Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, April 30, 2021


- from a story Daddy liked to tell . . .

His wife was tired, she looked a ‘fright’, 
With babies, she’d been up all night.
“He said, “Hun, right here, you'll stay.”
“I’ll go, myself, to church today.” 

She smiled at him with gratitude,
Grateful for the interlude.
He happ’ly went, dressed in his best.
And prayed his wife would get some rest. 

When back, he walked with a slight tilt,
His face? Swelled up with pain. Or guilt.
For two big shiners did he sport,
One on the left and one athwart.

His wife, her eyebrows she did raise,
He reddened at her doubtful gaze,
“I went to church," he said. "I did!
I wasn’t bad there, God forbid!”

“I sat there good as gold. It’s true!
And others sat around me, too.
We listened. All was calm and peace.
The Spirit flowed and fear did cease.”

“But when the congregation rose, 
To sing a hymn (and sleep dispose),
The dame in front of me this week?
Her dress was stuck between her cheeks.”

“Supposing I’d do something kind,
I pulled it out, thought she’d not mind. 
But she did! She turned about,
And with her fist, gave me a clout.”

“Well, that explains the first one, dear,”
The second one is still unclear.”
He shrugged, “Well, she made such a fuss,
I thought she must desire it thus.”

The moral—
With dresses, to avoid a smack,
Don’t think to put untucked things back.

Each month from Karen, we accept,

A challenge to our gifts adept,

A theme she gives, a poem we craft,

Write draft on draft on draft on draft.

(Please, I’m just kidding, one’s enough

To prove that we’ve all got The Stuff.)

So now we will present to you

What we have made for your review!

Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Thursday, April 29, 2021



Dumb and Dumber . . .
and the riding pad (BP- Before Pee).
Not using a saddle really did pose certain challenges.
Being unable to use a rope being the most notable.
Unfortunately, I had to learn that particular fact by experience.
I had been Dad’s official herdsman for . . . about two weeks. A job that had hitherto been the responsibility of one or more hired men.
Our operation had shrunk in size until we no longer needed hired men. We kids could do most of the work. And did.
24 hours a day. Seven days a . . . but that is another story.
I was checking the herd for prospective, or recent, mothers.
My horse stumbled, literally, over a small, newborn calf lying in the tall grass.
At that early point in my new career, I didn’t know that the calf certainly wasn’t in any danger. Mama was nearby.
All I could see was a small, defenceless little creature that needed my help.
I picked it up. And somehow got it across the riding pad on my horse. And then managed to get up behind it.
No mean feat for someone without stirrups.
Or a brain.
I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the cowboy bringing home the small, half-frozen calf. The tiny creature lying helplessly across his saddle.
I had always pictured myself doing just that. It seemed . . . romantic somehow.
And was.
Until the calf peed.
All down my new riding pad.
You never saw that in the pictures.
I managed to make it to the corrals in the corner of the pasture and set the little cretin down in a corner. Then I went off in search of Mama.
The cow running around and bawling.
Now all I had to do was reunite them.
She didn’t want to vacate the area where she had last seen her baby. He must be here. If she ran back and forth a few thousand more times, she was sure to stumble over him.
I tried chasing her.
Heading her.
She kept doubling back.
Then I had a brilliant idea. I would rope her. She certainly wouldn’t be able to argue with that. Genius!
I rode back to the corral and returned with my Dad’s brand new lariat.
Did I mention brand new?
Getting the loop over the head of the frantic cow was easy. Then I would just . . . dally . . . I looked down in consternation at the place where the saddle horn should be.
Where it . . . wasn’t.
The rope slid through my hands, along with the cow.
I managed to reunite cow and calf.
By bringing the calf and putting him back where I had found him originally.
The cow wore Dad’s expensive new lariat for several months. I called her ‘Ring Around the Collar’.
I thought it was funny.
Dad didn’t.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Nicely Played, Girls

It was HER fault...
College years are for making all sorts of mistakes.
Well, that's what I tell myself.
But this is one I didn't make.
My roommate, Debbie did.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Maybe I should explain . . .
Debbie and I were browsing through the convenience store.
Both of us were suffering from chocolate withdrawal.
We needed a fix.
There was a magazine rack near the checkout line.
Debbie was glancing over the offerings.
“Hey!” she said. “There's a magazine here called 'Playgirl'!
I looked at her. “I thought it was called 'Playboy'.
“Well, there's that one, too.”
“Huh. Weird.”
“What do you suppose 'Playgirl' is?”
The guy behind the counter spoke up. “It's pictures of naked men instead of naked women,” he said.
We stared at him.
Surely not.
I should explain here that both of us were children of the country. The words, 'sheltered', 'naive' and just plain 'dumb' come to mind.
“I've never seen a naked man,” Debbie said.
“Me neither,” I said. Something I was blissfully happy to continue for a good long time.
I should mention, here that when Debbie said, 'Hmm' in just that way, anything was possible.
“I'm buying it,” she said, reaching for the cellophane-wrapped magazine.
“Ick!” I said. I was ignored.
She shoved it into her bag with her chocolate bars and we headed home.
At this time, we were sharing a two-bedroom basement apartment with two other girls, both as unworldly as we were. And neither of which was at home.
Debbie set her shopping bag on the apartment's only desk, which stood in our roommates' room and pulled out the magazine.
Then she stripped off the cellophane.
“Okay,” she said. “Ready?”
I shook my head. Again, I was ignored.
She flipped back the cover.
The magazine fell open to the centrefold.
I caught a brief glimpse of a handsome young man leaning casually against the doorway of what looked like an abandoned house.
Fortunately, I got no further.
Roommate slapped the book shut.
“Well, that's that,” she said, her face bright pink.
She shoved the magazine under the pillow of the nearest bed.
Episode over, we forgot about it.
Until a couple of days later when our roommate returned from her weekend home and crawled into bed.
We heard a shriek.
Then silence.
“Uh-oh,” Debbie said.
There was a knock at our door.
Debbie answered.
“What is this doing in my bed?” The magazine, held distastefully by finger and thumb, was extended.
“Oh,” Debbie said. “Umm. What makes you think we had anything to do with that?”
Our roommate gave her a 'Nice try, Debbie' look, dropped the magazine at our feet and disappeared.
Debbie picked it up and threw it into the trash.
Episode truly over.
But to this day, I wonder what was happening during the moment of silence after the roommate discovered the magazine . . .
You learn a lot of things during your college years.
One way or another.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sunday SUIT

