Murdo Girl…You Rascal you

Who doesn’t enjoy being loved unconditionally? That’s why so many of us have pets. I love my animals and I know they love me. Pets love their humans with fierce devotion, but other people usually have to earn their respect. Such was the case with Mrs. E’s  dog Rascal.

Rascal laid under the table most of the time. He wanted to be readily available in case some of Mrs. E’s spam sandwich made its way to the floor. (Which it did accidentally on purpose, more often than not.) His poor front feet were very sensitive because the terror in the wheelchair had run over them so many times. You see, because of all the spam, sausage and other delicacies he had consumed, Rascal couldn’t move very fast. That is unless I made any fast moves in the direction of his Master’s chair. He did not like anyone moving quickly in Mrs. E’s direction. Even an animal lover like me couldn’t get away with it. Therefore, I cannot blame Rascal for all the nip marks on my shins. I look at every pink scar as a time that Rascal got some much-needed exercise.

Rascal is the red dog on the right. The other dog ‘s name is Buddy, but we called him the Big Dog. He belongs to Mrs. E’s daughter. We babysat him and the tomcat named Old Man during the day. 

The last year or so that we were together, Mrs. E also had a kitty. She had befriended a stray feline who eventually made his way into the house. She absolutely adored that cat. I know the poor kitty must have felt smothered. Like any good mother, Mrs. E felt it was her duty to provide plenty of sustenance for all her babies. It became a problem, because the poor little kitty just couldn’t eat as much as his master wanted him to. There were times he ran and hid from her. This became a source of contention between Mrs. E, and her daughter. I was on the daughter’s side.

If the kitty refused the canned cat food, Mrs. E would open a can of tuna fish. So now we had spoilage to contend with. Cans of plastic capped tuna and cat food finally had to be removed from the refrigerator and placed in the garbage.


Kind of a blurry pic of Mrs. E and the kitty

We were in the throes of all this when one morning Mrs. E  informed me she didn’t want to take a bath, or change out of her night-clothes. She was mad because she had gotten into trouble the night before. She had gone through a month’s supply of cat food in 2 weeks, not to mention the cans of tuna she had opened to try to entice the kItty to eat more.

By this time, I had become very creative in my approach to her resistance toward taking a bath. The other challenge was to get her to wear something other than one of the two red outfits she had. We washed every day, so I usually let her decide what she wanted to wear. I thought it was important to let her make some of her own decisions about things. This day happened to be Veteran’s Day. Mrs. E was very proud that Mr. E had been a WWII Veteran. I searched her closet and found a yellow top with a big American flag on it. I said she should consider wearing it to honor Mr. E. She totally bought into the idea and was feeling pretty good about it all.

Later, Mrs. E’s  daughter stopped over to check her Mother’s grocery list. In the process she found “someone” had discovered the cans of cat food she had hidden. She was a little upset, and rightly so. Mrs. E exclaimed rather loudly,”Mr. E loved cats!” Her daughter not knowing the proud American moment we had experienced earlier said, “What does Mr. E. Have to do with you wasting cat food?” I explained she had Mr. E on her mind because she was wearing the American flag shirt in honor of his service. Now who could argue with that logic? The discussion would have to be put off for another day.

Twice, she tried her best to trick me into going to the little store up the street to buy tuna. The first time, she said she was hungry for a tuna fish sandwich. I went and got the tuna, but when I got back, I mixed it all up with hard-boiled eggs, onion and mayo. I knew this was how she liked it. She was really frowning as she watched me ruin the cat’s tuna. She told me her daughter wouldn’t eat it like that. I reminded her it was for her lunch, not her daughter’s. At lunchtime she said she didn’t want it.

The second time she tried to get me to go buy tuna I refused. I tried my best to convince her the cat just couldn’t eat the amounts of food she wanted him to. A little later, she said she was really craving an RC Cola. I agreed to go get it for her. As I was running out the door, she yelled after me, “Oh, and if you get a chance, pick up a can of tuna.” Funny, but I just didn’t have that chance.

As the little kitty grew, he was less interested in being in the house and much of the time he cried to get outside. I thought if he was fixed, he might calm down a little and be a better pet for Mrs. E. I learned that the Friends of the Animals had received a grant to spay or neuter cats. The only catch was, they would cut a notch in the kitten’s ear. The purpose was so the animal control people could see the cat had been fixed. I talked with Mrs. E’s daughter about this and we decided to take the chance that we could somehow explain the notch. We knew Mrs. E would not agree to let her kitten have the surgery if she knew they were going to cut off part of his ear.

Everything went fine and it appeared that Mrs. E. hadn’t noticed her beloved kitten had his ear trimmed. Then one day, she was fraught with worry because the kitten had been outside for several hours. I explained that he often did that, and he always came home. She would not be consoled. Finally she said, “I know he’s going to that drunkard’s house up the street.” I asked her why she thought that? She said she knew he coaxed her cat with food, and she was sure he was the one who had cut her kitty’s ear up.” I didn’t touch that one. It was as good an explanation as any. Let’s blame it on the drunkard.

I was only there in the mornings, and her daughter worked. Mrs. E was usually by herself in the afternoons. She did just fine, because she had her animals to keep her company and her life alert pendant in case of an emergency. Her daughter cooked their supper at Mrs. E’s house and the family ate their evening meal together. For years, this arrangement was such a good one. It allowed Mrs. E to stay in her home for longer than it would have otherwise been possible, but the biggest benefit was she got to enjoy her family of pets.

I heard someone say once that old people are like babies only they’re not cute. Let me tell you something. Mrs. E was no baby, but at times, she was pretty darn cute.






