Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, March 18, 2022

Conversational Manners


Three-year-old second-youngest granddaughter (hereinafter known as 2YG) and her Mama were visiting.

It had been much too long since we were together, so there was MUCH visiting to be done.

2YG had alternated between books, puzzles, Fisher Price, Duplo, iPad and ‘Mama/Gramma! Look at me!’ for the entire morning.

We had moved things downstairs so 2YG could play dress-up and/or watch an episode or two of Paw Patrol.

All the while, her Mama and I were continuing the visit.

Like I said, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Now my daughter, when her children need her attention, has tried to school them in proper ways to do so. None of the usual, “Mom! Mom! MOM!” Nope. They are to wait with one hand on her arm as a silent signal.

It works surprisingly well.

Most of the time…

Back to our visit.

2YG wanted Mama’s attention, but it wasn’t coming quite fast enough. (ie. within the next two seconds)

Frustrated, the little girl stood, feet apart and hands on hips, glaring at the two of us.

When we looked at her, she burst out with (picture this in ‘toddler speak’ and with hands indicating appropriately): “There Mama! Then Gramma! Then Mama! Then Gramma! Then Mama! Then Gramma! Where Quincy?!”

Translation: “I can’t get a word in edgewise!”

‘Toddler Speak’ is just so much more entertaining than what the rest of us pass off as ‘conversation’.

Maybe there should be classes.

Who’s with me?

 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Short-Term Sister

 

Mom, third from left, and five of her eight brothers.
Her 'baby sister' Roy, alias Rosie, is far left.

A selection from my Mom's journals

This was my Mom's favorite story . . .
Being the only sister near the middle in a family of eight brothers, I found myself competing with the boys and growing up as a 'Tom Boy'.
I was athletic and could run as fast, jump as high and throw as far as my brothers.
I milked cows, drove and rode horses as well as the boys.
As the fourth in the family, I often considered myself the fourth brother.
In spite of this, I yearned for a sister, sharing my mother's dreams of another daughter.
By the time I was five, I had three new, small brothers but still no sister.
My prayers unanswered, I seemed destined to be alone in a mob of boys.
My little brothers seemed more cooperative and trusting than my older brothers; maybe little brothers could substitute as sisters? I decided to try to make one my little brothers into a little sister. Perhaps if I dressed them up in girls' clothes, they would pass as sisters. I rummaged through Mama's trunk and found an old dress and a bonnet with lace trimming.
Armed with these frillies, I looked about for a likely prospect.
Roy, the fifth brother and three years my junior, seemed the best choice. I approached him where he was playing in the yard.
"Roy, come and see what I have here."
He came willingly after I promised him a cookie.
We went upstairs where I slipped him into the dress, tied the belt and put on the lace bonnet, all the time crooning how nice he looked - so very nice. I gave the dress a tug to cover grubby clothes and ankle-height shoes.
I called my new little sister Rosie, my favorite name at the time.
For a while we played games that I supposed girls would play. We played with dolls and improvised a tea party including the promised cookie.
We were having such a good time, just us girls.
It was wonderful having a beautiful little sister.
Finally, I thought and I and my little sister should go for a walk to see the cats and the farm animals which would be frolicking about outside.
I took Rosie by the hand and for several blissful minutes, I led her around the yard, describing all the interesting features of our farmyard and garden.
Luckily, we did not encounter any brothers with their taunting giggles and snorts.
Suddenly a car came into the yard.
 The spell was broken. Rosie, reverting to Roy, leapt into the air and shot like a rocket toward the house.
As the passengers poured out of the car, they were surprised to see what looked like a human tornado, shedding clothes as it sped to the nearest hideaway.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Be Little

It should probably come as no surprise that I love children.

And that I had (what I consider) a stellar childhood.
I was raised with peace.
Security.
Kindness.
Tenderness.
Good food.
And a lot of adventure.
Today, I'm thinking especially of the children of Ukraine, and all other children throughout the world who have none of these things.
And my heart breaks for them.
In my opinion, children should never have to fear.
Suffer.
Die.
I donate my money.
I offer them my prayers.
I keep them in my heart.
Today, I'm thinking of them.
Be safe.
Be little.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

27

Once upon a time...in Norway...

This story begins with a childless queen looking for advice on ‘how-to-have-a-baby’. Taking her royal self down to the village, she consults a peasant woman. 

I know what you’re thinking—the answer to her question probably lies a little closer to home 

(ie. the royal bedroom), but go with me on this…

 

The woman gives the queen some rather strange advice—namely that she is to look under her bed in the morning. She will find, there, two flowers.

 

Huh. When I look under my bed, all I find are bunnies—of the ‘dust’ phylum. Don’t fairy tale people have all the luck? Just sayin’…

 

Anyways, when she finds these flowers, she’s supposed to eat the pretty one and ignore the ugly one. I don’t even want to touch that. Any thoughts?

 

But the queen, perhaps unwilling to follow someone else’s advice—even that of a wise woman—eats both flowers. Will anyone join me in a general eye roll?

 

Nine months later, (yes, even fairy tale babies take that long) the queen gives birth. To an ugly girl riding a goat and brandishing a wooden spoon.

 

Okay, hold the fort. I’ve given birth. It was uncomfortable to say the least. And passing any extras like goats and/or wooden spoons? Yeah…no. Just no.

 

But I admit I do have to snicker when I picture the technician tasked with performing that ultrasound. They probably keeled over in a dead faint. *snort*

 

Needless to say, the queen is fairly surprised by the whole affair—and even more so when her newborn daughter immediately turns and addresses her. Ummm…what?

 

The baby tells her not to be too surprised, shocked and/or upset. Because there is another baby coming who is much, much prettier than she is.

