Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, September 22, 2023

My Unknown Adventure

Another memory from Little Brother, Blair!

Speaking of that summer in the Quonset...
Okay, I don’t remember this...
My dad told me about it after it happened.
In order to explain just what happened, I have to provide a bit of background...
When I was young, not having the ‘walk-around-in-the-dark superpower’, like my little sister did, I was afraid of said dark.
Needless to say, I liked my night light.
Also: When I went to bed at night, I would hide under the covers.
Mom told me that it was not healthy to cover my head so I had devised a special way of arranging my bed covers so that I could snuggle down and still have a tunnel that provided ample air to breathe.
Enough exposition…

In the summer of 1968, my family moved from our house on the ranch to a quonset on an acreage just outside the town of Milk River.
Dad planned to use the acreage as the headquarters for the ranch and his veterinarian practice.
A new house was being built on the property, but it was going to be at least 3 months before it was completed. Thus, the quonset.
For the “summer”.
It was a great adventure. Like camping, except, I got to sleep in my own comfortable bed.
The quonset was huge—and open—so dad strategically placed the large moving boxes so that we had our own bedrooms.
We also had living room and kitchen areas.
I can’t remember what we did for showers. I guess I was at the age where that wasn’t very important.
I had my very own bedroom space with my dresser and bed. I really liked it except there was no power.
And no night light.
I regularly buried myself under my covers when I went to bed at night.  It was a cold summer and mom made sure we all had lots of blankets to keep us warm.
This next slice of this story is the part I don’t remember.
I am reciting from what dad told me...
One evening, my parents went out on a date night. According to Dad, they had a lovely time. Forgetting for a short period that they even had any kids. (Okay, that’s my input…)
Then returned to our quonset home.
It was after our bedtime, so they did the rounds of all the kids to see that we were settled in our beds.
Everyone was sound asleep, except me.
I was nowhere to be found.
Quickly, they searched everywhere in the Quonset. No corner, empty box, or piece of furniture was left unchecked. They even did a quick search of the area immediately around the Quonset.
Nope. No me.
I’m quite sure both of them were remembering the animal with the spooky growl my mom had heard a few nights earlier and thinking it had snagged me, perhaps during a midnight potty run.
They were terribly worried and decided to call the police.
Just before they made the call, for some reason, Dad walked into my bedroom space and sat in the chair that faced my bed. He was terribly worried and trying to think if there was somewhere I might be.
As he sat in the chair and looked over at the pile of blankets on my bed, he suddenly got the thought that he should pull them back a little.
Which he did.
There I was, right there, asleep. Blissfully unaware that I had been missed by anyone.
Well, unaware until the following day when Dad told me.
By the way, I’m not afraid of the dark anymore.
Though I did go through a period of fearing to walk through my house in the dark unless I shuffled.
Need I say more?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Hickory Dickory's Clock Dock

From the “What-on-earth-was-that-in-aid-of?’ files…
Okay. How many of those reading haven’t heard of Hickory Dickory Dock?
Yep. I thought so.

I recited/sang it ad infinitum/ad nauseam when I was a youngster.
I kid you not.
I loved it!
Even though I really couldn’t understand it.

We’re talking about a little mouse running repeatedly up a clock, then, when said clock strikes the hours of: one, two, three, etc., the mouse runs down.

First of all, doesn’t that mouse have anything better to do? I mean I’ve heard of clock-watching, but isn’t this taking it to a whole new level?

And there’s the ‘repeating an action and expecting a different result’.
Isn’t that the very definition of insanity?
Well that was my understanding.
What are your thoughts?

Yes, I know it’s a mouse. And yes, I know they have very small brains and really can’t be held accountable for their actions.
Pretty poor excuse.

And what is it hoping to find at the clock top? A spectacular view?
Because, let’s face it, if the views aren’t stellar, I’m not climbing anything!

And a view would have to be truly spectacular to tempt one to at-tempt a possibly perilous and certainly sweaty and laborious climb more than once! Right?

I just had a thought. Mice will go almost anywhere if there’s food involved. (I am totally with them on this…) What if there’s food up there?

I mean, what if that’s where the clock keeps his lunch?
Go with me on this.
It would be safe (well, discounting the whole ‘recurring mouse’ erm…thingy.)

Think about it. Mr. H D Clock assumes (reasonably) that, barring someone actually seeing him put his lunch there, no one would ever guess. Makes total sense.

Okay, okay. Clocks don’t pack a lunch. And they’d certainly be frowned upon if they ever stopped to actually…you know…eat.
And then the lack of internal organs.

So we’re stuck with a little mouse who decides every hour (on the hour) to run up a clock. Then, frightened by the chimes, runs down again.

I think we need a do-over (Oops. Not a 27!):

Hickory Dickory Dock,
Two Mice ran up the clock.
The clock struck one.
The other ran away…
I admit, I’m totally with the clock on this one.

The rhyme is thought to have originated as a counting-out rhyme. Cumbric shepherds in the nineteenth century used the numbers Hevera (8), Devera (9) and Dick (10).

The Exeter Cathedral astronomical clock has a small hole in the door below the face for the resident cat to hunt mice.
Take that, Mr. Mouse!

Today’s post is a word challenge! 
Each month Karen, Mimi or I choose a number between 12 and 50 and the others craft a post using that number of words one or multiple times.
This month’s number is: 27
It was chosen by Karen of Baking in a Tornado!

Now go and see what my friends have created!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Cheap Cheeseburgers!

 My Husby and me had six kids, I love them all, it’s true,
Though life when all were still at home, was something of a zoo!
And mealtimes were a challenge, you know there was quite a price,
To feeding all those tummies something more than beans and rice!

But somehow, we succeeded and, yes, each of them was fed,
With soups and stews and roasted meats and treats and fresh-baked bread,
And as they grew, so did our bill, the cost near had us broke!
Our eldest two ate just as much as all our other folk.

One day—I don’t know how—but Husby got some coupons for
McDonald’s. Yes, the fast-food place. The kids thought they’d explore
This place they didn’t get to much, we just could not afford
Their ‘magic’ burgers, plain or ‘cheese’ that all our kids adored.

And so we went and ‘ordered up’, our kids were really keen,
And when the food arrived, t’was more than they had ever seen,
A pile of burgers, neatly wrapped, and all were fresh and hot,
Some included melted cheese and some of them did not.

I can tell you, on that day, our kids all ate their fill,
Of hamburgers and cheeseburgers…without a crazy bill!
And as they downed those tasty toasties by the bucketful,
For the first time, ever, eldest sons said they were full.

It didn’t happen often, leastways not when we were out,
That those two boys were satisfied enough to laugh and shout,
But laugh and shout, they did, and when they’d all joined in the fun…
They thanked their dad most graciously for everything he’d done.

I don’t expect a lot, I don’t. It really’s no concern,
I don’t need fancies, don’t need ‘stuff’, for nothing do I yearn,
What memory, do I have now that fills me with such joy?
That time we hit McDonald’s and, at last, I filled my boys!

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 time for some extremes!
We will all be talking 'bout our dreams!

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!)
Cheeseburgers (September 18) Today!
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)


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