Home of the Jones family.
The Stringam Ranch was situated on the Alberta/Montana border, midway between the town-opolis of Milk River and the village-opolis of Del Bonita.
My father elected to send us to school in Milk River.
Because it was minutely larger.
West of us, and somewhat closer to Del Bonita were the Jones Family Ranches.
Whereon (oooh! good word) my best friend, Debbie Jones, lived.
Her father had elected to send her and her siblings to Del Bonita to school.
I envied her.
Not only did she get to attend a country school, but, after grade 9, she got to bus to the heretofore (another good word) unknown wilds of Magrath, Alberta.
Where there were lots and lots of boys.
Amazingly attractive boys.
Well, according to Debbie, there were lots and lots of amazingly attractive boys.
The number one draw for a high school.
Listed just before such frivolities as: teachers. Classes. Facilities.
All that stuff.
Moving on . . .
For my final semester of my final year, my parents gave their permission for me to attend school with Debbie.
Ostensibly (I’m just full of good words today!), to further my Language Arts.
In reality, to check out the . . . umm . . . neighbourhood.
For this, I was sent to live with the Jones family.
Probably the most fun family – ever.
They welcomed me as one of their own.
Put me to work as one of their own.
Teased me as one of their own.
Generally made me feel like I was one of the family.
With all of its privileges/duties.
One of said duties was helping with the evening meal.
I needn’t tell you which I excelled at . . .
Debbie’s most fun job was supplying the evening beverage.
I know, I know, that sounds rather . . . unexciting.
Except the way Debbie made it.
Oh, she’d add the important ingredients.
And then she would get creative.
Out would come the food colour.
I soon learned that the appearance of the beverage in one’s glass could be radically different from the taste of said beverage.
Case in point:
Debbie had mixed . . . I think it was lime . . . Kool-Aid.
Then added a drop of this and a spritz of that.
What she ended up with looked nothing like lime.
Or anything drink-able, for that matter.
Her father lifted his glass, letting the setting sun shine through it.
Then he set it back down with the words, “I don’t know if I can drink that. I think I stepped over a puddle of it when I was in the barnyard a couple of minutes ago.”
I felt his pain.
Even though I had seen her mix it and knew what it contained.
Thinking back, Martha Stewart could have learned a lot from my friend Debbie.
Perhaps a good thing they never met.