Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, September 15, 2023

Teeth-ing Problems

Mort pointed. “Who’s that guy in front?” He pulled the book closer. “There’s something funny about his face.” He looked at Sally. “He looks like he lost his teeth somewhere.”
I turned toward the couch where Mort and Sally were sitting, thumbing through a yearbook.
Sally was wearing a little grin.
She looked at me and I smiled.
“It’s a…rather long story,” Sally said, finally.
Mort raised his eyebrows. “I like long stories.”
Sally looked at me expectantly.
I rolled my eyes and, clutching Peter’s hand a little tighter, said, “Promise you won’t think badly of me?”
He just laughed.
For the record, that isn’t a response.
“Sally and I were nearing the end of school,” I began. “Grade twelve. We’d made it. The top of the heap. The kings and queens of the school. And the town.”
Sally laughed. “Speak for yourself. I’ve always been royalty!”
She wasn’t wrong.
“Anyways, there was this teacher, Mr. S. And he was the nastiest, meanest man there ever was.” I made a face. “Oh, he was nice to the ‘A’ students—including Sally and me, fortunately. But he would pick a struggling student every year to drive out of school.”
Peter shifted in his chair. “Seriously?”
I nodded. “Yup. He had a reputation. We’d heard about it, but only got to see it first-hand when we finally reached the upper echelons.”
Sally snorted and rolled her eyes. “Upper echelons!”
“You know what I mean. Anyways, there was this one guy, Randy. He was struggling. Wasn’t happy about school in the first place. Struggling with family connections at home. Just kinda—lost. The sort of guy who needs a bit of honest encouragement and a teaspoon or two of basic human kindness.”
Peter tightened his grip on my hand and I gave him a brief smile.
“He was the one Mr. S had singled out that year. Used to watch for him to come into the school and make a beeline for him and start haranguing him. ‘What are you doing here? You’re wasting your time and ours! You should quit and just go find a job!’ That sort of thing. It was pretty awful.”
Sally’s smile returned. She sat and twisted one earring.
Peter frowned at her. “Smiling, Sally-girl?”
Her smile widened, but she said nothing.
“Sally’s jumping ahead to the rest of the story,” I said. I smiled, too. “It was pretty sweet.”
“Well, you’d better get to it, because I’m wanting to strangle that Mr. S with my bare hands about now,” Dad said.
I turned to see him coming down the stairs toward us.
I raised my eyebrows. I’d like to have sent this former marine after Mr. Nasty just to watch the inevitable outcome. I cleared my throat.
“Anyways, Mr. S finally succeeded. Randy stopped coming to school.” I rubbed my forehead. “A real feather in his cap, don’t you think?”
“Better be getting to this ‘good part’ or I’m going to go hunting this ‘Mr. S’.”
I smiled at Dad, once again grateful for him in our lives. “Well, Sally and I had an appointment with the school counselor. Something all the kids had to do. Something about ‘planning-their-futures-now-that-they-were-on-the-cusp-of-growing-up’.” I shrugged. “Real important stuff.”
Dad crooked an eyebrow and gave me a look. “It is.”
I laughed and held up my hands in surrender. “Okay! Okay! While we were walking to the counselor’s office, we had to walk past Mr. S’s. And, through the partially open door, we saw him taking out some false teeth! I mean, who knew he even had them?”
‘You stole them?” Mort asked, pointing to the picture.
“Patience, my son.” I grinned. “It was a few weeks later and we were at the big closing school party and corn bust. You know, where everyone eats too much and regrets it for about six hours?”
“Speak for yourself,” Sally said.
I laughed. “And they were calling everyone together for the big picture.” I pointed to the book on Mort’s lap. “Mr. S started toward his car and Sally and I knew instantly what he was going to do.”
“Clean the corn out of those biters?” Peter asked.
“Yup.” I looked at Sally. “We followed him.”
“But…how did you get them?” Mort asked.
“Actually, it was quite easy. We snagged Angela—Mr. S’s special pet—to come with us to get him for the picture. She was only too happy to oblige.” I smiled in remembrance. “Actually, it worked out perfectly! When we arrived, he had just removed his teeth. Angela went up to him and he shoved them out of site on the passenger side of the car and turned to talk to her with one hand over his mouth. Then I quietly opened the passenger door and Sally reached in and grabbed them. We rolled under the next couple of cars, then, when we were far enough away, stood up and made our escape.”
“Where did you put his teeth?”
“Tossed them into the creek on our way back to the picnic site.” I grinned. “We were sitting with everyone else by the time Angela returned saying that Mr. S was having problems. The principal finally went and got him.”
“The funniest thing was that he always insisted on being in the front row of the pictures. This time, he tried to go to the back, but the principal wouldn’t let him. So there he was, toothless for all the world to see!”
Sally looked down at the picture. “Quite satisfying.”
“He never caught you?”
“Nope. He left the party right after the pictures and wasn’t in school for the next week. He must have found somewhere to get some new dentures made in a hurry because when he finally returned, he was sporting some shiny new ones.”
Dad chuckled. “Sometimes a little payback feels so good.”
“It didn’t really help Randy. But, you’re right. It felt good.”
Peter laughed. “Sooo…the moral is: don’t anger either of the Hart sisters.”
I pinned him with a gaze. “Or if you do, hang onto your teeth!” 

