Murdo Girl…The Murdo history quiz answers

**Two corrections need to be made to the answers for the Murdo History Questions. #6 should be FF and not F which makes it Judy Dykstra and not Allen Rada. #34 should be Q and not RR which makes it Mons Anker and not Sam Seymour.

**corrections noted by Syd Iwan. 

11)  correction DD…thanks Walt

Below is a link to a PDF with the Murdo History Quiz and answers. Please share any thoughts or comments with us. We hope you had some fun with it. Murdo has produced some very accomplished and colorful people, and this quiz highlights only a few of them.

Billy Francis, and Mary Francis McNinch


Murdo Trivia Quiz & Answers


Portia Burns Brown with Murdo History Quiz
The Penticoffs and the Murdo History Quiz
Valerie Leckey Halla administering the quiz to Don Edwards

Murdo Girl…The Murdo History Quiz

  • A special note to the Murdo Girl readers who only know about Murdo by the stories I tell in the blog. Please bear with me today. For the most part, this quiz will not be of interest to you. I will be posting lots of photos of the events taking place over the next few days. The reunion is all school and it won’t happen again for another five years, which makes it pretty special.

The 2016 Jones County all school reunion is in just a few days. Bill rarely misses the reunions, but he’s not able to be here this time. He had a great idea that we think you’ll have some fun with. We prepared a Murdo History Quiz.

The questions are numbered 1-52.

The answers are  the name of the person the question refers to. The names are listed below A -ZZ

All you do is put the correct letter  in the answer column. This is just for fun. I’ll put the answers on the Murdo Girl blog on July 20th. I’m also bringing some hard copies of the quiz to pass out to anyone interested in seeing how much they know about the history of Murdo, SD. Please share the quiz with others. If you would like me to email the answer sheet to you, send your request to

Happy reunion to all. Bill Francis and Mary Francis McNinch.

PS. Several good friends helped us compile the questions and we really appreciate it.

Murdo History Questions
Number Descriptions Answer
1 1937 Graduate; Court Reporter; Farmer
2 1941 Graduate; UCLA Publicist; IBM Executive
3 1960 Graduate; IRS Fraud Investigator
4 1961 Graduate; Smithsonian Curator
5 1964 Graduate; Rally Day 50 Yard Dash Champion; Nurse
6 1964 Graduate; Writer, Poet, and Blogger; Lives in Mexico
7 1971 Graduate; Aid to Governor Janklo
8 1984 Graduate who has a Country band called Westbound
9 1988 Graduate who is now a wardrobe designer for Green Day, Lincoln Park and Image Dragons
10 1988 Graduate who worked for Senator Thune and now works for Senator Rounds.
11 1996 Graduate who has been on “digs” in foreign lands and became a college instructor.
12 1998 Graduate who attended a military academy and is now a pilot.
13 20’s Graduate; Heavy Equipment Operator; Rookie Pitcher for Murdo Town Team at 47
14 30’s Graduate; Owner of Jewelry Store
15 30’s Graduate; Store Owner; Coached Youth Baseball Teams in 60’s and 70’s
16 50’s Graduate who donated the “Welcome to Murdo” stone that sits below the water tower.
17 50’s Graduate; Bulk Oil Dealer; Trucking Company Owner
18 50’s Graduate; Draper School Teacher and Grade School Basketball Coach
19 50’s Graduate; School Superintendent; Member of South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame
20 Auctioneer; Owner of Murdo Stock Yards; Founder of Murdo Youth Baseball
21 Broke SDSMT seasing rushing and most points scored records in 1977
22 Carried a pale and shovel in Homecoming Parade with a sign the read “Business is Picking Up”
23 County Clerk in 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s
24 Crop Duster in 50’s and 60’s
25 Former resident who has a dental practice in Mediapolis Iowa
26 Helped Rama Burns clean up popcorn after the movies
27 Jones County Sheriff in 50’s and 60’s
28 Late 50’s Graduate; Member of Green Berets
29 Local seamstress that was one of the food swap ladies in Murdo Girl’s Blog
30 Member of 36/37 State Tournament BB Team; Captain of Missota Gophers BB Team; Teacher
31 Member of 61/62 State B Tournament BB Team; Arizona Counselor
32 Member of the 34/35 State B Tournament BB Team; Farmer/Rancher
33 Member of the 36/37 State B Tournament BB Team; 3M Executive
34 Murdo Postmaster in 50’s and 60’s
35 Murdo resident born in the 50’s who wrote a book on poetry
36 Murdo Resident employed at Draper State Bank since the 80’s
37 Operated Murdo Theater in 50’s and 60’s
38 Owner of Murdo Coyote in 50’s and 60’s
39 Owner of Murdo Grain Elevator in 40’s and 50’s
40 Owner of Shoe Repair Shop in 50’s and 60’s; Owner of Department Store in 70’s
41 Popular Owner of Multiple Motels in 60’s; Rode a Motor Scooter
42 Rancher who owned a large herd of Buffalo’s
43 Resident who flew over Murdo and dropped Christmas candy to the kids.
44 Rode a horse in 50th Anniversary Parade and stood on his head on Main Street when he was 80+
45 Taught dozens of Murdo kids how to swim.
46 Truck Stop Restaurant Owner in 50’s and 60’s
47 United States Senator
48 What co-owner of a Murdo truck stop café liked to chew Black Jack gum?
49 What former resident owns a restaurant on the Missouri River called “Murdo’s”?
50 What former residents was in a recent New York City production of “Annie Get Your Gun?”
51 Won State Track Meet in three individual events from 1968 through 1970.
52) Worked at Mack’s Café in 50’s and 60’s

