Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, February 17, 2023

Three Little Girls

A trio of girls, two were five, and one three,
Playing as happily as they could be,
Lego and Playmobil, stuffies and more,
Building a fort and slamming some doors,
When Gramma had checked on them, naught was awry,
Just three little faces, six innocent eyes,
And then as it happens, sometimes when you blink,
Three little girls, whilst getting a drink,
Decided that they could see great times ahead,
If they pulled out the water stored under the bed!
It took all their strength, they pulled and they strained,
Then grinned at each other, said, “Let’s make it rain!”
And quick as a blink, they were dousing the mat,
Each other, the bedclothes, and even the cat!
Cause 24 bottles can cause quite a lot
Of trouble, when three little girls hatch a plot!
We adults were upstairs just playing card games,
With nothing more thoughtful than winning, our aim,
Till a three-year-old showed up all dripping and wet,
As soaked as a small person ever could get,
Then the mad scramble as fathers jumped up,
And hurried to check on the two other pups,
I likely don’t have to explain all the rest,
How the dad’s gave a lecture, whilst drying the nest,
While Gramma just laughed and stayed out of the fray,
Chalked it up to experience—just one more day.
But I will say this: When kids play and dads clean…
The carpet in there is the cleanest it’s been! 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Not Cool

Yep. That's me. Heart-breaker extraordinary.
I had just realized that boys didn't have cooties.
I also discovered that I was capable of being a two-faced non-friend.
The two went together.
Perhaps I should explain . . .
Grade five.
The year when math problems became more . . . problematic.
Times tables proved important.
Story writing, more intense and personal.
Mrs. Herbst officially turned into Oh-Teacher-of-the-Blue-Hair.
And boys became . . . interesting.
The latter started with a note, passed to me during free reading.
“Will you go to the movie with me on Saturday?”
It was signed, 'Paul'.
A boy?!
Wanted to go to a movie with me?!
What should I say?
What should I do?
What should I wear?!
Shakily I wrote, “okay” on the note and passed it back.
He unfolded it, read it and smiled at me.
And that was it.
My feet didn't touch the ground for the rest of the day.
For the rest of the week, actually.
Saturday was a long time coming.
I should mention, here, that Paul was one of the cool boys.
The popular, cool boys.
And way out of my league.
But his group adopted me as one of their own.
For the first time in my life, I was hanging with the cool crowd.
Back to my story . . .
I don't remember much about the movie, other than it was an Audie Murphy and involved something called 'cactus torture' which made me, quite literally, sick to my stomach.
And that Paul held my hand through the whole thing.
After that, we met every day on the playground and on Saturday afternoons at the movies.
For about a month.
Suddenly, Paul had his eye on someone else.
And I was no longer one of the cool crowd.
Bitter and angry, I rejoined my old group.
Who took me back in without so much as a frown.
For half a morning, I complained bitingly.
Making acid comments about 'the cool kids' and how fickle they were. And mean. And nasty. And . . .
You can see where this is going.
“Well, you're with your old friends now and that's all that matters,” one of my group said.
“Yes,” I said. “I wouldn't go back with them if they begged me!”
Just then, three of the cool girls came over to us. “Diane. Lloyd likes you. Do you want to come back to our group?”
I sprinted to join them.
Didn't even look back.
Now I met Lloyd every day on the playground and held hands with him at the Saturday afternoon movies.
I know what you are thinking.
Fickle non-friend.
And you're not wrong.
Ahem . . .
This went on for some time.
Throughout the rest of Grade five in fact.
Then my popularity waned.
And died.
And do you know what?
My old group again took me back.
Without even a sideways glance.
This time, I stayed.
We went through grade six together.
Then Junior High.
Then Senior high.
And we had fun.
I discovered that it all comes back to math.
♀ + ♀♀♀ = ☼♥♫.
♀+  = brain-dead non-friend.
I learned my lesson.

