Murdo Girl…An unlikely friendship

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I’ll never forget the day I met her. I had no idea what I was getting into and neither did she. We didn’t talk much that first day or the next. I think she was surprised each time I showed up. I was a little surprised myself. I was not what she was used to, and she was not what I had expected. With all this going for us, we forged ahead. We thought it would never last, but it did. She was one of the most interesting and entertaining people I had ever met.

We grew to understand each other, and with understanding came respect. She was 84 and had lived her life, but it wasn’t over yet. I was 59, which is an awkward age. All the major decisions had been made and I had enjoyed the rewards of some decisions and endured the consequences of others. Life is long and life is short.

We spent our mornings together going through our routine. I fixed her breakfast, which was usually spicy sausage patties, eggs and toast with marmalade. Sometimes I could get her to take a bath before she ate, sometimes after, and sometimes not at all. She loved to give me a hard time and had some pretty compelling arguments like, “Is it cheaper to take a bath or just wash up? I have to watch my water bill you know.” We made deals like, “If you don’t take a bath today, you have to let me wash your hair tomorrow…deal?” She would have to think about that one, because she never broke a promise. If she made a deal, she followed through.

She spent much of her time fussing over her old dog Rascal and a stray cat she grew attached to. On nice mornings, she would wheel herself out onto the front porch and I would get the folding chair and sit beside her. We watched the hummingbirds drink the nectar from the feeder that hung from the big tree out front. Sometimes she fell asleep in her wheelchair, but other times she told me about her life.

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She married young and had 4 children each 2 years apart. Her husband died of cancer when the youngest child was only a few weeks old. She told me she was surprised when she had the first child because her Mother told her the doctor brought the babies. I can only imagine how tough the next years were for her. She outlived 3 husbands and survived hard times, but there were good times too.

She loved to listen to country music on the radio. Her folks had barn dances when she was growing up and her Daddy played the guitar. The music took her back to those days. I love the same kind of music. We would close our eyes and listen as we thought about the memories the songs evoked.

We spent time cleaning and doing laundry. She needed help with things I took for granted. Some things fail us as our bodies age, and it’s hard to accept the help we need. I understood, or at least tried to. I could only say, “That’s what I’m here for.”

She loved my chocolate chip cookies. Her favorite cake was strawberry. Her favorite lunch was a Spam sandwich with cheese and mayo. She loved the hot Spam with jalapenos. She taught me how to mix up cornbread without a recipe. You can tell when you have enough milk, eggs, and cornmeal by the batter. You must never stir it too much. We made fried cornmeal mush like my Grandpa Sanderson made, and ate it with butter and syrup.

She had false teeth and glasses, but never wore either. She could hear a pin drop..if she wanted to. She could be feisty and cantankerous, but she was always contrite afterwards. She had a soft heart, but she could get angry. Then.. as she would say, “Look out!”

Her youngest daughter and her family lived across the street. Her daughter was her Momma’s Angel. She took the responsibility of meeting all her Momma’s  needs. She made doctor’s appointments, and took her to them; patiently helping her transfer from the wheelchair to the car. She prepared her suppers, which the family usually ate together. She bought her clothes and groceries, and most importantly… paid attention to her. As Mom’s and daughters do, they fussed at each other sometimes. “Don’t drag your left foot Mamma,” I’d hear her daughter say. “You’re going through too much cat food and it’s going to waste.” She was right. Cans of tuna fish were disappearing along with all the cat food. Rascal must have had an iron stomach with all the spicy spam he ate.

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When Kip and I got back from our vacation two days ago, we had 31 messages on our answering machine. One was from Mrs. E’s daughter. “Momma passed away,” she said. “Call me.”

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I went to see her a few times at the nursing home. It didn’t feel right. Maybe because those four years we spent mornings together ended more abruptly than they began. I don’t remember what we did that last day before she got so sick. She went to the hospital first, then to the nursing home. I went to see her right after she got there. She hadn’t been awake yet. She had been there for rehab several years before, after suffering from the stroke that left her partially paralyzed on her left side.