Name Answer
Greg Brunskill Sr. A
Karen Fertig AA
Bummy Gutherie B
Ray Eveleth BB
Charles Francis C
Don Height CC
John Thune D
Kati Seymore DD
Laura Hayden E
Beverly Brooks EE
Allen Rada F
Judy Dykstra FF
Dan Parish G
Berferd Francis GG
Patty Peck H
Jim Judd HH
Stephanie Miller Davis I
Jim Anschutz II
Willard Bordeaux J
Deke Church JJ
Harold  Bordeaux K
Jeff Sanderson KK
Melvern Kessler L
Wayne Sanderson LL
George Allen Iverson M
Slim Hulce MM
Ben Arnett N
Kitty Reynolds NN
Fern Penticoff O
Pete Penticoff OO
Maurice Haugland P
Earl Wedean PP
Mons Anker Q
Ed Jackson QQ
Ellis Beckwith R
Sam Seymore RR
Harold Thune S
Don Edwards SS
Scotchy Ingalls T
Nancy Parish TT
Michael McMillan U
Jim Guthrie UU
Jessi Halligan V
Brad Bork VV
Harold Peck W
Pink Sandy WW
Rama Burns X
Dee Anderson XX
Bill Greiner Y
Del Brost YY
Lee Beckwith Z
Ryan Halligan ZZ


Murdo Girl…Don’t miss the Murdo blowout!

I promised a party and I always keep my promises, so let’s have some fun!

What: A Good Time in Murdo

When: Wednesday

Where: In the Harold Thune Auditorium on the Jerald Applebee floor



Every Murdoite from the youngest to the oldest is chocked full of excitement about the upcoming blowout at the Harold Thune Auditorium. Mr. Applebee has been cleaning his floor all week and boy does it shine! Good work Coach. Mr. Palmer has changed out all the light bulbs in the crow’s nest, so everyone should be able to toot their horns and beat those drums with amazing accuracy. There’s nothing better than a band that can see.


I’m bringing homemade popcorn
I’m Murdo Girl and Billy’s Mom and I’m proud as punch

There will be so many children’s activities, the little ones will run Mom and Dad absolutely ragged. To name a few, there’ll be piggy back rides, on the backs of the basketball team, bobbing for lemons in a tub full of free water donated by Murdo Wall Drug, and lemons from Sanderson’s store.  We’ll have pin the tail on the Coyote, and the Queen has offered to be in charge of the pony rides in the parking lot.


We know that the little darlings can get away from you sometimes, so Deputy Fife has set up a “Nip it in the Bud” stand where you can go and holler for your kid on the megaphone. He will also be lurking around incognito. That way if he spots trouble brewing, he can nip it in the bud. Murdo Girl will be assisting him when needed.

snow hat barney07-DSC01458




For adult entertainment, there will be a twist off. This is for men and women under 40. The older people should not participate. It’s hard on your core to twist like that. For the geriatric crowd, there will be a place reserved in the SW corner of the auditorium where you are welcome to dance the tango if you’d like. Hopefully, it will be one of your good days. A single plastic rose will be provided for as long as the supply lasts. Some like to hold a flower in their teeth when they dance. One rose per couple please. Unless you can twist and tango to patriotic music, you’ll have to wait until the glee club is finished and the band starts to play.

40 and above only please

Under 40 welcome

I borrowed these photos from Judy Dykstra Brown’s blog, Lifelessons. I’ll give them back Judy.

We are committed to using every square inch of space in the auditorium. As previously mentioned, The girls glee club will be on the stage. They will be singing a series of patriotic songs. You won’t be able to see their performance because the curtain will be closed. We decided that we wanted the singing to be subtle and kind of drifting in the air. Having the curtains closed will promote the atmosphere we’re shooting for.


Speaking of shooting..When the glee club takes a break, there will be a shoot the basketball contest. You have to shoot from the free throw line. Five out of five baskets will get you a prize. It will most likely be a lemon meringue pie from Mack’s Cafe. Four out of five gets you a box of Millionaire candy from The Murdo Wall Drug Store. Ever since all the Wall Drug signs were moved to direct the tourists to Murdo, the store has become pretty flush and they wish to share their wealth.

These boys will be on hand to sign autographs.

 In the girl’s locker room, Madame Queen will be telling your fortunes. She recently obtained a Certificate in Fortune Telling from the School of Mediums in New Underwood. I’ve heard she’s extremely accurate. She will tell you anything you want to know without even asking any questions. Consult Madame Queen on love, marriage, wills, and power’s of attorney. She will succeed where others have failed. She will even review your blood work if you want her to. Your reading will be private and confidential. A line will be formed at the top of the stairs, by the back door. If we have to, we’ll even rope off an area so people don’t try to cut in.

I thought I was in charge of the pony rides

The mega talented Photographic drawer, Sherri Miller will be in the boy’s locker room where for a nominal fee, she will draw your photograph. If you’d like, you can contact her early and show her what colors you’ll be wearing. That way, she can pick up the pencil that most closely matches your outfit, at The Gambles store on her way over.

Has the Queen seen this Sherri?


A few housekeeping matters

Just to avoid confusion, males and females will be allowed in both locker rooms for this event.

Parking will be tight, so walk if you’re able. Some of you live real close.

Now…Have yourself a ball!!

Murdo Girl…Fern’s chocolate cake

Fern’s Cafe has been featured in several of the Murdo Girl stories, and many of you readers have been reminiscing about Fern’s chocolate cake. I didn’t think much about it at first. I figured one good chocolate cake was about the same as any other good chocolate cake. I got a little curious though, when someone posted the recipe on Pat Bechard’s FB page. Fern was Pat’s grandmother. The person who posted it said they got it from Lois Jaide.

I decided to bake the cake. I’ve gained ten pounds since I started the Murdo Girl blog back in March… It landed on my hips Just in time for the Murdo all school reunion. My other prediction about the bad hairdo came true as well. I got my hair cut twice and it’s still too short.

