Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, May 13, 2022

One Step Forward. Two Steps...

 Sally shrugged. “I don’t know why they got so bent. Mort had paid for the stupid ring.”

“Just another in a long string of misunderstandings, Sal,” Mort said, flipping a page in the magazine he was reading.

I raised an eyebrow. “Something you seem to excel at, Sis.”

She made a face. “The guard was new and a bit trigger-happy.”

“He pulled a gun?” Using one oven mitt-encased hand, Mom whacked Mort’s feet to get them off the coffee table, then set down a platter of bubbly, cheese-filled appetizers.

“Nope. A cell phone. With a speed dial to the police.” Sally grabbed a round of cracker, ham and melted cheese and popped it into her mouth. “Oooh. Theeth are HOT!”

Mom grinned at her. “You think? I did just take them out of the oven!”

I looked at her. “So what happened with you and Uncle Pete?”

Mom glanced at her newly-minted fiancĂ© and blushed. Let’s face it. She’s not cut out of quite the same ‘thumb-my-nose-at-the-world’ stuff as Sally. “Another misunderstanding.”

I merely looked at her. “We’re listening.”

She sat beside Uncle Pete and they linked hands. “We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, to tell the truth. Apparently there had been a mugging nearby and the perpetrator…”

“What big words you know,” I said.

She tossed me a glare, cleared her throat and went on. “…the perpetrator looked like a decidedly attractive ex-marine recently returned from Afghanistan.”

Uncle Peter smiled at her. “I love you,” he said. She blushed even more.

“See? Easily explained,” Sally said, reaching for another cracker.

Peter and I exchanged a glance. “So what do we do now?”

Sally bounced to her feet. “Let me grab some money. WE are going shopping!”

I summoned up a smile. “Have fun.”

“No. Not Mort and me! YOU and me!”

I had time to look at Peter hopelessly whilst reciting the oft-misquoted ‘We who are about to die salute you!’ before I was jerked from my comfortable perch on the couch.

In less time than I imagined possible, the two of us were skating up and down aisles at Dollar Tree. Sally was pulling packaged decorations off shelves with total abandon. “Oooh! This! And this! And these!” She pushed her laden cart(s), collecting another as one was filled. Before long, she had a positive train.

I glanced at my watch. We’d been there 7 minutes.

I tried to get her attention. “Sal, don’t you think it would be much smarter to actually come up with a theme—or at least colours—and then go to a Bridal Wedding planning company and start there?”

Sally looked at me. “They have such a place?”

“Several.” I edged past the tottering pile in the cart nearest me. “They’ll help you plan your wedding and everything.”

Sally pursed her lips and looked thoughtful. Then she started pushing her carts toward the checkout. “Well, we’ll get…”

That was as far as she ‘got’.

As Sally was rounding the corner from aisle 4 something—one of her pockets? —caught one of the shelves.

In a heartbeat, it and all three of its closest neighbours came crashing down, ejecting their contents. Instantly, the center of the aisle became a war zone.

Shoppers—and me—scattered.

Sally calmly remained—haven’t I told you she’s made of stern stuff—and, when the manager and a small army of employees approached, pointed at the mess. “There’s been an accident,” she said, needlessly.

As the manager et al gaped at her, Sally pushed/pulled her carts to the checkout. The young man behind the till had been staring at what he could see of the mess behind her. He turned wide eyes to Sally. “Erm…” was all he could manage.

Sally merely shrugged. “Please add these things up,” she said. “And anything that’s broken in there.” She pointed.

You know, I don’t say this often (in point of fact, never), but sometimes, I’m downright proud of my sister.

Life with her is never boring, and actually is often filled with laughter and that’s the truth.

The future is now—if we can just survive it… 

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: the future is now ~ hands ~ laughter ~ money ~ pockets ~ love

Were given to me, via Karen, from my friend, Jenniy at Climaxed

Now go and see what words the others got—and how they used them!

Baking In A Tornado

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

What TF Sarah

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Completing the Circle

Still on a ‘licking the bowl’ kick...
The source of all that was delicious.
Mom was in the kitchen.
My favourite thing.
I was in my usual spot. On the cupboard beside her Sunbeam mixer.
That maker of all things delicious.
She added something to the mixture already in the bowl and turned on the beaters.
Mmmmm. Could anything look better?
I leaned closer.
“Mom? Can I have a taste?”
“Honey, it’s just sugar and butter.”
“But it looks so good!”
She stuck the tip of the spatula into the batter and held it up for me.
I leaned in and licked.
It was delicious!
Mom just shook her head, rinsed the spatula and continued adding ingredients.
“Mom? Can I have another taste?”
“In a moment, dear. It’s almost ready.”
I sighed and fidgeted impatiently.
Finally, she added one last ingredient.
I should mention here that vanilla smells much better than it tastes.
Just FYI.
Then she got a spoon and gave me a dollop of batter.
Mmmmm. Even better than the last taste.
“What is it?” I asked as I licked the spoon.
“White cake.”
“I like white cake.”
“I know.” Mom scraped the batter into a cake pan and shoved the pan into the oven.
I looked around.
Usually, by this time, the sound of the mixer had attracted all the youngsters in the vicinity.
And some of the adults as well.
But there was no one.
The world was mine!
“Mom? Can I lick the bowl?”
Licking the bowl.
That ultimate in rewards.
That oft hoped-for and seldom granted treat of treats.
I should point out that it didn’t actually involve ‘licking’ the bowl.
Mostly it consisted of running a spatula around the inner surfaces, catching every minute spec of deliciousness.
Okay and there was some licking involved.
Mom set me on the floor and handed me the bowl and spatula.
I sat where I landed and started in.
Could life possibly offer anything better?
Moving ahead . . .
I was making banana bread this morning.
My fourth granddaughter was seated on the cupboard beside me, mouth sticky from ‘tastes’.
I spooned the batter into pans and put them into the oven.
“Grandma? Can I lick the bowl?”
The circle is complete.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Really Empty

