Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, February 4, 2022


YD. Not in a Time Out...
Shopping With Toddlers. A condition frequently and affectionately known by its acronym of SWT is a one-way ticket to adventure.
Via the crazy train.
And that’s just the beginning…
DIL (another popular acronym!) had spent much of her day shopping. Mother of soon-to-be-six, suffice it to say she had her hands—and her day—full.
Between finding the items she had ventured hesitantly from home to find, chasing down fugitives and side-tracking frequent requests/out-and-out-begging, she was on the downward slide toward exhaustion and distinct done-ness.
You’ve all been there.
Just turned two-year-old Youngest Daughter (hereinafter known as YD) was also past finished.
Hungry. Tired. Irritable. All were rolled up into one neat, efficient—explosive—little package.
After a loud bout of screech and flail on the floor of the department store, her mother asked, “Do you need a time out?”
YD looked up at her. “Yes, pease.”
“Fine. Go and sit on that chair.”
YD got to her feet and crossed over to the nearby chair, where she took up a perch.
Once settled, she looked at her mother and sighed. “Sanks,” she said.
If any of you reading this feel the need for some SWT, she’s available to rent ...
When Gramma babysits...

Thursday, February 3, 2022


Mmm. Candy. The ultimate in gustatory delight for all children.
Well, for most children.
Okay, for me.
That dangled 'apple' that entices obedience. Or commands respect.
And, growing up in the 50's, I had my favourites. Oh, the floors my Mom could get me to sweep, all on the promise of one delicious treat.
The dishes washed the bathrooms scrubbed with the prospect of yet another sweet, tasty . . . something.
And what 'somethings' there were. Chocolate in its myriad forms. Bubble gum. Wax sticks with sweet, tasty juice inside. Suckers.
But nothing quite compared to Lik-M-Aid.
The ads said it all, 'The Candy You Could Pour'.
Eating it was simplicity in itself. You didn't even need utensils. Caveman forebears would have easily been able to figure it out. You ripped open one end. Wet your finger, dipped it in.
And voila!
The fact that your finger and your tongue ended up the same colour – blue, red, purple – was just a bonus. We connoisseurs could easily spot one another, too, by our discoloured pointer finger.
An added bonus.
It was like a club. (All Lik-M-Aid aficionados point to the sky!)
The only problem was that the end was too near the beginning. Within five minutes of ripping open that wonderful little bag of enjoyment, one was . . . ummm . . . licking the last.
And staring forlornly at the empty wrapper.
But I was undaunted. If the Lik-M-Aid was gone, one simply had to . . . substitute.
Hmm. Mom had packets of Kool-Aid in the cupboard. I had seen them. I had watched her pour them into a pitcher, add water and voila! Deliciousness.
Kool-Aid? Lik-M-Aid? Are we seeing similarities here?
I had a hazy recollection of something else being added to the cool-aid before it was poured out, but paying attention to insignificant details had never been my strong suit.
I headed for the kitchen.
I should probably point out here that finding the kitchen without Mom in residence was . . . tricky, yet I managed it on several occasions.
I was a sneaky little monkey.
I know. I heard Mom say it quite often.
Back to my story . . .
I waited until she headed towards the basement. A-ha! The coast was clear!
I stole into the kitchen, went immediately to her stash of Kool-Aid, and grabbed a purple pouch.
Mmm. Grape. My favourite.
Expertly, I ripped off the top, stuck in my finger and . . . tasted.
What was this stuff?
Someone had poured something different into this pouch. Disguised it as Kool-Aid to fool poor unsuspecting little kids.
The nerve.
I sneaked another one. Cherry this time. Surely it would be better.
Rip. Taste.
Rip . . . you get the picture.
I have no idea how she did it, but Mom was always able to come upon me unexpectedly.
I think she had 'ninja' blood.
I dropped a packet of strawberry to the floor.
“What are you doing?”
I looked down at the . . . let's just call it 'several' discarded packets of cool-aid, then back at her.
Was that a trick question? “Umm . . . I thought it was Lik-M-Aid.”
“Well, it's not!”
Okay, yeah, I was starting to notice.
“Clean this up!”
I stared in dismay at the mess.
Mom sighed and helped me.
Mom was the soul of frugal. I guess the fact that the powder was slightly used really wasn't important. I watched as she poured all the Kool-Aid powder together into a container and capped it tightly.
It made really neat little lines of colour.
Huh. Kool.
Then she put it away. Out of reach.
I didn't point out to her that her belated caution was unnecessary. That stuff really tasted awful.
Her Kool-Aid was safe with me.
Unless mixed with that delicious 'something' that made it so . . . drinkable.
Hmm. Water. Was that the magic ingredient? Maybe the Kool-Aid was worth another try . . .
I'd like to tell you that that was the last of my experiments.
But I'd be lying.
Candy floss and dust bunnies and I also have a history.
P.S. Several of my grandchildren have also tried this experiment. According to their individual results: It was yukky.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Woes Of the Doze

I think I’m in trouble.
Let’s face it, when one is seated, warm, and comfortable, it’s inevitable.
Okay, I admit, it didn’t used to be. But as I grow older, definitely.
I’m talking about those of us who habitually doze off.
In public places.
Movies. Concerts. Classes. Meetings.
It is this last that most concerns me.
Let me explain . . .
On February 28, 1646, one Roger Scott, of Lynn, Massachusetts was rudely awakened from a deep and restful slumber.
By the business end of a tithingman’s long, knobbed staff.
Being energetically applied to Goodman Scott’s head.
I don’t know about you, but being roused by being rapped in the head by a heavy wooden cane wouldn’t bring out the best in me.
Heck, I used to get mad when my dad called to me gently from my bedroom doorway.
It didn’t in Roger, either.
Bring out the best, I mean.
Obviously forgetting he wasn’t in his own warm bed, and just a trifle annoyed at being knocked awake (so to speak), he woke up flailing.
Mistake number one: Dozing (gasp) in a public(k) place.
And number two: Protesting the meted-out punishment.
This second mistake only caused further punishment.
Roger, for his actions was sentenced to a public(k) whipping.
And the dark designation of: “A common sleeper at the publick exercise.”
(I wonder if they have T-shirts?)