Not this short


Let’s pretend I’m a good cook. I’m going to take you step by step through the building of Fern’s Chocolate cake.


1-Ferms cake

I read it over several times just to get a feel for it. The recipe said, *add butter the size of an egg. You’ll notice that the cake doesn’t have any eggs in it, but you’ll need one anyway so you can measure the butter accurately. If you double the recipe, you will need 2 eggs. Just be sure you don’t put the eggs in the cake.


The first step is to boil the cocoa and milk together until thick. How thick? I guess I could have called someone, but I decided to wing it. I waited until it was the consistency of thick mud.That part went fine.

The next step is to add flour, sugar, baking soda, milk, and vanilla. So far so good. The recipe didn’t tell me how I was supposed to mix it up. Should I use a mixer, or should I just hand stir it? I decided to hand stir it. I thought the batter looked a little too thick, but it sure did taste good. I love cake batter and cookie dough. I’ve been known to consume so much of the cookie batch before it’s baked, what’s left is hardly worth heating up the oven for. I know raw eggs might kill me, but I’m a risk taker.

I found a loaf pan and sprayed it with cooking spray. The recipe said to grease the pan, but the spray is so much easier.

All my good loaf pans are out in the RV..That’s a lie. I don’t have any good loaf pans. This is the best one. It looks “cooked in.”



I baked the cake at 350 for 35 minutes. It came out of the oven looking like the first picture. When it cooled down, it looked like the second picture. It sunk in the middle and the top cracked. I wasn’t concerned. There is remedy for every problem.

You turn the cake upside down on a pretty plate
Find the recipe for your favorite frosting
And frost it


You’re welcome

Kip and I decided this recipe is a keeper. I looked online to find an explanation as to why it fell in the middle, and I found a couple possibilities. One being not enough liquid.  I might add an additional 2 tablespoons of milk next time. The cake does have a unique, but really good chocolate flavor. Even though the batter seemed dry, the texture turned out to be moist and just the right denseness, so I don’t know. Should I have used a mixer?

My kids always loved my chocolate chip cookies and my Mom’s lemon bars. I used to be able to make them both without looking at the recipe. All of a sudden one day, they weren’t good anymore. I visited my son and his family in Wyoming and they wanted me to make my homemade chocolate chip cookies. I tried four or five times and no matter what I did, they were as hard as a rock. They were even too hard to dunk.

I wonder if any of you Murdoites still have your Jones County cookbook. I love it. As you can tell by the shape it’s in, I used it all the time when my kids were still home. I love the pearls of wisdom on each page like, “Some husbands know all the answers. They’ve been listening for years.” It’s fun to see the names and remember the ladies who gave up their very best recipe’s for the cause.

The recipe for Mom’s yummy lemon bars is in the upper right hand corner under all the spilled coffee. 

I also have this cookbook written in 1951 probably by The Methodist Church basement cooks

This is the recipe Mom contributed. Do you notice anything funny?

It’s a recipe for eggless, milkless, butterless cake…at the end it says, you can put 2 eggs in it if you want to. Why? To make the name shorter? What is all this egg controversy about anyway?


How low can you go? You’ve heard of a wall flower? I’m a rug flower


You’re supposed to curtsey twinkle toes

I’m just taking a little break from the campaign. We’ll finish it up after the party




Murdo Girl…The Vivian dance

When I was in high school, there was a dance in Vivian every other Friday night. Kids came from all of the surrounding towns, so it was always crowded and full of drama. Lots of hookups and breakups happened at the Vivian Dance. Although it won’t seem like it at first, the story I’m going to tell is a Vivian dance story.

The weekly dance started years before my high school days and probably went on for years after. I don’t know. Everyone understood that what happened in Vivian, did not stay in Vivian.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason there are so many Murdo Girl readers, is because everyone’s afraid of what I might write about them, and they don’t want to be the last to know. It was the same way with the Vivian Dance. You had to be there.


The Vivian dance…Up main and on the right

The summer after high school graduation, I went to California. My sister-in-law got me a summer job working at the Chancellor’s Office for the California State Colleges. It was a lot of fun. I worked with a proof reader who had a daughter about my age. She was also working there for the summer. Maureen and I became good friends. Then, the last few weeks I was there, a high school friend of mine,  Josephine Jost, came out to California.

1-cal fed
California Federal Building on Wilshire Blvd

My sister-in-law had a little MG convertible that she let me take to pick Josephine up at the airport. The car was very little and Jo was far from a light packer. We somehow managed to get all her suitcases shoved in the backseat. The problem was, they stuck out on the sides and we couldn’t see behind us without stretching way out. I’m talking hanging over the door to our waist way out.

Imagine suit cases spilling out everywhere

Once we got her luggage all stashed, off to the freeway we went. I hadn’t driven much in California, but my sister-in-law had written down good directions and I was really pleased that I had made it to the airport without any wrong turns.I made up for that on the way back. Reversing directions proved to be a real challenge for the little Murdo Girl and Josephine was just along for the ride. Nothing ever shook Josephine up anyway.

Well, I took the wrong exit off the freeway and was extremely afraid I would never find my way back. The freeways are four lanes and they don’t have those neat turnarounds where you can get back on the freeway going the other direction real easily. If you read my Murdo Girl driving stories, you know I didn’t do all that well on a gravel road. A person could be like the guy in the song who never returned and his fate is still unlearned.

I made a quick decision to turn around and go back up the exit. I still can’t believe I did that. Josephine will remember if you want to fact check me. I managed to scoot that little yellow MG far enough over that we somehow avoided a terrible accident. One driver yelled. YOU CAN’T DO THAT! Josephine yelled back, OH, YEAH?! WE JUST DID!! We weren’t even smart enough to be scared.

