Murdo Girl…Everyone’s scared but Grandpa

I’m posting a rerun tonight about Grandpa Sanderson’s driving. Some of my cousins and I were talking about it on Facebook a couple of days ago, and I thought it might be fun to read all the cousins comments about their experiences riding with Grandpa.

Grandpa’s car and Jeep under a few inches of snow.

First, I want to mention a little problem I encountered with the eBook version of Dakotah’s Story. Transferring a manuscript to an eBook is the most difficult part of the whole publishing process. I was further challenged by trying to include several photographs. Anyway, it was pretty good, but not quite like I wanted it, so I tweaked it a little bit which resulted in a hodgepodge on the first few pages. Once you get into the story it levels out, but I am truly sorry to those who bought the eBook version and had a problem with it. I have since corrected it, but the changes might not show until tomorrow or the next day. Please let me know if you got a bad one and I will make sure you get a good one.

I got the paperback, full color edition, today and I am really happy with the way it turned out. Thanks again my friends for all of your understanding and encouragement.

I also want to reiterate that all of the profits from the sale of this book will go to help victims of cancer. I will keep you posted on how that is going.


Grandpa’s car was a 4-door Ford…I couldn’t find a good picture. This is my favorite picture of him at the Nemo Cabin


Ken Halla (Valerie’s husband) and Grandpa
Valerie Leckey Halla
 Ken has a driving story. 1971 -Ken and Grandpa went to breakfast before going fishing. When they got in the car to leave, Grandpa turned around and proceeded to pull out. A huge RV was coming. Ken wondered if Grandpa saw it and he got nervous but didn’t want to be disrespectful. The RV kept coming. Ken decided to be disrespectful instead of dead and yelled out, “We are about to be broadsided! Stop!” They stopped as the RV sped by and Grandpa said -” Oh, I didn’t see that.”
I just remember relatives saying not to let him drive and he told us once he found himself by the side of the highway ’cause he had fallen asleep at the wheel!  Also, do you remember that he had his last white car painted dark on the roof because he wanted people to be able to see it in a snowstorm?
He would drive places where only four- wheel drive vehicles should go. Down dirt roads and across the prairie!
Next time you see Lynn Brost Miles, ask her about her experience…very scary

From Terry Sanderson

Bill, I’m sure you remember the old road into the Prairie Creek property.  It had a steep section where it went over a high ridge before dropping down into the area.  The Kaisers and Frazer cars that Grandpa had driven for years (big, heavy cars with a modest 6 cylinder engine), required a heavy foot on the accelerator to get over the mountain.  I think you were along when we went in with the first Oldsmobile that Grandpa owned with the larger 8 cylinder engine.  When we approached the bottom of the steep part, Grandpa poured the coals on and it was about as wild and exciting a minute as I can remember.  The Olds responded and we went fish tailing up and over the mountain throwing rocks and dirt and miraculously staying on the trail (I think the pine trees on both sides helped).  I forget Grandpa’s comment when we finally got under control on the other side of the summit, but it was a classic.

Billy Francis

I certainly do.Grandma wouldn’t speak to him the rest of the day. She hated Prairie Creek. One day she was looking in the silverware drawer for something.  She slammed the drawer and said,” I wish he would buy just one good house instead of having to furnish three shacks.”

Patrice Haverberg Bushhouse

Being the youngest grandchild and living in Michigan, I just do not have the memories you all do so it is fun to hear what Grandpa and Grandma were like. One vivid memory I have from when Grandpa lived in Spearfish…He was taking Sue and me fishing for the day so we hopped into the back seat of his white car.  He started a story as soon as he got in the car and talked until we made it to the river.  I remember looking at Sue thinking…we are all going to die right here because he would turn around and talk to us while he was driving. The story was the important part, not watching the road.  Unfortunately, being terrified of crashing, I don’t remember the story.


Billy Francis

Grandpa would tell Terry and I to get ready to go fishing at a certain time.  Then Grandpa would go uptown, get to talking, and forget about us.  One day after keeping us waiting for over two hours, he and his brother Sandy showed up to take us to Pierre to fish the river.  When we pulled out of our driveway, Grandpa proceeded to tell uncle Sandy about how he bought his shotgun, which was a story Terry and I had heard too many times to count.  Just as we pulled up to the river about one hour later, Grandpa finished his story!  It was remarkable that the story never varied.  Terry and I could recite it word for word!