Use Your Words is a writing challenge!
Each month, I exchange words with my friend and intrepid leader, Karen of Baking in a Tornado 
Neither of us knows what the other will do with her words.
This month, Karen gave me: 
pin ~ school ~ town ~ earring ~ teeth
Thank you, my friend!
Now go see what Karen did with my words!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Fishing for Cars

Guest Post from Little Brother, Blair!

We had just finished the Christmas season and, not to my liking, I had returned to high school and my normal routine: Drag myself out of bed early, milk the cow and feed the young bulls and heifers, go to school, return home, feed the young bulls and heifers, milk the cow, eat mom’s wonderful meals, go tinker/build something in the shop, go to bed. Repeat.
I admit, the routine got a little boring so if it was broken up some, I was happy for the change. 
One Saturday night, I had just slipped into dreamland when I was suddenly rousted out of my sleep by a banging on the door.
I dragged myself out of bed, wondering why dad hadn’t appeared. I guess he was hoping I could take care of it and he wouldn’t have to.
There at the door were three people who had been to a cabin several miles down the road in the forest reserve area.
Apparently, they had been at a party at said cabin.
Apparently, they had had a good time at the party.
Apparently, that good time had impaired the driver’s ability and she drove off the road into a ditch full of snow.
Apparently, the driver had a very good time at the party.
Now this trio needed their car pulled out of the ditch.
I grabbed some chains, fired up the truck and drove about a mile down the road to where they had taken their unscheduled detour.
It was a beautiful clear winter night.
There was a nice layer of snow in the fields and the moon was bright, which made it possible to see a long distance.
Just a day prior to this encounter with our partying visitors, there was a stiff wind that had cleared the roads and placed all of the snow in the ditches.
Subsequently, the roads had no ice patches on them.
When we arrived at the ‘slightly diverted’ vehicle, I could see from the tracks that the driver had taken a very gradual path off the road, positioning her VW bug on about 2 feet of packed snow.
This gradual path was on a straight stretch of road and I was tempted to ask, “Were you so involved with singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall that you didn’t realize you were gradually driving into the ditch?” 
I looked at the car for an appropriate place to attach a chain. There were two ‘pipe’ type brackets that had once held a back bumper but nowhere to easily connect a chain.
I wrapped the chain around the bracket that held the front bumper, then hooked it to the truck and started to pull.
Watching through the rear view mirror, I saw the chain pull the bracket off the front and lay it and bumper on the snow.
The bumper still hung precariously from the bracket on the other side, but the part I had hooked to was toast. 
I needed to figure out a different solution.
I looked at the bracket and noted that it could be fixed by a good welder, but that wouldn’t help these people continue their journey now. And I didn’t think they would have enjoyed camping in the barn for the night.
I remembered that I had a large bundle of used bale twine in the back of the truck, a collection from all the hay I had fed the cows that day. I used it to tie the bumper to what was left of the front post.
Then, praying it would hold, I wrapped the chain around the pipe bracket in the back of the VW.
I guess my prayers were answered because the car pulled out with little trouble.
The driver was very happy and told me to stop by the A&W in Lethbridge where she worked and she would give me a Teen Burger Platter (my favorite).
But I guessed that when she sobered up, she would be extremely mad about me breaking her bumper. (I avoided A&W for a few months despite my love for Teen burgers. I didn’t want to get yelled at.)
All three partyers piled in the car and headed to Lethbridge.
I prayed they had sobered up enough not to get into an accident.
There was nothing in the papers so I guess they made their destination.
No news is good news!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