Murdo Girl…Lav a story


1-Murdo Dog-001
I’m NoNo..I guard the Brick House grrrr😉

I thought you might want an update on the goings on at the Brick House. I’m sorry to have to report that Murdo Girl is still less than conscious. One of her eyes can focus, but remember the eye that she’s had problems with in the past? The one that twitches when she gets really nervous. It’s still crossed, and it twitches. Complete bedrest has been prescribed.


We’ve also found out more about the events that led up to and came after the cold cock punch that took her out. Can you even believe the Queen and Lav were responsible? The thing that I sort of wonder about is, why did A I run over to Murdo Girl and say she was going to find out who hit her? I mean she was standing right there! She couldn’t have missed it…Could She??

I was looking at my spy watch

You may have heard that DM and A I went over to investigate Lav’s shed while she was at her Zumba class. They found something all right…What they found, raised more questions. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What do you think about this?

Sorry wrong picture..Lav’s Zumba class.


Right beans

We shouldn’t jump to any premature conclusions, but why would Lav have a shed full of coffee beans? I guess that’s why she was so aggressive with the pitchfork. It makes one wonder if the Queen knows more than she’s saying too.

Usually I say more than I know


In case you’re wondering, I’m stalling…Where do I go first? Okay, you always learn the most in the break room right?


DM: Why are you acting so nervous A I? Didn’t we decide we were going to sit on our discovery until Murdo Girl gets back to normal?

A I: That was yesterday, this is today.

DM: Don’t you think I know that today is today for Pete’s sakes?

A I: I mean..I thought Murdo Girl would be back to herself today, but she clearly is not. Clearly she isn’t one bit clear. I am her spy. I think she is in danger. I must do something. I

DM: Do you know how many times you’ve said I? You need to get a grip A I, and start acting like a spy. I’m her Defense Monitor. I should have defended her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to deliver a knock out punch to Lav and the Queen. It just isn’t me.

A I: comes Lav. Let me handle this. I spy.

DM: No let me handle this. I defend…and monitor

Lav comes into the break room and falls into a chair. She’s not looking very good. Her crown is askew again too.


DM: Hey lav. Where have you bean? I mean been?

Lav: Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my mocha. Where is my mocha? I need my mocha.

A I and DM exchange knowing looks. Lav is really distressed. She looks like she’s ready to cry. Here comes TC and Jerry.

Lav: TC I sure hope you’re not here to yell hear yea, hear yea. I don’t want to hear you, hear, you. I have to talk to Murdo Girl. She just has to be okay. I only socked her cause she told us too. I don’t want to be Next Pres no way, no way!

DM: Really Lav? You do realize the Next Pres makes big beans don’t you? Hey many beans does the Next Pres make?

Jerry: Well, in cold hard beans, several bushels. Taxes are usually baked in. Then it also depends on the denominations. For instance, lima beans are big, but they aren’t worth nearly as much as coffee beans.

Lav: Stands up. I’m not in this for the beans. I just wanted to do something beaningful with my life.



Let’s go take a peak into the Next Presidential suite where Murdo girl is resting. I haven’t seen it since it’s been remodeled. They took the Algebra II sign off the door. I hear voices. I wonder who is with her?  Hm..very interesting, looks like Carol is there. She’s seated in the background and she’s softly singing some kind of background music. Yram is there and so is Pico. 

Pico: How are you feeling Murdo Girl? You sure have a big crossed eye. Maybe you should put a package of frozen beans on it. I’ve heard that helps reduce the swelling.

Murdo Girl: I don’t think the beans will help, I thought I just heard NoNo Yelp.

I can’t even lift my head. Let alone get out of bed!

Pico and Yram exchange looks

Yram: NoNo is fine MG. That was just Carol singing in the background. Can we get you anything? Maybe a little bean soup?

Murdo Girl: We really shouldn’t cook the beans. Although I’m not sure what that means. Even cooked a little bit, beankeeping always throws a fit.

Pico: Its okay MG, you just rest. We’ll be back later when you’re feeling better. Treason is going to have a presser later. We just have to figure out what to tell the Murdoites. We don’t want rioting in the streets or some kind of lynch mob coming after Lav and the Queen now do we?

1-garbage house
The Shed





Murdo Girl…Young old men



In the story where I compared the world of a child growing up today, to my childhood days, it was incredible to realize how much things have changed. I’m sure it was like that for each generation before me, and will be for those who follow.

Mrs. E is 25 years my senior. Mom was 31 when I was born. These two women were raised during times that saw great change. Mom was in her 20’s when WWII broke out. Mrs E was 15 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Like Mom, many of the men and boys in her life went to war.

When I first met Mrs. E, it had been about 4 years since a stroke had left her partially paralyzed on her left side. This event changed her life in a very big way. Her house was full of reminders of her many talents. She had beautiful crocheted bedspreads and afghans in her closets, and bookshelves full of jigsaw puzzles. She had gardened and in other ways, had been very active. She had to give up all those fun and rewarding pastimes after the stroke.

Knowing that many people of her generation loved to play bingo, I asked her if she had ever played the game. She said, “Oh yeah, that’s how I got my 4th old man.” This started a conversation about the men in her life. She made it clear to me that she was not a “rounder,” nor were any of the “old men” who had been important to her . Over that four year period, I learned about these men. The happy times, and the tragedies that she experienced. As I tell you about our conversations, keep in mind that sometimes her memory played a few tricks on her, and she did sometimes embellish for effect. Something of course, I never do.

When she was a young teenager, little miss E, developed a crush on the boy who lived down the road. They spent evenings in his living room where they would lay on the floor propped up on their elbows, and listen to the radio with his folks. This is where they were when they heard that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and the U.S. was entering WWII.

Mrs. E told me the young boy she was with went the very next day and enlisted. I waited for her to tell me more, but she just went back to eating her Spam sandwich. Finally, I asked, “What happened to the boy? Did he go overseas?” She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh yeah, he went over there, got killed and came back the same day.”


