Murdo Girl…What happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin

The little Murdo Girl isn’t feeling well today, so she has deferred to “the lady,” who would like to share stories as remembered by some of the cousins. I know you’ll enjoy these tales.  If given the opportunity, many of us would like to spend one more magical moment in a place that warmed our hearts. I have no doubt many, if not all of M.E. and Mary Sanderson’s family would choose the Nemo cabin as their destination. The old walls, papered in pine cones, beds with lumpy mattresses, and heavy warm quilts. The sounds of the creek, laughter, frying fish, and the breeze blowing through the Pine trees. All these things never changed…just like Grandma and her beads, you could count on it.


Grandma Sanderson, Ella Sanderson Leckey, Helen Sanderson Haverberg, BL: Bob Haverberg, Al Leckey

A Cabin Memory of Andrea Miller Sheehan…Move over Ella

I recall one summer when I was still at home, my mom and I drove to Rapid City for shopping and when we found out there were no vacant rooms in Rapid, we decided to drive to the Nemo cabin to spend the night.  As it happened, Grandpa and Grandma, Helen and Bob and Ella and Al were staying there too.  As we didn’t pull in until about 1 A.M., the cabin was dark and everyone was asleep.  Grandpa got up when we came in and discussion began about where we should sleep. The Leckeys and Haverbergs were in the room with two beds.  Al immediately said he would sleep on the couch, and Mom could sleep with Ella.  Mom, of course, said “absolutely not, she would sleep on the couch”.  This exchange went back and forth for some time.  Finally, Uncle Bob , who had been listening to this long enough, said, “Well, if no one wants to sleep with Ella, I will!

Trice and Sue Haverberg…catching fish “To Beat the Band” with Grandpa

The first thing Grandpa did with us was take us to Reaussaw Lake to fish and we fished all day.  Sue and I caught several nice brooks. I think we had 5 or 6 between us and Grandpa only caught 1, so he took us home and promptly went back out to get his limit without us.  We were glad to be back at the cabin as Grandpa’s driving was probably the scariest drive I have ever been on.  Of course the front seat of the old white Ford was reserved for the fishing gear so we had to sit in the back.  He was carrying on a pretty much one sided conversation completely turned around facing us in the back seat and would veer off the road and well into the ditch before he would turn toward the front of the car to over-correct and go to the other side of the road and just miss that ditch. When we got back to the cabin, I remember Ella telling us that “Oh…. you never ride in the back seat with grandpa!”.  I wished she would have told us this BEFORE!

Billy Francis remembers..Give Grandma the wading boots and a net.

I spent many summer vacations with Grandpa and Grandma at the cabin.  When Grandpa was gone, Grandma would love to throw a cuss word into the conversation and wink at me. It was her way of showing independence!  Grandma never learned how to drive.  She would ride along with us when we went fishing in the hills.  We would leave her in the car all morning.  She would write letters while we fished.  Then we would return to the car for a picnic lunch.  After lunch Grandma would have to sit in the car again until we returned hours later.  One day at Sheridan Lake , Terry, Grandpa and I returned to the car for lunch. When we arrived, Grandma was sitting on a large rock and the car was in the lake!  It seems that we had left the trunk up and when the wind blew the trunk down, the car slipped out of park.  Instead of going for the brake, Grandma bailed out!  We had to walk to a nearby farm house to get a farmer to pull the car out with his tractor!

Terry Sanderson recalls…Something’s burning!!