I was standing by her bed when two young aids came into the room. They asked me if I knew anything about her. They were told by nurses who had been there when she was in rehab, that she might swear at them and try to kick them. That made me smile. “She might,” I said. “I hope she does.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murdo Girl…On the road..That’s all she wrote..on day 51

Ron and Barbara on Jamaica Beach…Kip and I with Sammie, Pattie, and Cyndie. ( I couldn’t see very well..my hat was in my eyes.)

Today was day 51 of our road trip and it’s been quite a ride. We’re thankful for all of our family members and friends who welcomed us on our stops; and all those who kept up with my sporadic blogging. We had the most fun any two people traveling with three dogs and a cat can have. We’re home safe and sound. We are tired, but happy.

We spent the last few days in Galveston, TX. It was the perfect ending to our perfect RV vacation, and we got to spend it with Ron and Barbara Spahlinger. I hope they enjoyed spending time with us as much as we loved our time with them. We stayed at the Jamaica Beach RV Park right across from Jamaica Beach. Ron and Barbara have been there several times, but Kip and I had no idea what a treat we were in for. The place is beautiful and the weather was perfect. We spent time in the hot tub, and ate our way through Thanksgiving dinner at the clubhouse, followed by leftovers that evening, and a sumptuous turkey/craw fish gumbo on Friday. They have a huge outdoor movie screen, a putt putt golf course, and a swimming pool. The rates were very reasonable considering all they have to offer.

Ron is an incredibly gifted musician. He and four other talented people who go to our church, formed a group called “Jubilation 5.” Their singing is inspirational beyond belief. I’m struggling to find the words to describe just how good they are.

Here is a photo of them. (I lifted it from Yolie’s FB page.)

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The Jubilation 5

Ron is going to sing and facilitate karaoke at the Jamaica Beach RV Park on New Years Eve. Kip and I are going, and Ron said I can sing. Well, he said I may sing. He doesn’t know if I can sing.

Most of you don’t know this about me, but I love to sing. I express myself best through my music. I have been known to inspire multitudes of people with my unique voice and my ability to perform a wide range of musical genres. Most performers just can’t pull it off, but I guess I must be one of a kind or something. As a matter of fact, the only star I can think of in the way of comparing my talent to someone you will no doubt be familiar with.. is Ethel Mertz. She’s Lucy’s friend. Sadly, Lucy hogged the stage, so Ethel rarely got to perform at Ricky’s club.

 

Ron and his shadow led the way to the beach

Barbara snapped this cute picture of the dogs hanging out. They watched Ron make grilled cheese sandwiches after our four mile beach walk. Kip finally got to see a sea turtle at the park.

See the beautiful sand castle Barbara and I made? It even has a moat..okay..we didn’t exactly make it. Two little kids did, but it really does have a moat.

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We went to a fun place the night before we left called “The Spot.” I just had a small salad and cheesecake. It was turtle cheesecake. Kip had key lime pie, and Barbara had an eclair. We took it “to go” and Ron made us coffee at their place.

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Queen Elizabeth listening to “Jubilation 5.” (She doesn’t really like Ethel Mertz.)

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Maybe she’ll like The “Ruination 4.”

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It’s not over til the fat dog sings..Home we go. I’m sure I’ve gained 10 lbs.

Murdo Girl…On the road..Don’t push the river

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GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS

Have you ever been right in the middle of something you have looked forward to for a very long time, and started dreading the moment it will be over because all you will have is the memory; and..it will be too late to appreciate it enough while it’s still happening?

Which is better? Is it the looking forward to something good, or is it the looking back at the fond memory? How do they each effect the overall quality of our lives?  The answer to that question is even more difficult than understanding what I just said.