We got a tiny efficiency apartment, just a few blocks from where I was working. The idea was to get Josephine a job too, but we never got around to that. The apartment had a medium-sized living room area and a Murphy bed that pulled down to reveal a closet. It had a small bathroom and a very small counter with a hot plate. That was our kitchen, where we cooked every night. Well, almost every night. Once or twice at least.

Everything doubles for something

A few weeks later, we decided to go back to Murdo. Back then, you could usually get a standby ticket for $50.00.  My work friend, Maureen dropped us off at the airport and we slowly made our way to the ticket counter. I say slowly, because we were going back in style. We had all of Josephine’s luggage plus mine along with a guitar and one of those bonnet hair dryers. I don’t remember which one of us had the guitar but I don’t recall either of us playing it. We each had purchased a cute short wig, and a leather fringed jacket. We were impressed with ourselves and couldn’t wait to make our appearance. We had rushed around to get ready so we could get back on Friday night in time to go to the Vivian dance.

1-V dance
This is Vivian..can’t be too far to the dance

We made it as far as Salt Lake City before we got bumped. Regardless of whether we caught another flight that day or not, we were broke and would be at the airport for the duration. We passed the hours we waited, by pushing each other around the airport in a wheel chair. We were hoping someone would feel sorry for us and give up their seats, but that didn’t happen.

Finally there were two seats open on the last flight to Rapid. We were told we weren’t the next in line. It was a man and woman with two little ones.  Josephine and I kept checking our watches while invading the family’s space. We listened to them try to decide if one adult and one child should go ahead and the other two follow later. It was nip and tuck until the last minute. We told anyone who would listen that we only had $20.00 between us. I guess I didn’t mention that there was only a slight chance of getting on a flight the following morning.

We lucked out and were allowed to check our many bags and take our seats on the plane. Next stop..Rapid City. When we  finally got to Rapid, Josephine called a friend she had on standby to pick us up. We had another couple of hours to pass in an airport. We didn’t eat because we needed the 20 bucks for the dance. Our ride got there and we were off and running.

I can’t remember the guy’s name now, but when we got to Murdo, we had him drop us off at my house. Mom was out of town I guess. I don’t remember if she even knew we were coming back. We had to lay low, because if word got around that we were back in town, it would ruin the big surprise. We were both exhausted, and didn’t want to get to the dance until between 9 and 10 anyway, so we asked the guy who was nice enough to drive us to Murdo, if he would come back and get us at 9:00 sharp!

Confident that we had it all figured out, we went to sleep….and didn’t wake up until 4:00 a.m. Even the Vivian Dance doesn’t last that long. We were madder than hops at ourselves. It was 4:00 o’clock in the morning, and we were wide awake, with no place to go, which was a good thing because we had no way to get there. The picker upper guy said he came by and honked the horn, but figured we had caught a ride with someone else when we didn’t show up.

Later, we heard the dance was a whole lot of fun, which made it even more devastating. The stars weren’t aligned. We pushed the river and it’s supposed to flow. All those kids at the Vivian dance didn’t know what they had missed. They were deprived of our grand entrance signifying our return to Murdo.

I’m sure many who read this have bigger and better Vivian Dance stories, but this isn’t too bad since we didn’t even make it there.


The Murdo Party is on Wednesday. I need time to get ready…and a nap. The Queen and Camilla plan to come. Should be fun.

For heaven’s sakes Camilla. I’ve heard of leaving a party with a lampshade on your head, but a toilet seat?


Murdo Girl..Here ya go..The final answer

When did Barney discover his gun was missing? (The morning after the parade)

When was it first discovered under Otis’s hat? (Several days later after the 4th)

I’m so over this…….Me too…..Me three

The flaw: Otis did not stay in the cell during the day, only at night. Why didn’t Otis or someone else see the gun hanging on the hook, when the hat wasn’t there? The answer is, the gun could not have been on the hook the whole time. Where was it?

Who had motive and opportunity to take the gun?

Barney hung the gun on the hook the night of the parade. Otis put his hat over the gun. Barney locked the door to the jail before falling asleep, but Otis left to get help. He unlocked the door which made it possible for someone to come into the jail house while Barney was sleeping and Otis and his hat were gone. Barney was sleeping and the gun was hanging on the wall uncovered. Who do you think would have come in, seen the gun,took it with them, then returned it the night before it was found

1)Was it Thelma Lou and Louise? Remember Louise thought they should come up with a scheme to make Barney look like a hero. Catching a thief would qualify. That might have been their motive. They would make it look like someone stole Barney’s gun, then plant it so it looked like someone else took it. When Barney caught the would be crook, the town would think him a hero. Then when it didn’t unravel as expected, they got scared and put the gun back, or they just plain got bored.


2)Was it Jerry? He was concerned about losing his job. Remember, Murdo Girl hinted that if they didn’t bring in some more cash he might have to go home. He only had $5.00 yet he carried that big empty bank bag wherever he went. Maybe he was carrying the stolen gun around, waiting to see where he could get the best deal. (He’s on a salt restricted diet due to the excessive chip consumption. He needs $ now, not chips.) He could sell the gun on the black market and donate the proceeds to the campaign that offers him the best deal, or he could return it to Barney, no harm done.

3)Was it A I? She acted kind of funny don’t you think, when the gun was found while she was there? She was obsessed with being an informant, and wasn’t real happy about how Murdo Girl was running her campaign. She may have come in that night and when she saw the gun, took it intending to frame the Murdo Girl team, just to make it more interesting.

This is my team A I…You knocked several of us down.


Answer: It was Jerry. He’s writing his confession now

1-horses tail
Do you even know the real Jerry?

