've seen the romantic pictures of mama cow licking her baby.
I have one thing to say about this.
Cow spit.
How clean can that be?
Cows also have other orifices that are . . . nasty.
And to which I have one response.
Cow pies.
Enough said.
On with my story . . .
I was ready to go to work.
Clean shirt.
Clean jeans.
Clean kerchief.
Clean socks.
Recently cleaned boots.
I headed out the door.
Bridle and riding pad on my horse and I was away.
We made good time reaching the calving field. And almost immediately spotted a cow.
Calving.
But having difficulties.
I decided to take her back to the corrals. And restrain her. And help.
That's as far as my plans/actions went . . .
I grabbed the protruding calf feet.
And that's when the cow broke out of my hastily-built restraint.
Grimly, I hung onto those feet as the cow started across the corral.
Dropping me and baby in the middle of a puddle of - let me put it this way - it wasn't spring water.
I got up.
Carted the calf to safety.
And headed for the house.
My mother met me in the doorway. Her clean daughter had gone out the door only half an hour before.
Now, dripping from head to toe with--barn puddle, said daughter had returned.
Mom stopped me in the porch.
“You just left here. Perfectly clean!” she said. “What did you do out there?!”
“Well . . .”
“Never mind. Clothes off here!” she ordered.
I was divested of anything gooey.
Whereupon (good word) I sprinted for the shower.
In my underwear.
Ranching.
Not for the faint of heart.
Or the fanatically clean.
Okay, let's face it . . . not even for the somewhat clean.
Don't you wish you were here?

Monday, February 1, 2021

Honoring the Women

 

First, there were great grandmothers, I love them, one and all!

Supported husbands, working hard, raised fam’lies large and small,

Bore the biases and duties of the women of their day,

Then packing all and sundry, left their countries far away.

 

My maternal grandmother left home and family, too,

To carve a legacy with a young man she hardly knew,

Together knew disasters, lost their work to treachery,

But managed, still, with grit, to carve a life they’d not foreseen!

 

My Grandmother paternal left her comforts far behind,

Moving north to Canada, she knew not what she’d find,

Took on the rancher’s life which oft proved perilous at best,

Nursing, caring, weaving, bearing—helped the world progress!

 

My mother had eight brothers, she grew up as ‘one more boy’,

Inside or out, housework or chores, wow, that girl was employed!

But she withdrew from scholarship, a pro career as well,

To be a Rancher’s wife—have kids—and ring a dinner bell.

 

My elder sister’s graceful, prone to fashions (more than me),

My younger and I have some laughs, both filled with fun esprit!

My sisters both are redheads, (who know where this blonde came from?)

But they both helped me be the woman I’d one day become.

 

My daughters (and in-laws) are grown and raising families,

All girls that I am proud to know and bring along with me,

Their daughters, too, all have my heart. Don’t know what e’er I did,

Before I knew them, everyone, and claimed them as grandkids!


Now in a small addendum here, I will, to you, explain,

That what was once pejorative, is something else again,

Cause ‘spunky’ is a word that means courageous; full of cheek,

And a ‘broad’ ‘s a girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

 

So, when I think about the women I have in my life,

Past or present, young and old, in days of sun or strife,

Daily, I am praying, thanking God for what He’s done,

Cause he gave me my ‘Spunky Broads’. I’m proud of every one!


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 JennyCharlotteMimi, 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, if you come here, you'll see,
Our craziest vacation memory!





Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
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From Your Pet's Point of View (February 15)
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Peanut Butter Day (March 1)

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My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

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