I believe the answer is to live in the moment and appreciate it for all it’s worth. Worrying about the future and regretting the past changes everything, because it changes nothing. Worry and regret are wasted emotions that take their toll on mind and body.

Don’t get me wrong. If you regret mistakes you have made, you’re probably less likely to make the same mistake again, but living in fear and regret does what? It takes its toll on mind and body.

Anger is another wasted emotion. It steals from the quality of life. Nothing good happens out of anger. Again, this is my personal opinion. The truth is, I am the worst at trying to control outcomes. My advise to myself is: “Don’t push the river, it flows.”

In a day or two, I will be writing about the final days of our trip. I am living in the moment today. This is the last day and I want to make the most of it. We are ending our odyssey  on a really high note as they say. We are in a beautiful place in Galveston called Jamaica Beach RV Resort. Our neighbors are a couple of fun people from home. It has been great spending time with them in this incredible setting. They come here often, and it’s easy to see why.

So here we go. We will experience this, our last day, and write about the fond memory tomorrow.

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RON AND KIP JUST LOVED SHOPPING ON THE STRAND

Murdo Girl… On the road..Corpus Christi

(Written Thursday)

It’s Thanksgiving Day and we are in Galveston, TX. We got here yesterday after spending two days in Corpus Christi. While in Corpus, we decided we had to take some time to catch up with mundane things like the laundry. We got the car detailed, and cleaned our cozy little road home. After completing our tasks, we headed for the beach.

We’re going to the beach..Yea! We’re in Corpus Christi and we’re going to the beach!

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Barkaritaville..A bath after the beach

After 6 weeks on the road, our little dogs were looking pretty grubby. We looked around Corpus and found the coolest place to give them a bath. Its called Barkaritaville. They offer full pet grooming, but we opted for the do it yourself “bath station.”

20161122_130218 The station is equipped with  a sprayer that operates in cycles like a car wash. The first step is to shampoo, then rinse. Next on the cycle is a conditioner, followed by another rinse and a blow dry. The last thing you do, is rinse out the tub with a disinfectant spray. The whole thing was $10 per dog, but it was worth it. Cyndie escaped the full deal. She just got brushed out.

With everything spanking clean again, we headed to Jamaica Beach in Galveston, Texas. Some friends who also live in Mabank, have been going Jamaica Beach RV Park for years. They told us about Thanksgiving there  and it sounded like a lot of fun. I’m going to wait to write about it all after we complete our stay. We leave for home on Monday.

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I’ll give you a little picture preview. We’re having a blast with Ron and Barbara. We hope you all had a joyful Thanksgiving too!

Kip and our friends Ron and Barbara Spahlinger walking along Jamaica Beach in Galveston. Our still clean dogs resting after the 4 mile walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murdo Girl..Connie’s story..Friendship

Hope expected Warren to call her when he got back from visiting his Dad in Wyoming, but she didn’t think he would come right over. She was surprised and happy to see him standing in the hall. Her happiness turned to concern when she got a closer look at him. Warren was visibly upset, but why?

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“What is wrong Warren?” I shoved him into Pearl’s kitchen and shut the door behind us. I didn’t know if I should badger him, or give him a few minutes to settle down. I decided to badger him. “Come on Warren, I couldn’t wait for you to get home, but something bad has happened hasn’t it? Please tell me Warren. You’re scaring me!”

Warren walked over and sat at the kitchen table, so I did too. I was familiar with what I saw when I looked at his face. Not because I had seen him like that..I hadn’t. I had seen the same expression in the mirror. Not since the months after my parents died, had I seen such a tortured expression. Only this time, it was on my best friend.

“Warren,” I pleaded. “You have to tell me what has happened.” My mind was going crazy. I was afraid to hear his answer. I was afraid for him. He looked at me and shook his head as if he could read my mind. I took a deep breath and waited. I had to do something so I got up and poured him a glass of cold water. It wasn’t ice chips, but it was my way of trying to help him feel better. I began to understand why my Mom always brought me a cup of ice chips when I felt sick. After Mom was gone, Grandma brought me ice chips when I was sick with grief and it had upset me even more.

