Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, May 20, 2022

Tiny Pray-ers

I’m really on a poetry roll...
Have you ever watched the kids at church?
Or heard their daily prayers?
Well, I’ve been doing some research,
These things are true, I swear . . .
Said Mom to her girl  in the pew,
“We must quiet reverence, keep!
Do you know why?” Girl said, “I do!
‘Cause people are asleep!”

With the Lord’s Prayer, he declaimed,
“Our Father, Who does art in heaven.”
Then added, “Harold is His name."
And then, “Amen!” was given.
Another praying (as he had been taught),
Asked to be a ‘lamb’.
“But,” he said, “It matters not,
It’s fun the way I am!”

The elder lad, who, without shame,
Watched baby brother blessed.
Spoke with the priest and then became
Unaccountably distressed, 
The Service done. Clutched dad (Jerome),
While looking very blue,
Said, “Priest wants me in a Christian home,
But I want to stay with you!”

Two boys were fighting over food,
Who’d be the first one served.
Mom frowned because it wasn’t good,
“You must be like the Lord!
‘You go first!’ He’d always say.
And first, His brother’d be.”
One boy looked at his brother then,
“You be the Lord!” says he.

The small boy grabbed his father’s hand,
And led him to the beach.
A dead bird lay there in the sand,
Dad frowned. T’was time to teach.
“What happened?” his young boy inquired.
“He went to Heaven, son.”
The boy frowned down at the body, mired,
“Thrown back when God was done?”

A small girl asked to bless the food,
For guests her mom invited.
She said, “I can’t! My prayers aren’t good!” 
(She was a bit excited.)
“Just say what you’ve heard Mama say.”
She nodded. That was fine.
"Lord,” she said, “Just why on earth
Did I ask these folks to dine?!”

We talk of Faith, we talk of Hope.
We talk of Charity.
We follow prophet, rabbi, pope,
Find comfort on our knees.
Though we’re sincere in thought and word,
With pomp and pageantry,
There’s no one closer to the Lord,
Then the children that you see.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Changing Careers

Shortly after we were married, Husby took a job as foreman at a housing plant.
Building pre-fabricated homes.
He was good at it.
And it was two minutes from where we lived.
He was home for lunch every day.
As well as for breakfast and dinner.
For his new bride, life was perfect.
For the man actually going out to work . . .
The job was very stressful.
Many bosses - several without any knowledge of building.
Any knowledge.
He carried on.
For two years.
He had a family to feed.
But the stress started to tell.
He developed health issues.
And stopped sleeping.
That's when he started making noises about going to school.
Husby had been in school when we started dating, but had quit to take a job after we were married.
Now, he realized that he had made a mistake and wanted to correct it.
I was unconvinced.
How would we provide for ourselves if we had no income?
So he continued working.
Growing more and more unhappy.
And sleeping less and less.
One time, he suddenly snorted, sat up on the edge of the bed and started getting dressed.
“Honey, where are you going?” I asked. “It's 4 AM.”
He jumped and looked around. “Oh,” he said. “Oh.”
He pulled off his shirt, lay back down, and was instantly snoring.
Is there a term for sleep-dressing?
Probably . . . sleep-dressing.
Moving on . . .
One night, around 3 AM, I was sleeping quietly.
Suddenly, Husby shot up in bed, grabbed me by the collar of my pyjamas, pulled me to a sitting position in the bed and shouted, “You hold the ladder! I'll nail the soffit!”
My sleep-fogged brain vaguely discerned that these were 'house-building' terms.
“Honey, you're dreaming,” I said, rather shakily. “Go back to sleep.”
He wasn't to be deterred.
He shook me slightly. “Okay?!”
“Okay!” I said.
“Good.” He dropped me and flopped back onto the bed.
Seconds later, I could hear his soft snore.
He had been asleep the whole time.
I, however, would probably never sleep again.
I was finally convinced. Stark, heart-racing trauma will do that to you.
Husby went back to school.
He studied History, Arts and Anthropology.
(Finally achieving a doctorate, a fantastic career, and a lot of satisfaction.)
His health instantly improved.
As did his sleeping habits.
Going back to school was a good decision.
Though with two tiny babies and a wife to feed, it had seemed anything but.
He no longer sleep-dressed.
Or roughed up his wife.
And you can bet that the installation of any soffit was in broad daylight.
With a much more willing assistant.
Oh, and real soffit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Tiny Truths

 What can I’s just a ‘poetry’ week!

Six of Seventeen...
These are truths I’ve come to know
As through Life I’ve chanced to go.
A better time you will have too. 
If you share what you do accrue . . .

The first: you cannot baptize cats,
Don’t argue, just accept the fact.

If Mom and Dad, a spat have shared,
Never let Mom brush your hair.

If Sister hits, then don’t hit back,
You will get blamed for the attack.

Though with faith he seems imbued,
Don’t trust your dog to watch your food.

Unless you want a style with ‘flair’,
Don’t sneeze while someone cuts your hair.

When holding cats, to avoid the welts,
Leave the vacuum somewhere else.

If brother is a three-year-old,
A tomato’s not for him to hold.

White shorts look good, but people stare
At polka-dotted underwear.

And when you‘re sad as sad can be,
The best place is on Gramma’s knee.

And as I’ve aged, my wisdom’s grown,
My chickens from the nest have flown.
But as an elder, I’ve learned more,
Take heed, here’s what you have in store.