P.S. At our class reunions, I've discovered that we are no longer divided into the 'cool' kids and the 'dweebs'. The 'cool' kids have had just as many challenges in life as me and my group. The same heartaches. The same joys and reasons to celebrate.
Life is the true leveler.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The Importance of Shoes

Breaking News: Former servant now a servant of the people. Sort of. Kinda. 
Okay, maybe we should all hear the rest of the story…

Cindy was a good girl. Only child of a widowed father, she spent her days helping around their too-large-for-just-the-two-of-them chateau.

Her father, assuming (erroneously, methinks) that she was in need of female company, (ie. mother, sisters, etc.) decided to find exactly that. Or those.

Whilst away, (notice my medieval language. Ahem…) her father happened upon a lovely woman, mother of two daughters, in sorry need of a husband.

Assuming again that these three women were precisely what his sweet daughter needed, he immediately married the mother and carted the whole brood home.

I just want to say that, when MY dad returned from a trip, he never—not once—brought me a new mother or sisters.

I suspect my own mother/sisters would have been a tad vocal about the arrangement. Hmmm. Forget I suggested it. Back to my story…

Anyways, things went along quite swimmingly until Cindy’s beloved father keeled over one morning whilst dining. Or reclining. Pining? Maligning? My notes are fuzzy.

Following the poor man’s death, cracks appeared in the heretofore solid foundations of Cindy’s world. Womanmade cracks. From the aforementioned and up-to-now, sunny, Stepmother.

Apparently, some women and some girls shouldn’t exist in the same hemisphere. Actually some women and anyone else, regardless of sex, creed or religion.

Stepmother, in a rather fruitless attempt to help her two (sadly plain) daughters eclipse Cindy in the looks department, dressed her stepdaughter in rags.

Then forcibly compelled her to take over the servants’ duties in the vast mansion. After firing the servants. Because of an ongoing struggle with budgeting.

Now Cindy, she of the eternally effervescent attitude, took all this in stride and continued to shine. Even whilst mucking about doing servant…stuff.

All the while, the three girls continued to grow. And mature. Approaching the day when their gifts—or lack thereof—would become painfully obvious.

Meanwhile, over at the palace, the prince was also growing. And had just graduated from the UofSofRP (University of Sons of Rich Parents).

The one over on Prosperity Avenue. Just past ImposingBankBalance Road and FiltyRich Street. No, I’ve never been there, but I’ve read about it.

Anyways, now he was home, clutching his brand-new Useful for Everything Degree and grinning broadly and truly excited about some serious sleeping-in time.

His father, the King, had other ideas, and had already organized a grand ball to introduce his son to the kingdom’s ‘all and sundry’.

'Sigh. Okay, yes, father, I will put in the effort to have someone else groom and dress and polish me to a finished shine.

And stand in a line to smile at girls. And be nice to girls. And dance with girls. All whilst their mothers are watching.'

Now the word—and the invitations—had gone out to the entire kingdom. Every unmarried girl was to attend. Emphasis on EVERY. Cindy included.

Let’s just say Stepmother wasn’t having any of it. Remember? Plain daughters. Gorgeous step-daughter. I’m quite sure you can guess what happened next…

Yep. Chores. More chores. And chores to do before other chores could be done. And when those were finally done? Dusting—the endless chore.

(My own sainted mother was quite good at this. She could cross one chore off a list and deftly add three to the bottom.)

Needless to say, Cindy simply ran out of time. Oh, she tried. Dressing hastily in an old gown of her mother’s which her stepsisters consequently shredded.

Sigh. Forlornly, she watched as the carriage took the three, Stepmother and daughters, off to future incredible glory. And/or dancing and five-star dining.

But as she sat sobbing in the garden in her formerly-outdated-but-pristine-now-ragged dress, A Personage appeared. Her Fairy Godmother.

May I cry foul? I just want to mention that MY Fairly Godmother has never appeared. Even when I had simply ‘nothing to wear’.

