Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, November 12, 2021


Now before you say what we’re all thinking, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So just bear with me . . .

I think I’ve mentioned before that we, Mom, Sally and me—oh, and Mort—all live in Sally’s house.

The one she bought with the money she got when she did the movie Nosedive just before Covid hit.

You have to know that some actors are really well paid.

Ahem . . .

Well, even though it is technically Sally’s house, Mom looks after its care and upkeep.

Because . . . Sally.

Am I right?

So Mom decided that said house was due for a fresh coat of paint on its ‘painty’ areas. All those not covered in stone.

Now Sally could have easily paid to have some professionals come and do the job in half the time and a quarter of the effort, but that’s not how Mom works. She’s all about creating opportunities for us to learn and grow through hard work and perseverance.

Or something like that.

So Saturday morning found Mort, Peter and me—brushes in hand—swiping an oily coat of primer onto freshly scraped walls.

Mom was just ahead of us, doing the scraping.

Sally was lounging on a lawn chair twenty feet away. Supervising.

In an effort to reassure Peter and I and to ensure herself of our help, it was the only job Mom could allow Sally.

So far it was working.

Work was progressing.

Scraping was happening.

Paint was being applied.

All was well.

You, who know Sally, also know that this is the place where things usually get . . . erm . . . sticky.

Mom finished with the wall before us, then disappeared around the side of the house. A moment later, she reappeared carrying the large, wooden ladder.

The one tall enough to reach the second story.

Keep breathing . . .

Moving said ladder back to the corner, to a place just above where we had all started, Mom clambered up it like a monkey and again started scraping.

Mort, Peter and I kept on painting, moving forward steadily.

Just then, a car pulled into our driveway.

Now you have to know that due to—I’m going to go with ‘Covid’ but it could just as easily be ‘Sally’— we don’t get many visitors.

Intentional ones, that is.

This was cause for all of us to turn for a look.

Mom, came down from the ladder and stood there a moment, squinting into the sun and wiping her hands.

Sally got up from her chair and hurried toward the ladder. “I’ll give it a try, Mom, so the painters don’t have to stop.”

“It’s okay, Hon,” Mom said absently, her concentration on the person climbing from the car.

I guess none of us really noticed when Sally, instead of taking the scraper Mom had been using, nabbed Mort’s paint can and a new brush and scurried up the ladder.

A man was coming toward us, a broad smile on his handsome face, the sun glinting from his ‘just-a-little-gray’ hair.

A man who looked remarkably like Peter.

I looked at Peter, who was sporting a wide grin and an extended hand. “Uncle Pete! When did you get back?”

The man ignored Peter’s hand and, instead wrapped him in a great bear hug. “It’s a surprise, Favourite Nephew!” he said. He stepped back. “I just got home last night.”

Peter laughed and looked around at all of us. “Everyone! This is my Uncle Peter, or Pete to the family. I was named after him. He was just pulled out of Afghanistan.”

Uncle Pete looked around at all of us, finally settling on Mom. Moving toward her, he held out his hand. “Peter Gunn,” he said. “No relation to the private eye.”

Mom laughed self-consciously. Her cheeks went pink. “Oooh!” she said, taking his hand. “I’m . . .”

But that’s as far as she got.

Sally. Ladder. Paint.

You know it had to happen. And it took . . . seconds.

“Oops! Look out below!”

Mom and Uncle Pete were suddenly drenched in a fresh coat of primer.

Head to toes.

Side to side.

Remember when I said things were about to get ‘sticky’? I was right.

Just as a side note, Mom had asked for the paint with the best coverage.

She got it.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

My words this month? reassure ~ hand ~ try ~ seconds ~ primer ~ create              
They were submitted by my good friend Jenniy at   
Are you up for more fun?
Baking In A Tornado
Wandering Web Designer
What TF Sarah
Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Friends at Last