Raising teenagers, you’ll agree, 
S’like nailing jelly to a tree.

Those wrinkles, although clearly there.
Are painless. Just so you’re aware.

Those oaks that you see standing ‘round,
Were once a nut that held its ground.

If jogging’s what you like to do,
Then laugh. You’ll jog the inside, too.

And cereal somewhat kills the joy,
When picked for fibre. Not the toy.

So there. That’s it. It’s all I’ve got.
I know it’s really not a lot.
But if you want to silly be.
Try these, and you’ll be just like me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Owls, Cats and the Moon

You’ve heard it. The sweet ‘Owl and the Pussy Cat’ poem. For a moment, I need you to forget the fact that ‘pussy’ has a prurient ‘new’ meaning and just remember the word the way it was when we were children. 

Okay, I am the last person to advise someone on their love live. Seriously. Whom you love is between you and them and I wish you every happiness. Even as a small child, I defended Ms. Pussy Cat’s choice of suitor. 

It was a few other aspects of their story that had me…concerned. Oh, I had no problem with their pea-green boat. Between you and me, when I sail, I see a lot of that colour. Too much, in point of fact. 

But, fine. They can paint their boat whatever colour they want. It’s a free world… My bigger concern was their choice to bring some honey and their money wrapped up. Together. Choice of wrapping aside, do you see the inevitable difficulty? 

For one thing, wouldn’t their money get…I don’t know…sticky? I don’t know about you but whenever I’m around honey—and you have to know I am VERY careful and apply using only approved utensils—every finger I own ends up sticky. 

And a few other fingers besides. Why just yesterday, I was spreading honey for my granddaughter’s PBH and both of us had to be hosed down afterward. True story. And, just incidentally, I didn’t even get a bite of said sandwich. 

Just thought I should put that out there. Ahem… Sooo do you suppose merchants they met balked at taking their sticky money? I know I would have. It’s bad enough when I ‘sticky’ myself (see PBH above) but taking someone else’s? 

Ew. I’m seeing more of that pea-green colour. Now I loved the part where the owl, by the light of the stars, sang so sweetly to his lady-love. That would have melted the most romance-resistant heart on the planet. Just sayin’. 

Ms. Pussy Cat’s head was certainly turned. So much so that SHE proposed marriage on the spot. I’d call that a success. Any thoughts? Their only snag was the fact that there are relatively few jewelry stores on the high seas. 

Undeterred, the two sailed for just over a year, finally making landfall in the fabled land of the ‘Bong Tree’. And interestingly, no sooner had they set foot on this island, they discovered, I’m assuming among the Bong trees, a pig. 

With a very convenient ring in the end of its nose. Okay, two things: Just how large was this ring? And secondly, how hygienic? I mean, have you EVER seen a pig’s nose? They sniff a lot of rather unsavoury stuff. 

The price was certainly good, no arguments there. In today’s money, they paid roughly 6 cents US. Okay, there’s a whole argument that can be made vis-a-vis getting ripped off in paying for something special and simply not paying enough. 

But let’s not go there. The marriage apparently occurred the next day. When you’ve been sailing for over a year and you have no idea of your next port, it’s probably advisable to take care of business while you can. Agreed? 

A local, hillbilly turkey (You imagine him how you want and I’ll imagine him how I want…) took care of the formalities. The reception was good. Or at least the food was. (Hey! I like Mince! And quince jam? Very mmmmm.) 

And to feed each other with a runcible spoon? Perfect. (Okay, no, I don’t know what it is either.) But the truly textbook touch was the wedding dance by the light of the moon. That cemented it. This relationship will last! 

So Ms. Cat and Mr. Owl’s story is actually one about overcoming obstacles, ie. fur and feathers, sticky money and pigs’ nose rings, choices of living accommodations: trees vs barns. And marrying your love. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Today’s post is a writing challenge. Each month one of the participating bloggers pick 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: 41
It was chosen by: ME!
Links to the other Word Counters posts:
BakingIn ATornado

Monday, May 16, 2022

Purple Peace

There seems so little we can do

            For troubled folks we know (or knew),

Apart from giving money, goods,

            T’help others navigate their ‘woods’,

But something that reduces strive?

            Helps others make it through their life?

 All we can do is not condemn,

Then don a colour just for them.

Like YELLOW just to show we care,

            That we are suicide aware,

And RED for Heart Health, yes indeed,

            We wear that shade for those who need,

There’s GREEN for Mental Health, oh yes,

            It’s more important than you’d guess,

And BLUE or PLAID for cancers there,

            To those who hurt from those who care,

The RAINBOW shows that you endorse

            The LGBTQ, of course,

And finally BLACK—support is strong,

            That gender-based hurt is very wrong…

So all these colours bring us to

            The colour PURPLE, old and new,

So why don that shade? You may ask,

            Who would we help with such a task?

It started with an ‘alien’ bent,

            A friendly sign from ‘earth’ was sent,

And PEACE was offered, yes, indeed,

            If e’er those aliens had a need,

But now it is a little more,

            It shows that violence we abhor,

And nasty despots have no place

            Cannot cause pain to any race,

So please wear purple, show that you,

            Want PEACE in this old world, too!

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, a topic very dear,
We’ll talk of TURTLES! Join us 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!)...

Purple for Peace (May 16) Today!

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

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

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?