What was supposed to be her first date, with the man she eventually married, didn’t happen. She had agreed to go with him to some kind of a church or school social, but at the last minute, she chickened out. She climbed a tree in her front yard and waited. From her perch, she watched him come to the house and knock on the door. Her Mother answered and told him her daughter was around there someplace. They looked everywhere, but didn’t find her, so he finally left. She came down from the tree and went inside. She said her Mother never mentioned it.

Like many depression era families, she grew up very poor. She had to work in the cotton fields and couldn’t attend school. She told me how hard it was for her to go to school for the first time and try to join an 8th grade class. One day, as she waited for her school bus, she got sprayed by a skunk. She was so determined to go to school, she boarded the bus anyway. She made it all the way to school, but wasn’t allowed to stay and had to walk all the way back home. She never learned how to read or write anything but her name, however she was indeed street smart. She signed everything, even a birthday card to her daughter, “Best wishes, and always her full name.


She told me about her half brother who was about 4 years older. She called him Bubba. The two of them had some pretty wild escapades. They became irritated with a group of kids who walked passed their house each evening and sang loud songs. One day the pair spotted a dead animal, which gave Bubba an idea. The two of them found a board about the same size as the newly departed beast, who was looking pretty gruesome by this time. They nailed him to the board, and attached a long narrow rope to opposite sides of the board. Each took a rope and positioned the mounted animal beside the road. They hid themselves behind trees, one on each side. They were now ready for the singing children to come walking by.

It wasn’t long until they heard the familiar, yet irritating singing. They waited until the children were close enough to see the dead animal, but still couldn’t see the ropes. Bubba tightened his rope and slowly pulled the upright dead animal across the road in front of the kids, who by this time had stopped singing. Little E, slowly let her rope out as Bubba continued to pull the grotesque animal onto the kid’s path. Mrs. E told me those kids turned and ran as fast as they could. She and Bubba could hear the screaming above their own laughter. Apparently, the choir learned their lesson, because they never heard them come down the road singing again.

I thought of course this was the end of the story, but Mrs. E. went on to tell me that she and Bubba just left the mounted dead animal laying on the side of the road. That night, when they were called to supper, they had quite a surprise. Bubba and little E. sat on a bench pulled up to the table. When they were seated and ready to eat, their Father, left for a minute and came back with the dead animal still attached to the board and set it between them on the bench. I’m assuming this was his way of telling the pair he knew what they had done, and he did not approve. Mrs. E. said they both wished they could run away screaming, but they knew better. They sat there and ate their supper in silence.

Apparently Mrs. E’s father was a man of few words when it came to disciplining his kids. She told me of a time they got into some “Good Ole Mountain Dew,” and drank enough that it was noticed. Rather than say anything, he gave them an extremely bumpy wagon ride, until they felt the effects of drinking and riding. Both of them got pretty sick.

Mrs. E. could tell the stories with the best of them. She loved talking about the barn dances they had every Friday night. Her Dad played the fiddle and everyone had fun. We found a radio station that played those old familiar hoedown songs. I could tell by the look on her face that the music took her back to those special times. She knew all the words. I even knew a few of them.


It seems as we get older, the good times rise to the top like sweet cream, while the bad times no longer have the sting they once had. What a blessing that is…

Murdo Girl…What a Knock out


Talk about being deep in the weeds. Our new Administration has become overgrown and overblown. It looks like we’ve got a Cabinet full of termites with titles and names like,


Murdo Girl (Next Pres), Lav (Next VP), Treason (Press Sec), TC (Town Cryer), A I (Aggressive Informant, now spy), Jerry (always and forever the Bean Counter), Sherri (Photographic Drawer), Carol (The Singer), Pico (Person In Charge of Brick House Functions), DM (Defense Monitor), NoNo (Short for Nobody Noname.. he is a canine), and of course we have the Queen.

I don’t think she likes me….NoNo

There is someone who just might have a problem with being shoved out of the cushy jobs? Yes, there is one that came aaaalll the way from Gun Barrel City Texas. One…who took it on the chin from practically aaalll of the MHS faculty. In her troubled mind, she thinks that she alone paved the way for Murdo Girl to ride into town in her broken down Jeep and CLEAN UP!!


Yram Sicnarf isn’t ready to suck it up and go home. I mean, it’s a 100 degrees in the shade right now in Texas. Not a good time to vacate loftier, cooler goals.

Who knows what this is going to look like?


Yram: Mr. Francis, You probably don’t know me from Billy, but I’ve heard you’re a fair-minded Murdo man. Would you mind if I asked you a few off the cuff questions?


Big Bill: If you don’t mind if I smoke a cigar. Does off the cuff mean the same thing as off the record?

Yram: Yes.. I don’t live in Murdo, and because I come from Texas, some (although I’m not one of them), think I do things kind of backwards.

Big Bill: Well, Miss Sicnarf, do you think it might have something to do with the way you spell your name?

Yram: I can’t help it that my Father’s last name was Sicnarf! Every day, I look in the mirror and wonder.. what’s wrong with me. Do you think mine has been an easy life?

Big Bill:  What is your Mother’s name?

Yram: Her name is Atterol Nosrednas Sicnarf Nosfatsug.

Big Bill: Well Yram, I’m finished smoking my cigar, but I do have some words of wisdom for you.

Yram: I’m all ears and there’s lots of me.

Big Bill: Stay close to Yllib, and just maybe, your parents were looking in the mirror when they named you. Yes the mirror and a little dyslexia can make strange things appear.

What did Big Bill mean?..Hmm

Yram: Okay Big Bill, but before we go our separate ways, I have some words of wisdom for you too. It’s something my Dad Llib always said..”Watch out for Gnillaf Skcor!” It has to do with two Indian Braves who raced through the Badlands to win the hand of Gnillaf Skcor. She was an Indian Princess who never did show up in the winner’s circle.

