Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, September 30, 2022

Reboot-ed

I’ve heard this word a lot, of late,

REBOOT. You know I’ve wondered some,

It’s not a word accustomed to,

But I’ve been learning…I’m not dumb!

 

I’ve several sons who rescue me,

When with technology, I fight

They fiddle with a key, or two,

Then hit Reboot and it’s all right!

 

I’ve watched some movies now and then,

Familiar as I watch each time,

I’m sure I’ve seen each one before…

Reboots, all, but that’s just fine!

 

A local business struggled some,

D├ęcor and food were out of date,

They told me they’d Reboot, and they’d

Bounce back. You know, that will be great!

 

A friend was trying to be heard,

She had a presence there online,

Then someone helped Reboot her name,

And last I heard, she’s doing fine!

 

But in my youth, if you messed up,

You’d ‘Get the Boot’—it wasn’t nice,

And if you didn’t learn from that…

To Reboot was to get it twice!

Karen asks, "Write for me, please?"
We write because she's the Bee's Knees!
And we love her, you know that’s true,
So this is what we writers do . . .
We craft a poem based on a theme,
With pencils, sharp, and eyes agleam,
Each month we write and have such fun
We can't wait for another one,
Sooo...this month, how well did I do?
Please go and see the others, too:

Baking In A Tornado: Reboot

Messymimi’sMeanderings

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Being At the Top

You see trees. They see . . .
Being the eldest girl has its challenges.
And occasionally, its perks.
And Gerry was very clever.
And athletic.
These become important later.
Let me explain . . .
Gerry had six younger siblings.
Many of whom were boys. Competitive boys.
And there were 25 neighbourhood children, a large percentage of whom fell into the ‘boy’ and ‘all things competitive’ categories.
Keeping ahead of them took courage, forethought and ingenuity.
All of which Gerry had. In spades.
The Ackroyd family lived in the town of Raymond in southern Alberta in a grand old neighbourhood. A nieghbourhood with many mature trees.
There were fifteen trees on their family property alone.
Trees that offered shade and/or fruit and/or shelter and/or climbing apparatus in the seasons.
And it’s this last that finally brings me to the point of the story.
I know you knew I’d get there. Eventually. . .
These trees were tall. To the kids in the neighbourhood, mountain-climbing tall. Those ultra-competitive (see above) boys began to eye them as their next horizon. Their next ultimate challenge. The next rung on their road to manhood.
There was just one problem.
Remember when I mentioned that Gerry was courageous, forward thinking and ingenious?
Yeah, that comes into play here.
Because Gerry, seeing those giant trees, and knowing her brothers and neighbours well, decided there was something she had to do.
And she did it.
Before anyone else could try it, and unseen by the others, she climbed each of those trees.
But that’s not all.
To prove her feat, she carved her initials at the tip top of every. Single. Tree.
Forever after, when anyone would get the wondrous idea of conquering the great Ackroyd trees, they would know that ‘someone’ had already been there before them.
Well played, Gerry. Well played. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Puppy Love

What's not to love, right?
I was in grade four.
Nine years old.
And at the dawn of a new age...
I had discovered boys. Or more specifically, boy.
KS was smart.
Cute.
Sweet.
Taller than me.
And my neighbor.
He had everything important going for him.
At first, I didn’t know what to do with my newfound crush. I really didn’t know what it was. I had had plenty of boy friends in the past.
Boys that I competed against at every opportunity.
Sports.
Schoolwork.
But none that I just wanted to . . . be near.
Puzzled, I did all the normal things.
Followed him around at a discrete distance.
Hid behind cars and buildings if he looked in my direction.
Stared across the room at him in class.
Avoided him at recess.
What was this weird attraction?
I had suddenly developed mental ‘global positioning’. I could tell you the precise location of KS at any time of the day.
Without ever seeming to look at him.
I’m sure I was pretty obvious in my interest. But when you’re nine - and you wish it - you’re invisible.
And then . . . that day . . .
First, our class had a Box Social.
Okay, I know that dates me, but the fact remains.
All of the boys brought a box lunch for two and then shared it with his assigned ‘girl’ partner.
We lined up and the teacher numbered us off.
I tried to position myself so that I would match KS.
But my counting was off.
I ended up with a boy who brought peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Peanut butter and banana? I had never heard of such a thing.
Nor had my stomach.
And the two of us agreed that we'd be happier with our mutual ignorance.
I looked longingly across the playground at KS and his partner.
Happily munching on whatever KS had brought.
Sigh.
Later that day, tired of listening to my bleating, my friends cornered KS and his friends and wrung a confession out of him.
He liked me!
It was the happiest day of my life!
So what did we do then?
Nothing.
We were nine.
Oh, occasionally, we would . . . you know . . . talk. I called him on the phone once, to beg a ride to church. And once, I sat next to him in Sunday School class.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
But that’s about it.
My family moved. And soon another crush filled my life.
Moving ahead.
I hadn’t seen or thought about KS for nearly fifty years.
Then, one day, there he was in my church congregation.
Now, until that moment, I couldn’t remember what the nine-year-old boy had looked like.
But I knew him as soon as I saw him.
Strangely, he hadn’t changed much at all.
Taller.
And definitely older.
But still that boy.
My first crush.
It made me smile.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Lifted

