Murdo Girl….Billy who?

The blow of Billy’s leaving, appears to be softened by the fun the little Murdo Girl plans to have this summer. What could be more fun than a summer filled with memories she’s sure to cherish in later years? The paper rambles some, but I think I should allow her to write whatever she wants to…At least for a few days.


Well, I’m not just going to sit around and wait for 5th grade to start. I love summer, and it’s just beginning. Grandma and Grandpa are going to the cabin, and Grandpa said I could go with them. I’m getting out of Dodge for a few days before I start my towel job.

My cousin Valerie gave me this photograph…It’s my new favorite of Grandpa and the cabin

I love to be with Grandma and Grandpa Sanderson. They don’t ever tell me to settle down, quiet down, stop whining, go to sleep, or I better do something, or else. I think it’s because we stay busy.

Aunt Ella Leckey, (Valerie’s Mom), at the cabin. the creek is beyond the fence 

The drive to Rapid City can get long. Grandpa has bunches of stories to tell, so he talks all the way there. His stories remind me of a tree with lots of branches. He starts with one story, then he distracts himself, and the next thing you know, he’s branched out to a whole new story. The new story reminds him of something else, which reminds me of leaves on a tree. There are too many to count. Grandpa can tell parts of 5 or 6 stories and never finish any of them. If you’re around Grandpa enough, you learn not to ask questions about his stories. It will just make them longer. Don’t worry, you will hear it again, and maybe it will be towards the end of his leaves, and he will get to the end of the story. When Grandpa is trying to hold the floor while he’s thinking, he says, SAY, so no one will start talking. One good thing is you don’t have to remember anything if you don’t want to, because he will never ask you questions about his stories.

Grandpa at the cabin, blowing out candles on his birthday pie.

Here’s what I do when Grandpa tells stories all the way to the cabin. I turn off my ears, and look at stuff out the window. I know some things to look for,  that tell me we’re getting close to Rapid City. Have you seen the man who jumped out of his pants? It’s supposed to be an advertising sign for Lee’s jeans. All you see are the jeans standing there, like someone jumped out of them. After you drive for about 15 more minutes, you come to the big dinosaur on top of a hill. When you see him, you are just a few miles from Rapid City.

The dinasaur on the hill

After we leave Rapid, we start seeing the forest. I look for signs that say, “Watch out for Falling Rocks.” Dad says, years ago there was a Sioux Indian Chief named “Afraid of Nothing.” He had a beautiful daughter named “Falling Rocks”. There were two braves that were fighting over her. Their names were “Running deer,” and “Swift Antelope.” Well, “Falling Rocks” couldn’t decide which one she wanted to marry, so her Big Chief Father, “Afraid of Nothing” decided to make the two braves have a contest. They had to cover 200 miles of the rugged Black Hills, with only dried deer meat and a little water. The first one to get back to the tribe, would win the hand of “Falling Rocks.”

Well, after the contest started, “Falling Rocks” had some secret second thoughts, and really hoped that “Running Deer” would win. A couple of days later, she was just too worried that he would lose. She couldn’t tell the Chief, so she decided to go to a certain narrow pass, that the Braves had to pass through, and slip “Running Deer,”some extra buffalo meat and water. That way, he would have more energy, and win the race. The next morning, “Swift Antelope” came staggering into the camp, and right behind him, was “Running Deer.”  “Falling Rocks” never came back, and after a while, everyone got tired of looking for her, so they decided to put up signs. That’s why when you drive through the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, you keep seeing signs that say “Watch out for Falling Rocks.” Some people might not think this story is true, but I do, (sort of).

By the time I’ve thought about that fable…Shazam !! We’re at the cabin.

Dad pays alot of attention to signs. When he sees a sign that says,  “Caution, Slow Children at Play,” he wonders where all the slow children are.  We went to the dog races in Rapid City once, and when we came out, there was a woman with a coffee can and a sign that said, Please help the Old Folks Home. Dad asked, “Did they get out again?”

Family at the cabin site

When we get to the cabin, the first thing I notice, is the fresh smell in the air. I can close my eyes right now and imagine the fresh scent of the pine trees. Speaking of smells, Grandpa Sanderson always smells like Listerine. It works for unsavory breath, and it also kills germs that cause colds. Grandpa never has either one.

Anyway, try my plan next time you go to Rapid City, and I guarantee, you’ll be there before you know it!


I’ve been writing all this time, and I think my tree trunk turned into branches, and some leaves.


There is a bed in the cabin that’s called Billy’s bed. There is also a room at Grandpa and Grandma’s, called Billy’s room.

3 thoughts on “Murdo Girl….Billy who?

  1. Valerie Halla April 15, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    I like the analogy with Grandpa’s stories and a tree, branches and leaves. Grandma was lucky she was hard of hearing later in life. Those were some long rambling stories. I could smell the pines and fresh air when you wrote the part of arriving in the Hills and I remember distinctly the whispering sound of the pines. All your troubles melted when you were at the cabin. Everyone was just happier and peaceful there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 15, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      I agree…It was heaven on Earth..and like Terry Sanderson said, Grandpa gave us a special gift.


  2. sanjuan831 June 18, 2018 / 10:42 pm

    Rerun fun!


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