Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, July 23, 2021

Kitty Kleaning

Two things you have to know before I start.
Blacken was a black cat. A thirty-pound black cat.
And Blacken could take care of himself . . .
It was a fairly normal day in the Hippard household.
People doing . . . household things. Cooking, tending children, office work, cleaning.
It was this last that was ultimately responsible for the ‘incident’.
Logan was in the office, attending to the afore-mentioned work when he detected a change in the regular household sounds.
A different voice.
A man’s.
Stepping to the door, he clearly heard, “And as you can see, the Sux Vacuum can easily clean up this mess. Far better than any other conventional cleaning product. Because it really sucks!”
Or some such statement-guaranteed-to-make-a-sale.
Shaking his head, Logan returned to his work.
But no sooner had he crossed the room, when he heard, “And now I’d like to show you the ‘pet attachment’.”
Logan knew the only animal that could possibly be within reach was Blacken (see above).
This, he had to see . . .
Hurrying down the short hallway, Logan was just in time to see the salesman – not without difficulty – pick the large cat up from its comfortable ‘I’m-relaxing-don’t-bother-me-if-you-know-what’s-good-for-you’ position on the living room rug.
Gripping the animal firmly, he picked up the vacuum hose with handy-dandy pet attachment . . . erm . . . attached.
“Okay, turn it on!” he said to someone else in the room.
The sound of the motor was immediate.
As was what happened next.
Just a hair (pardon the pun) behind the sound of the motor, and in an effort to get somewhere – anywhere – else, the cat instantly came to life.
With every sharpened digit fully extended, it climbed the man’s face.
And leaped from the top of his head to the nearest vacuum-less place.
Everyone in the room, with the possible exception of the two protagonists, saw the fall-on-the-floor-laughing potential of the incident.
Which they did.
For some minutes.
Because.
I should probably mention, here, that both claw-er and claw-ee survived the encounter – though the cat with much less wear and tear.
And, possibly in an act of contrition, the family purchased the vacuum.
But without the pet attachment.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Lights Out

Husby has always paid the bills in our home.
As a single income family and he the one earning the money, it seemed apropos.
He has also tried to convince his rather large family that we need to at least make a show of being economical.
It’s an uphill battle.
Lights are a biggie.
Because power is a biggie.
It isn’t unusual for one to hear – several times per day – the phrase, “You forgot to shut off the light!”
You’d think we’d learn.
Sometimes, though, the shoe is on the other foot.
With mixed results . . .
Husby and I were getting ready for bed.
Actually, he had already readied and was cozily cocooned and, I thought, drowsy.
I was a few minutes behind him.
I approached the closet wherein the change to pajamas would occur.
And noticed that he – the-mighty-earner-of-the-money-and-payer-of-the-bills – had left the light on.
My day (night) had come.
“You left the light on!” I said gleefully as I entered the closet.
I should probably mention here that some joker, when designing the closet, put the light switch on the outside.
No sooner had I closed the door, when the light went off.
Yeah. He thought it was pretty funny, too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Good Remembering

I have a selective memory.
Sometimes, there’s a reason . . .
I was going on a date. A nice young man had asked and we were heading out to see a movie.
It was one I’d seen before. Death Wish. A Charles Bronson getting-it-done, bad-guys-beware sort of movie. 
I had recommended it to my date. I had seen it already and remembered it as a most satisfying experience where the bag guys get got and crime in New York hits an all-time low.
All because of one man who, for some reason, decides to take the law into his own hands.
We pulled up to the drive-in entrance, paid our fee and found a place to park.
“You’ll love this movie!” I told my date as I stuffed popcorn into my mouth. “Charles gets it done!”
The lights came up on the screen. The opening credits. Opening scene.
Two women getting attacked in their own apartment.
I slid to the floor and stuffed my fingers into my ears.
My date, wide-eyed as he watched the screen, finally turned to me. “I thought you said it was a good movie!”
“Oh it is! Is the bad stuff over?”
“Ummm . . .”
I slid back into my seat. “Oh, I love this part! Where Charlie takes out his attackers with a roll of quarters!”
And, just like that, I realized something.
I had never seen the ‘bad part’.
I had covered my eyes and plugged my ears until that scene was over.
Fast forward forty years.
I still do the same. Ignore the ‘bad parts’. Well, first of all, I avoid violent movies altogether, but when I’m sitting through a movie and it unexpectedly dumps a nasty scene on me, I cover my eyes – usually with Husby’s hand. 
Let's face it, through my lens, Platoon was just a walk through the jungle with some soldiers.
I don't like it when good people get hurt. It happens enough in real life. I don't like it in my entertainment . . .
I’ve seen a lot of good movies.
Just don’t ask me to ‘scene-by-scene’ them for you.
I might leave something important out . . . 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Smart or Brave?


In the great Kingdom of Odd, there stands a lake. A great, wonderful lake filled with clear, cold water.

It covers many miles of the prosperous kingdom and provides much-needed life-giving water to people, livestock and crops.

 

Now this lake has been there since anyone—even great Grampa Earnest—can remember. It is a central focal point. A sign-post. A natural, life-giving wonder. Welcome diversion for the foot-sore world wanderer. Even a tourist destination.

 

Its beaches beckon. To the young and high-spirited for parties. To the young families for castle-building and sunburns. And to the middle-aged and elderly for a spot to park their umbrellas and themselves for a much-needed rest.

 

For years, it was simply named: The Lake. Short. Succinct. All that was needed because, it’s the only lake for hundreds of miles in any direction. And easy to remember because, let’s face it, It’s a lake.