 Two teachers brought their students on a field trip to the track,

So they could pet the horses; maybe sit on someone’s back.

But all the kids were little and the first thing to be done,

Was a potty-break; that bus ride was a longish one!

One woman took the little girls. The other all the boys…

Then stood outside the washroom while those lads made lots of noise,

Then one came running out in panic, “Teacher, help!” he said,

“The urinal’s not made for kids—it’s higher than our heads!”  

So she was forced to enter; and then, one-by-one, raise up,

Each and every one of all those busy little pups,

Her arms were growing weary and when she fin’lly reached the last,

He seemed heavier and more ‘endowed’ than others in her class,

“Whew, you’re getting heavy!” she said, feeling slightly miffed,

He said, “I’m riding Snowdrift in the third. Thanks for the lift!”


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?

They're with us going near or far,
Sometimes we like to Name Our Cars!

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!)...

Field Trips (September 26) Today!

Name Your Car (October 3)
Octopus (or something squishy) (October 10)
Most Memorable Italian Meal (October 17)
Bathtubs (October 24)

Halloween -or- your favourite Knock-Knock Joke (October 31) 

Oatmeal (November 7)

Friday, September 23, 2022

Unbusinesslike

He and me.

Daddy was not a businessman.
Rancher. Hereford Organization (Federal and Provincial) president, past president and secretary. Church leader. Good neighbour. Veterinarian.
Husband. Father. Son. Brother. Uncle. Cousin. Friend.
He was all of those things.
But he wasn’t a businessman.
Maybe I should explain...
Daddy was raised by parents who exemplified the word ‘service’.
And he did the same. Selflessly giving of his time and expertise when asked—and even some times when not.
And he was always ready to help a neighbour—be it relative or friend.
As the only veterinarian for 100 miles, Daddy was much in demand—especially in times of emergency. Whenever there was an epidemic of something among the animals of the area, he was on hand to provide vaccinations. (During several rabies scares, he vaccinated some very, very feral barn cats—and had the scars to prove it!) If someone’s cow was calving, or a horse or bull had run afoul of some barbed wire and needed emergency stitchery, again, he was there.
These animals were the livelihood of these ranchers. Daddy understood and did everything in his considerable power to help out.
And that’s also where he ran into trouble.
Because he knew, first hand, the slim margins for profit these fellow ranchers worked under, and that the loss of even one animal could spell ruin. Also because the cost of medical aid was something they could ill afford, he tried to help there as well.
By not charging full price for his vet services—and sometimes no price at all.
The neighbours loved him.
And many credited him with keeping them afloat.
But, yes. Daddy wasn’t a businessman.
He was a good man.
And I’m forever grateful!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

A Knowing Nose

It’s Elephant Appreciation day!

So what could be better than...Mildred!


Mildred, my friend, has a nose that is great.
Not bulging. Or curving. Or big as a plate!
Not crooked. Or flattened. Or shaped like a bean.
The most beautiful nose that you ever have seen.

Can't say it's large. A potato, A gourd.
A crooked ol' carrot. An acorn. A board.
And it’s not like a flower, a rose or a lili,
Yes, nothing to ever make Mildred look silly.

It is shapely and small. In reality – fair.
The grandest appendage to ever draw air.
Fine-boned and slender. With rose petal skin.
The kind that can always draw everyone in.

But with all of its beauty, her friends still make fun.
They laugh and they tease. They catcall and run.
But why with such beauty for them to sightsee,
Would they tease their friend harshly to such a degree?