That House

You see misfortune. We saw 'scaaaary'!
There was a haunted house in Milk River.
Demons lived there.
You name it. If it was slimy and scary, it had a residence in that house.
We children in the town skipped past on the far side of the street.
Even in broad daylight.
With our ears plugged and talking volubly, so as to drown out any and all noises that might escape that house.
Even so, I'm sure that, on two occasions, I heard screams.
And no, they didn't come from me.
At one time, Milk River's haunted house had been just another normal, ordinary, rather elderly little home.
Situated about half-way down the block.
A family had lived there.
Mother. Father. Children.
But that was where the 'normal' part ended. At least that is what my friends had informed me.
One night, the mother had asked her little boy to go down into the cellar to look for the family cat.
It was dark in the cellar. He had lighted a match to see more clearly.
And dropped it into a vat of kerosene.
What that was and why a vat of it would be sitting in someone's basement, I didn't know, but it sounded dangerous.
Suffice it to say that my facts really didn't hold well under scrutiny.
But I was four.
Who was scrutinizing?
I was too busy shivering in delight.
Moving on . . .
So the little boy dropped his match into the vat of kerosene.
It lit up like a huge torch.
The kerosene, that is.
He and his family barely got out alive.
No one knows what happened to the cat.
The family then disappeared.
Never to be heard from again.
Actually, none of us really knew what happened to start the fire.
It was just one of those terribly unfortunate things.
The family moved away, maybe to a family member's house to regroup.
But reality wasn't as interesting to us kids as the stories we made up.
Once, a group of us actually sneaked into the house and got as far as the kitchen.
Standing in the center of the room was a partially-charred table, still covered with an equally-burned oilcloth and decorated with a bowl of blackened fruit.
We were horrified.
And ran from the house screaming.
I know, I know, intrepid explorers we weren't.
The house was eventually demolished.
Mainly to keep us kids from scrambling through it like some sort of ride in a carnival.
But even after another house had been erected and another family moved in, it remained the haunted house.
Where the family lived.
Before the fire.
And maybe they're there still.
Making noises and screaming at odd hours.
The four-year-olds in the neighbourhood would know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

In, Through and Beyond

My Sweetie and Me
Newly married.
What a wonderful time.
A time of love. Friendship. Companionship.
A time of discovering for the first time that one has a true and forever friend. Someone to be with. Always.
It's magical.
Then, too, it is the time to discover those frailties that we have tried so very hard to keep from our sweethearts. 
And finally have to admit to owning. 
Like...everyone has bodily functions.
Get over it.
My husband I had been married for a couple of weeks.
He had risen early in the morning and disappeared into the bathroom.
I had stayed where I was. Warm and comfy and still deliciously drowsy.
Soon the door opened and my new husband emerged, but . . . not looking as he had when he went in.
He had blown his nose, while attending to other necessities, and given himself a nosebleed.
Easily fixed. Just stuff a Kleenex into his left nostril.
Oh. And he had discovered a pimple in his right ear. Quickly disposed of. And another Kleenex inserted to blot up any discharge.
Now, back to bed to snuggle with his new wife.
I stared at this apparition who was approaching my bed. It looked like my husband. But it had white tissues issuing from nose and ear. Could it possibly be . . .? I braced myself up on one arm. "Is that one Kleenex?" (Hand gestures to suggest pulling something which had been run into the head through the ear and now protruded from the nostril.)
"Was that a 'harrumph'?"
With a glare, he spun around and headed back into the bathroom.
And firmly closed the door.
He never answered my question . . .

