Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Thursday, June 1, 2023

One Quarter Thief

Me. Sigh.
What you are about to read may be shocking. You may even want to re-think continuing your friendship with me.
I’m a thief.
Well . . . a would-be thief. If I’d gotten away with it, who knows where I’d be now.
And the funny thing is, she probably would have given me one if I'd just asked.
Maybe I should explain . . .
I was nine.
Mom was chatting in the front room with one of her friends. Their discussion had turned to something that said friend was interested in purchasing from Mom.
Goods were produced and delivered.
Exclamations of surprise and delight. (Okay, I’m assuming here.)
Friend’s handbag appeared.
Was opened.
And a coin purse came into view.
A number of quarters were counted out and cradled in friend’s hand.
To this point, all was above board, friendly and honest.
But this is where bright-eyed, slightly avaricious Diane came into the picture.
Mom turned to me. “Diane, could you please bring me the money?”
I nodded, my eyes already on the gleaming silver in the woman’s hand. I moved closer and held out my hand. She tipped hers and poured the pile of coins into mine.
And that’s when my heinous plan was hatched.
There were a lot of coins. Surely Mom wouldn’t notice if just one went missing?
Deftly (?), I sneaked one quarter into my other pocket as I turned and walked over to Mom - duly delivering the treasure.
Then, task completed, I dashed upstairs with my booty (ie. Ill-gotten gains), already planning how I was going to spend it.
A few minutes later, I vaguely heard the front door close.
And then my Mom was standing in my bedroom doorway.
“Diane, we need to talk.”
She sat on my bed and held out her hand with the quarters in it.
I looked at them. Then at my Mom. “Ummm . . . yeah?”
“Diane, one of the quarters is missing.”
“Really?” My brain started turning frantically. “A quarter?”
“Diane, did you steal a quarter?”
“Umm . . .”
“Maybe it dropped. You know, when I took the change? On the floor? I’ll go look.” And I escaped out of the door and into the front room where I quickly (before my Mom could get there and see what I was doing) flipped the coin under our recent guest’s chair.
Then, dropping to my hands and knees, I miraculously, ‘found’ it moments later. Holding it out proudly in my hand, I presented it to Mom. “It was there! See?”
Mom nodded and took the coin. Then looked at me.
With a ‘Mom’ look. “Don’t ever take anything that doesn’t belong to you, Diane.”
“But I dropped . . .”
I nodded unhappily. How had she seen through my clever subterfuge?
My career as a thief ended that day.
I obviously didn’t have the ‘knack’.
Mom saw to that.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Getting It Wrong

 For International Jazz Day, a bit of fiction...

Clara studied her only daughter’s face.
Emma was lit up from the inside, delicate features a dynamic play of barely-contained emotion. It was like watching a still pool of pure, clear water breaking into soft ripples of movement. Unconstrained and uncontainable. Like the only thing keeping her together was her rose-tinted skin.
Her girl was in love.
Clara’s eyes turned to the young man seated at her daughter’s right. This stiff and stalwart-looking individual with his mortician’s hands and his thin, aesthetic face. Could her daughter – hers and Reggie’s – possibly have made this colossal a . . . mistake?
She turned toward the stage, where Reggie and his troupe were just finishing up their 9:00 set. What would her husband’s reaction be? Would he treat this proposed addition to their little family with courtesy? Or, more probably, would he rear back at the unintentioned insult and explode in artistically unsuppressed emotion. Then drag what could have been their future son-in-law out to the blacktop and toss him into the first available taxi bound for Timbuktu?
She sighed again as her daughter chattered endlessly, ceaselessly, enthusiastically on. Should she say something? Try to turn this particular ship before it hit the great reef looming before them? Should she interfere?
She tuned in to what Emma was saying. “. . . and I was so excited when I met Alphonse.” She linked hands with the sober young man beside her. “He loves jazz! Why he listens to it every day in the mortuary! He is exactly what Daddy told me to look for in a husband!”
Clara put out a hand and touched her daughter’s shoulder gently. “Oh, honey,” she said. She glanced down at the musicians on the stage. Heard the smooth, perfect notes of ‘Take Five’ pouring from Reggie’s Sax and sighed. Then she turned back to her daughter. “Honey, what your father told you to bring home was a Jazz MUSICIAN!”

Monday, May 29, 2023


 THE VICTOR was a quarterback way back in college days,
And, though the years had passed, his neighbours still could be amazed,
Remembering his triumphs and the victories he’d won,
And grateful just to label him their city’s favourite son!
By THE VICTOR he was known and though he really didn’t press,
His neighbours bragged a lot to anyone I do confess…
THE VIC as he grew older, became somewhat conscious of
Just doing what he could for this old world that he loved,
Began a compost pit behind his house where he would add
The food scraps from his kitchen and any trimmings that he had,
But living by himself, he really didn’t produce much,
So he’d canvass the neighbourhood and take their scraps and such,
Each Saturday at 9, there’d be The VICTOR with his pail,
And folks would toss in spoiled scraps from meat to bread to kale…
A newly moved-in neighbour saw all this for the first time,
And asked the guy next door why folks would give a man their slime!
The man explained the offerings of the former braised or boiled,
One final thing he added, “To THE VICTOR goes the spoiled!”

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 will be my favourite things,
Hot Air Balloons will give us wings!

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!)...

Compost (May 29) Today!
Hot Air Balloons (June 5)
Red Roses (June 12)
Kissing (June 19)
Canoes (June 26)
Mirrors (July 3)
Teddy Bears (July 10)
Emojis (July 17)
Cousins (July 24)
Avocados (July 31)
Moonshine (August 7)
Roses (August 14)
Sea Monsters (August 21)
At the Beauty Parlour/Parlor (August 28)

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
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!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

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

Be Courageous!

Grab and Add!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?