Put on (Most of) Your Sunday Clothes

Ready, set...
We are and always have been, a Church attending family. We love it.
And I was raised to believe that, to show proper respect, we should always go dressed in our best.
And that included our children.
So from their very earliest days, our girls were in dresses. Hair neatly done.
And our boys in suits and ties.
Sometimes, when we left, our home was in complete disarray.
Okay, often, when we left, our home was in complete disarray.
But we were neat and clean.
Even the youngest of us.
When our oldest boys were born, I made each of them a white shirt and tie and a three-piece suit; jacket, pants and vest.
They looked . . . dressy.
At least I thought so.
Those clothes were handed down to our youngest son, who came some years behind.
So, at the age of 14 months, he was dressed for church in a little brown suit and vest, with a white shirt and dark red tie. He looked like a miniature accountant.
All he needed was the tiny briefcase.
Moving on . . .
During our worship service, he (in mother parlance) had a . . . erm . . . blowout.
Let's face it, that diaper was done. And so was everything else worn below the waist.
I took him to the Mother's room to make repairs. Unfortunately, all I had to put him in was a fresh diaper.
The pants would have to go home for cleaning.
Fortunately, all of the upper garments has survived.
Now, my son was dressed in a white shirt and tie. Vest and jacket.
And diaper.
Okay, the accountant image was shot forever.
Or maybe not . . .
We headed back to the chapel. He, happy to be dry once more.
Me, praying that no one would notice my baby dressed in a less-than-normal manner.
My prayer wasn't answered. Just FYI.
We quietly opened the door and slipped inside.
So far so good.
We crept towards our bench.
Still well.
I released his little hand to slide into the bench.
And that's when the little cretin saw his opportunity to escape.
Giggling shrilly, he dashed up the aisle towards the front of the chapel.
I started to go after him, but stopped when I realized that the entire congregation was now watching us. I stared after the rapidly retreating shirt, tie, jacket and vest.
And diaper.
I was torn between stopping the charge.
And admitting that he was mine.
I should point out here, that our chapel has two aisles, one on either side of the large room, as well as a wide space at the front and back.
My son reached the front and started across towards the other side.
Still shrieking happily.
I studied him, trying to figure out the best and fastest way to knock him into next week stop him.
I realized that when he reached the far side, he only had two options. Go back the way he had come, or start down the far aisle.
I was betting on the latter.
As calmly as I could with the entire congregation now ignoring the struggling speaker and watching the two of us, I walked back up the aisle towards the back of the room. Then began to make my way across, paralleling my son's path.
He turned the corner at the front and started down the far aisle towards the back.
Hah! I knew it!
I cut him off at the pass, scooped him into my arms and disappeared through the far door and into the safe, unpopulated hallway.
Still shrieking.
Him, not me.
Though I was considering it.
I collapsed into a chair.
And sighed weakly.
Mission accomplished.
People thought the whole episode was 'cute' and 'sweet' and 'hilarious'.
They were so understanding.
I and my family however, will never forget.
And now we have a whole new meaning for the words, 'Sunday suit'.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Life’s a Beach

Only in Summer...

I love beaches—they love me,

The two of us are friends, you see,

And sitting on a beach is swell,

With water, warm. And sand as well.


But here in Canada, you’ll find,

(Our attitude is quite resigned)

In winter, there’s not much allure…

It’s a matter of the temperature.


The sun may look all warm and bright,

It welcomes with its cheerful sight,

But step outside, you realize,

It’s fooled your summer-seeking eyes.


And sitting on the beach like that,

With swimming suit and shady hat,

Is just an invitation to,

Turn you a pretty frozen blue.


And diving in the waters? Well,

It’d cause from me a painful yell,

And scurrying for someplace warm,

To keep my tender bits from harm.


So, if upon a beach I’d sit,

In beach attire, on sand sunlit,

If I’d like to retain a pulse…

I’d better head for ‘someplace else’! 

Photo Credit: Karen of

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?
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, it’s praises we will sing,

The thing that we like best ‘bout SPRING!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?

We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
The ocean or beach (From Mimi) (April 26) TODAY!
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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My FIRST murder mystery!

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My very first Medieval Romance!

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For the Children

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New Tween Novel!

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A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

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Read it! You know you want to!

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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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Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

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The Liebster Award
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Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

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

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Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?