I could barely hear Warren when he spoke.

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“Nobody died Hope, and nobody is sick. Well that isn’t exactly true I guess. Nothing is ever going to be the same, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I had to get out of my house, and away from my Mom and Dad. I’m sure they’ll figure out I came here.”

“I saw your Mom yesterday,” I said. “She didn’t act like herself. Does that have anything to do with what has you so upset?”

He looked away for a long moment as if he was trying to decide if saying the awful thing out loud would make it more real. I knew that feeling well.

“My Dad came in the house when he brought me back today. I thought Mom would be at work, but she wasn’t. She was sitting in the livingroom. The place was a mess Hope. My mom wasn’t sick, she had been drinking, and this wasn’t the first time.”

Warren looked at me. I guess he was waiting for my reaction. “I’m so sorry Warren.” It was all I could think of to say.

“Dad was so mean to her Hope, and not just today. Dad has always been mean to her. Do you want to know what he said?”

I nodded. I needed to hear it all. I needed to know what had happened to hurt my friend so badly.

“He told her that she wasn’t capable of taking care of me, because she couldn’t even take care of herself. Mom didn’t say a word. She just looked at me. She had tears running down her cheeks, but I don’t think she knew it. She didn’t even know she was crying.”

“That’s terrible Warren. Did your Dad leave? Is your Mom at home by herself?”

“I don’t know..Dad told me to pack my stuff. He said he was taking me back to live with him. I told him I was not leaving my Mom and I was not leaving Murdo, then I ran out of the house and came here. I meant what I said. I’m not going with him, even if it means I never see my baby sister again.”

The phone rang and I could hear Pearl in the other room talking to the caller. Warren and I both heard her say, “Why yes, I think he is here. Would you like me to put him on?” Soon, she came into the kitchen.

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“Warren honey, that was your Mom, she wants you to come home. Your Dad wants to say goodbye to you.”

“Do you want me to go with you?” I asked. “I can at least walk you part way.”

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Connie’s Story

Listen to your Angel

“Connie Angel, I need your help. I don’t understand why some people act the way they do. When I walked Warren home, his Dad was outside talking to Warren’s Grandpa. His Grandma must have been inside with Mrs. Martin. Mr. Martin’s new wife and new baby were sitting in the car waiting. Warren hadn’t told me they were there. I didn’t think it was my place to stay. I mean, what could I do?”

You have helped your friend more than you know Hope. You two have been good for each other. Remember how sickly Warren was when he first moved here? He seems to have outgrown his asthma. He’s even been able to play basketball, and I understand from what you have said, he’s pretty good too. Does he plan to play in high school?

“I guess so. That is if he gets to stay in Murdo. He’ll really be upset if all the kids find out his Mom is drinking a lot. He’ll be embarrassed too.”

That’s where you can help him Hope. Maybe things will calm down and Warren won’t have to leave. Whatever happens, you and Warren need to remember you can’t control what the other kids know or do. It doesn’t matter anyway. You can’t influence the decisions his parents have to make either, but you can help Warren. He can get through whatever happens. You should know that better than anyone.

 “But Connie Angel, If I can’t change anything for him, how can I help him?”

You can start by telling him he has an Angel watching over him too. You can tell him to listen to all that is good inside himself before he says or does anything he might regret.

“Does everyone have an Angel like I have you?”

Yes Hope.. everyone has an Angel.  A voice they can seek and listen to and trust. You are learning to listen for the right answers. 

I know this is a lot for you to understand, but I’m hoping you will grasp the meaning. You cannot depend on others to do what is right. You always have the choice. Do you listen to your Angel’s voice, which you could think of as your higher voice, or do you follow other people who might lead you astray?