I should probably mention, right up front, that Husby and I are empty-nesters.
For the first time.
It's been quite an adjustment.
First, there were our six little chicks and those years of 'oh-my-word-what-else-could-happen'!
You know what I'm talking about.
Then there were the moving-out-to-go-to-college-serve-missions-and-or-in-the-army years. And the moving-back-in when those cycles passed.
A lot of to-ing and fro-ing.
Then there were the marriages. And the moving-back-in-with-mom-and-dad-while-we-save-for-that-all-important-deposit-on-our-first-home phase.
And now, with each ensconced in their own place, Husby and I are well-and-truly alone.
Fortunately, all but one of our chicks and chicklets are nearby, so there is still quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.
But for the most part . . .
Today, this being alone really struck home. (So to speak.)
I was in the kitchen. We had some overripe bananas that were just calling out to be made into the yummy, deliciousness that is known as banana bread.
I finished mixing the batter and pulled out the beaters. Then, out of habit, I called out, "Anyone want to lick the bowl?"
That all-important point wherein the lucky contestant is handed the big mixing bowl and a spatula.
And for the first time--ever--no one answered.
No little bodies came swarming eagerly up the stairs.
No one appeared in the kitchen doorway.
There was no fighting. No arguing over 'who-got-it-last-time!'
I stood there, spatula half-raised, and stared at my empty kitchen.
And realized that empty-nesting is not all it's cracked up to be.

P.S. Okay, yes, I got to lick the bowl, also for the first time--ever--but it was only slight compensation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Activities Suspicious

Throughout time, lazy, but creative people have been bilking their fellow man out of their hard-earned coins.
With each new ‘modern’ invention came new and creative ways to deceive.
Then came the phone, and an ever-increasing series of scams.
And these deceptions  must be working, because the scammers are still calling.
Case in point...

It was becoming quite familiar.

The ringing phone.

The incomprehensible number, which had a second number under it corresponding to someplace local.

Husby reached for it. “Ugh,” he said.

Tax season seems to encourage these types of calls.

Much like spring inviting flowers.

Although I have to admit, I much prefer flowers to 'scammy' phone calls.

Just sayin’…

Husby pressed the button. “Hello?” he said tentatively.

“This is Service Canada.” A robotic voice.

Husby rolled his eyes. You have to know that, had it really been an official call, he would have been accommodating and polite.

Or at least polite.

“Your social insurance number has been canceled due to suspicious activity…”

Husby pressed the ‘end’ button and dropped the phone to the table.

I looked up from my breakfast. “How many is that this morning?”

“Three,” he said wearily. “They started early.”

I went back to my porridge.

But the whole thing makes me think. I mean, just what has my social insurance number been up to that is so suspicious. Did it steal a car? Rob a bank? Can’t you just picture my tidy little number running down the street packing heat? Obviously, it's good at what it does because it has only raised suspicions. I know! Train robbery!

We should make a movie…

Monday, May 9, 2022

Music for Me

I love music, yessiree,

I’ve always something playing,

The songs that make me sing along,

Or softer ones for praying.


Whatever mood I’m seeking, well,

There’s music made to order,

From instrumentals soft and sweet,

To bagpipe and recorder.


Feeling chip and cheerful, well, 

There’s music for that too,

And songs lamenting broken hearts,

And some just for the blues.


There’s some I like to play real loud,

Like CCR (the best),

While others lull me off to dreamland,

Help me take a rest.


But just today, I realized

That music (you’ll agree!)

Designed with all my moods in mind…?

Must be written just for me!


P.S. I’m happy to share. You’re welcome!

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, tell us you’ll join in,
Wear Purple for Peace—let’s all begin!

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!)...

Music (May 9) Today!

Purple for Peace (May 16)

Turtles (May 23)

Memorial Day (May 30)

Yo-yo (June 6)

Roller Coaster (June 13)

World Refugee Day (June 20)

The Happy Birthday song (June 27)

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

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God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

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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!

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A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

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Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

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Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


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Essence: A Second Dose

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Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

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I've been given an award!!!

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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
Need a fright?