PS..We’re not allowed to fire him while the case is in litigation

Murdo Girl…Hiding in plain sight

1-Murdo Map

The whole town of Murdo is on pins and needles. They have one question on their minds. Who stole Barney Fife’s gun, then brought it back and why? The only one who has been officially eliminated as a suspect is Otis Campbell. The Murdoites think at least 2 people know, or have a pretty good idea who the Gun Ghost is. The Queen tried her best to blurt it out at the press conference, but Barney stopped her. He then went into great detail to explain why Otis had been eliminated as a suspect. As with most things involving our beloved Queen, confusion reigns. Several Murdoites went to Murdo Wall Drug for ice water and lemons after the press conference broke up. There were a few noticeably absent.

Murdo Girl and Barney are in a private meeting over at the jail house.

Murdo Girl: So now what do we do Barney? This whole town is stirred up and if we don’t tell them pretty soon who the Gun Ghost is, they’ll lynch us both, and I’m not ready to have my platform pulled out from under me. As it stands now, people are questioning if either one of us should be President.

Barney: Sniffing. Don’t I know it Murdo Girl. I’ve been feeling the heat ever since my gun went missing. Who wants a Deputy Sheriff who loses his gun, then finds out it’s been hanging on a nail underneath a prisoner’s hat?

Murdo Girl: And who wants a President who is rumored to have used dirty tricks to make the Deputy look bad?

Barney: I see what you mean Murdo Girl, your short comings are way worse than mine.

Murdo Girl: Hold it Baaaaaarn. You’re shortcomings are way way worse than mine.

Murdo Girl and Barney: Truce..Truce

Barney: The only trouble is, when we tell everyone who the Gun Ghost is, and the story behind the story…

Murdo Girl:  We have to have a plan Barney. The Queen won’t keep her lip zipped much longer. I have an Idea. Let’s sit here and recreate what happened.

The recreation:

It all started the day of the parade. It was a sunny day, and all the birds were singing. That evening, after the town had quieted down some, a tired  Deputy Barney went back to the jail to lock it up. When he walked through the door, he heard a sound, yes, a sound of a wheeze, no not a wheeze, a snore. A SNORE?! What in tarnation? With his heart sinking down to his shoes, Barney turned around knowing what he would see. Otis sleeping in the jail cell. Barney had left it open because if he happened to arrest someone, it was easier to throw them in the cell and slam the door shut, rather than go find the key and go through all those extra steps.

Anyway, he knew it was no use trying to wake Otis up and get him out of there, so he locked the jailhouse door, but not the cell door. Then he poured himself a cup of day old coffee, hung up his holster, sat down at the desk and propped his feet up. Soon, there was the sound of two snorers snoring.

Fast forward one hour: There is still the sound of two snorers snoring. Suddenly, Otis wakes up. It takes him a minute to remember where he is. He’s never been to Murdo before. He doesn’t know this jailhouse. He walks over and peeks out the open door and sees Barney fast asleep. Now what? He thinks. He’s supposed to keep Barney up and busy all night. It was part of the deal he made with the Murdo Girl camp. They wanted Barney off his game. In turn, they would get Otis and Mrs. Campbell relocated to Murdo. They even got his community service transferred from Mayberry. Otis missed old Barney anyway, so it was easy to sell him on the new cell.


All this was going through Otis’s mind as he sat down in the chair on the other side of Barney’s desk. Then Otis could not believe either his eyes or his ears. Barney started singing in his sleep. Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew, but through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and stood real tall and did it my way.

Otis walks around the desk and shakes Barney. He tries to tell him that he’s singing Murdo Girl’s campaign song, but Barney just keeps on singing in his sleep. Otis gets so nervous he decides he has to get someone to help, but first he better find some way to quench his awful thirst. Now Barney is there alone. He’s either walking in his sleep or just unsteady, but something in his subconscious tells him he should get the keys and lock up that cell Otis is in, and put his holster back on. (He doesn’t know Otis left.) Instead, he gets his gun out of his holster, hangs it on the wall where the hats go, and puts the keys on the ring where the keys do go. He puts his holster back up where the holster goes, and goes back to sleep. Otis comes back without help, because he quenched his thirst too much. He stumbles over and hangs his hat on the hook where the hats go, and where the gun is, goes back in his cell, shuts the door and goes to sleep.

Mystery solved. Everybody’s plan backfired. Barney couldn’t find his gun because he was asleep when he hung it on the hook. Otis didn’t do what the Murdo girl camp asked him to, but he didn’t remember that he didn’t. Murdo Girl thought he did, because Barney was tired and twitterpated. Not one person was a viable witness to what happened. When they asked the Queen how she knew who the Gun Ghost was she said, “she dreamed it.” When she told the story to Murdo Girl and Barney, they figured out the rest, and decided they were going to listen to the Queen a little better in the future.

Now try to tell all that to the general public while looking Presidential

The Murdo Girl Team

The Murdo Girl bodyguards. Now what’s she doing?

The Murdo Girl Stuff

Murdo Girl..”Just Sayin”

Barney’s Team

Barney’s Bodyguard
4-barney tshirt
Barney’s Stuff
sad barney
Barney. I’m going to nip it in the bud
1-Big Crown
I need to remember not to wear this crown. It makes me have weird dreams

***************************************************************************Next..Will Murdo Girl and Barney opt for a credible cover-up or will they tell the truth as they know it? Will the Murdoite’s believe the truth? Does anybody really know the truth?  Will confusion still reign, or will the Queen buy a smaller crown?  Will Yram keep her job at the Murdo Coyote? What are Thelma and Louise up to? Do you know what I think? I think we should have more fun things like the parade. Let’s have a town party! 

Epilogue to the Gun Ghost Story

There is a flaw in this story. If any of you readers figure it out, tell me, but don’t tell them. There is an answer to every question. I ‘m pretty sure anyway, unless there isn’t.

