Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, June 16, 2023


Ivy Jean Gunn is officially six months old. Today.
Living in a house with Sally makes that a remarkable statement.
I think I’ll say it again…
Ivy Jean Gunn is six months old.
She is adorable.
She has soft, curly, almost white hair.
Baby blue eyes.
A red little bow of a mouth.
A tiny nose.
And a soft little, hugable tummy.
She is, in a word, perfect.
To say that little girl has wrapped every member of our household around her little, baby fingers would be a vast understatement.
But the most smitten has to be her father.
The former crusty marine, Major Peter Gunn.
Okay, I really don’t know what he was like as a major. I only know him as the man who took on Sally.
And won.
That probably says everything.
Back to Ivy Jean.
And Sally.
Because it is Ivy Jean’s six-monthaversary, Sally decided she needed to take her little sister to the park for Gelato. Because in the words of Sally, “It was time to get her education going.”
Whatever that means…
A side note here: A Gelato cart has moved into the park across the street for the summer. They serve the real kind. With a paddle, not a scoop. Ahem…
Sally dressed Ivy Jean in something absorbent. Because…gelato. Coated the baby liberally in sunscreen. And bundled her into her stroller.
Then she, Ivy Jean and Mort started out.
You have to know they really only had to cross the street.
The rest of us were watching from the front window.
I’m not sure, but I think Dad had the front door open a crack for a quick get-away.
Just in case.
The park was bustling with walkers, runners, picnic-ers...
and at least one group playing soccer.
Rather typical of a Saturday in such a place in the summer time.
I saw Scary Gary and his brother sitting on the ground between the cart and the tree line a short distance away, both enjoying a cup of deliciousness. They waved to Sally and Mort as they approached.
A pair of frisky dogs were running loose—something that didn’t happen often in our pet-conscious neighbourhood—on the near side of the park, close to the street. Tails wagging happily, they appeared to be sniffing everyone enthusiastically. But hadn’t yet found their absent owner if the obvious lack of consternation/signs of discipline were any indication.
Sally, Mort and The Princess made their way across the grass toward the gelato cart. The adults in their small group (I use this term loosely) were having an animated discussion, probably vis-à-vis the sweet, creamy possibilities ahead.
And then it happened.
Now, if you saw this in a movie, you’d applaud the director, the choreographer and all the extras.
In real life, it’s hard to know what to do other than stare in disbelief…
Sally and Mort were approaching the gelato wagon from the hitch end.
A group of children stood around the wide window choosing their treats to Sally and Mort’s left.
Other people stood at random around the park doing ‘park’ stuff. (see above) Scary Gary and his brother were opposite Sally and Mort in the shade of the trees that edged the park.
The road curved gently behind them.
Sally and Mort, I mean.
A soccer ball suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, headed straight toward Sally’s head. In classic ‘Sally’ fashion, she reacted, hitting it with her head and sending it into the street.
The two loose dogs immediately started after it.
A loud honking and the screech of tires jerked everyone’s head around.
A car, moving at an excessive rate of speed considering it was navigating a quiet, busy neighbourhood, swerved to avoid the two dogs, jumped the curb and was suddenly barreling down on Sally, Mort and Ivy Jean.
Not to mention the gelato cart.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Dad charge out the front door.
Sally grabbed both Mort and the stroller and, with super-human (I am not making this up) strength, leaped sideways dumping both her husband and her niece into the arms of Dad. Ummm…where did he come from?
But Sally didn’t stop there.
She charged toward the cart, moving just ahead of the car bumper by this point.
She managed to scrape the entire group of children off to one side.
I saw the gelato owner leap wildly from his own window just as the car careened (don’t you love that word?) into the cart, sending it with a massive jolt toward the trees.
I heard Sally scream at SG and his brother from atop her dogpile of shocked-but-alive children as the car rolled past her.
The two boys reacted swiftly, as did everyone else in the vicinity.
The car stopped about then.
But the cart, having taken on a velocity of its own, continued on toward the trees.
The last any of us saw of it was when it was fondly enfolded into the green embrace of several dozen trees.
Of course, things didn’t end there.
We could hear the poor thing as it continued down the slope just inside the tree line. The sudden silence as it finally found the ravine—the same one in which Sally and Mort had so significantly lost their tree just a few months ago.
And the loud crash as it finally ended its little sojourn somewhere at the bottom.
There was a shocked silence for a quarter of a second.
Then the screams as parents frantically began to hunt for their offspring—many of whom were still in Sally’s arms.
Everyone was safe. Largely due to Sally’s quick thinking and quicker reflexes.
But I doubt whether Mom and Dad will ever let Ivy Jean out again.
Well, until she’s…you know…forty.
There followed a lot of tearful thanking and congratulating.
Which will most likely result in another parade in Sally’s honour.

