Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, July 30, 2017

That Summer: Summer's End

More of the story, as told by my Mom, Enes. From her journals . . .

Settled. Finally.
As the summer progressed, new items were hauled into the quonset from the old ranch.
Our summer home began to look more and more like the back yard of a junk dealer.
Soon there was only a foot path past the 'clinic' to the 'living area'.
We had to do more and higher leaping over this and jumping over that to find items that we wanted. But we finally became so efficient at finding things we almost knew which box contained what.
It was like watching a movie to see all the different expressions of our clients as we met them at the door.
I often wonder what went though their minds as they drove up to the quonset and faced that huge sliding door with the shingle hooked to the latch which said: Dr. Mark Stringam. Veterinary Office.
They always knocked and waited. So if they felt a little over-whelmed, they at least had a little more time to assemble their mixed feelings and shattered thoughts.
A quick survey never failed to bring a look of shocked amazement.
It usually took a few seconds to pull themselves together.
"Everything is sure handy, isn't it?"
"Imagine! Everything you own right here!"
"Sure is cozy in here!"
We had set up our clinic in a corner of the quonset next to the double doors.
And right next to our 'living room'.
Our examining table was three boards on two saw horses.
Clients brought their animals to be examined and we dispensed drugs right there.
One day, we had just managed to straighten the bed covers when we heard a car drive up.
A friend knocked, and then brought in his dog for a distemper shot.
Before we could guess the animal's intentions, he had made a bee-line for the corner of our couch, lifted a leg, and sprayed all over it.
Our friend was so horrified, he apologized for his dog every time he saw us for months afterward.

But all good things must come to an end.
An early snow storm was predicted.
The quonset was chilly in the 'warmer' summer months. What would it be like with the world around it encased in ice?
Sub zero.
And that would just be a start.
There was only one solution. We had to move into our unfinished house.
Throughout the day, with the clouds piling up on the horizon and looking more and more threatening, I carried loads of household goods from the quonset to the car and then drove them across to the house.
It was hard, tiring work, but one look at the horizon would always serve to steel my muscles and lengthen my stride.
By evening, we had a cozy set up in the basement, with a tidy fire crackling in the new fireplace and stuff sitting or hanging everywhere.
We could hardly move!
But at least we were warm!
The promised storm swept over us, howling in frustration as it flew past the windows and chimney, trying to find a crack.
But the house was solidly built and we stayed warm and comfortable inside.
Imagining what life would be like back in the quonset on this night.
For the children, this was just another phase of the adventure.
For me, it was a glimmer of hope that one day, soon, I would again have running water and flush toilets.
And a bath tub!
Sheer luxury!

10 comments:

  1. How long did it take to get the house finally completed an outfitted with those much desired amenities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember it happening quite quickly. Certainly we were settled well before Christmas!

      Delete
  2. Having lived for a while in a house without running water I can so relate. Luxury indeed. And the lesson stays with me decades on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the same. We lived for several years with an 'iffy' water system. I still take 2 minute showers!

      Delete
  3. I can feel the coziness from your mother's description, and the relief, too. We spent the summer our house was being built living in our cottage at the shore, which was in the path of the north wind. Come October and our house was just done enough to move into, not a minute too soon for me. We had kept our toddlers' winter snowpants and jackets out of storage just in case, and we needed them the last few weeks we were at the beach. Brrr!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure makes you appreciate your central, forced-air heat!

      Delete
  4. More of the story, as told by my Mom, Enes. From her journals . ..... "Exhaust(ed): The 99% true story of a bus trip gone wrong.
    ตารางคะแนน

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quonset huts can they even be put up today, I wonder???
    Always a good story Diane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Haralee! Yes, they still put them up! They are a quick and fairly simple solution to farm storage. They even make them into 'for real' homes!

      Delete

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