Big Bill: Winner’s circle? Did you say winner’s circle? I know the guy who wrote that story. I barely recognize it the way you tell it. Are you sure your brother didn’t tell you the story? It sounds like an add lib from Yllib. He likes horse races.


Armed with a new resolve, Yram decides to go have a chat with Murdo Girl. It’s time to draw a line on the chalkboard. Time to talk about solutions to those important issues that hurt our hearts. Next Pres, Murdo Girl must not get mired in the quagmire. The future of Murdo, SD, USA is in her hands. This calls for an intervention.

In just a few, we find Yram and Murdo Girl together in the Oblong Office.

Yram: Murdo Girl let me ask you something. What have you done for Murdo since you took office? In the beginning you were on fire. You had Murdo Girl Towers, Murdo Wall Drug. I mean you had it goin on. It looks to me like since you won the election, you’ve become a drifter. You’ve added so much dead wood, if someone strikes a match, this “People’s House” will burn to the ground even if it is made of brick.

Just then Treason, the Press Secretary walks in.


Treason: I couldn’t help over- eavesdropping. I agree with Yram.

Next, Pico and DM come through the door

Pico: I agree with Yram and Treason

DM: I agree with Yram, Treason, Pico and DM..(wait that’s me.)

Now, here comes A I, Jerry, TC, Sherri, and Carol

Murdo Girl: Please..somebody bolt the door, before Lav and the Queen come in.(But it’s too late, they’re here too.) Do I have to listen to this for the rest of my dead driftwood days? Have I really lost my way? Have I lost sight of my goals? Have I become one of those I have fought to extricate Murdo from? Next thing you know, I’ll be over at the jail giving Otis sobriety tests.

Everybody stops to ponder that for a minute

Oh No…The Nose pinching test…I hate the nose pinching test!

Murdo Girl: Quick someone slap some sense into me.

Lav and the Queen both haul off and slug Next Pres Murdo Girl who immediately crosses her eyes and slumps to the floor. NoNo runs to her, but no amount of face licking wakes Murdo Girl up. NoNo turns and growls at his master’s evil peeps.

Lav straightens the crown on her head.


TC: unrolls her scroll. Hear yea, Hear yea, Hear yea…Lav Yekcel is now the Next Pres of Murdo, SD, USA. Long live Queen Next Pres.


A I: runs to Murdo Girl and kneels by her side and for a brief moment, Murdo Girl’s eyes uncross. Don’t worry MG, I’ll find out who did this to you. huh? Murdo Girl’s eyes cross again and she’s out cold.


What Next!! Will Murdo Girl Wake up in time for the Corinauguralation?

What is Lav guarding in her garden?


Murdo Girl…A dining experience


Mrs.E loved to tell everyone she had teeth. Then she would point to a little stand in her kitchen and  say, “They’re right over there.” In four years, I never saw them in her mouth. She also had glasses she never wore. I had been coming to her house for a year or so, and one day, I saw she was wearing her glasses. When I asked her why, she told me that she was going to get her eyes checked the next week, so she thought she should wear the glasses for a few days. She seemed to be able to see okay without them, so I asked her why she needed glasses. She said, “Because I see double.” I said “So all this time that you haven’t been wearing your glasses you’ve been seeing 2 of everything?” She said, “Yes, double.” I noticed she took them off before the day was over. She informed me that she was used to going without them, so she wasn’t going to wear them anymore. As far as I can remember, I don’t think she ever went back to the eye doctor.

She told me she didn’t like to put her false teeth in, because she always bit her tongue. The problem was not her chewing. She could eat almost anything. I just had to learn to understand “Mrs. E speak.” I hadn’t quite figured it all out when one day, she asked me to bake her a strawberry cake. It was her favorite. I made a layer cake, and had a difficult time getting the two cakes to come out of the pans.She didn’t have any nonstick spray, so I used oil and a little flour. Some of the cake still stuck to the pans.

Several days later we were making a grocery list and she said to write down Pam. Sometimes I ran by the store on the way to her house and picked up breakfast items she needed, but her daughter did most of the shopping. As it happened, we both bought Pam. The next day, her daughter stopped by on her way to work and as we were talking, Mrs. E wheeled over and was staring into the refrigerator. She said, “I wish somebody would get me some Pam.” Her daughter and I both said, “What do you mean? You’ve got 2 cans on the counter.”Mrs. E. looked at the cans and said, “Well, I don’t even know what that is.” We finally figured out she wanted Spam, and she wanted the kind with hot peppers in it. I wish I had a dollar for every fried Spam, egg, and cheese sandwich with mayo I made for her. She could eat spicy foods that would’ve made smoke come out my ears and I would have had to eat Tums for a week. She thought I was a weeny and told me hot stuff made ya strong!


She also loved cheeseburgers, and like me, she would rather have a good fast food cheeseburger and fries than what you make at home. She wanted everything on it plus jalapeño peppers. I only worked from 8-12 in the mornings, but that was fine. She ate them for breakfast. I had to go to Whataburger, because that was the only place that served them at 7:30 in the morning. Whataburger makes a good burger anyway.


One Friday morning I decided to surprise Mrs. E with a burger and fries. When I got to her house, it didn’t take me long to figure out, it was going to be one of her cantankerous days. When she heard me come in, she hollered from her bed, “Don’t you even talk to me about a bath today, because I’m not taking one! I might not even get dressed!” I hollered back. “Okay, Mrs. E, but if you change your mind, there’s a Whataburger and fries out here for you.”

Pretty soon, I could hear her mumbling around in there. I knew I had two things going for me. She wanted that cheeseburger, and she did not like to stay in bed. She also knew that I would give the burger to her even if she refused a bath. I coerced her sometimes, but I never bribed her. There’s a subtle difference. Finally, she yelled, “I guess I’ll get up!” I went in there and proceeded to help her get into her chair. She could do it on her own, but it was easier for her if I helped. I didn’t say anything about the bath. She begrudgingly said, “Well, I guess I’ll eat that cheeseburger before I take my bath.”