Jeff H. Sanderson

It was 5:30 A.M. July 2, 1974, as I awoke to Grandpa’s prompt in Apt. 3, Spearfish Retirement Complex.  We are going fishing  today to celebrate my 27th birthday.  As we chowed down the cold cereal/O.J. breakfast, Grandpa assembled an array of jelly, peanut butter, and lunch meat sandwiches for the lake.  Along with a thermos of milk and two of water, it would be all we would need for a full day at Deerfield Lake.  As we hit the road at 6A.M., we were reminded that we would have to stop to get bait worms.  The convenience store at the entrance to the lake was open for business.  While I was doing a general tour of the store, Grandpa began the process of acquiring the worms from a 65-ish rather gruff looking female attendant.   As always, he wanted the freshest bait possible and inquired accordingly, asking the woman to open the cartons for inspection.  I was at the opposite end of the store as the irritated  woman unexpectedly lashed out with a verbal explosion to be heard for some distance.  As I listened closely, I was hoping that Grandpa would not need my help.  Instead, he very patiently took the beating, purchased the worms, and we were happy to quickly be headed for the narrow trail to the opposite side of the lake.  Before reaching our parking spot for the day, Grandpa had calmly and precisely threaded his 1966 Ford through the woods, missing a number of trees by fractions of an inch. It was a quite impressive accomplishment.

Andrea Miller Sheehan

I remember one of the cousins, telling about a time he went fishing with Grandpa in Spearfish. They headed out on the highway, Grandpa was driving. He realized they had left the lunch sitting on the kitchen table and said so to Grandpa.  Grandpa didn’t miss a beat, just drove down through the ditch, back up on the highway, and headed back to the Apt. !

Mary Francis McNinch

When I was in the 8th grade, Grandpa drove me all the way to Vermilion, SD (4 hours one way), so I could attend music camp there. It was a pretty great thing for a Grandpa to do.  When I was in High school he drove the cheerleaders to a game in White River.  I sat in the front and one of the girls in the back tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Does your Grandpa know this is not a straight road? He doesn’t curve when the road does.”  He always had his car buzzer set to the speed limit and it went off the whole time he was driving. He thought that’s what it was there for. To let him know he was going the limit.

Well, we all survived and none of us would trade all those scary rides with Grandpa for anything. After Billy was old enough to get his driver’s license, and would ask Mom if he could go somewhere with Grandpa, she would always say, “Only if you drive.”

All of the photos below are random family members, random years, and random occasions (The first two are blurry. I took a photograph of a recording of our family Christmas Eve’s ..the 1st is Grandpa talking to Jerry Miller..Grandma is far left..I think the other lady might be Mill Foster. The second is Grandpa with Stephanie Miller standing next to him.)

7 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Everyone’s scared but Grandpa

  1. Valerie Halla May 13, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I have tears in my eyes not from crying but laughing like a loon, and just finished laughing out loud, giggling like a Sanderson, plus guffawing between reading each story about Grandpa’ over and over. Thanks for including a lot of the cousin’s remembrances. Too too funny and good! Oh, and I feel honored to be a random person, along with Queen Liz. You rock.


  2. Carol Callihan Fairbanks May 13, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Your Grandpa was my hero one cold January Day in Spearfish! My mom always made me an angel food cake for my birthday – when my family and I moved to Spearfish, she brought it the first year; the second year she couldn’t come but found out your Grandpa was driving back out the day of my birthday. Imagine my surprise when he brought a box with my cake and a gift into my workplace! I gave him a hug and I think he was embarrassed!

    Liked by 3 people

      • lifelessons December 21, 2017 / 9:20 pm

        Oops..Guess you won’t know me by my blog name.. This is Judy Dykstra Brown!


  3. Mary Francis McNinch May 13, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    Carol, your comment brought tears. I’m going to share it with the cousins. It will warm their hearts too. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Valerie Halla May 13, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      That is amazing, Carol. Don’t know you but your story brought tears also and memories about what a solid good man Grandpa Sanderson was. Thank you for sharing that birthday cake story.


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