Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, November 19, 2021

Real Estate

Going through some old posts and found this one written in 2014 just after I had relocated Daddy from his condo to the Senior's Lodge a block away.
He lived there eight months before he moved again. Home.
I miss him so much!
Such bittersweet memories . . .

It's done.

Following several thousand man-hours of sorting, packing, hauling, mistakes, searching, finding, more packing, more hauling, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, Daddy is safely installed in his new home.
It was not an easy decision to make.
He loved his condo.
And his independence.
But though he remains clear mentally, his once-robust physical self grows steadily weaker and frailer.
He's better off in a place where his meals are provided and help is always very nearby.
It's bittersweet.
We know he will be cared for.
But the memories of what used to be crowd close.
Bringing tears.
Life on the ranch was an adventure.
Every day a blur of what needed to be done and what happened while doing it.
From this...
... to this.
But Daddy's favourite saying is: Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!
Life isn't over.
Only his piece of real estate is smaller.
Here's to new adventures.
I love you, Daddy!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Stop on the Way Home

Future skiers/blessed people
I love winter.
I just don't like bitter cold.
I love snow.
But not on roads which then become icy and slippery.
And, being born and raised on the prairies as I was, I have a hard time with high places.
So explain to me why I would drive, weekend after weekend, on slippery, snowy roads, up into the mountains, to slide repeatedly down high slopes.
I know. It makes no sense to me, either.
But I loved it.
My brother, George, and I would rise at the unbelievable hour of 4:00 AM on a Saturday, drive to West Castle, and spend the day going up and down.
Then drive home again.
Yup. 'Nuts' pretty much describes it.
Most of the time, the roads were fairly passable. Plowed and sanded.
But occasionally, they weren't.
And therein hangs a tale.
So to speak.
George and I had happily spent the day on the slopes.
We were starting the drive home in a pleasantly exhausted state.
All was well.
I don't quite remember what happened next.
It pretty much a blur.
Perhaps I should describe the scene . . .
I'm not sure about now, but 40 years ago, the road to West Castle was narrow.
Occasionally, the road twisted and turned amongst a heavy growth of trees.
But in many places, a sheer drop to the bottom of a rather tall mountain was the only thing awaiting anyone who ventured out onto the non-existent shoulder.
And I do mean sheer.
And non-existent.
Remember what I said about heights?
That would be here.
Now back to my story . . .
Someone lost control of their vehicle.
George reacted with his usual skill, twisting and correcting all in one smooth movement.
But our little blue Toyota truck decided, arbitrarily, to go for a spin.
And not in a good way.
Not an advisable thing on a narrow winter road, high up in the mountains.
I closed my eyes as we slid towards the edge.
Then, miraculously, we felt the crunch of gravel under the tires.
Not air.
The vehicle stopped abruptly, facing the wrong way and definitely on the scary open-space side of the road.
I opened my eyes.
George was staring straight ahead, his hands still in a white-knuckle grip of the steering wheel.
I looked to the left.
We were definitely off the road.
So what could we possibly be sitting on?
I cautiously turned to the right.
 Nothing but open space.
Okay, that didn't look good.
George looked at me. "Did you know there was a little pull-out here?"
I stared at him. "Pull-out?"
His question was answered.
He opened his door and . . . stepped out.
I watched him.
Then he indicated that I should open my door.
I stared at him like he was a lunatic.
He indicated again.
Cautiously, I opened my door and . . . stepped out onto solid earth.
I hurried around to the safer side of the scene.
And glanced back.
Sure enough, there was a little jut of shoulder, just big enough for our little truck.
And we had slid onto it sideways.
With perfect precision.
We collected our thoughts and calmed ourselves a bit, then climbed back into our truck and continued the drive home.
A bit more slowly and with a great deal of gratitude.
Skiing requires snow.
And high places.
And driving.
We do our best to stay safe.
But it's nice when Someone Else is in charge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Fifty Day Wednesday #15

It began with a startling, “Hon, let me do the dishes.”
He rattled and thumped in the kitchen, then joined me in front of the TV. “Done!”
Unwiped cupboards and stove. Sink full of pots.
But table cleared and washer loaded.
‘Done’ doesn’t mean what I think it means…

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 16, 2021


This story is about laughter.
Oh, and a few other things . . .
There were once three brothers. Two great, hulking brutes and one small, but kind.