She was beyond stubborn, but she was nobody’s fool either. I will say this. She was a woman of her word. She sometimes regretted it something awful, but if she made a deal with you, she always kept her promise. As a negotiator, she usually had me beat six ways from Sunday, and she loved it.

She had good hearing, but if you weren’t around her a lot, she was hard to understand sometimes. This was especially the case on the phone. She occasionally asked me questions about my old man. That’s what she called anyone’s husband. One morning we were going through our routine, and I said, “If we’re going to sit out on the porch, we’d better hurry. It might rain.” Mrs. E said, “Oh yeah, that’s what your old man said.” I didn’t pay much attention, and pretty soon she said, “He’s got a real nice voice.” I said, “Who does?” She said, “Your old man. I called him when you were driving over here.” I had taped my number by her phone, and she had decided to give Kip a call. Every couple of weeks, she would call him and ask for me knowing full well I was driving to her house. If he was home, they would chat for a bit while she waited for me to get to her house. She always told me about their nice talk.

Mrs. E. Had one of those lifeline pendants, and she wasn’t afraid to use it. She liked to sit out on her front porch and watch the hummingbirds come to the feeder. I sat in a little folding lawn chair and she of course  was in her wheel chair. When we came in, I folded up my chair and stuck it behind the door. One day, I got to her house and she said, “I had to push my button last night.” (She wasn’t looking at me, so I knew whatever she was about to tell me wasn’t going to be good.) Apparently, she had been looking out her door and when she got turned around the door swung shut and the chair fell down. In the process of leaning over to set it back up against the wall, the chair somehow got caught in the wheel of her chair. She said she drug that lawn chair all over the house and it wouldn’t come off.

Mrs. E’s daughter and her husband lived just across the street, but they had gone to Church. Rather than wait just a few minutes for them to return, Mrs. E decided to push her button and get someone over there to get her unhooked. Her daughter told me when they got home, the paramedics, a firetruck, a neighbor and a grandson, were at her Mother’s house. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but she had just gotten in trouble the week before for pushing her button for a non emergency. I’ll save that story for later, because it’s a doozie.

What a character. I think God brought the two of us together, because he figured I had gained some knowledge and experience growing up with a Mom who in temperament, was Mrs. E ” like.” Just maybe, I could hold my own…well maybe some of the time anyway.

Kip and I with Grandsons Seamus and Hudson. Seamus was on the winning soccer team today

Murdo Girl…Pandemonium (our prompt)


The Brick House

It’s early morning at the Brick House and Murdo Girl is already in the Oblong Office. She is discovering that being Next Pres is not all pomp and circumstance. It is hard work. To help lesson the workload, she has pulled Treason off her Liaison to the Murdo Coyote detail and made her Press Secretary. That alone should take a load off. In fact, everyone seems to be settling in to their new positions. Even so, Murdo Girl feels the weight of the Nation on her shoulders and it appears to be taking its toll.

Murdo Girl: WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE FIND OUT WHO’S AT THE DOOR!!!#@! DO I HAVE TO DO ALL THIS NEXT PRES STUFF AND ANSWER THE DOOR TOO?#!@? GEEZ!!  I long for the good old days, when I was just the Little Murdo Girl.

You want me back don’t you?


The knocking stopped and Murdo Girl is able to concentrate again on the task at hand, which is organizing her Calendar. Only two weeks until the Inauguration. (We don’t have to wait until January.) Besides that, the town needs another celebration before the snow flies.

This is just a few invited guests..It might have to be a byob (bring your own beans) Inaugural Dance, but we’ll have a ball!

Inaugural Sminaugural..Let’s Dance..Long Live Next Pres

Since Murdo Girl is so deep in thought, she doesn’t notice she has a visitor until she smells him. He does not smell good, but that isn’t the only problem. The unannounced visitor who has just walked in and made himself at home in the Oblong Office is a dog. Just look at that dirty face.

What’s a Noname doggie to do?

Murdo Girl: A I!!! Where did this smelly dog come from?

A I:  As she runs up the stairs.Well, MG, I just answered the door, and whoever was knocking on it, wasn’t there. This dog ran in before I could catch him, and this note was taped to the door.

A I  hands the folded sheet of paper to MG.

To: Next Pres Murdo Girl

From: Next Dog

Please let me live at the Brick House. I used to walk kids to school every day when this was MHS. I lived in the streets during the night. I don’t like the new school.


Please don’t name me Barney. I did not vote for him.

Murdo girl: It is adapt a dog day. We will give him the best home we can, but first I want to make sure the team is all in. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and it’s going to take all of us to make sure he is treated right.

A I: What about the Queen’s Corgis and the dog named Coyote that Lav has?

Murdo Girl: Well, A I..Did you know the Queen got a new RV Carriage? She liked it so much at the Campground, she decided to stay. We’ll have her over a lot, but she’s got Papa John to help her out with the Corgis. We’ll figure out something with Coyote. Lav was supposed to stay above Sanderson’s Store, where the VP headquarters is, but I noticed she’s over here all the time.

Now A I, will you find Pico for me? We’ve got to get the ball rolling on the Inauguration and the dances.

The Queen’s New Ride


Meanwhile in the employee lounge, Sherri the Photographic Drawer and Lav are deep into their own conversation.

Lav: You really do a good job drawing photographs Sherri. You can hardly tell you don’t even use a camera. How much do you think those people who work at the Badlands make?

Sherri: What people Lav?

Lav: The people they have go out and paint them at night. That’s why they look so different in the daytime you know.