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

In a Small Town

I’ve been watching a group of people trek across my country loudly proclaiming their need for freedom. 
But all I can see in their actions is a gross lack of care for anyone but themselves.
It reminded me of the first time I was introduced to ‘opinions’ and ‘prejudice’ masquerading as ‘politics’.
It was a very sad day for me...
It was my first exposure to 'small town politics'.
Not a pleasant experience.
And I'll never forget it . . .
When I was in grade five, a new family moved to our town.
Parents, children.
The father had been offered the top position in one of the numerous churches in Milk River.
I first learned of the family when I met their daughter - I'm going to call her Jamie - on the first day of school in September.
She was a sweet, quiet little girl. Funny.
With shoulder-length, soft brown hair.
And freckles.
We started visiting.
And discovered we had many interests (ie. boys) in common.
We started to 'hang out'.
I invited Jamie to my house.
And she reciprocated.
I remember my first visit to her home.
Her parents were very glad to see me.
Almost tearful in their welcome.
It seemed a bit odd that parents would be so interested in one of their children's friends.
But I shrugged it off.
Because they were kind.
And there was a safe, peaceful feeling in their home.
Almost like being in my own.
They asked me about myself and our family.
Seemed very fascinated by every aspect of my life.
Served Jamie and I a piece of cake.
I should mention, here, that this was the first time I had ever seen someone serve chocolate layer cake with a dollop of raspberry jam between the layers.
Jam wasn't my favourite thing at any time.
Though the cake was delicious.
Moving on . . .
As I was preparing to leave, Jamie's mom gave me a hug and thanked me for being her daughter's friend.
I smiled.
I liked her daughter.
I liked the whole family.
After that, Jamie and I were together a lot.
Hanging out at school.
Hanging out at each other's homes.
One day, we were sitting out on her front lawn.
A group of my friends showed up and gathered around us.
For a few minutes, I was happy to have all of my favourite people together.
Then the rest of them got up to go, asking me if I wanted to come with them.
“No. I'm staying here with Jamie,” I told them.
“Why do you hang out with her?” one of my friends demanded. “The whole town hates them!”
I stared at him.
The town hated my friend?
I had never heard of such a thing.
My friends left.
But I sat there and turned that statement over in my ten-year-old mind.
The town hated my friend and her family.
I looked at Jamie.
I looked at her kind, caring family.
Now some of what they had said and done began to make sense.
Their almost tearful excitement over Jamie having a friend.
Their interest in me.
I talked to my parents about it.
They looked at each other.
“I don't know why,” my dad said. “But for some reason, the reverend has gotten off on the wrong foot with other members of the congregation.”
“But I was told the whole town hated them.”
“Well, not the whole town,” Mom said. “And we certainly don't.”
I shrugged it off.
And kept on being Jamie's friend.
I helped them scrub egg off the front of their house.
Wondering, at the time, how on earth they had managed to spill eggs clear up there.
I kept Jamie with me when other kids at school teased her.
I didn't understand any of it.
These were wonderfully kind, sweet people.
How could everyone not see that?
One day, Jamie wasn't at school.
I walked over to her house.
It was empty.
She and her family had moved.
Gone back to where they came from.
For weeks, I was sad.
She had been my friend.
I had loved playing with her.
And now she was gone.
A new family moved into Jamie's house.
A new leader for her church.
Someone who didn't 'get off on the wrong foot'.
They stayed.
But I never forgot Jamie.
My friend with the soft brown hair and freckles.
Or my first experience with small town prejudice.

Monday, January 31, 2022


 Messages so quickly sent,

With flying thumbs, we share. Or vent,

But sometimes, smart phones do take o’er…

Those messages won’t be a bore!


And these are actual mistakes,

I promise none made up or fake,

Like singing ‘dead’ for Birthday cheer,

When the word is clearly ‘dear’.


And someone saying, I’ll be ‘black

When what they meant for sure was ‘back’,

And requesting ‘Human’ beef,

When they intended ‘Hunan’. Grief!


And one boy ‘killed’ his date out back,

When actually, he ‘kissed’ her. Aak!

Retrieved a pencil from a ‘lover’,

When in his ‘locker’ ‘twas discovered!


A friend with ‘red breasts’ from eight grade,

When ‘red hair’ was the course he’d laid,

Admired the ‘dimples’ of his date,

But ‘nipples’ were his sorry fate.


Declaring him a ‘gangsta’. Cool.

But ‘hamsta’, less a verbal jewel,

“I hate it when you are so ‘far ’,

But ‘fat’ is written. Leaves a scar!


‘Hermaphrodites’ for ‘Heineken’

 Or ‘Milk’ for ‘kill’, what meaning then?

And somehow going poking ‘beats’,

Instead of ‘bears’—the risk defeats.


Messaging’s convenient, true,

But when I type from me to you,

And auto-correct ‘gets ‘er done’,

Somehow the memo’s much more fun!

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 truly will take flight,
Cause we will be discussing kites!

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

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?