Use Your Words is a writing challenge!
Each month, our intrepid leader, Karen of Baking in a Tornado, receives words from each of us.
Which she then distributes amongst the group.
None of us knows who will get our words OR what they will do to with them.
This month, my words: dogs ~ absorbent ~ possibilities ~ gelato ~ sigh ~ frisky
Came to me from Jenniy at Climaxed the Blog.
Thank you, my friend!

Care to read more?
Here are the other contestants!


Thursday, June 15, 2023

What We Did This Spring...Final Chapter

Day 20 (of the trip):
We ended our holiday in our favourite city of Istanbul!
Years ago, Husby did his doctoral thesis on Suleiman the Magnificent with a lot of emphasis on Istanbul, itself. He gets very emotional when we are here!
We left the ship and went to the hotel we stayed at the last time we were here. The HHK.
Sadly, it's not been kept up.
Still, we were comfortable and knew our way around from there...

But with the most amazing view (sorry my camera doesn't do 'night') of the Golden Horn. And, just past the Galata Bridge, the Bosporus!

It is just a block or two from the Sulemanye Mosque, so we dumped our stuff and headed out!

Day 21: Topkapi Palace. The home of the Sultans of Istanbul for centuries!
What do I remember most? A sink in every room. These people loved washing! And YOW! This place was huge!

Then, dinner at The Orient Express Diner (Yes, THE Orient Express used to terminate here!) with our wonderful friends, Sarah and Simon!

Day 22: The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia Mosque

The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are on opposite sides of a great square.
The call to Prayer is sung taking turns. A wondrous experience!

We ended the day with a harbour cruise and then dinner with our dear, dear friends from our sailing all of whom were both headed home in the morning. Best meal of the trip!

Day 22: The Grand Bazaar! Words simply can't describe the greatest market I've ever seen. Over 4000 shops!

Then a visit to the temple of the Whirling Dervishes. An amazing and very spiritual experience!

Day 23: Walked 14 km to the Dolmabahce Palace (the 'new' palace of the Istanbul Sultans). Yes, I was fairly amazed as well! Sadly, one cannot take pictures inside. But I got a few...outside.

Accepted footwear when touring inside!

Feed me NOW!

Then, because it was our last night, I had to go through the Egyptian Spice Market one more time. (You have to know it wasn't far from our hotel and we went there nearly every day, en route to somewhere else!)

And our final dinner in Istanbul--at the restaurant next door...

Husby. Contemplating leaving the next day...

Day 24: Home. A grueling 27-hour spectacle that, interestingly, started in Istanbul at 4:00 AM, went through Paris, then Montreal, crossed nine time zones, and landed finally in Edmonton at 10:00 PM ON THE SAME DAY! 

We had a wonderful time! We do wish all of you could have joined us. I hope these pictures gave you a hint of the spectacular trip it was.
Thank you for sharing it with us!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

What We Did This Spring...Part Three

 Yow! This was a long trip!

Back on the ship and out to sea from Athens...
Day Seven: Mikanos. One of my favourite spots on Earth!

Day Eight: Our 47th Anniversary! Sailed into Patmos, then walked up to the Cave to St. John (Which didn't allow pictures. Sigh.)

Day Nine! Chios, our last stop in Greece: With four of our awesome fellow passengers, we rented a cab and drove up to the Monastery of Mea Moni.

Day 10: On to Turkey. Dikili. It was the first time stopping there for our ship and they were just in the early stages of setting up tours. So we walked around the village. Lovely harbour walkway!

Day 11: Bozcaada, Turkey: Explored the town. And the windmills. Have I mentioned I love windmills?

Day 12: We were supposed to navigate the Dardanelles during the day, so we could watch. But bad weather was bearing down on us, so our crew decided to take us through in the night while we slept. Sigh. The next day, we were still at sea... So a few more pictures of the ship.

The nets that I love so much!

Day 13: Woke up to this:

Our Sailing was done. Istanbul awaited exploration. Tomorrow...

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