 

But then, the name was changed. It was named after a would-be prince for his . . . Exploits? Deeds? Actions? How about we let you decide because this is where our story starts . . .

 

A good, kind and fair king had an only daughter. A lovely, dark-eyed, dark-haired (and most importantly, intelligent) girl. Now, because this girl would one day be queen, her father felt she needed a partner.

 

Someone who cared more for her than he did for fame, politics or money. Who she could turn to for honest advice/encouragement. And would support her in all her royal decisions; and some household ones as well.

 

Now, because there were many, many young men in the Kingdom who possessed at least one of the specified qualifications—ie. they were male—it was decided that a contest would be held. Testing their various abilities.

 

Extended visits with the queen-to-be to ascertain compatible-ness. Debates. Tests of general Kingdom dos and don’ts—legal, ethical and etiquette-ical. Visits to nurseries and pre-schools because, hey, maybe some royal children some day, right?

 

Testing began in July—because that’s when they had time—and was meant to wrap up mid-August, but, because there were many more young men than anticipated (some even satellited in from neighbouring countries) things went waaaay overtime.

The finalists, two of them, were officially announced the first of October in a flurry of balls and celebrations. What followed was an intense week of conclusive competitions, culminating in a final act of supreme bravery.

 

Now this act of bravery was to be chosen by each of the young men who were to disclose it to the king, then set out to fulfill. Whoever succeeded (and/or lived), would become the Queen’s partner.

 

One young man determined to travel to a far-away land and fetch back a magic feather, purported to give its bearer added intelligence, mega experience, bonus lives and/or warrior abilities. And he did. And it did.

 

The other man, had been planning his ‘if-I-get-chosen’ act of bravery for months: he would swim the entire width of The Lake. Now admittedly, this determination was originally made in the summer. For a spectacular summer enactment.

 

Nevertheless (and disregarding the thick layer of Autumnal ice that had formed pre-maturely on The Lake), he chopped a hole just large enough for his handsome self and dove in. Never to be seen by anyone again.

 

After a few days, in the noticeable absence of further competition, Mr. Feather Procurer was declared the winner and he and the future queen were duly married and embarked on what would be a very happy life together. 

 

And now the point of my story: The naming of The Lake. In memory of the brave young man who had risked all in that final act of brave-ry, the name of The Lake was changed. To Lake Stupid.

 

Swim at your own risk.


Today’s post is a writing challenge! Each month one of the participating bloggers pick a number between 12 and 50. All bloggers taking part that month are then challenged to write using that exact number of words in their post either once or multiple times. 

 

This month’s word count number is: 37

It was chosen by: ME!

 

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them out!

 

Baking In A Tornado

Messymimi’s Meanderings


 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Taking the Cake

Today, deliciousness, we’ll take,

We celebrate Raspberry Cake!


Wee Jack was a sparrow of common decent,

Not different from others that came and that went,

He loved looking for seeds in the trees, on the soil,

But for some, in particular, daily, he’d toil,

And what were those seeds that were best of them all?

The ones found in raspberries, plump, red and small.

To discover these seeds, all around our Jack went,

He thought they would fill all his re-qui-re-ments,

Then that day! During searching, he perched for a rest,

On the bannister outside some posh human nest.

He peeped through the glass as he rested out there,

Saw something that caused him to pause. And to stare,

For a human was carrying something quite grand,

That looked most intriguing in that human’s hands,

It was tall and looked frosted (like winter) with ice,

And from every layer, oozed raspberries. Nice!

It had his attention. Let’s leave it at that,

Picture Jack as he was, ‘gainst the window, pressed flat,

Just out of reach were those berries, alas

See him wiping a tear and then licking the glass.

Then he followed from window to window as they,

Tried to carry his raspberry ‘something’ away,

Then horror of horrors, he had to just sit,

And watch as they ate it. Not leaving a bit.

Now if sparrows could cry, you’d see Jack shed a few,

This was more than a sparrow could handle. Times two!

He watched in despair as they ate every crumb,

All his feathers were limp and the rest of him, numb,

Dejected, he leaned ‘gainst a small flower pot

Then he noticed a thing that, before, he had not,

The smallest of humans had left quite a bit

Of the magical raspberry-oozing comfit,

E’en better, the person who tidied the lot,

Threw it all in the trash, left not even a spot.

But Jack chuckled merrily, twitched an eyelid,

Cause he knew where those bags ended up, yes, he did.

Before he had time to give his beak a clack, 

That bag ended up in the can. Out in back.

With that sharp little beak and his needle-like claws,

Jack ripped that bag open. ‘Thout so much as a pause,

He jumped right on in, started stirring around,

I don’t have to tell you just what our Jack found…

Why that raspberry ‘stuff’, there is was, good as new,

So he pecked at those seeds and he started to chew,

Though those seeds were the one thing our Jackie adored, 

He realized something he hadn’t before,

The sweet ‘stuff’ they clung to was so tasty, too,

He nibbled a bit. Nibbled till he was through!

With the ‘stuff’ and those seeds safely housed in his tum,

Our Jackie went home and stretched out in the sun.

That wise little bird, he learned something that day,

Something we learn while just children. At play,

Raspberries? Delish when from bushes we take…

They taste even better when topping a cake!

 

Photo Credit: Karen of bakinginatornado.com
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’ve something new to try...
It’s PARENT’s DAY, hope you’ll drop by!




Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Raspberry Cake Day (July 19) Today!
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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