“I think I understand, but I have a question. Will Warren have to start with a doll like I did? I don’t think he will go for that. I’m only kidding Connie Angel, but you already know that don’t you?”

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Well.. has someone had enough for one day?  Let me give you something else to ponder.

School begins in a couple of weeks. I know you want to start high school with Warren, but if that doesn’t happen, you will have to accept the way things are. You both need to lighten up and enjoy this time in your life. Refuse to carry the weight of the grownup’ s problems on your young shoulders…And Hope.. You both need more friends. 

“I know. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Oh no, I just saw something.”

“Pearl..come here Pearl..there you are. You didn’t eat your food today and you’ve been acting funny. Look what I just spotted on the floor by your bed? A Bing wrapper. Wait here, I’ll go get you some ice chips.”

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Fun memories of High School in the late 60’s. On PE days we wore short skirts and knee highs so we wouldn’t have to bring extra socks or deal with pantyhose. Did you have an autograph dog that all your friends signed? Me neither..

Murdo Girl…On the road..Happenstance

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We were glad to see El Paso in our rear view mirror, but it wasn’t long before looking out the window of the motor home was once again a pleasure. We drove 382 miles Saturday before we stopped for the night, which turned out to be a little disconcerting at first.

We decided to drive further than our planned destination and as we continued to drive, we had to keep rethinking where we should find a park to spend the night. We have a Good Sam’s GPS attached to the dash that has proven to be invaluable. It’s the one we left charging at home last year. The GPS not only gives us directions including which lane to be in, it tells us where all the restaurants, gas stations, rest areas, RV parks and other points of interests are.

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About 4-ish, I plugged in the name of a town up ahead and only one RV park came up, so we headed that way. When we exited highway 10, we saw beautiful hill country, but no signs of life, like houses or cars. The GPS voice said to go 5 miles down the road, then turn left onto a private road. We followed her directions, but still the only living things we saw were deer, some sheep, and a scary looking coyote.

I didn’t ask Kip what he was thinking, but I was worried. What if it was a dead-end? What if it turned out to be a big ruse and we would be met by dangerous robbers? Later Kip told me the only thing he was thinking about was the sun was setting and he wasn’t going to drive back out of there until morning no matter what. He was already concerned about hitting a deer.

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As we topped a hill, we saw a sign that said, “Watch out for children.” What would kids be doing way out there with sheep, deer and coyotes we wondered? The GPS lady kept talking, and we kept driving.

Finally… we got there. It looked like a great place in a beautiful hill country setting. We could see 2 RV’s set up in a rather secluded spot. Then we saw a nice house and a store. Kip parked and walked over to the store. When he came back out, I could see he had paperwork in his hand which is always my sign that we got a spot.

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The whole purpose of the park is to provide a place for people who are going to tour the nearby Sonora Cavern or hike the trails and see the wildlife. They have a deer feeding area, but there’s no hunting. The deer are as tame as a deer can be. They also have peacocks and pheasant roaming around. It is a working sheep ranch as well. They sell homemade fudge and souvenirs in the store that’s also home to a mounted moose head, several deer, and other animal heads that I didn’t look at closely. 

 

Cyndie is not too happy about Kip petting Big White

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We befriended a Great Pyrenees with size 12 feet, and met the two other couples in RV’s who also got there by chance, not on purpose. The place wasn’t crowded on Sunday night, but they said they had been full Friday and Saturday. Our only regret was we didn’t feel we could spare the 2 hours it would take to tour the Sonora Caverns. It will be on our list of places to come back to.

Ann Margaret with her boyfriend Elvis (peacocks) 

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Goodbye Sonora Caverns. You get a 4.5. I got to see deer, but I had to stay on my leash.

