Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, January 28, 2022


The favourite childhood TV show,

Of Mama’s ‘Diane Dynamo’,

Was one that I’d anticipate,

Forever. ‘Cause it came on late,

My breakfast had been hours before,

(I’d bothered Mom for three or four),

Just wond’ring when would be the time,

My TV world became sublime.

She was crafty, dear old Mom,

Hit ‘start’ before my show came on,

She knew that I would happ’ly wait,

If all she did was lay the bait…

The TV in the corner, there,

Would capture me within its glare,

The moment that she turned it on,

Her little girl was truly gone.

The test pattern was on till ten,

Our anthem started playing then,

And after that, the thrill of thrills,

A big boot standing ‘mid the hills,

And looking up, I’d fin’ly see,

Him drop the drawbridge just for me,

And take me there inside his home,

He’d present Rusty and Jerome,

Then read me books and play his fife,

And make me happy with my life.

Throughout my childhood, he was there,

I’d curl up in his ‘little chair’,

And listen to the tales thereof,

From this person that I loved…

Of childhood shows from coast to coast,

The Friendly Giant, I miss most.

Once a month, Karen's friends participate in a Poetry Challenge on a Theme.
This month’s theme? Our favorite Childhood TV Show!

Enjoying yourself?
There's more!
BakingIn A Tornado

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Obvious

 While we're still . . . slightly . . . on the topic of dinosaurs . . .

You see animals. They see . . .
Sometimes, all that matters is the obvious . . .
Two of our grandchildren were playing.
A little background here . . .
Husby has an extensive collection of plastic animals.
Mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, vertebrate, invertebrate.
Animals from every continent of the world.
And from every age.
Yep. Extensive.
He bought them for his grandkids.
Or so he says.
Said grandkids love playing with said animals.
They have been a great source of entertainment for many years already.
And, due to durability and indestructible composition, will doubtless continue to perform this service for many more years to come.
Countless scenarios had been acted out.
Did you know that a dolphin and a North American bison could be roommates and best friends?
Well they can.
(Maybe we can take a little lesson from this vis-a-vis the conflicts in today's world. Just sayin'.)
Back to my story . . .
Three-year-old, Rini, our budding science buff, was playing with two-year-old Thorin.
The theme of the day was dinosaurs.
Rini was acting as voice for the brontosaurus.
Thorin, the same for the triceratops.
The two had set up housekeeping and were currently deciding whose turn it was to go for groceries.
Rini decided a teaching moment had presented itself. And being a child who could accurately pronounce dihydrogen monoxide before her third birthday, she was well-qualified to teach.
Ahem . . .
“Look, Thorin,” she said. “You have a triceratops!”
Thorin stared at her. Then looked down at the toy in his hand.
“Tri-cer-a-tops,” Rini said again. “Tri-cer-a-tops.”
Thorin frowned.
Rini started in again. “Tri-cer-a-tops. Tri-cer-a-tops.”
Thorin smiled and opened his mouth.
Rini smiled, too. And nodded. Encouragingly.
Thorin pointed to the horns on the dinosaur's head.
“Pokies!” he said happily.
Yep. Sometimes all that matters is the obvious.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022



I'm not a visual artist.
I'm not being modest or anything.
I'm really not. Oh, I can paint with words, but that's it.
But in elementary school, everyone was an artist.
Because the teacher said so.
I should probably mention, here, that my painting of a tree looked . . . ahem . . . nothing like a tree.
Oh, it had a trunk.
Or more accurately, a TRUNK.
One large swath of brown paint.
Straight from the bottom of the page to the top.
Then there were leaves.
Okay. Well, I thought they were leaves.
My teacher was kind.
She merely smiled, tucked my painting away, and gave me something else to work on.
A lump of clay.
This was more like it!
She handed out more lumps of clay. “Now class,” she said, “I want you to make me a dinosaur!”
Oooh! That would be so much fun!
I tackled my lump of dark grey clay with enthusiasm.
Around me, dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes began to appear.
Looking more and more realistic.
I looked at my clay.
It closely resembled . . . a snake.
I worked some more.
Molding. Pressing.
Then looked around again.
Next to me stood a Brontosaurus.
Next to him? Stegosaurus.
I turned back to mine.
A snake.
But with legs.
I made the legs thicker.
Now I had a snake.
With thicker legs.
I kept at it.
My teacher walked by and nodded encouragingly.
I thickened the body.
Accidentally pressing down on the back end.
My sculpture sat up.
Yup. Sat up.
Suddenly, it looked like a bear.
I smiled and made a large pot-shaped lump and put it between the four feet.
It really did look like a bear. Hugging a big honey pot.
My teacher stopped beside my desk.
“Diane, I thought I told you to make a dinosaur.”
“Ummm,” I said.
“That's definitely a bear.”
I looked down at my sculpture and nodded.
“A remarkably good bear.”
The teacher sounded as surprised as I was.
Again, I nodded.
“But you were supposed to make a dinosaur.”
“Do you want me to start over?”I asked, my hand hovering uncertainly over my work of art.
“No!” she said quickly. Then, a little more calmly, “No. You just keep working on that and we'll see.”
I shrugged and bent the legs a bit more around the honey pot.
Then I flattened them slightly at the bottom to form paws.
Then I stared at it.
A bear.
Where had that come from?
My teacher was just as astonished as I was.
She entered my sculpture in the local elementary level art fair.
My family and I moved before I found out how it did.
And definitely, before I got my sculpture back.
But I've often wondered . . .
Both where it came from.
And where it went.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Pining for a Dixie