Because Mildred, oh, she of the wonderful nose.
The beauty, perfection. The colour called 'rose'.
Well there's something about her that I've not disclosed.
Something, about which you need to be told.

Though our Mildred is all she could possibly be,
A good friend and clever. And kind as can be.
Yes, Mildred has one little secret to hold.
Our Mildred's an elephant, truth to be told.
  
Now there’s something that you need to learn ‘fore you’re older,
That you find the beauty, when you’re the beholder.
And when seeing someone who is different than you,
Remember sweet Mildred and all she’s gone through.

P.S. If you think that Mildred's true story's a gaffe, 
You should hear about Harold, the short-necked giraffe.
Painted by the uber-talented Jessica Tolley!










Who blogs at 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Stress Relief

Dad's class.
See the young man standing by the window?
Well, dad is the fourth head down the table from him. Bow tie. Studious.
In April, 1947, Dad and the other veterinarian students at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario, were hitting the books in preparation for their yearend torture exercise in futility final exams.
But, for some of them, the usual angst and stress were missing.
Due largely to a stick and a ball.
These young men had discovered golf.
Okay, I know that it isn’t always the most relaxing of games.
In fact, I’ve seen golf clubs bent into pretzels by a frustrated player.
But it was exactly what these young men needed.
On the morning of their first test, they reported to the examination hall.
Spent a couple of hours cudgelling their brains.
And left, drained. 
One of them glanced at the golf course, which immediately bordered the school.
“Hey!” he said.
Dad looked.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
If he was considering throwing himself on his bed and waving bye-bye to consciousness for a couple of hours, then yes. If he was thinking . . .
“Let’s go take in a game of golf!”
Then, no.
“Seriously. Playing nine holes would relax us for a couple of hours and we’ll be fresher to get back to our studies!”
Dad frowned. Maybe it was sign of how fried his brain was - it almost made sense. But he was too tired. He opened his mouth to tell them he was heading back to the dorm. What came out was, “Okay.”
Yep. Tired.
They actually had a great time.
And his friend had been right. They were more prepared to tackle the books afterward.
And the next day.
And the next.
For the entire nine days of final exams.
I wish I could tell you that there was an unforeseen benefit to all of the golfing. Maybe that one or more of them discovered an affinity to the game. Or even went on to become a star in golf heaven.
I’d be wrong.
Mostly they spent their time trying to get their score under 100.
And that was counting only the strokes that connected . . .
So many skills and talents are discovered at college.
Most of them fun.
Not all of them bankable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Merry Cole

Not quite how I pictured it. But almost as good...

Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he,
He called for his pipe, he called for his bowl
He called for his fiddlers three.

Every fiddler, he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he.
Oh there's none so rare, as can compare

With King Cole and his fiddlers three. 
Published: 1708 

I love this poem! It’s cheerful from start to finish.
And, let’s face it, a bit of cheerfulness right now is sorely needed.
I’m quite sure everyone reading will agree… 

But let’s discuss. Okay?
First of all, what do you think of Old King Cole? For me, the thought of a merry old man leading my country sounds hugely appealing. 

I’ve heard of kings sober, ummm…un-sober, stupid, intelligent, reckless, precise, war-like, peaceful, avaricious, giving, disgusting, polite, cruel, kind, greedy, generous…and a host of other qualities too numerous to mention. 

But ‘Merry’? Merry just sounds…merry! And teaming it up with the fact that good ol’ Cole was also musical. Merry AND musical? Okay, I’m voting for him. If one voted.

Okay, let's address the ‘musical’ part of the rhyme. Because Cole calls for his pipe. What sort of pipe do you think he played? Flute? Recorder? Fife? Something reed-y? 

And then Cole called for his bowl. Now I haven’t tried them, but I’ve heard that some drinks are offered in a ‘bowl’. Like rum punch. And mead. Sound yummy? 

I’m picturing a little impromptu recital with four individuals, at least one of whom was happy enough to be labelled ‘merry’, enjoying the company of friends who love making music. 

Friends in this increasingly friendless world. Who support you in your interests--even happily play along with you. Does it get any better than that? I’m thinking maybe not.

Thank you, friends.


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 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: 30
It was chosen by: Karen! 

Links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado  

Messymimi’s Meanderings   


Monday, September 19, 2022

Say Arrrrrrr!