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Today we’re  in Corpus Christi doing laundry 

Murdo Girl…On the Road..Day 42..Momma milk my goat

Friday night

What a difference a day makes. We got away from Tucson around 9:00 this morning, which was good for us. Our goal was to get to Las Cruces, NM, but we made it to El Paso for a total of 312 miles. That was really good for us! It’s supposed to freeze here tonight..bad for us. It’s the first time we’ve had to think about things with water in them freezing. I’m already dreading taking the dogs out in the morning.

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What is an El Paso? Do they bite?

I learned a new phrase today that really applies here. The phrase is,”Momma milk my goat.” I borrowed it from Judy Dykstra Brown’s blog, Lifelessons. You can find the story if you go to her blog at judydykstrabrown.com and use the search words, Grandma goat. It’s a good story.

On the long drive, we were lamenting about the lack of beautiful country to appreciate. There were no pictures to take. It’s over, we thought. We needed time to grieve. Then it happened again. We topped a hill… okay, rounded a corner, and saw this…

 

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I was totally unprepared. I didn’t know where my camera was, and by the time we could pull over, we had gone past most of the scenic area. It was different from all the other beautiful byways we had seen and as you know, we have seen a lot. In God’s world, no two things are exactly alike right? I am back in the state of gratitude and back in the state of Texas. It has its own unique beauty as does South Dakota. No two snow flakes are alike either.  Kip’s sister sent me this picture taken yesterday. She lives in Greeley, Colorado.

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Saturday morning 

It’s all relative..Huh dogs?..dogs?? They should be happy they don’t live in Sioux Falls, SD. I just heard on the news they are having a deadly blizzard. Come on dogs..It’s time for our walk. It’s cold, but it didn’t freeze

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“MOMMA MILK MY GOAT”

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Goodbye El Paso…No dog run…You get Zippo!

 

 

Murdo Girl…On the road..Drop back and punt

We have been so busy, I’ve had to skip some of the sights we’ve seen, so this is catch- up time for the travel blog. I wish I had the time to do it justice, but hopefully you’re getting the feel of what it’s been like for us to be on this journey. We have missed a few things on our route, but not much!

THE EXODUS MONUMENT

The story behind the Exodus Monument touched me. The plaque tells the story of an aging man who put his decrepit wife in a burden basket with her legs hanging out, and carried her on his back for most of the 180 mile forced march to the San Carlos Indian Reservation. Along with others, they had been forced to leave the lands they had lived on for centuries. The old man wouldn’t accept help from the troopers escorting them, except when they had to cross a stream. He allowed them to carry her across on horseback.

The Monument honors the strength of the human spirit possessed by the old man and his wife. They did what they had to do without complaint. Their resolve came from the belief they would one day return to their homeland.

The statue is in Camp Verde, Arizona.

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THE GHOST TOWN OF JEROME

Jerome is America’s most vertical city and is known as the largest ghost town in America. It sits high on top of Cleopatra Hill and is halfway between Prescott and Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a copper mining town from the late 1800’s until the early 1950’s. It started with a settlement of tents and grew to become a rip-roaring billion dollar copper camp. The mountainside it’s built on is at a 30 degree angle. I personally don’t see how people could live with their house hanging off the side of a mountain like that. It’s a long way up there, and even though it’s now kind of an artsy place, it still has an erie feel to it.

Supposedly, there were murders and suicides when the town went from a population of 15,000 to a ghost town due to the sudden drop in copper prices. A lot of the town has now been restored and has become mostly a tourist attraction. We took a pass on the tour of the cemetery and the ghost inhabited hotel.

I thought I had a better picture of the houses built on the steep side of the mountain. Just try to imagine having your house propped up on one side by stilts.

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MISSION SAN XAVIER DEL BAC

This Mission is in Tucson, Arizona. It is a Parish for the Tohono O’dham, and is on an Indian Reservation. It is currently in the process of being totally renovated. They still have Mass Celebrations and there is also a Mission School. We walked up the hill nearby until we reached the trail which went all the way around. There is a white cross at the very top. The view from the trail was spectacular.