Tangmere. History makes me cry.   ( picture)
For over thirty years, my Husby worked for Alberta Culture. Specifically building the great museums for which Alberta is famous.
The last two museums had been announced by the powers-that-be.
One to house a collection of cars and trucks and thing that go. Or fly.
The other to showcase the horse-drawn vehicle era.
Both having to do with transportation.
In preparation for this, my Husby was sent to the UK.
They have museums.
And could offer insights.
Thus, twenty-five years ago, he went. Taking me.
It was a wonderful, informative, exhilarating, exhausting, emotional trip.
We saw farm museums. Transit museums. Air museums. Automobile museums.
We even went to the mews at Buckingham palace and got up close and personal with the gold coach.
But one visit stands out above all of the others.
Oh, we had seen exhibits expertly assembled.
Cunningly and beautifully displayed.
Extensive, professional artwork in beautiful buildings.
And trained, informed staff.
But none of them could compete with the (then) little museum, Tangmere.
Near Chichester, England, on the site of the old RAF Tangmere Airfield, this museum was almost exclusively manned by airmen who had served there during WWII.
Perhaps that is what made the difference.
The displays came to life when your guide, who had known the showcased men personally, described them.
He had many stories to tell.
And no few tears were shed in the telling.
One, in particular, I remember most vividly . . .
The worker/veteran, I'll call him Michael, described a gentleman entering the museum.
This man wandered from exhibit to exhibit, reading the hand-lettered cards and information.
Studying the artifacts.
Finally, he approached the desk. "Have you a cemetery?" he asked Michael in heavily German-accented English.
"Why yes, sir. It's just through there." Michael pointed him towards a door.
"Thank you." The man went outside to the small cemetery directly behind the main building.
There rests everyone lost during the August 16, 1940 raid on Tangmere during WWII.
The visitor stayed outside for a long time.
Finally, he re-entered the building and returned to the front desk.
"Please excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice that you have buried the German dead with the English."
Michael got a bit teary-eyed in his telling at this point. "Why yes, sir," he told the man. "They were each and all someone's son."
The German visitor began to cry. Finally he whispered, "I was in the wave of German fighters who bombed you."
The Englishman put out his hand.
"Well it's nice to actually get to meet you!" he said heartily, shaking the other's hand. "And I should tell you that you and your boys made one hell of a mess!"
Michael looked at us. "I don't know what we were when he came in, but we parted friends."
I cried all of the way back to our hotel.

P.S. Most of us can never know the agony: physical, mental and spiritual. We can only thank those who take our places there . . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

50 Day Wednesday #14

Truck trouble.

He was waiting for a tow.

She came to meet him and take him home. 

The A&W was right across the street so she bought supper to go while they waited.

There on the tailgate of the truck in the setting sun, they had the nicest date ever.

Today is Fifty Day Wednesday!

And that means another challenge to tell a story using ONLY fifty words.

Thank you so much, Adela, for opening this new world to me . . .

Sooo fun!

This is an uber-fun, uber-challenging exercise.
Join us!

Leave your contribution in the comments...

Tuesday, November 9, 2021



It had been a good walk.

Granddaughter #9 (hereinafter known as Miss E), and her family were exploring the neighbourhood.

They had remarked upon the crisp, fall air.

Endless blue skies.



The geese were flying, getting higher and more numerous as the babies gained strength and experience to be ready for the Great Flight South.

Dozens of people were out on the city paths, walking themselves (and, more interesting to the little girl, their dogs).

Transparent ice was forming at the edges of the ponds.

Crispy, colourful dead leaves were everywhere, inviting running and stomping and flinging one’s small self into.

For a few moments, the little girl had been quiet.

Then they walked past a small shrub which, unlike its larger neighbours who were just beginning the leaf-shedding of the season, had completely lost its green, leafy summer coat.

Miss E stopped.


“Oh look, Mom!” she said. “This one’s naked!”

Everyone turned.

“How embarrassing!”

Monday, November 8, 2021


Puns, I love, they’re so much fun,
What follows are some favourite ones!


My funeral? NOT an A.M. spot,

A mourning person, I am not!


A balance check, of me, required…

I pushed him over—now I’m fired!

A thief stole all the precinct’s johns,

Police have nothing to go on.


My kleptomania hurts a bit, 

But now I take something for it.


Boiling water, RIP,

You will be mist, we all agree.

The restaurant, Karma, strikes a nerve,

No menu. Get what you deserve!


The word ‘many’, explained when sought?

I’m grateful. Know it means a lot.

I took a pole. Know what I found?

All campers grouse when tents fall down.

My dog ate coins. “Wait,” said the Vet,

I’m waiting, but there’s no change yet.

Zero’s author – on behalf of banks,

We salute you. For nothing, thanks.

A man lost his left side. Oh, wow!

Not to fret--he’s all right now.

Cartoonist was found dead. Poor guy! 

Details are sketchy, please stand by.


The silkworm race? Well by and by,

It ended in a total tie.

High-voltage fence around my house?

My neighbor’s dead against it. Louse!

A new mechanic. Here’s the scoop…

They’re a highly wreck-a-mended group.

A hippo’s a really heavy blighter,

And a Zippo is a little lighter.

A clown, he held my door just yester- 

Day. It was a lovely jester.


An ad for burial plots. Agreed,

It is the last thing that I need.

And there you have it, that's the lot

I've finished doing what I ought,

But please, before this day is through,

I'd love to hear some puns from you!

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, we're cleaning out the 'Fridge,
We're apprehensive, just a smidge...

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...

Puns (November 8) Today!
Clean Out Your Refrigerator (November 15) 
Your favorite record (or) best stereo or record player ever (November 22)

Chia Pets (November 29)
Hanukkah/Holidays (December 6)
Ice Cream (December 13)
Music (December 20)
Fruitcake (December 27)

Sleep (January 3)

Peculiar People (January 10) 

Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions (January 17)

Opposite Day (January 24)
Typo Day (January 31) Celebrate those funny (autocorrect) mistakes.

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
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

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

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

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
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Irresistibly Sweet Award

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

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

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

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?