 

Okay, I have something to say here. First of all, there is no such thing as an ugly baby. And second of all…no, there is no second.

 

Sure enough, another daughter is born moments later who is g o r g e o u s, at least by the shallow, worldly measuring stick. And a stick is just a stick. 

 

I expect the queen hardly noticed, though, as she was probably simply relieved she didn’t have to pass another wooden spoon—or goat for that matter.

 

The younger sister is named Glory and the elder, Tatters. Someone needs to speak to these parents, obviously. But then, Tatters likes wearing tatters, never washing and goat-riding.

 

So perhaps the unfortunate choice of her given name could be attributed to simple observation rather than nasty mean-ness or an outright lack of imagination. Right?

Tatters and Glory get along well throughout their growing-up years. In fact they are inseparable until one fateful day when their castle is attacked. By interchangeable bad guys.

 

Now some stories claim these so-called ‘bad guys’ were trolls, witches or goblins. It really doesn’t matter. Any or all would definitely make for a bad day.


Tatters, ever the practical sister, instructs Glory, parents and staff to lock themselves in the castle and let her handle things. Which they all immediately do. ????

 

She then rides out on her oh-so trusty goat, wielding her wooden spoon. Certainly, nothing says ‘invincible’ like a goat and a brandished spoon, am I right?

 

While Tatters is mixing it up with the invaders, her worried sister pokes her head out of a window to ‘check up’. And then something unusual happens…

 

One of the invaders pulls off said head and replaces it with a less-pretty goat’s head. Ugh. Tatters returns from bad-guy chasing to find a goat-headed sister.

 

I’m fairly certain the next scene—where Tatters vents her disgust on all who failed to protect Glory—involves raised voices with perhaps one or two expletives.


The two sisters then sail away on one of Daddy’s ships to the Land of the Bad Guys where Tatters proceeds to kick some serious ‘bad-guy’ butt.

 

She then steals back her sister’s proper head and uses it to replace the temporary and really unacceptable substitute. Even though she obviously likes goats. Per se.

 

The two of them then go on Adventures…(capitol ‘A’ denotes excitement, yes? Ahem…) …sailing around the world and discovering new places and peoples. And, maybe, goats.

 

Finally, they arrive at a kingdom ruled by twin princes, one of whom immediately falls irrevocably for Glory. After a day and a half, he proposes.

 

Okay, some things do move faster in fairy tales. Anyways, Glory refuses him unless he can find someone to marry Tatters. So he looks around… the room.

 

Low and behold there is another young man. RIGHT THERE. Huh. Must be fate. The second prince marries Tatters, but isn’t really happy with the whole arrangement.

 

Finally, tiring of his sullen silence, Tatters asks why he is so silent. The young man—perhaps sneaking an envious glance at his brother and Glory—shrugs.

 

Tatters tells him they could discuss her goat. He shrugs again and asks why she rides an ugly goat. (Okay, maybe something was lost in the translation.)

 

Tatters replies with ‘An ugly goat, you say? This is the most beautiful horse you've ever seen.’ And instantly, the goat changes. Into the finest horse ever. Yow.

 

The prince’s attention has been captured and he begins to ask her about some rather personal things. Like her tatters, her spoon and, yes, her ugly face.

 

Tatters then transforms into a beautiful young woman. Gone are her tatters. And her embarrassingly effective spoon. Now she carries a magic wand and wears practical, breathable clothing.

 

But my question is this: was Tatters a better, more valued person just because her outside had changed to something ‘desirable’? Or was she just the same?

 

And what about her goat/horse? Would he still be respected by his former goat friends? Do goats even have friends? I think this matter should be explored. 

 

And by the way…that spoon? I want one.


Word Counters is one of my favourite challenges. 

This month’s number was 27 and chosen for the group by the invincible Karen of Baking in a Tornado.

Go now and see what the others have created using the number ‘27’!

Links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado 

Messymimi’s Meanderings

Monday, March 14, 2022

With Gratitude


I always have prized genius, think those who have it, GRAND,

I know that I have benefitted from the things they’ve planned,

But those that I admire the most are men and women, who

Have given healing miracles with won-der-ous breakthroughs!

 

Frederick Banting comes to mind—Canadian, like me,

With his assistant, Charles Best, found insulin, you see,

That tiny hormone in control of sugar in the blood,

Without which, your bloodstream can become as thick as mud!

 

When insulin’s deficient, comes diabetes mellitus,

An ailment quite as deadly as whatever we’d discuss,

Before the Banting and the Best, ‘No sugar!’ was the cry,

Controlling calories the way for people NOT to die!

 

Hear now, the scene: A children’s ward—beds filled with little ones,

All had reached the latest stage; diabetes course had run,

And then two men come through the door with syringes and vials,

Start giving shots to all the littles—insulin’s first trial!

 

And by the time they’d reached the last, the first had come awake,

Their diabetic coma done, their lives again to take,

Imagine parents going now, from deep despair to joy,

Looking once again into the eyes of girls and boys!

 

It makes me weep with gratitude—a miracle, it was,

A gift far better than those brought by jolly Santa Claus!

There’re many members of my family would not be here,

If not for those two men and all their work and research dear!


To those who gave us Insulin. And Penicillin, too,

Vaccines that have stopped smallpox, po-li-o and now the FLU,

I’m on my knees in gratitude, for life those doctors gave,

May God smile upon them all…and the millions they have saved.

Photo Credit: Karen of bakinginatornado.com
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's our day in all the year,
We're CELEBRATING POETRY here!

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!)...

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

Pets (April 11)

Juggling (April 18)

Brothers (April 25)

Babies (May 2)

Music (May 9)

Purple for Peace (May 16)

Turtles (May 23)

Memorial Day (May 30)

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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?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from Smashwords.com

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

Be Courageous!


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