There was a little cafe with picnic tables outside so we decided to have lunch before we walked up the hill. We had Indian fry bread with honey and powered sugar after chowing down on a delicious burro, (burrito). My thin, handmade tortilla was filled with cooked squash, onion, melted cheese, and a little chopped tomato. It was way too much for me, so I had to cut it in half. I ended up eating the whole thing anyway so who was I trying to kid. I just looked at my (after lunch) photo below. I look full.

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THE BEAUTIFUL SAGUARO FOREST, TUCSON, AZ

WE’RE GOING TO BE HITTING THE ROAD HARD FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. WE ARE MEETING SOME FRIENDS IN GALVESTON FOR A BIG, RV PARK THANKSGIVING. DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE A HOOT? 

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BYE TUCSON! LOVED YOUR DOG PARK! I GAVE IT 4 BARKS!

Murdo Girl…On the road..Patti and Jim on a whim

It has been a while since I’ve experienced a rapid transfer of photos from my camera to the blog. I’ve whined and complained all week, but it’s all about the pictures. Photographs of all the places we’ve been, and all the family and friends we have seen are what’s important. Who likes a story without lots of pictures to go with it?

We’ve just had a great couple of days with a fellow Murdo girl and her husband, and I have high-speed Internet at my fingertips. I’m good to go.

We left Camp Verde on Sunday, and drove to Peoria, AZ to see Jim and Patty Arnieri. We had the most enjoyable time with this fun and hospitable couple, and it all happened because of the Murdo Girl stories. The reconnecting with old family friends, and meeting new people is a byproduct of the blog that I love the most. I never in a million years could have anticipated all the fun I would have because “one day” I decided to write down my memories of growing up in Murdo, SD.

Me, Paul Thomas, Ralph Thomas, Jerry Elrod, Patti Dykstra Arnieri, Judy Dykstra Brown, and Valerie Leckey Halla..in Murdo for the All School Reunion last July

As the story goes, I wanted to keep writing until I had squeezed every last memory I had out of my already squished to the pulp brain. I knew eventually, I would run out of material. Early on in this whole phenomenal experience, I started getting some comments on my blog from Judy Dykstra Brown. I didn’t realize who she was at first, because the comments showed up under the name of Judy’s blog, Lifelessons. I soon made the connection. Judy is such an accomplished and talented person, and I was excited to know she was enjoying the Murdo Girl stories. She had learned about the blog from her sister Patti, who graduated from Murdo High School a year before my brother Billy. Patti and Billy have remained good friends and have kept in touch since high school.

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Judy and Patti
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The collage Patti and Judy gave me at the reunion. It tells my story including the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow pin. (I lost the one I was awarded in high school.)

I found it rather funny when Judy, and then Patti, said they didn’t remember that much about me. I was Billy’s little sister, who was just kind of there. Judy asked me if I knew our Dads used to recite Shakespeare to each other. I do recall Dad quoting Shakespeare, and it’s fun to picture the two of them, (a plumbing contractor and a rancher), “To be or not to be (ing)” to each other.

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Billy and me when I was just kind of there

Anyway, we all reconnected as a result of Murdo Girl, and I had two more Murdoites to share memories with. When Patti and Jim learned about the trip we had planned, they invited Kip and me to come and see them. I found myself really wanting to take them up on it. They are a fun and interesting couple to say the least. They have a beautiful home in Peoria, AZ. where they spend the winter months, and they live in Sheridan, WY. the remainder of the year.

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We arrive in Peoria, AZ

We talked.. ate great food.. and told stories. We laughed again at stories we had heard a million times, and shared a few the others hadn’t heard before. We were fascinated by the many hobbies Jim has, from skeet shooting, to his photography, and interest in cars. Kip said several times, “Oh, I forgot to ask Jim this, or I wanted to ask him that. He is knowledgeable about so many things.” He told us about growing up in Sheridan, WY. He would often ride his bike out to the airport and he got to be friends with some of the pilots. Soon they started inviting him to fly places with them. He thought of himself as a copilot in training. Times were different then. He would go home for dinner and when his mother asked him what he had done that day, he might say, “I flew to Denver.”

