Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, April 16, 2021


Okay, in hindsight, ‘going to the park’ was probably a good idea.

Being cooped up in lockdown with Sally AND Mort can sometimes resemble being in lockup with Psycho Sophia and her henchman Brainless Bobby.

That’s a lot of ups and downs.


I know for a fact that Mom had had enough.

It was her suggestion, after all, that the three of us could, in her words, ‘use some fresh air’.

Admittedly, she had a reason for her less-than-patient, overly clinical attitude.

Sally, in an effort to show Mort how to flip a pancake, had actually flipped the pan.

Right through the window over the kitchen sink.

Which would have been bad enough. But following the whole pillow-fight-until-someone-puts-a-foot-through-the-TV-screen debacle as it did.

And this preceded by…

Never mind. Let’s just say Mom was justified and leave it at that.

So we found ourselves at the park, tails humbly and firmly tucked. 

I'm Socially Distanced from anyone who counts (ie. everyone NOT Sally and Mort.) watching the pair of them play their version of soccer.

It was a bright, warm, glorious afternoon. Perfect for visiting the park.

That is if you’re a normal person.

Doing normal ‘park’ things…

Our visit had already resulted in profuse apologies to one family for mowing down their four-year-old when he managed to insinuate himself somewhere into the action. And an offer to pay another family for cleaning when Mort missed one of Sally’s field-clearing kicks and it ended with her rainbow-coloured soccer ball landing squarely (and with some force) in the center of their gi-normous bowl of potato salad.

I looked at my watch.

We’d been here a grand total of 17 minutes.


Off to my left, I saw Sally wind up for another of her ‘field goal’ kicks.

Mort was ready.

Which is to say he was standing some little ways away.

With a huge, red ‘X’ painted on his head.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. There was no actual X.

Just an imaginary one that seems real.

I covered my own head, just in case…

Sally belted the ball.

It flew, straight and perfect toward Mort.

For the first time, ever, Mort managed to get beneath it and bunt it with his enormous noggin.

I was so surprised that I forgot, for the moment, to keep my hands in their usual protective posture.

You have to know that Mort’s aim sadly lacks the…finesse…of Sally’s.

But what it loses in acuity, it makes up for in speed.

By the time I realized it was coming toward me, giving credible homage to the velocity of light, I could do little else but make a half-hearted and feeble gesture toward my soon-to-be belted cranium.

I told myself death was acceptable because I had fought the good fight and briefly (because that’s all the time I had) considered closing my eyes.

Hmmm…death visible or invisible…

And then, just as I took in the short sharp breath that would quite possibly be my last, a long, muscular arm shot out of nowhere and snatched the author of my demise before it could become.

And I was suddenly looking up into the warmest, most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen.

I admit it. I stared.

Below the eyes, a pair of firm, perfect, masculine lips curled into an equally gorgeous smile.

“Hello,” a smooth, deep voice said. “I’m Peter.”



Use Your Words is a challenge issued by the Great Karen from her lofty throne at Baking in a Tonado. And we, her loyal subjects hasten to comply...

Each month, we volunteer words, which Karen then shuffles and re-distributes. We don't know who will get our words. Or what they will do with them.

Until now!

My words this month? clinical ~ fought ~ insinuate ~ perfect ~ tail

There were supplied by my wonderful friend, Rena at: Wandering Web Designer 

Rena, I (and Sally and Gwen) thank you. You are amazing!

Here are the other participants. Read them, I guarantee it'll be a treat!

Baking In A Tornado                  

Wandering Web Designer


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

What TF Sarah

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Adapt. Adopt. Become Adept.

I'll get it. Just give me time.
Our children learn from what they see. And hear.
Most of the time, it's a good thing.
Occasionally, it's not.
Sometimes, it's just plain fun.
My husby, Grant, had our twenty-month-old son, Mark, in the highchair.
Eating pancakes.
Mark's very favourite.
I was across the room, nursing our two-month-old son, Erik.
All was well.
Everyone was happy.
Then my husby decided to take advantage of Mark's utter absorption in forking pieces of pancake into his mouth and make a quick trip to the euphamism (real word).
For a few minutes, Mark was happily engaged.
Then, the pancakes ran out.
I looked over at him.
He was waving his little fork in the air.
No response.
Still no response.
Mark changed tactics.
“Da . . . Gwant!”
Faint sounds from the eupham . . . okay, the bathroom.
Not enough to satisfy Mark, however.
By the way, how did he even know his father's name?
I always called him . . .
Now there were definitely sounds emanating (good word) from the bathroom.
Mark had gotten a reaction. With twenty-month-old persistence, he was going to pursue it.
More laughter. But definitely getting louder.
His father emerged, drying his hands and still chuckling.
“What is it, son?”
“Mo' pancake, Ho-ney!”
We had created a monster.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