A couple of Nemo cabin tales.  The old cabin was on leased U.S. Forest Service land and from time to time they made requirements regarding the buildings.  In this particular instance, the Forest Service ordered that the cabin itself had to be painted brown and the old out buildings had to be removed.  A date was set and Jerry Miller, Uncle Jeff and myself drove to the cabin on a Friday evening.  We met Grandpa there that evening and Leonard King joined us on Saturday to help.  Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and we got right to work with Uncle Jerry in command. ( Uncle Jeff thought he was calling the shots and we didn’t do anything to discourage him).  We had one of the little buildings burned and a good start on the painting by mid-morning and decided we might as well go up on the hill and get the other building taken care of.  When we touched off the fire, flames shot high into the air and the old rough pine lumber was making a very hot fire.  I happened to turn and look down the road toward Nemo to see the fire engine and most of the population of Nemo headed our way.  When they arrived, we explained to the fire chief that Grandpa had gotten a burning permit so we thought we were OK.  The fire chief commented that Grandpa had indeed gotten a permit, but it was for the previous day.  Anyway, nothing bad happened and we got all the work done on Saturday.  Uncle Jeff pronounced that night that since we were all done we could sleep in on Sunday morning.  Uncle Jerry and I were in the bedroom with two beds.  I woke up the next morning and could hear music.  Not being able to figure this out, I tiptoed out of the bedroom into the kitchen and there was Uncle Jeff playing tunes on his harmonica.

Terry and Kay Sanderson, and boys, Grandpa Sanderson, (maybe Tet Sanderson to his left), Wayne, Jeff, and Irma Sanderson, Elna and Jerry Miller. The 2 ladies in front are Melitha, Grandpa’s sister and Pearl, Grandpa Sanderson’s brother Sandy’s wife (visiting from Iowa )

Just thought of another cabin tale.  My mother went on one trip to the cabin and upon arriving began doing some house cleaning.  At the time, there was a burning barrell down by the little stream and she was doing some burning.  We were in the cabin eating a meal when all of a sudden we hear a loud report as if someone had shot a rifle nearby.  The first was closely followed by a volley lasting several minutes.  Mom had scooped up a box of 30-06 shells along with some of the other stuff she was burning.  It made for a very exciting few minutes and Grandpa had to restock ammunition before the next deer hunting season.



Terry Sanderson

When I think back on all the fun that was had at the Nemo cabin by so many members of the family and friends, I have to believe that this was truly a great thing for Grandpa to have provided it for all those years.  Bill and I can certainly recall a lot of fishing trips and I am sure most of you have fond memories of the place.  Uncle Jerry Miller did a lot of work keeping the place in shape and adding improvements.


11 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…What happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin

  1. Billy Francis April 19, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    I can attest to Terry’s story about the 30-06 shells. We spent most to the day undercover!


  2. sanjuan831 April 19, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Mary, your comment when you were a tiny little girl was the cutest comment regarding the cabin. After sleeping in one of those rickety old beds in that
    Drafty bedroom, you woke up and asked your mom, ” Can we go inside now?”


  3. sanjuan831 April 19, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    We could probably come up with lots more great cabin stories! I am glad you laughed at that one. Bet many people who are gone now could tell excellent cabin tales. I suggested to Bob that we should pool our money and buy an old cabin or place like Horse Creek but Some already have their Shangri La.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 19, 2016 / 10:09 pm

      I haven’t been to Prairie Creek since everyone built there. I hated going there with Grma and GPA. It was a long drive (or seemed like it), and they just had that tiny trailer there.


    • Mary Francis McNinch April 20, 2016 / 9:04 pm

      Great memories, make great stories. Andrea’s has to be my favorite. Thanks for your comment Anne


  4. Bobby of Michigan April 19, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    The cabin stories are so special. Believe the group photo to be one I took at grandpa’s 1974 birthday celebration (88th) in late June. Susan and my first son Rob are standing next to Kay. The cabin story that I am still writing (just ask Val!!!!) tries to capture more of the magic. Have proof that the cabin dates from at least 1925, but somewhat likely before that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch April 22, 2017 / 7:18 am

      I can’t wait to read the cabin history. I had no idea it dated back so far. What year did Grandpa get it?


  5. Bobby of Michigan April 19, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Billy, remember digging a shallow hole just outside the side fence gate and finding a pile of sawdust?

    Liked by 1 person

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