It almost always proves to be a small world. Jim, Patti, and Kip all went to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. They knew a lot of the same people and spent some time comparing who knew what about whom. Judy also graduated from the same college.

I began tonight by telling you how important it is to have a lot of photos to accompany my log of events. I must have been having a really great time, because I forgot to take pictures until after dinner the last night we were there. We ate at their club, which is absolutely beautiful. Kip snapped a picture of Patti and me. When I looked at it, I noticed my bangs were parted funny, so I told him to take another one. The bangs still didn’t hang right, so he had to take that one over too. Patti decided she would take care of my problem. Here is what happened.

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Well, now you have seen all the pictures of our time together. Don’t look at them too long. It will give you a headache.

Same pictures a little slower

Judy and Patti remembered my story about going to Mack’s Cafe after school every day to have a Bing and a Coke. My friends Marlene, Karen, and Josephine, were usually with me. As I wrote the story, I started really obsessing about those Bings I loved so much. I assumed they didn’t make them anymore. At least I hadn’t seen them in years.

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When we got to Patti and Jim’s, Patti said she and Judy had come up with an idea and she had a surprise for me. She handed me a big red bag FULL OF BINGS!!

I have eaten 6 twin packs of cherry mash covered in milk chocolate and crushed peanuts and I still have lots more. The only thing I’m missing is a Coke, and I plan to take care of that tomorrow. They are to die for! Yum, Yum, Yum.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

About that running out of Murdo Girl material… Judy suggested that I didn’t have to stop writing when I ran out of growing up memories. I will always be from Murdo. I was raised there as were so many on both sides of my family. Twenty-five of us graduated from Murdo High School. Whatever I write, will most likely have a Murdo connection, so I guess it’s okay to call my blog and myself Murdo Girl.

Thanks Judy…It doesn’t get much better than this!

Murdo Girl…On the road..Throw her a net

I’ve been sitting here for hours on end. The Internet won’t save or send. Why are you doing this I cry, to cyber waves up in the sky. What did you say? I’m not high tech? I don’t know how to use spellcheck? I once again look at my phone. Alas, no signal bars have shown.

 The Brick House can’t go unattended. Before long it will be upended. Murdo Girl needs her town. She can’t let her people down! You really should do what she says. She’s Murdo’s very own Next Pres. Her Cabinet with no top shelf, will soon disintegrate itself.  My heart begins to palpitate. Will a lack of cell towers seal my fate? 

Hey Val..Kip photo bombed our selfie.

A thought creeps into my mind. How could I have been so blind? I know why I’ve lost my powers. I’ve been collecting “water towers.” Is collecting cell towers the key? Why must they be so ugh-e-ly?

(A small sampling of my collection.)

Now what about Connie’s story, with Pearl and Grace and all their glory? They can’t write what happens next. They would soon be too perplexed. Hope and Warren need me, I shout! I must spell their future out!  Connie is Hope’s friend forever. They need more time to spend together

Wait! Just as I feel my head exploding. I see a picture is uploading. First one then two, now there’s seven.  Am I back in cyber heaven?

Should I forgive? I have no choice. In cyberspace I have no voice. I’ll send this poem for the net to care for. That’s what Al Gore put it there for!

I’ll trust again without exception. Just please give me a strong connection.

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I want to tell everyone, every single thing we’ve done. Life on the road fills us with pride. It surely has been quite a ride. There’s more than all the scenery. It’s the friends and family we see. We’re here today and gone tomorrow; arrive excited leave with sorrow. We can’t always be together, but the memories will last forever. 

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Quit pouting Camila, or I’ll flush your hat! It looks like a commode.