Cindy’s FGM fixed things up with a wave of her wand. (Harrumph. See above.) And Cindy was suddenly wearing the finest. Complete with glass slippers.

And a pumpkin became a coach. Mice, horses. A dog, the coachman. All in all, a fairly productive wave of said wand. You agree?

Just like that, mice, dog, Cindy and pumpkin were off to the ball. The cost of the evening’s finery? A fairly middle-ground curfew of midnight.

And did that girl party? I should say! Almost immediately, she attracted the eyes—and rapt attention—of the aforementioned, degree-toting prince.

They spent the evening talking and laughing and eating and dancing. I know you’re probably wondering why the Stepmother/sisters didn’t recognize her.

I will just say this. Out of context/impeccably dressed. I mean, how many people failed to recognize Superman behind Clark Kent’s glasses? Hmmm?

Lost in dreamland, when the midnight hour began to toll, Cindy gasped and hastily leaped up—dropping one shoe—and began the trek home.

She didn’t make it. Well, not as the fairy princess in a coach. More as a wretched rag-wearing, one-shoed and rather forlorn former princess.

A word about those slippers. Glass? Really? Either this girl weighed nothing, was incredibly light on her feet, or glass is different in fairy tales.

Now the Prince, totally enamoured with ‘The Girl’ was beating about the whole kingdom in search of her. And Stepmother discovered her secret.

Yikes. Desperate to prevent what seemed to be happening from…happening, she locked Cindy in her room and prepared her daughters to greet the Prince.

All was going well, despite the fact that her own daughters’ feet couldn’t possibly fit into the uber-tiny shoe the Prince was toting around.

Cindy managed to escape her room just as the Prince was leaving, but, in a final effort to thwart true love, Stepmother broke the Prince’s shoe.

Which would have been a complete and total disaster for all if Cindy didn’t still (conveniently) have her own shoe. That girl plans ahead…

Needless to say, the Prince and Cindy were engaged that very day and married almost immediately. Forgiving all, they lived happily ever after.

Something I’m sure that I, as Cindy, would have struggled with but hey! I didn’t have to face that nasty Stepmother and sisters thereafter!

And that brings us to our notable takeaway. Girls. Shoes are important to your happiness. Sometimes vitally important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Today’s post is a word challenge! Each month one of us chooses a number between 12 and 50 and the rest craft a post using that number of words one or multiple times.

This month’s word count number is 24. And was brought to you by: Mimi of Messymimi’s Meanderings!

Links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In ATornado


Monday, February 13, 2023


 My Husby is a kind man, given oft to kindly acts,
Doing things for family—and me—in point of fact,
So, Random acts of kindness may cross others on their way,
But Random Acts of Kindness come to me most every day!
Pandemic’s end’s the signal of our travel once again,
And Husby’s started planning for the where’s and for the when’s.
This week, he bought a world map, stuck it on the kitchen wall,
Then turned and grinned at me, said, “Time to heed ol’ travel’s call!”
In kindness, handed me a dart, said, “Hon, you can decide,
Exactly where we’ll go, and for a little while, abide,
Just give the dart a throw, my dear, wherever it does land,
Well, that is where I’ll take you, be it rock or snow or sand!”
I smiled at him and took the dart and carefully, did aim,
(Hoping for lands warm and bright, that tourists acclaim!)
I guess I should have better aimed, moved to the right a smidge,
It looks like holidays for us will be behind the fridge!

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, you won't hear us grumble...
Cause we're discussing being humble!

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!)...
Random Acts of Kindness (February 13) Today!
Be Humble (February 20)
Pineapple (February 27)
Cookies (March 6)
Butterflies (March 13)
Buzzards (March 20)
Celebrating Earth Day (March 27)
Maps (April 3)
Golf (April 10)
Safety Pins (April 17)
Pigs in Blankets (April 24)





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