Our ships were berthed right side by side,

There in the Bay of Leeman,

Ours filled with vacationers,

 And theirs with crusty seamen.

 

And through the day, as our group played,

And spent the hours relaxing,

They were busy scrubbing decks,

And labours e’en more taxing.

 

We sat on deck, enjoyed the sun,

And listened to our neighbours,

We often heard the captain

Shout out “Arrrrr”, through all their labours.

 

“Listen, guys!” I whispered to

The folks around me, dozing,

“He’s talking ‘pirate’ to his men!”

I found it quite imposing!

 

A couple hours sailed by,

And still our ships remained there,

And many times I heard the captain,

‘Arrrr-ing’ to his sailors.

 

Why did the captain speak this way?

A ‘pirate’ form of Latin?

Or just communication

While their hatches they did batten?

 

Getting slightly braver, I

Decided to move closer,

And get a better look

And try to figure out this poser.

 

Then I heard a sailor say,

“That we be!” to Skipper,

And Captain then responded with…

“Arrrrr! You little Nipper!”

 

And then it hit me tween the eyes,

T’was almost like a hammer,

‘Pirate speak’ is nothing more

Than just correcting grammar!


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?

Field Trips are the very best 
Next week, join us--be our guest!


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!)...

Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) Today!

Field Trips (September 26)

Name Your Car (October 3)
Octopus (or something squishy) (October 10)
Most Memorable Italian Meal (October 17)
Bathtubs (October 24)

Halloween -or- your favourite Knock-Knock Joke (October 31) 

Oatmeal (November 7)

Sunday, September 18, 2022

BBBs and ME


It's that time again when I get to mix with the Best of Boomer Bloggers.
This week we're dealing with everything from LOSS to LEGALITIES!
Enjoy!

First, we have Carol of Carol A. Cassara Writer:

What did the Queen's death mean to you, if anything? This week on her blog, Carol Cassara talks about feeling the weight of history in Thoughts On the Queen's Death.
 

We all knew it was coming, but when the words were finally announced, they were shocking. The Queen of England had died. Like most of the population, Laurie Stone had never known any other British monarch. Looking back at the Queen’s life, Laurie realizes Elizabeth II taught her three vital things. She can’t help wondering if King Charles III will learn from them as well…

Next is Rebecca of BabyBoomster:

Baby Boomers and others who blog do it for various reasons. Some write diaries of what is going on in their lives and the world while others use their blogs strictly for business. Rebecca Olkowski, with BabyBoomster.com, likes to combine both. She writes about what she loves but also monetizes her blog to supplement her Social Security and other income. Often, she gets pitches from brands to promote their products. Sadly, brands often categorize Baby Boomers as “elderly” so there are some pitches Rebecca rejects. She talks about them in her post “Brand Pitches for Older Women That I Reject.” 

And Rita Robison of Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist:

Read any papers carefully you’re asked sign when you take a friend or relative to live in a nursing home, advises Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist. Some facilities put illegal clauses into contracts saying you’ll be on the hook for the bill. See “CFPB Tells Nursing Homes They Can’t Try to Collect From Relatives and Friends” for the stories about the troubles a daughter and a friend had.

Then Meryl Baer of Beach Boomer Bulletin:
There are times we must bid farewell to old friends and move on. These may be human companions, or pets, or nowadays, electronic devices. Meryl Baer of Beach Boomer Bulletin was forced to purchase a new cell phone when her old one proved unreliable, as she tells us in this week’s post, Farewell Old Friend, I’m Moving On
 

And finally me! Diane of Diane Stringam Tolley, Author:
A fun family evening of watching old movies brought back a precious memory this week for Diane. And one of the many, many times she heard truth from a child!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Uh-Oh.