On a Bicycle Built for Me


Bygone days . . .
My daughter and I were looking for new bicycles.
And the irony was just sickening.
Let me go waaay back and tell you why . . .
I was five and quite ready to move up from the tricycle that had served me well. I was ready to learn to ride a two-wheeler.
I could ride almost anything with four legs and, on the ranch, the choices there were nearly endless.
But when it came to bicycles, I had . . . less.
Choices, that is.
There was my oldest brother, Jerry's bike. But the bar made the fact that I was short and couldn't sit on the seat, impossible.
The one that was closest to my size was ‘Alfred’, my next older brother George’s bike.
It was a hand-me-over from Jerry and had already gone many, many miles.
Been refurbished and set to go many, many more.
Younger brother on 'Alfred'. Handed down again.
But it was out of bounds for me.
That left the biggest bike.
A classic.
The old green one with the balloon tires.
The one that stood almost taller than my head.
There was no way I could remotely come near to sitting on the seat, but I discovered I could manage nicely if I just stood on the pedals.
The whole time I was riding.
The amazing thing is, for the behemoth it was, that bike was astonishingly easy to ride.
And a fantastic bike to learn on.
In no time, I was whizzing up and down the tree-lined drive, pumping madly as I tried to keep up with my fleeter, older brother.
I don’t remember actually riding it when I could reach the seat and the pedals at the same time, but for a while, that bike and I were good company.
My brother perched on my gold beauty
(sans tassels)
Until Dad brought home a solid gold beauty.
Just for me.
Complete with a banana seat and ape-hanger handlebars (with gold streamers) it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
We were instantly fast friends.
And I do mean fast.
And the novel ability to be able to sit while I pedaled was . . . novel.
And remarkable.
We spent many hours and miles together.
Until I outgrew it.
You’d think I would then have turned to the old, green reliable, now that feet and seat could actually work in conjunction with each other.
But I didn’t.
After riding my gold beauty, I wouldn’t be caught dead on that old thing.
Moving ahead many, many years.
My daughters and daughters-in-law biked every morning. With assorted grandchildren as out-riders and three of us towing little trailers, we resembled a parade.
All we needed were the balloons.
And clowns.
Okay, just the balloons.
The little blue Canadian Tire $99 Special I had been riding had been sadly outclassed by my DIL’s vintage, pink Electra marvel.
I had ridden it.
It was delicious.
I wanted one.
So my daughter and I had determined to find bikes EXACTLY like it.
Now, for the ironic part.
These bikes were precisely like the bike I learned to ride on.
The old green reliable.
The one I wouldn’t be caught dead on all those years ago.
Balloon tires and all.
See? Irony. . . 
Today. See the pink beauty somewhere in the middle? Mmmmm.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Invented by Oopsies


I know I've published this before,

I thought that I would post once more,
Especially now, with Covid near,
To me, vaccines are 'specially dear!

For once, he’d listened to his wife,

How to ameliorate her life,
And he went without delay,
To take her on a holiday.

But as he hastened to comply,
In proving he was one sweet guy,
He left his glistening lab in less
Than pristine order, I confess.

While those two hurried who knows where,
One petri dish abandoned there,
A part of his criteria,
Was moistened with bacteria.

When they returned, that fateful dish,
Was not as clean as they could wish.
Bacteria, possession had,
And things were looking rather bad.

Except one place had not been ‘got’,
No icky growth upon that spot.
Instead, a little bit of mold
Had landed there and taken hold.

It battled with the icky stuff,
And proved that it had strength enough,
Its presence brought discovery,
And new ways for recovery.

I guess you’ve guessed by now that guy
Was christened Fleming from on high.
And penicillin started small
S’the best discovery of all!

After that, we note that he
Made no more great discoveries.
His wife, by his chaos dismayed,
Decided she would hire a maid.

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, we all may stink a bit,
And Garlic'll be the cause of it!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Favorite invention (From Mimi) (April 12) Today!
National Garlic Day (April 19)
The ocean or beach (From Mimi) (April 26)
The best thing about spring (From Mimi) (May 3)
Lost Sock Memorial Day. (May 10)
The anniversary of the patent of the rubber band. (May 17)
Favorite breakfast (May 24)
Memorial Day (May 31)
Best Friends Day (from June 8) (June 7)
Monkey Around Day (June 14)
Fathers (June 21)
Bubbles (June 28)

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Available from

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