One day the eldest went into the forest to chop firewood. At lunchtime, while eating, he was suddenly joined by a little old man, who begged a morsel.

He refused, claiming he had to keep his strength up. There wouldn’t be enough for him. Bla-bla-bla. The old man disappeared and moments later, the brother injured himself.

Yep. He chopped an old tree right down on his own arm, breaking it cleanly. Okay, maybe a bit of Karma at work here? What are your thoughts?

The second brother, (also great and also quite hulking) went out the next day in the elder’s place. I mean that wood wasn’t going to chop itself, right?

Lunchtime saw the same little old man appear to beg a morsel. With equal or lessor results. (I’m starting to wonder if we should question someone’s parenting skills.)

Again the elderly man disappeared and again, the chopper became the choppee. Wherein he chopped; the tree landed on him, breaking his leg, and he went, “Eeeee!”

That sounded better in my head . . . The young man hobbled home, spilling tales of woe and everyone was suddenly looking to the smallest for rescue.

Being the good boy he was, he duly shouldered his brothers’ axe and headed out to where the trees lived. Lunch/Elderly Gent/request for food. Same scenario. Different outcome.

The boy happily shared his meager (with two hulking brothers, you can’t expect there to be much…) meal. Pleased, the old man indicated a certain tree, then disappeared.

Obediently, the boy put the axe to the roots of said tree with vigor. The tree toppled, disclosing a shining, golden goose. Admit it. You weren’t expecting that.

The boy picked up the goose, heading immediately to the city. Hey! If I was poor and gold fell into my lap (figuratively) I’d be heading there, too.

As he passed the local inn, the innkeeper’s eldest daughter, intrigued by the solid gold feathers with which said goose was covered, reached out to pluck just one.

Her fingers instantly stuck. Fast. We’re talking ‘early days of Crazy Glue’ fast here. Like, to get those fingers unstuck would mean, at the very least, skin loss.

Her next younger sister, seeing her plight, tried to unstick her by the patented grab-hold-and-pull method. I probably don’t have to tell you it didn’t work.

Nope. Younger sister’s hands were stuck also. And it didn’t stop there. Youngest sister, thinking it some sort of silly game, grabbed her sibling’s apron strings. Oh, woe.

Now all three sisters were stuck fast to the goose. And each other. Oblivious (and pretty supremely task-focused) the young man strode on. Ridiculous? You know it.

The young man and his goose and his little parade duly passed in front of the church. In plain view of the vicar—sitting, enjoying his afternoon tea.

Now, this particular vicar was quite attentive to his flock. Seeing what could quite easily be mistaken for tom-foolery (Google it), he decided to . . . step in.

He grabbed the youngest daughter’s free hand and was instantly stuck fast to it. Don’t you hate when that happens? The young man continued. With the girls. And the vicar.

Before long, the vicar’s drinking buddies (yes, he had drinking buddies) happened to notice the unusual procession. Red-faced, the vicar frantically beckoned them. “Get me out of here!”

Doing what any good buddies would, they each grabbed a shoulder of their stalwart friend. And were instantly part of the insanity. Now there were girls/vicar/buddies. Oh, my.

You have to know this kept happening. One buddy’s wife. Her friend and friend’s daughter. Two young hikers. Three minstrels. At least one mule. And the milkman.

When the entourage reached the city, it numbered nearly as many people as the city. If our young man noticed them at all, he certainly didn’t let them distract him.

Meanwhile . . . don’t you just love the sound of that? Meanwhile. So mysterious. Meanwhile, in the city, there was a king. And a king’s only daughter.

She lacked . . . laughter. I know what you’re thinking. A golden goose and a laughter lacker in the same story? Don’t blame me! I’m just the teller.

The king had promised that whoever could make his daughter laugh would earn her hand in marriage. (I know why the laughter was lacking.) Ahem . . .

Now, as our merry band passed the palace, this laughter-lacking daughter happened to be out on her balcony gazing in a luster-lacking, laughless way at the gleaming city.