Sherri: Uh..(changing the subject) Gee Lav those are some wild shoes! Don’t you think you’re just a little overdressed? Even if this is The Brick House, We’re usually a little more casual.

Lav: Oh for sure..I’m breaking them in so I can wear them to the Inaugural dances. Are we supposed to find a date or can we just go stag? There’s really only one guy that I kinda like.

Sherri: Well, since you’re the Next VP, you should probably have an escort. Who is the guy you kind of like?

Lav: The contractor that remodeled all of our room signs.

snow hat barney

Uhoh…Where did Noname the next dog really come from? Methinks there might be something sinister going on. Better get on it A I. Jerry said you spent all the beans on Spy stuff.


I will be back

Murdo Girl…Before and after

I really did not expect the response I got from last night’s post. You are all incredibly kind, but the thing that has me most excited, is all of the suggestions I received for a variety of blog topics. Karen Lindquist and others came up with some great Murdoite memory ideas. I have to admit, I have been helped by many of you in the past. The campaign was suggested by my cousin Bob Haverberg. Valerie has had several gems and she’s such a good sport. Eddie and Mari Jackson have provided ideas and most of the photos of our high school years. Sheila came up with the idea for A I, whom everyone loves, and Laura offered to be the Town Crier, and wear her cheese head. Jerry the Bean Counter, Sherri the Photographic Drawer, and Carol the singer may have been products of my imagination run wild at first, but you have all taken ownership and made each character your own. Teresa, who is Treason the Coyote Liaison, also helped spawn the idea of having the Queen be a regular.

I see clearly now the direction Murdo Girl should take. It will be about a variety of things, from Murdo stories, to Mrs. E. stories, to the evolution of Murdo Matters., and beyond.

That being said…It’s all about Mrs. E. today.

Since I mentioned Mrs. E. in my last post, I’ve been thinking about her more than usual, which is really quite often.

Because of a suggestion from someone I have a lot of respect for, I am going to write this story about Mrs. E. It is not what I would have done just yet. I would have told the stories from the beginning, but I decided I wanted to accept the challenge. You will find out what the challenge was at the end of the story.

I came home after the first day with with Mrs. E. and told Kip I wasn’t going to tell anyone about this job right away. I was seriously doubting that Mrs. E. and I would make it together. I felt that way for a while, as I’m sure she did, but the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into years.

I had been with her five mornings a week for a few months and we were making pretty good progress. The biggest problem I was having was getting Mrs. E. to take a bath. She was partially paralyzed on her left side, and it was a pretty big ordeal for her. Fortunately, her daughter was able to train me how to help Mrs. E. maneuver from the wheelchair to the bathroom stool, and onto her shower chair. I could then help her with her bath. We had another system to get her back into the wheelchair. I would push her to the bedroom where she had a pole with a crossbar near the bed. She could pull herself up and swivel around on her good leg and get onto her bed. I would help her get dressed and back into the wheelchair.

One morning, when I arrived, she informed me that she wanted me to dye her hair red. Her daughter kept it clipped in a cute short style, so I knew it wouldn’t be a big problem to color it. We told her daughter about our plan and she agreed to purchase some hair color for us.

The next morning, Mrs. E. met me at the door. Her hair color kit in hand. I said,” Great! Lets go get this on your head!” We got all the dye on and while we waited, I asked her if she wanted me to do her nails. I immediately regretted asking, because I knew better. Mrs. E. usually only agreed to do things if it was her idea. If I suggested something, she always said no. As expected, she said no, and I just shrugged my shoulders like it was no big deal. I also knew she wanted me to coax her. When I didn’t, it ruined all her fun.


When the buzzer went off, indicating it was time to rinse the dye, I started to wheel her to the bathroom. She hadn’t thought about rinsing. She didn’t get to decide about the shower this morning. She didn’t get to use her wily ways like asking me if it was cheaper to take a shower or a spit bath. It was amazing how much she wanted to save on the water bill on cold days. This time, the jig was up and she reluctantly let me get her into the shower. We got her hair rinsed out and finished getting her dressed and ready for the day. She was smiling from ear to ear.

We had taken a before picture, so now it was time for the after photo. She didn’t look at me when she said, “You know, if you reeeaally want to polish my nails, I guess it would be alright.”


Judy Dykstra Brown, as I’m sure most of you know, has a blog called Lifelessons. She is amazingly talented, and if you haven’t checked it out you should. She is extremely creative and talented in both her writing and photography. Each day, she takes the word of the day challenge and works her magic from the prompt she gets.

Judy read my blog yesterday, and gave me a prompt. The prompt was fingernails. How do you think I did?



Tomorrow, we’ll get an update on the goings on at The Brick House. I’m starting to miss the Murdo Coyotes.

Murdo Girl…Now What?

When I retired from what Mom called my “big job,” I found I had very few talents, and believe me I dug deep. I joined women’s groups whose projects I could only admire. They got nothing from me, but I was the beneficiary of some wonderful new friends. They liked me or maybe felt sorry for me. It doesn’t matter, because even though I wasn’t at all “crafty,” they never once asked me to leave. I was beginning to think Mrs. Theissen was right. I was the offspring of a Sanderson woman who never learned how to do anything useful. She of course meant sewing, knitting, crocheting, and these days that would include wood burning, card making, quilting, and all sorts of other crafts.

I was feeling kind of down about it all. Then one Sunday after Church, we went out to breakfast with our usual group of  friends. While Kip was paying, my eyes fell on a flyer that was taped to the front of the counter. It said, “Need a compassionate but firm, part-time caregiver for an elderly lady.” For some reason I wrote down the number. In the next few days, I only toyed with the idea of calling. After I thought about it for a while, I decided to call and see what it was all about.

