Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, July 16, 2021

Bowled Out -or- Sally ‘Hits’ the Alley

 Did you know you can actually get . . . height . . . on a bowling ball?

Well, it turns out you can.

Maybe I should start at the beginning . . .

Things are opening up in our grand old city. People are starting to do more than peek through their shutters. Now they are timidly peeking around corners and *gasp* stepping semi-boldly out onto sidewalks.

We may just have survived this.

Of course, we’re still living with Sally, so there’s that.

Ahem . . .

Last night, Sally and Mort, in an attempt to mix clay, burned out the motor on the ice cream maker. Mom was less than happy. In fact, I think she was seriously considering enrolling Sally and/or Mort in a do-it-yourself Brain Surgery class--with Mom acting as head knife. And before any of you start to think her reaction a trifle . . . unjust, let me remind you of the 'bear cub' incident. I guarantee speculation will cease. 

Now before Mom could issue her ultimatum, Peter, he of the amazing intuition, suggested the four of us ‘lovebirds’ (my word, not his) should step out for the evening. Let our hair down. Paint the town red. Go a little crazy. Party till you drop.

Of course, he said none of those. I think his actual words were: “How about the four of us go out for the evening?” or something similarly normal.

The rest, my brain added. Because when one goes out with Sally, any or all of the above are a distinct possibility.

Moving on . . .

He then followed his invitation with the memorable words: “The bowling alley’s open!”

And that was all it took.

Sally and Mort were immediately crazy for the idea.

And I went along because, even with Sally in the company, I had Peter.

Things started out—as they usually do—very well.

We got our shoes. We got some snacks. We got the middle lane.

We were set.

The first couple of games were remarkable. (Not for our scores or anything because, let’s face it, I’ll probably never break that #66 barrier. Sigh.)

But because they were un-remarkable.

I even started to relax.

Okay, you who know Sally, also know that that’s the time when things can immediately slide sideways.

It was Sally’s turn. Gracefully, she sauntered out to the lane, grabbed her ball—a bright orange one—and stepped to the battle zone.

She did her wind up.

She swung the ball forward.

And that’s when it happened.

I’m not quite sure how and I really didn’t get a chance to go back and investigate (due to being escorted promptly from the premises), but the ball . . . didn’t let go of her thumb.

True story. It . . . clung.

The unexpected grippage caused it to miss its normal trajectory and veer off somewhat closer to the stratosphere.

But what it missed in course, it made up in speed and precision, hitting the emergency sprinkler in the ceiling with amazing accuracy.

What followed was a confused jumble of scrambling workers and enraged managers.

Which resulted in our finding ourselves outside on the sidewalk with firm instructions that if we ever think of returning, we won’t.

Oh, and the recently-removed Covid signs? They’re back. But they look something like this:

For those of you who think these Sally stories are a little . . . unbelievable. This is for you!

Use Your Words is a monthly word challenge that I totally love!

Each month, we participants submit words to our intrepid leader, Karen, which she then redistributes.

None of us knows who will get our words or what they will do with them till now.

We're as surprised as you are!

My words this month: ice cream maker ~ brain surgery ~ unjust ~ speculation ~ bear cub ~ ultimatum . . .

came to me via Karen from my good friend Tamara at:

Thank you SO much! 

Now go and see what the others in the group have created!                            

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Home to Meet Mama

While we’re on the subject of scary creatures . . .
It really only looked scary.
Maybe I should explain.
Husby played basketball.
Actually, Husby played basketball well. As did his teammates. 
Because of that, they were invited to many different tournaments.
But that has nothing to do with this story...
Hmmm... Wait. He was away playing basketball for the weekend. While there, he found a great store that sold neat things.
He bought something.
I guess basketball has a little bit to do with the story.
Moving on . . .
The something he bought was a snake.
A large snake.
He thought it was cool.
When packing up from their tournament, he stuffed said snake into his backpack and headed for the bus. 
The next morning, in a hurry, he dumped the gear from his ‘weekend’ backpack onto his bed to make way for his ‘going-to-school’ backpack.
Something stuck.
His new friend.
He pulled it out and gave it a toss among the other paraphernalia.
Then left.
Some hours later, another day of school behind him, he entered the front door of his family’s home.
And there was his mother. 
Now it wasn’t unusual for his mother to greet her sons at the door when they came home.
Usually it was a cheerful exchange of ‘how-was-your-day?’ or ‘anything-exciting-happen?’ followed immediately by ‘I’ve-been-baking-food’s-in-the-kitchen’.
Today was different.
She was sitting in the armchair.
In the semi-darkened living room.
Actually, ‘huddled’ would be a more accurate term.
Husby walked in. “Hi, Mom!”
She turned to look at him. For some seconds, she said nothing.
“What is that thing on your bed?”
Just FYI. When you bring a friend home from your weekend . . .
It’s probably best to tell your mom.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


