Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just Like Her

We are impacted by other people. It’s just a fact of living.
Sometimes for good. Sometimes bad.
And sometimes, it changes your life.

I have a friend. I’ll call her ‘Carmen’.
She is one of those people you can call a true friend. Kind. Understanding. Patient. Incredibly talented.
And there when you need them . . .
The small community in which I lived was peopled primarily by farm folk.
Men and women who had settled the land, carved out the acres.
Planted crops.
And raised families.
Many of their children had returned to raise their families.
The circle of farm life.
Husby and I were a part of that secondary group.
We had several small children. Husby had a full-time job. I ran the household and sold stitchery.
And we both had community and church commitments.
At times these duties necessitated our leaving our children in the care of others for a few hours.
Mostly, we left them with grammas.
But occasionally, that avenue wasn’t available.
And that was when we would throw ourselves on the mercy of our friends.
The conversation usually went something like this:
Me: “Hi! It’s Diane.”
Friend: “Hi!”
Me: “I’m sorry to ask you this on such short notice, but I need to ask a favour.”
Friend: “What is it?”
I would proceed to ask the favour and they would accept or refuse and I would (A) Bring them my kids, or (B) Start dialing again.
But there was one household in which the conversation went—a bit differently. ‘Carmen’s’.
There, it more closely followed these lines:
Me: “Hi! It’s Diane!”
Carmen: “Hi!”
Me: “I’m sorry to ask you this on such short notice, but I need to ask a favour.”
‘Carmen’: “Sure! I’d love to!”
See the difference?
Though she probably suspected what I was about to ask, she never made me feel as though my upcoming question was an imposition. (And, let’s face it, it probably was.)
I decided I wanted to do the same.
Be the same.
Make whoever asked me for a favour feel they were doing me said favour.
I’m sure I stumble. I’m sure I have, at times, been ungracious.
But I’m trying.
Someday, I’ll be like ‘Carmen’.

12 comments:

  1. That is a good lesson, and one I could brush up on. Being introverted makes it necessary to stiffen my spine to do this, but it always feels good afterward. Carmen is a good role model!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She taught me this over 35 years ago, Jenny. And she's teaching it still! And I'm still trying to learn!

      Delete
  2. Oh man--I wish everyone could know Carmen-every time I have been in her company there is always laughter--and hearty laughter at that. Not only that but you come away feeling like your problems are just a bit smaller. I have thought alot lately about what this dear lady has experienced in life, and I wouldn't have blamed her one bit for losing her laugh. A friend of mine once said, "Carmen is my mentor". And I couldn't have agreed more--there is no better one to follow--like I said--I wish everyone could know Carmen:))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so true, Patty! We are so blessed to have her in our lives!

      Delete
  3. Oh, I could have so used a Carmen in my life some years ago - it makes me look carefully at myself. No, I am no Carmen. Our world would be such a better place, and it all starts with each of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I keep reminding myself we can start any time!

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Delores! I've had a lot of good examples. Someday, I'll get there! :)

      Delete
  5. A few more Carmen's scattered throughout the world would be a good thing. You're well on the way to becoming a Carmen yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SO agree!
      Thanks so much, River! I would love to reach her level!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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