I filled out the application, and passed the drug test and background check. I drove an hour to the agency’s office and watched videos all day about the HIPPA laws and all kinds of things. I was supposed to start the next day. When I left, the Human Resource lady said, “If you are not going to show up, please call us.” I asked her if people actually did that. She said after watching the videos which include how to help a person with some very personal tasks, some decide it isn’t for them and they just don’t show up.

Well, I did show up, and thus was the beginning of a 4 year relationship with a woman who taught me more about life than anyone I have ever known.

I don’t want to write a lot about Mrs. E. just now, but I want to tell you about why I called this story, “What Now.” One cool morning I was rushing around Mrs. E’s house. She operated from her wheelchair, and like I remember my Mom doing, she sometimes turned on the oven and left the oven door down to warm up the kitchen. Well, I usually move first and look where I’m going later. I was standing by the oven, then turned and tripped over the oven door. I didn’t even have time to put my hands out to catch myself. I fell flat on my face. Mrs. E watched the whole thing come down. After she realized we weren’t going to need an ambulance, she just shook her head at me. (Kip asked me if I had damaged her oven door.) I did hurt for a few days, and my nose was skinned up, but I never said a word about it to either of them.

After that incident, whenever she would hear a noise coming from another part of the house that I happened to be in, she would yell, “NOW WHAT!”


So now I’m sitting here with my second cup of coffee, and I’m trying to decide what I should write about today. It’s really more difficult than you might think. Some Murdo Girlers like to read about my childhood days in Murdo. Some like the current stories with Lav, Yram, and Barney. I don’t get a lot of feedback on my poetry, although I myself get a big kick out if it.

I read that if what you write doesn’t make you laugh, cry, or at least smile, others won’t react that way either.

All of the stories I have written about growing up in Murdo have been easy to write, because they were all true, or at least exactly like I remembered them. No one has ever challenged my recollections to the point of accusing me of telling a bold-faced lie. I’ve never really worried that would happen.

It’s pretty easy to write about Lav, Sherri, Carol the singer, Jerry, Barney, Treason, Thelma Lou and Louise, TC, DM, Pico, A I, and Murdo Girl. I also love writing about Yram’s piti-full-of-herself interviews with the teachers and other Murdo residents.

I can’t get a good feel about the current Murdo Matters storyline. I’ve tried to mix it up a little with true stories about my current life, ie. Keyless or Clueless. I get feedback from the blog site that tells me how many readers I have each day. Only about 5% make comments on the Website, Facebook, or Google. It is the ones I hear from that I listen too, and I appreciate your comments very much.

When you come right down to it, I do this because I love it, and I want to have a positive effect on your day. Writing always has a positive effect on me. So I guess it’s worth every bean I earn. If time were money, I would have a hole dug from here to China, but like any kid, I only have to do a few chores to earn my allowance. I get to work at TC’s a couple of days a week too. She hardly ever makes me cry.

The bottom line is, please comment. If you don’t feel comfortable telling me what you don’t like, just emphasize what you want to see more of. If you comment at the bottom of the blog, or hit like if you like, you can do it anonymously.

One more thing before I move on. If I write much more about my childhood, I’ll have to make it up, and I promised you I wouldn’t do that. (I have saved one or two.)

Here is some feedback I have received from some of my friends.


“I would like to see more Lav stories. I paid $62 for my crown..(Although I really haven’t had buyer’s remorse.) I would like to sing songs in my stories, and be besties with Pico. I would like to ride horses more in my childhood stories, but MOST of all..I want that red convertible. And…A cute driver.”

Murdo Girl: Okay Lav..You are a good example of nepotism gone wrong. Get away from the bottles and eat some frosted flakes like a good Next VP cousin. BTW..does that rag you’re reading have anything in it about me?

The Children

“Come back when you grow up girl. You’re still living in a paper doll world.”


The people wearing sunglasses

I’m loving you girl, but your wide-eyed innocence is really messing up my mind

I’d rather you get your very first heartbreak somewhere else along the line.


This experiment isn’t working out the way I had hoped it would. Oh well, live and learn.. I try to remember to look people in their eyes. I might be the only one who really sees them today. 




Murdo Girl…Yram meets Grandpa

The day started with Murdo Girl and Yram having coffee in the employee lounge of the Brick House.Brick house

Murdo Girl: I’ve been wondering Yram. Why didn’t you participate in the goal setting seminar? It was short, but there were great handouts. You have to admit, you could benefit from establishing some professional as well as personal goals. You lack specificity.

Yram: I heard you all worked a puzzle. I don’t like puzzles. The other day I saw Lav trying to put these little pieces together to make a tiger. She must have sat there 2 hours staring at the picture on the box and working on that thing. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t a puzzle. It was a box of sugar frosted flakes with a picture of Tony the Tiger on it.


Murdo Girl: That kind of thing is hard to hear about my Next Vice Pres. It’s like that crown has changed her. She won’t even take it off when she lifts her fake weights.

Yram: If you want my opinion, that crown is the only flash of brilliance you’re ever going to get from that girl.

Murdo Girl: Let’s get back to you Yram. Do you have anymore interviews set up?

Yram: As a matter of fact Next Pres, I do. I think it will really give you some insight into the daily life of your constituents. I’m going to shadow one of Murdo’s most esteemed residents.

Murdo Girl: You know Yram when you talk like this, you almost seem like you have it together. I have often thought that you and I are a lot alike. We have the right attitude, but sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot. Good luck on your report, and remember.. specificity.


We next see Yram with Sherri, the Photographic Drawer, walking into Sanderson’s Store.

Yram: Excuse me miss, I’m looking for Mr. M.E. Sanderson.

A voice behind her says, “Say! You must be looking for me. I’m M.E.”

Yram: Nice to meet you Mr. Sanderson, I’m Yram Sicnarf, a crack up interviewer from Gun Barrel City, TX. This is my Photographic Drawer, Sherri. Do you know why we’re here?