 “What is it?” Mom’s concerned voice trickled down the hall to my room.
Without conscious thought, I scrambled from my bed and hit the hall already at a full run.
We live in Sally’s house.
Dealing with Sally’s escapades on a nearly daily basis.
I’m totally justified in my overreaction.
I skidded around the corner, catching the handle of the fridge to stop my forward momentum.
Mom, looking rather intent, was standing by the sink, her cell phone pressed to one ear. She glanced at me and held up one finger.
I fidgeted while she continued her conversation.
Across the room, Dad was lying on the couch. Well, I’m assuming. Now he was slowly rising, his eyes on Mom.
“Oh. Well, that’s good,” Mom said.
I swiveled to look at her again. The pinched ‘Sally’ look had been replaced by the relieved ‘Sally’ look. There are no other looks.
It was obvious that, whatever Sally (and by association, Mort) were up to, it wasn’t something Mom had to deal with.
I relaxed and Dad sank back to the couch and, once again, picked up the book he had been reading.
Mom pressed ‘end’ and smiled at the two of us. “Well, that was a whole lot of nothing,” she said brightly.
You have to understand the ‘speak’ in our house. “Whole lot of nothing’; is code for: ‘Sally hasn’t done anything that’s gotten her arrested today hallelujah’.
“What’s Sally been doing?” I asked.
“Oh, well, she has a day off from shooting, so she and Mort are wandering a fairground in Munich, seeing who can find the biggest pretzel and dancing to the latest Schlager hits—whatever that means.”
“Schlager is music, Mom. Bright. Lively. I rather like it.”
“Ah. She says if her shoot goes over, she and Mort are going to try to take in Octoberfest.”
I shivered as Dad and I exchanged a glance. Sally at Octoberfest? Someone would be shipping her home in a barrel.
“So what would the two of you like for breakfast? When will Peter be here?”
Dad and I looked at each other. Okay, we are the weirdos of the family. Both of us like a hearty bacon and eggs and pancakes and waffles and maybe steak breakfast.
Mom and Sally and Mort prefer something lighter.
And way more sugary.
Peter is still on the fence. Easily swinging both ways.
“He’s probably on his way. He doesn’t have to work until later today.”
“Well, I’ll just do the usual then?”
Dad grinned at her. Steak and eggs and waffles, it was.
I opened the fridge and dragged out a grocer’s tray of ribeye steaks, which I threw on the indoor grill and painted with my favourite sauce.
Say what you will about people with money, living with one definitely has its perks.
A knock on the front door preceded Peter’s entrance. He came over and greeted me with a quick kiss and a slow hug.
I love that man!
Then he and his uncle, my father, started to set the table as they launched into one of their long, drawn-out discussions about modern government and the state of all branches of the modern military.
You have to know that Dad (the former Uncle Pete Gunn) served many, many years in the military. Marines. Reaching the rank of Major before retiring. He definitely has some opinions.
I flipped the steaks and squirted on more BBQ sauce.
Mom and I have breakfast timed almost perfectly.
But the time I was setting the platter of steaming steaks on the table, Mom was carrying in the bowl of fluffy scrambled eggs and the plate of crispy waffles.
Okay, yes. A big breakfast makes me…poetic.
As everyone was sitting down, I thought I heard a car pull up. I hurried to the big front window and peered out.
“Who’s here?” Mom asked.
“No one. Just someone next door at the Baggins’.”
I started back toward the table, walking past the couch where Dad had been lying. His book had fallen to the floor and instinctively, I leaned over to pick it up and put it in a safe place—and glanced at the cover.
‘The Best Baby Name Book in the World’: Two thousand of the most popular Baby Names Anywhere!
I looked at Dad, who was leaning forward, talking to Mom, their hands linked romantically.
Peter was looking at me. “Gwen? Coming?”
I simply stared at him as my train of thought crashed and died on some lonely shoal.
He started to get up.
Mom and Dad turned to look at me and Dad saw the book in my hands. His face went red. No small feat for someone as deeply and permanently tanned as he was.
“Ummm…something you’d care to share with the class?” I asked. 

Today’s post is a writing challenge. Participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post—all words to be used at least once. All the posts are unique as each writer has received their own set of words. And 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. 

My words: Oktoberfest ~ Pretzel ~ Schlager ~ Munich ~ Fairground ~ Barrel were sent to me, via Karen, from my good friend, Tamara! Thank you, my friend!

Now see what my friends have done with their words!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Phatherly Phone Phun