Gerry has an intense unnatural horrendous unhealthy paralyzing fear of spiders and all things spider-y.
And members of the same family working in the same place can be a blessing.
These two statements go together . . .
Logan and his mother, Gerry, both worked at the Raymond Mercantile.
She, upstairs: administration.
He, main floor: sales and everything else.
It was a sweet setup.
Most days he would climb the broad, wooden stairway in the center of the store and lunch with his mom in the upper reaches of the store, which, as it so happened, were completely open to the lower reaches, allowing the upper echelons to actually look down upon the lower echelons.
On this particular day, as Logan approached the stairs, he noticed a large bin had been placed as an endcap to the row of shelves nearest the stairway.
Anyone ascending – or especially descending – would get a full view of . . . whatever that bin held.
And that bin held rubber animals.
That would have been okay, except that many of those rubber animals were spidery in shape. And large in size.
He called the manager over. The conversation went something like this . . .
Logan: “Ummm . . . you have to move that bin.”
Manager: “Why?”
Logan: “Because my mom is up those stairs.” Points. “And she won’t be able to make it home because she won’t be able to come down those stairs.” Points again.
Manager (frowning): “What?”
Logan (patiently): “My mom has a paralyzing (see above) fear of spiders. If she sees this bin with the . . . erm . .  . spiders, she won’t be able to walk past it to leave the store.”
Manager: “What? No. Your mom is the most together person I’ve ever met.”
A little aside here. Yes. Gerry is the most together person you will ever meet. She also has a paralyzing fear of spiders. Back to my story . . .
Logan: Picks up a spider. Holds it for Manager to see. Then tosses it backward over his shoulder into the upper reaches of the store.
Pause here for someone to take a large breath . . .
Sounds of frantic scrambling and furniture flying.
Logan: “See?”
Good thing he had her back.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Creative Craftiness

Can't you just see the mischief?
Husby is crafty.
And by this, I mean the ‘he likes to make things’ crafty.
Not the ‘crafty’ crafty.
Although with further thought, he qualifies both ways.
Moving on . . .
At times when most young men his age were watching TV or getting into mischief, he was . . . creating . . . stuff.
Some of it useful.
And some . . .
Husby had been busy in the garage and in his bedroom. The periodic sounds of hammering and sawing alternated with the occasional lapse into quieter busy-ness.
Finally, all was silent.
His mother, in the course of her day, went into his room.
He was lying on his bed, reading.
A rope dangled down the wall. She frowned. Surely that hadn’t been there before. “What’s this?” she asked.
Her son looked at her. “It’s a Works Donit.”
She stared at him. “A what?”
“A Works Donit.”
“Okay. What’s a Works Donit?”
He smiled. “Pull the rope.”
Now you have to remember that this was the mother of a son who would one day rig his car horn to honk only when the ashtray was pulled out (see here).
Among other things.
She was justifiably cautious.
She looked around the room.
Seeing nothing immediately dangerous, she shrugged.
And gave the rope a pull.
On the far side of the room, connected to a complex network of ropes and pulleys, a trap door opened.
Revealing, in large letters, the words: Works, Donit?
His mother frowned and released the rope. The trap door closed.
Grinning, she pulled it again.
With similar results.
Then, shaking her head, she left the room.
Husby smiled happily. Mission accomplished.
Or so he thought.
A short time later, his mom was back.
With one of her friends.
“Go ahead. Pull it!” Husby’s mom said, indicating the rope.
Gingerly, the friend reached out and gave it a pull.
Obligingly, the little trap door opened, again revealing the aforementioned words.
The friend stared. Then started to laugh. She pulled the rope several more times.
Then, “This is amazing!” She looked around. “I could spend all day down here!”
Okay. Now mission accomplished.

Monday, July 12, 2021


We humans, we’re a social bunch,

We love to visit over lunch,

Or gather all together to,

Laugh and joke and ballyhoo.

But isolation, we abhor,

In Pandemic, e’en before!

We’re social creatures, to survive,

Those networks help keep us alive,

But as we age, those networks grow

More limited as people go,

And if we don’t maintain or build,

Important needs won’t be fulfilled,

And real risks are amplified,

Like health, dementia, suicide,

What can be done to help them out—

Those lonely hearts we hear about?

Increase their people, draw a crowd,

Keep them busy, start it now!

Cause growing old’s not meant to be

Done alone. We all agree,

Today’s ‘Cheer Up the Lonely Day’,

To ascertain that they’re okay,

Let’s make a pact when this day’s gone,

We’ll make it daily from now on!


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?
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 your breath, we're sure to take,
We're celebrating Raspberry Cake!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Cheer the Lonely (July 12) Today!
Raspberry Cake Day (July 19)
Parents Day (July 26)
Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2)
Cats (August 9)
Tell a Joke (August 16)
Wind (August 23)
Monsters (August 30)
Shoes (September 6) From Mimi
Defy Superstition Day (September 13) Also from Mimi
Remembering 8-Tracks (September 20) Another Mimi

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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

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Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

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I've been given an award!!!

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The Liebster Award
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Irresistibly Sweet Award

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
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