Mr Sanderson: Didn’t you mean to be here? You’re inside Sanderson’s Store, my son Jeff owns it. I could show you how to get somewhere else?

Yram: No Mr. Sanderson, we know where we are. Didn’t you get my message about spending a typical day with you? We want to shadow you.

Mr Sanderson: No Wyram, I don’t believe I did. I haven’t been to the Post Office yet. I’m headed there right now.

Yram: No, I didn’t mail it, I called..and

 Jeff Sanderson is coming into the store. Hi Dad..wh..

M.E.: Interrupting. Say, Jeff, these young ladies are going fishing with me today. They want to be in my shadows. I guess they need a shady spot. We better get going. It looks like it’s going to be a hot one today. Say..where were you last evening when the sun was going down? I was headed home from that little dam East of here. The sun was shining in my face and I almost ran off the road. Did you know I painted the top of my car dark blue, so if I get caught in a snow storm someone will be able to see me? That was one of the best things I ever did. (side note..I’m not sure if this is true, but that’s what Valerie said.)

Jeff: Nice to meet you ladies. I’ll check on Mother when I go home at noon.

M.E. followed by Yram and Sherry head for the Post Office which is right next door, and they run into Slim Litsie, who is one of Grandpa’s fishing buddies.

M.E.: Say Slim, I’m taking these young ladies fishing. Why don’t you come with us. You can help me bait their hooks. Say, remember when we were out at the dam and we high centered the aluminum boat? I’m sure glad I had my wading boots. The boat grounded on a high spot and boy I was a muddy mess when I got home. It scared my granddaughter almost to death. If she sees my wading boots sitting on the porch, she runs to beat the band. HaHaHa…that was the day..let’s see, no it was last summer, that I took my grandsons Terry and Billy to that dam and we caught some big ones. Say Slim, this is Wyram and Sherri ?? Say Sherri do you just follow her around and draw her a picture?

Sherri: No Mr. Sanderson, I draw photographs. It all started when Wyram was going to interview Coach Applebee. She couldn’t afford a cameraman, so..

M.E.: Say, you girls wait here, while I go on in and get my mail. We don’t need to make a lunch. I packed a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and a thermos of milk yesterday. I didn’t wind up eating it, so we’ll have that today.

M.E. goes into the Post Office and Yram and Sherri wait, and wait, and wait. Several people go in the Post Office and come out of the Post Office, but no Mr. Sanderson. Slim leaves saying he’ll meet them at the dam. Yram was just about to go inside to see what happened when ME. finally comes out empty handed.

Yram: M.E. did you leave your mail inside?

M.E.: No..I didn’t have any mail. They must have lost that letter you sent me.


Later that same day. Wyram, I mean Yram and Sherri return to the big house. they are looking a little ragged and their faces are not red. They are baked. Yram’s frizzy hair is even frizzier and Sherri’s pencils are all dull. They are very, very hungry. The first person they run into is A I. 

A I: Where have you two been? I saw you leave early this morning. I’m getting kind of bored just working on my short-term and long-term goals. I did get Airforce .0001 washed though. I have a special attachment to that plane. Then I organized all my spy stuff. What are you guys gonna do now?

Yram: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. I’m going to see what we’ve got in the Biology Room/kitchen. Then I’m going to write-up my report. Mr. Sanderson told us lots of stories. One he told us was about his grandson Billy. When he was little, M.E. took him fishing and Billy had to go to the bathroom. M.E. pointed him to a tree and told him to go over there. Well on the way back, Billy saw a snake and took off running. He left his fishing pole, so his Grandpa told him he had to go back after it. Billy was scared so M.E. walked behind him. Pretty soon he stuck his pole between Billy’s legs and went Ssssssssss like a snake. He said Billy must have jumped three feet in the air.

Do you think there’s specificity in that story? The rest of the day, all Mr. Sanderson talked about was Lynn Brost. She must be something else. I’ll bet she’s got some wild stories to tell.

1-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 043
Loretta and  Lynn Brost Miles

Sherri: Do you want to see my pictures A I? Mr. Sanderson took us fishing too, but after he told us that story, we spent most of our time watching out for snakes. I’m not as hungry as Yram because I had a PB & J sandwich soaked in warm milk. Why are you holding your thumb up at me like that A I?

A I: Don’t worry about it. Just speak into it. I’m trying out my new spy stuff. Now, let’s see your pictures. Wait! I have to go get my spy glasses.

The photographs Sherri drew

And so ends another long day in the Brick House. Soon there will be the inauguration and the 3 or 4 dances afterwords. I’m sure glad Pico will be handling all that.

Fishing? I thought we were going pheasant hunting!

Murdo Girl…Just crowning around

35 is Just a Number

If you ask me how old I am, I’ll say I don’t remember

I only stay one number from January through December

I remember the year that I was born because that will never change

I  recall my children’s dates of birth, but not their age. How strange

When our grandkids celebrate, they might feel somewhat slighted

I sometimes show up two days after, the date I was invited.

My car year changes with each new or different ride

If I said that I remembered, you’d know that I had lied

Our furry friends age rapidly. Take every year times seven

Time goes too fast for them and us. Glad there is a doggy heaven

The cat is the crafty one. We’re sure that she’ll survive us

Her age? I have no idea. Each year seems to be nonpluss.

I think for grins I’ll figure out how how long we have been wed

Or should I try to figure out how old I am instead


No I think I’ll calculate how many years of wedded bliss

Write the number inside a card and seal it with a kiss

Lav is getting the card..thanks Lav

2016  less 1981..good grief time flew by fast

35 years together, and they said it wouldn’t last

It takes a lot patience, understanding, faith, and love

And more than just a few prayers sent from here to up above

I’ve been sick.. and Kip is feeling kind of down.

So I told him just for today, he could wear my crown.



Even Charles was cute when he was little