When did Barney discover his gun was missing? The morning after the parade

When was it first discovered under Otis’s hat? several days later after the 4th

You don’t have to solve a mystery, only discover the flaw



Murdo Girl…The Ghost profiled

You wouldn’t think there could possibly be so much excitement and intrigue surrounding the residents who live in this small Dakota town. To this close knit community, today is just like any other day. Doesn’t every town have two Presidential candidates in their midst? I bet Presho has an Aggressive Informant, a Photographic Drawer, and a pesky reporter who got run off by all the teachers at the High School, only to snag two other reporting jobs in as many weeks. Draper must have a Deputy Sheriff who lost his gun only to find it hanging under the hat belonging to a guy who puts himself in his cell every night to sleep off a few too many adult drinks? When Vivian residents are walking around town, surely they run into a girl who calls herself “Vivian Girl ” followed by three bodyguards named Bart, Smart, and Braveheart? I better stop now before my sentences get any longer. 

1-Barney and the President
Barney’s worst nightmare

There has however, been another needed position filled. I bet none of the towns mentioned or even White River have what we have now.


Oyes Oyes Oyes, (That means listen up in French.)

The Town Crier has just announced there is to be a press conference in the grassy area next to the Courthouse. It will begin promptly at 2:00 p.m., which is just a few minutes from now so let’s hurry.


It appears the press is gathering on the lawn. I see Tommy, Janie, Yram, and the Photographic Drawer, as well as Teresa, the Liaison who communicates between the Murdo Girl Camp and the Murdo Coyote Newspaper. Wait! Here comes the Aggressive informant too. Quite a crowd for sure. Now I see Murdo girl, Bart, Smart, and Braveheart headed this way. Well for heaven’s sakes, here comes Jerry (holding his Jones County Bank bag), Thelma Lou and Louise, Otis, and good grief Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife. Well, slap my face and call me stupid. Is that the Queen at the microphone?

Yes, it’s me the Queen

Queen: Chip chip cheerio to all the Murdo commoners. I’m here to  extend a bipartisan olive branch. I’ll cut to the chase. Barney found his gun, and now…We know who the Gun Ghost is.Who did you think it was? I was so surprised when I found out..who would have ever in their wildest God save the Queen moment, been able to guess it could…..

Barney: Interrupting the Queen..Thank you for your bipartisan branch Queen. It has taken a combined effort of people on both sides of the isle, to round up this criminal we call “Gun Ghost”. Ya know, (sniff, pulls his pants up), At first I thought it was Otis. After I saw that gun hanging under his hat hanging on the wall, I put two and two together and came up with Otis. As further information surfaced, Deputy Barney fife had to rethink that idea. Upon further investigation, we were able to rule out Otis as a suspect. At this time, I would like to call to the mic, Murdo Girl’s Aggressive Informant, A I

sad barney1-Sheila

A I: Deputy Fife is correctomundo! Otis is just by nature, a suspicious looking guy, I mean just take a look. (All heads and eyes turn towards Otis). Sometimes it’s a persons shame and embarrassment of themselves that makes them look suspicious. That was the case with Otis. He was sneaking around not making eye contact because of shame and embarrassment. We couldn’t for the life of us figure out why Otis would be hanging around with the likes of Lav the rock hauler. Otis, would you tell this extremely large crowd, just why you were following Lav around?

Otis: ……..

A I: Otis speak up, why are ya whispering? Look me in the eye Otis.

Otis: Community service…the judge told me I had to do 20 hours of community service and hauling rocks is what prisoners do so I figured it was a community service. That morning at the jailhouse when miss A I came in, I woke up and knew I had to get on over to meet Lav so we could go haul rocks. I couldn’t be even one minute late. If I’d still been under the influence, I sure wouldn’t of been anymore after I saw that gun hanging under my hat. I’d hall more rocks today, but it’s too windy to haul rocks today.

The crowd is kind of talking around to each other when one guy says.


Guy in the crowd: I think it’s Stinky Davis: That’s all well and good Otis, but we all heard the Murdo Camp secretly talked you into coming to Murdo. I heard tell they brought you here for nefarious reasons. (Stinky likes to use big words sometimes.) Explain that Otis.

Murdo Girl: Walks up and gently nudges the Queen away from the microphone. My fellow Murdoites, It’s true that I brought Otis to town. It’s true that he did the Murdo Girl Campaign a favor, but that favor had nothing to do with stealing Barney’s gun. We brought Otis here to distract Barney. Otis kept Barney up all night. Barney had to give him sobriety tests and show him around the new jail. The next morning, Barney was tired and twitterpated. He must have been so distracted, the Gun Ghost took advantage of his state of mind and nabbed the gun during the night. Barney took off his holster and nodded off for a bit. Like me, I’m sure you are all wondering why the Gun Ghost brought the gun back and hung it under Otis’s hat.

Woman in the crowd: I think it’s Alma Davis, Stinky’s wife. Excuse me Murdo Girl, but if Barney and the Queen, and a few others know who did it, they surely must know why, and when. Can we have a name already?

I know just how you feel fella

Barney: Walks up and gently nudges Murdo Girl away from the microphone. From the expression on Deputy Fife’s face, it’s pretty clear the Baaaaaaarn is back to his old self. Geez..listen to what he says: I’m kinda parched from doing all this talkin. Let’s adjourn to the Murdo Wall Drug for some ice water.

Which cup do you like best??


Will the writer’s mean streak continue? For the love of Pete, tell us who’s five fingers lifted the Baaaaaarn’s gun! Will Deputy Fife’s numbers climb higher in the Pole Vault Poles? Has Murdo Girl’s popularity reached it’s peak or will she some up with another in a series of brilliant ideas? Hang on to your seats Murdoites, It ain’t over till I say it’s over! As the campaign song , which will be sung tomorrow by Carol Callihan Fairbanks, says:




Murdo Girl…Putting Murdo on the political map

1-Wall d

The Town of Murdo, South Dakota is buzzing about the two local candidates for President. Rather than go with the establishment Democrat (Donkeys), and Republican (Elephants), they have both chosen to break away and makeup their own tickets. Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife is a candidate representing the American Lone Wolf party, and Murdo girl, is running on the American Coyote party ticket.