She spotted our friends almost immediately. I mean, when fifty ‘stuck-to-each-other’ people trail gracelessly past your window, it’s bound to attract attention. Am I right?

The girl stared, then clapped a hand over her mouth and snorted. Yes, princesses snort. The snort was followed almost immediately by peals and peals of princess-ly laughter.

Her father, seated in the next room doing . . . ‘king-ly’ stuff, leaped to his feet and strode with purpose to his daughter out on the balcony.

At first, he just had eyes for his only offspring as she guffawed, chuckled, chortled, howled and roared with long-suppressed laughter. Then he, too spotted the ‘train’.

Well, what would you have done? The king joined right in. Now I have it on good authority that laughter heals. And shared laughter can cure almost anything.

Certainly, it did here. From that moment—and following years of moments—the princess was smiling and laugh-y. Even when the king insisted she marry the young man. 

Of course, she fell in love with the kind, rather quirky young man. Even though their courting included—out of necessity—numerous citizens, animals and assorted tradespeople and musicians. 

Once the ring was on her finger, the spell (Yes, it was a spell) was broken. Everyone immediately started for their almost-forgotten homes and/or places of residence. 

Good thing, too, because, if three’s company, what on earth would 50 be? Besides awkward, I mean. Everyone lived with much love—and laughter—ever after. The End.

Today’s post is a writing challenge! Each month one of the participating bloggers picks 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: 28

It was chosen by: Karen!


At the end of this post, you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Keep the party going!


Baking In A Tornado

Messymimi’s Meanderings

Monday, November 15, 2021


This poem’s short. I’m terrified,
I think I’d rather run. And hide,
The time has come, I hope you know,
Unwanted things will have to go,
I have to open up that door,
Ignore the pain and do the chore
That once or twice a year is done,
And cannot qualify as fun.
I find when more time has elapsed,
Can really help me in my task,
Make cleaning out the ‘fridge okay
When I do it another way…
I ope’ the door and order hence
All foods that have gained sentience.

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?

Have you a fav’rite tune/machine?
Out of your past. From what has been?
Then you‘ll have fun, next week, with us,
Please join us while we all discuss...

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!)...

Clean Out Your Refrigerator (November 15) Today!
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.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Third Best

Once again, it’s my turn to host my amazing blogging buddies.
So many good things here!

Carol Cassara

Sitting over a cup of coffee the other day, Carol Cassara considered how the world's changed over the past two years. She's always tried to see the best in everyone, but these days, she is finding compassion for some hard to come by, as she reveals in her short post "How I'm Falling Short of My Aspirations, These Days"

Money is one of those subjects we don’t discuss in polite society. But the other day Laurie Stone of Musings, Rants & Scribbles found herself doing one of several bizarre cash rituals and wondered if anyone else did them. (Already, as she lists these, she imagines the look of horror on her husband Randy’s face).

To get ready for her holiday company, Rita spent the afternoon – and into the evening – organizing her garage. Why?

Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book? Diane Campbell Green did but what is unique about it is that it’s written about childhood memories that most of us Baby Boomers can relate to.  
The Sparkling Adventure of Becky and Friends.

Decluttering, painting, new floors, this is what Meryl Baer of Bech Boomer Bulletin is going through. Two bedrooms are now clean, spacious, light and airy. Now she must sift through boxes of stuff packed away before the work began and decorate the rooms. However she is currently prone on her couch nursing a bad cold, as she describes in this week’s post, Confined with Clutter.

There was a birthday to celebrate last Monday, as Jennifer of Unfold and Begin turned 60 with a reflection back on all the new things that she tried in As So This is 60.  

Tom from Sightings Over Sixty has consulted the experts to discover the single most important factor influencing happiness and well-being in retirement. Check out his post to find out other answers to What Makes Us Happy in Retirement?.

A trip to the UK 20 years ago to view travel museums as part of her Husby’s work changed Diane’s life.

Thank you SO much for joining us!
I hope you enjoyed your visit as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you!

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Read it! You know you want to!

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What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

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Looking for a Great Read?

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Available from

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I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

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!

Be Courageous!

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Ghost of the Overlook
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