My 'Creative Parenting 101' Professor
When Dad spoke. We listened.
Most of the time.
One ignored my father at one's own risk.
Let me tell you about it . . .
I had a boyfriend.
It was a new and exciting experience for me.
We would say good-bye at the school bus stop, get on our respective buses and head for home.
Fifty minutes later, we would be on the phone.
Talking.
For hours.
Literally.
I should point out here that, in the 1960s, we had one phone line to the ranch.
And, because we were ultra-modern and progressive, two phones on that line.
One in the kitchen.
And one in my parents bedroom.
The epitome of modern convenience.
Back to my story . . .
I don't know what we found to talk about. But talk, we did. Until one or both of us was tagged for chores.
Or supper was announced.
Or our parents got annoyed.
My Mom was usually quite predictable, saying such things as, “Diane! Get off the phone! You've been on there for an hour!”
To which I would comply.
Eventually.
And under protest.
My Dad was a little more creative.
He would walk in the door, see me there on the phone, note the time, and leave the room.
That was my cue.
And my only warning.
I had seconds to say my good-byes. 
Because Dad wanted me off the phone. And I wasn't going to like his methods.
They were . . . effective.
He would simply walk into his bedroom and turn on the radio.
Loudly.
Then take the phone receiver and lay it down beside said radio.
If I hadn't already ended my conversation, I did so then.
With a shouted good-bye and hastily cradled phone.
Mission accomplished.
Simply and elegantly, without a word being spoken.
Genius.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Beauty in the Eyes Of...

Our family was watching ET. Again.

We love the movie.
And it brought back the memory of that first time. Back in 1982...
Okay, he's cute!
Our family was at the movies.
We had popcorn and treats.
Soft drinks.
And the quickest route to the bathroom mapped into our heads.
We were ready.
Erik was four and a little more than eager.
The theater darkened slowly.
Expectation grew.
They don't do this anymore, but in times past, every step to the opening of a movie served to heighten the anticipation to a fever pitch.
Slowly lowered lights.
Projector springing to life.
Train of white light beamed on the still-closed curtains.
Said curtains slowly drawing back.
Pictures suddenly appearing.
Sound.
It was inspired.
Everyone in the theater was transfixed.
Hands which only recently had been scrabbling (Grandpa's word) through the popcorn hung suspended, unmoving.
The audience waited, barely breathing, for the first signs of Movie.
And then it finally came, restoring breath and life to those watching.
And they were truly prepared to be entertained. Even bewitched.
Our movie that night was ET. The story about the little Extra Terrestrial.
It began . . .
Cute little kids and family interaction.
ET was introduced.
Erik crawled into my lap and announced in what he fondly believed was a whisper, “I don't like him. He's scary!”
Not scary enough that he wanted to leave, however.
He watched as the children in the movie befriended the helpless, stranded little alien.
Adopted him.
Loved him.
(Spoiler alert . . .)
He cried when ET 'died'.
And cried, again, when he came back to life.
At the end of the movie, he sighed happily and followed the rest of us out of the theater.
On the way home, as usual, we talked about the film and Erik posed the question, “Why was ET so much cuter at the end of the movie than at the beginning?”
I stared at him. “He was just the same, sweetie.”
“No. He was cuter at the end.”
We thought about it. How could something that really never changed in looks get 'better' looking?
And then it hit me. “Because, at the end, you loved him, sweetie.”
“Oh. Right.”
And it was true. The ugly little alien remained ugly until we got to know him.
Loved him.
And then we saw his beauty.
Truth comes best from a four-year-old.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Here and Hereafter

With the death of my beloved Queen this week, my feelings are quite tender and my thoughts about the hereafter on my mind...

Mom
I’m a believer . . .
My mom was a wonderful person. A hard worker. Kind and caring. Supportive. Encouraging.
But Mom had a trait that she struggled with her whole life.
She was a world-class worrier.
She worried over debt and income and other things. 
But mostly, she worried about her family. Especially her kids and grandkids.
She worried so much that she made herself sick.
A sickness that, twenty-one years ago, took her life.
I’m like my mother in a lot of ways. Good ways, I hope.
And, though I’m not nearly in her class when it comes to worrying, I do have that tendency.
And that brings me to what happened that night . . .
Some of my children were struggling. The downturn in the economy had cost many in our area their jobs and our family was not immune.
The stresses of job-hunting as well as keeping a family going with little or no income were taking their toll.
And I’d been worrying.
One day, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, sunk in despair.
And then a scent drifted over me.
A scent I hadn’t smelled in years.
My mother’s favourite perfume.
Now, you have to know that I did/do not wear perfume. And that particular scent hasn’t been sold in forever. 
I knew it was my mother.
Knowing I was upset and doing what she could to make things better.
She succeeded.
Thank you, Mom.
I miss you.

I believe in the hereafter. I believe that my Queen has earned her rest and is, even now, sitting with her feet up. Maybe drinking a cup of tea. Thank you for the gift of your selfless service, Your Majesty. 
Enjoy your rest.

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