Now for the platforms. Truthfully, they are both still trying to find their message. Murdo girl has campaigned to increase the local tourist trade by relocating all the Wall Drug signs so they direct traffic to Murdo drug, whose name has been changed to Murdo Wall Drug. The establishment offers free ice water in the winter, and warmish water in the summer. They do provide free over-ripe lemons donated by Sanderson’s store year round. If they run out, they promised to offer the Wall Murdo Drug a good deal on the lemon juice that you squeeze out of the plastic lemon. The other idea Murdo Girl has pushed through with the aid of the Queen, is to change the name of the Murdo Water Towers, to Murdo Girl Tower. (Just one so far. They’re working on $ to paint the 2nd tower.) The objective is to take an arrow from The Donald’s quill, and see if she can duplicate the celebrity that The Donald has experienced with his Trump Tower. It’s all about name recognition right? All the issues Murdo Girl has found solutions for are currently in litigation, but isn’t everything these days?

On the Lone Wolf ticket, Barney Fife has been somewhat occupied fighting crime. He is working a big case currently that could put Murdo on a bigger political map. Apparently there is a gun thief in our midst. Unfortunately, they took Barney’s gun and hid it under Otis Campbell’s hat which was hanging beside the cell next to the keys. There is an ongoing investigation, which I guess means Deputy Fife can’t talk about it until the perp is in custody.

Murdo and Whatever will all be here next week. Come and see The Pioneer Auto Museum

The other question that you might be asking yourself is..How are either of these candidates going to win over the whole Nation if neither one of them ever leaves Murdo? Well here’s your answer silly people…Don’t you know? There’s Murdo and then there’s Whatever. That’s it. That’s all this Nation needs to know. Now go make yourself a T-shirt that says that.

1-Murdo Map


This is the State of Murdo as the story continues

The Murdo Coyote Newspaper offices


Janie to Tommy: Well, it looks like we hired that new reporter just in time? I sure hope she can get us some good copy on the Gun Ghost. That’s what everybody is calling the potential perp. Here she comes now.

Well look who just crawled out from under one of Lav’s rocks.

Yram Sicnarf: Morning bosses! I’m chomping at the bit to get out there and uncover some dirt from under all those rocks. I happen to have some first hand knowledge that missy prissy Murdo Girl was someway involved with the pilfering of pistol packing Barney Fife’s pistol. (Wow, say that 3 times real fast.) I happened to be present at a meeting at the Murdo Girl campaign Headquarters. That was before I got semi-canned. Anyway, I heard some very incriminating statements. Here boss, take a look. She passes her notepad to Janie. Murdo Girl interrupted Jerry as he was talking about selling a battery operated nose hair clipper to Otis and these were her exact words.

1-Chips1-Jerry Elrod

The following words are the exact words spoken by Murdo Girl

Murdo Girl: (Interrupting Jerry) Thanks for the report Jerry, but Otis did a good job for us yesterday, and we don’t want to take advantage. Thanks to Otis, Deputy Sheriff and Lone Wolf candidate for POTUS, is in for a liiitle bitty surprise. Geez Jerry, slow down on the potato chips.

Janie: Not exactly a blubbering confession Yram, but see what you can do with it. Oh, and kinda sweet talk that Photographic Drawer named Sherri. Teresa, the liaison, is letting her draw a few photographs for us. Also, some fool is still hauling  those boxes of rocks over there in a little red wagon. See what that’s about.

1-glitter teresa
I’m Teresa, the Liaison 


1-Pencil packin Sherri-001
Hi I’m Pencil Packin Sherri and I’m ready to draw!


I’m A I ..I inform


I’m Braveheart..Got my eyes open for the Gun Ghost

Murdo Girl : Talking to A I (Aggressive Informant). You saw Barney’s gun?? Get out a here. What would Barney Fife’s gun be doing hanging on a nail underneath Otis’s hat? Who do you think hid it there? Wait  just  a  minute. Otis is hanging out with Lav. She’s been off on some tangent hauling boxes of rocks. Says she’s going to write Murdo Girl on them and lay them all over town. I’m just letting her do it. It’s better than some of her ideas. Why do you suppose old Otis is following her around?


1-Otis 3
Is it me, or is she really tearing up that wagon with all them rocks?


A I: Well, MG, when I saw him, he looked as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I gotta git.. Just wanted to do my aggressive informant duties and inform you. I tried to find out more, but poor Barney had been crying real bad, so I backed off. I’ll just keep my ear to the ground. That is if I can find any ground without a rock on it.

4-barney tshirt


sad barney
What would Barney  Fife Do? Nip it in the Bud, that’s what he’d do!



Well I saw this thing coming out of the sky it had a one big horn and a one big eye. I was just a shakin with a misery..It looked like a purple people eater to me.”


Will someone please find out who the Gun Ghost is? I can’t stand this much longer?! Will the answer be in someone’s notebook marked classified? Will there be a pressing press conference? Will Otis remember anything? Will Lav ask the photographic drawer to paint MG on rocks and everything else she can find? Will A I and Yram duke it out over who informs and reports? Will the Queen quit fooling around and learn the official campaign song,” I did it My Way?” 

All this and more…eventually.

Murdo Girl…Barney takes the heat

Barney Fife for President –  Lone Wolf Headquarters aka the County Jail

Barney has been pacing back and forth, back and forth in front of the cell Otis occupies. To Otis, it seems like Barney has been doing this for hours.

Otis 2

Otis: You sure make it hard for guy to get a good nights sleep. Why do you keep walking back and forth like that?