 I'm dreaming of a . . . warm summer . . .

Summer. Say ahhhh!
It was summertime in Northern Alberta.
The snow had finally gone. (It was nearly July. No self-respecting snowbank would dare stay past the middle of June.)
And the people had emerged into the glorious, life-giving sunshine.
That’s exactly what we were doing.
It was the final day of school for three of my grandkids and celebrations were in order.
A school picnic with friends and family on the school grounds.
We talked and laughed and reminisced about the past year.
Ate hot dogs and bags of chips and drank small containers of chocolate milk.
And then they brought out the Dixie ice cream cups.
My daughter handed me one to feed my granddaughter, seated on my lap.
I pulled off the cardboard lid and, just for a moment, I was remembering all of the times in my childhood that celebrations ended with those little servings of creamy deliciousness.
In a paper cup.
With a small, wooden spoon.
Special school events when I had finished eating whatever Mom had packed in my lunch kit.
And the teacher brought out the large box of little cups with the long strip of paper-packaged wooden spoons.
Church socials when my tummy was groaning with all of the good things I had just stuffed into it and I was sure I couldn’t possibly eat another bite.
Until the Dixie cups showed up.
Family reunions.
Track Meets.
Cattle tours.
All of them ended with those little paper cups of cool, creamy, deliciousness
I looked down at the cup in my hand. White. Vanilla. Just starting to melt around the sides.
I took the little wooden paddle and dug in, then handed it to my granddaughter.
I know what you’re thinking and no, I didn’t take the first bite myself.
Though I wanted to . . .
That slightly rough feel of the wooden spoon on your tongue.
That sweet cream melting and filling your entire being with joy.
The bottom being just slightly too near the top.
That occasional ecstatic moment when a second round appears.
Oh, there were differences.
The cup I held was plastic, as opposed to the light cardboard that used to be.
And the product inside didn’t have quite the ‘cream’ that I remember from my childhood.
But still, it was delicious. (Yes, I did finally sneak a taste.)
And satisfying.
And memory-dredging.
And when the man came around and offered us two more?

Monday, January 24, 2022

Almost Done...


His training had been going on for more than just a day,

And ‘learning with the master’ all of his mysterious ways,

From battle tactics, to control, his drills went on and on,

Until his coach admitted that his job was nearly done,

His master set a challenge that would test him fore and aft,

And let him know for certain that the boy had learned his craft,

He leaped from pole to pole that had been set around the room,

Where just one miss would surely spell the perky young man’s doom,

The boy made it look easy, as he leapt like a gazelle,

Not one misstep to make him have to bid this life farewell,

His master smiled and even gave his back a little pat,

“I’m glad you didn’t fall and leave this world as a splat!

“Now one more thing to test you, and your schooling I’ll acquit,

But nothing should be easy and I do like opp-o-sites!

You’ve made this task look easy as you leapt from pole to pole,

So now just do it backward and I’ll say you’ve met your goal!

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'll publish our mistakes
And share the typos that we make!

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!)...
Opposite Day (January 24) Today!

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

Kites (February 7)

Valentine (February 14)

Predictions (February 21)

DNA (February 28)

Telephone (or Say Hello Day) (March 7) 

Genius Day (March 14) 
Celebrating Poetry (March 21) 
Respect Your Cat Day (March 28) (Richard II's 1384 edict forbidding eating them.)
Imperfection (April 4)

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

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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?