Monday, September 11, 2023

A Game of Memory

Cheating a bit. Here’s a poem from a couple of years ago!

Her man and she were getting on in years, I’m forced to say,
The two of them were speaking with a friend the other day,
Explained to him that they had problems with their memory,
And he said writing notes would help the wife and her Husby.

They decided they would try it out, and write things faithfully,
Improve communication ‘tween him and his Honeybee.
I’m here to say the trial could be labeled a success,
For though they spurned their friend’s advice, they were happy, nonetheless.

When sitting watching ‘telly’ Husby got up for ice cream,
Politely asked his wife if she would like to share the dream,
She said, “I’d like a bowlful, Dear. But you should write it down.”
He shook his head, “No I’ll remember. What am I, a clown?”

She shrugged and said she wanted toppings on her frozen treat.
Some whipped cream and a cherry, both, would make her bliss complete.
“And please, my dear,” she said again. “You’ve simply got to write.”
He said, “I think that I’m detecting just a note . . . of spite.”

And off he went, quite message-less, into the kitchen there.
And she heard fridge and cupboard doors as something was prepared.
When he’d spent some time, she thought, an inordinate amount,
At last returned. She looked at him. “What have you been about?”

He handed her a plate containing ham and scrambled eggs.
She stared at it, then up at him, and calmly crossed her legs.
And reaching for the plate, she said, “Your mind’s a sieve, at most!”
“And, my dear, you’re getting old, ‘cause you forgot the toast!”

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 will be fun, I know
With Cheeseburgers, we’ll have a show!

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!)
Remembering (September 11) Today!
Cheeseburgers (September 18)
Dreams (September 25)
Birthdays (October 2)
Family (October 9)
Dictionary (October 16)
Talk Shows (October 23)
Mischief (October 30)
Watermelon (November 6)
Grandma's Kitchen (November 13)
The Bus (November 20)
A Pet's Life (November 27)

Sunday, September 10, 2023

My BBB’s and Me

 It’s my turn again! When I get to host my amazing Blog Sisters in the Best of Boomer Bloggers!

First up is Carol Cassara of Carol A. Casara, Writer:
"But, wait!" Have you ever felt misunderstood? the need to explain yourself? Carol Cassara offers advice on her blog in "Let Them Be Wrong About You."

Next is Laurie of  Laurie Stone Writes:
Recently, Laurie’s husband Randy and she were sleeping soundly in the wee hours when their terrier, Libby, started barking. Only this wasn’t the dog’s usual “hearing a raccoon meandering outside” half-hearted growl. This was a full-throated, loud, angry protest. Libby leapt off the bed and stood by their front window, yapping in a maddened frenzy. Nervous at what she’d find, Laurie crept over, 
and peeked out.

And Jennifer of Unfold and Begin:
Heard about affirmations but you're not sure how to use them or if they even work?  Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, shares results from a recent study on affirmations and writes about how
embracing affirmations can shape your mindset.

Then Rebecca Olkowski of BabyBoomster:

Are you ready to start bouncing on a trampoline? Rebecca Olkowski interviewed a man who is an expert in this, and he is over 60. Find out the 
benefits of using trampolines and how they can help you stay healthy over 50.

Followed by Meryl Baer of Musings of a Shore Life

Meryl Baer of Musings of a Shore Life 
managed to avoid getting Covid 19 - until now. Vaccinated and careful until now, she succumbed to the illness and tells us how she coped in this week’s post - Summer Sticks Around and Covid Comes.

California’s expected adoption of a law banning 26 chemicals used in U.S. cosmetics is a reminder that, as consumers, we need to be aware of what’s in the cosmetics we use, says Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist. Take a look at her article on California’s action and check for toxin in the cosmetics you use at the Environmental Working Group’s

Then ME! Diane of On the Border:
During the summer of 1968, Diane's parents moved their family into the newly-constructed quonset in anticipation of a future move into their not-yet-completed home on the ranch. It was a summer of adventure for the kids. For Mom? Adventures of a different sort as told in her journals...

And that's a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed these posts from my amazing friends as much as I did!
Thank you for reading!

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Read it! You know you want to!

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Available from

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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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