Barney: stops in front of the cell…I am in the worst predicament Otis. Here I am a candidate for President, and I can’t remember a worse time in my life.

Otis doesn’t say a word. He’s afraid to open up that can of worms

Barney: Almost crying, opens the cell, walks in and sits by Otis. I lost my gun Otis. Yup, I am no longer packing a pistol. One minute I had it, and the next it was gone. I’ve looked high and low and it’s nowhere to be found. I’m supposed to be pistol packing Deputy Barney Fife, now all I’m left with is a bullet in my pocket. What good is a bullet with no gun Otis? sniff, sniff, SNIFF

Otis: Are you crying Barney, please don’t cry. What if one of the Murdo folks that you’re bound to protect walks in here and sees you crying? What if that Photographic Drawer catches you crying and draws a picture? How would that look to the voters?

Barney : With a look of steel in his watery eyes, he stands tall, pulls his pants scratch that.. his pants are as far up as they’ll go. You are right Otis Campbell, you’re very seldom right, but when you’re right, you’re right. I need to pull myself together and figure out where that gun went to. It couldn’t have got up and walked off of by itself. The question is, where do I start lookin?

Just then, someone opens the door..scratch that..tries to open the door, it’s too heavy. It’s kind of a little person. Barney opens the door and in walks a different looking girl. I say different because she hasn’t been seen in Murdo before. Course it’s kinda hard to tell because she’s got a hat and sun glasses on.


Barney: I’m Deputy Barney Fife and I’m running for President on the Lone Wolf ballot.What can I do for you miss?

A I: (Aggressive Informant) I just came to check out the Murdo Jailhouse. I’ve never been in this jail. I hear it’s got a view of the zoo out the window in the cell.

View from the cell window, but there is no zoo

Right at that moment, a nervous Otis lets himself out of the cell and walks over to put the keys back. He takes his hat off the hook, and low and behold, you will never in your life guess what is hooked on that hook!!

A I: This is sooooo interesting. Your prisoner lets himself out of the cell, hangs the keys up, gets his hat, and underneath said hat, is a gun.Barney looks at Otis, Otis looks at Barney. A I watches in amusement. It is so quiet you could almost hear crickets. Finally, A I speaks. Looks like the copper doesn’t know how to locker.


Meanwhile, Murdo girl followed closely by her 3 trusty bodyguards, Bart, Smart, and Braveheart are headed over to Ferns for the bake sale fundraiser. Teresa and Sherri are still at the Murdo Coyote talking to Janie about the rumors surrounding Barney’s missing gun.

Below are the Murdoites attending the Murdo Girl Fundraiser Bake Sale.

It’s still pretty early, the church basement cooks haven’t even arrived with the goodies

You remember Thelma Lou and Louise work at Fern’s now. The church basement cooks.

Well, that doesn’t look like much fun. Lets go check on the girls at the Murdo Coyote.

Janie Ingalls: Now what did you say? Run that by me again. You somehow found out that pistol packing Barney Fife lost his gun. Now tell me, how did you come by this information? You can’t just walk into my Newspaper office and start telling me unsubstantiated reports.

Teresa: She’s the Murdo Coyote Newspaper information Liaison. She looks at Sherri for back-up. 

Sherri: Don’t look at me, I’m just here to draw.

Teresa: Pondering.. Oh yeah, I remember now. You should know all about it Janie, you reported it in the paper. You know, the other day when Barney was rambling on about George Washington sailing to Valley Forge and having to get off the boat to shoot a wolf or catch a fish? He lost his gun, just like Barney did. All he could find was the bullet still in his pocket. Sherri here even drew a nice picture didn’t you Sherri? Sherri nods

Janie: Forgive me if I’m being a little slow to take the bait girls, but as full of himself as Barney is, I have never heard him refer to himself as George Washington.

Teresa and Sherri in unison: Uh Oh

Later that day, back at the Murdo Girl Campaign offices in the basement of the Jones County County State Bank, the entire team is gathering. Bart, Smart, and Braveheart, look positively ill. Braveheart really looks like he needs some serious shuteye. Murdo girl doesn’t look that good either. At that moment, A I, Sherri, Teresa and The Queen all walk in at the same time.

Thelma Lou and Louise gave everybody free stuff


Before anyone has a chance to say anything, Jerry, the Bean and Bingo counter walks in beaming from ear to ear. He has a Jones County zippered bank bag in his clutches.

Jerry: Oboyoboyoboy, we are cookin now. I have the entire proceeds from the Bake Sale Fund raiser at Fern’s. He opens up the bag and dumps what looks to be quite a bit of cold hard cash. Wait for it!! the grand total of the take, I mean proceeds is $80.25.

Murdo Girl: I spent $20.00 myself and from the looks of Bart, Smart and Braveheart, they spent a buck or two. I’m assuming that the whole staff stopped by at some point during the day and picked up a few items. I noticed Fern’s chocolate cake went really fast. At that everybody nods. Lets go around the table and add up what we ourselves spent. Braveheart please stay seated.

The Grand Total? It was counted twice and verified. The amount contributed by other Murdoites? $5.00

To top the whole day off, Lav walkes in grinning from ear to ear. She is hauling a big box of rocks in a little red wagon. Otis is with her. OTIS???

What will tomorrow bring? What is Otis doing at the Murdo Girl for Next Pres on the Coyote ticket headquarters? Is there a scandal and a cover-up brewing or is everybody’s head just sort of screwed up? Why hasn’t A I said anything other than to report she spent $2.75 at the bake sale? How did Barney’s gun get on the hook underneath Otis Campbell’s hat? Where is Yram Sicnarf? If we settle all that and still have a little time, we’ll find out (other than she is dumber than a box of rocks), what Lav is doing with a box of rocks? One more thing. Will Murdo Girl roll out her signature campaign song? (I did it my way.)

I’m bored. I learned how to tie a bow today!