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 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.

1-Patti painting
Judy and Patti
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.


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.

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.


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.


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!

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

  1. Patti February 28, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Judy and Mary, I do have Mother’s pineapple cookie recipe. I’ll send it to you if I have it with me in AZ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 10:35 am

    I’m sorry..I’m hoping it’s not too hard to follow. I’ve learned so much from this one. Things not to do next time. Thanks a lot for spending all this time with me Judy. I appreciate it!


  3. lifelessons February 27, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    Oops.. Misspelled your name. Now you’ll never believe I know who you are!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch February 27, 2017 / 11:48 pm

      I”m the obsessive sister, and I’m not writing anymore Connie stories until you read the last TWO! When you have time of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 12:09 am

        I thought I’d read all of them. Did you write two today????


      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 12:15 am

        I emailed them. Read Pearl’s tell all, then Problems and Platitudes. I hope the link works this time. Website is


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 8:21 am

        Yes, you are in my favorites on my browser bar! I check every day, usually, sometimes late in day by time I get to it. I read the reveal about who Pearl’s babydaddy is.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 8:54 am

        Read problems and platitudes. It has a mean Hope in it! I know I’m bossy.


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 10:33 am

        Mary… I did read that way back when you published it. If you check, you’ll see my “like” and even a comment.


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 10:34 am

        Mary, I did read that already– and “liked” it and commented.


  4. lifelessons February 27, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    Just reread this, Marry.. In regards to not noticing you? I always noticed you. You were an adorable little girl and a beautiful bigger girl. I always wanted an older brother and a younger sister and you were the younger sister I would have wanted to have had..A girl can only get away with being so humble. You underrate yourself–perhaps for humor’s sake. Just telling the folks you hyperbolize!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch February 27, 2017 / 11:45 pm

      I must..Mom always said, “I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.” Thanks for your kind words. I remember you remarked while I was obsessing over my bangs, you were injured from falling over the dogs water bowl..BTW. Patti really did say I was just kind of there, but I thought it was funny!


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 12:00 am

        Well.. she was 4 years older. You were always present in my life. I loved babies and little kids so I would have noticed you. I was your real Connie angel… ha. I always read your posts as soon as posted.. don’t know how i missed those unless they were in last two days. I had the art workshop here yesterday and as soon as it ended, a gallery owner from a neighboring town came to ask me to do a show–today! I had a dinner and a theater production to attend that night but got everything planned and packed up, then headed out this morning. Was away for 10 hours driving to Barra, setting up show, being there for the opening, having dinner, then driving home, picking up Morrie..Looooong two days..So I have the excuse if your stories were published recently. Otherwise, mea culpa.. I was waiting for the next one, so not intentional. And, I appreciate your apprising me of the facts. I’ll go in search of them. (You could give a gal the links, of course….. xo J.-Murdo Girl Too. )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 12:07 am

        I really like you..Get some rest! My goodness Pearl can wait. I’ll give you the links…tomorrow


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 12:08 am

        Mary, I can’t find any posts that I haven’t read! Can you give me links?


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 12:43 am

        Curious about what my mom’s recipe was. If it is pineapple cookies, please send it to me. They were the best and neither Patti nor I has her recipe.


      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 10:41 am

        Marie Nash..dumplings with caramel sauce, and creamy fudge.
        Mrs. Ben Dykstra..Ice Cream custard.
        Mrs. Jane Dykstra..Tomato catsup


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 10:46 am

        Imagine making your own catsup!!! Can you send me both of those recipes? I used to make the ice cream custard all the time but don’t have the exact recipe anymore. Also, if there is a recipe for pineapple cookies, both Patti and I would love to have it. Requests, requests. My mom was a good cook but went for quick and easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 3:10 pm

        Okay, I’ll look. Did your Mom have recipe’s in the Jones County CB?


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 3:30 pm

        Was it done after 1965? If so, probably not


      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 10:47 am

        Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Murdo reunion where everyone cooked a different recipe from the Methodist cookbook? Methodists, Catholics and heathens all included?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 3:10 pm

        That would be a blast. I would have to make Mom’s Raspberry Salad..Yum


      • Mary Francis McNinch March 1, 2017 / 12:00 am

        Yes..jello, applesauce, and raspberries with marshmallows and sour cream beat together on top.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons March 1, 2017 / 12:20 am

        My Aunt Stella made a whipped strawberry jello that was to die for. Mom made lemon jello with grated carrots, walnuts, pineapple and celery inside and a whipped cream/mayo/jello topping. I actually love jello

        Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons February 28, 2017 / 12:42 am

        Ha.. just got the irony of your mom’s statement. I had forgotten that first fall over the dog’s water dish. I later fell over the sweeper cord. That was the one that did me in. I’m still suffering from it. My ankle keeps swelling up even after two months and I still can’t kneel on my knees. At least my bones are holding out. Knock wood.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch February 28, 2017 / 6:13 am

        I’m taking a yoga class that has really helped my flexibility and balance.


  5. lifelessons November 19, 2016 / 12:31 am

    I found a ring in the shape of a crown in a silver shop in PV, ad considered buying it for you but then decided it looked too lethal. If you caught it on something, it could tear your finger off. I sound like my mother!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • lifelessons November 19, 2016 / 6:07 pm

        Should have said it was a finger ring.. thus the worry over the pointed parts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Francis McNinch November 20, 2016 / 7:57 am

        Next time take a picture. You are making me want that ring 🙂


      • lifelessons November 20, 2016 / 9:08 am

        It was ridiculously dangerous or I would have bought it for you, Mary. One catch on a leash and a a finger could be torn off–or severely gashed, at the least.


  6. lifelessons November 18, 2016 / 7:26 am

    I’m having to slum it here in Puerto Vallarta at a women’s writing retreat while you are off having your bangs parted and munching on Bings. Well, some have an easy course in this world whereas others have to tote that bale!!! Have fun in your life of luxury, Mary and Kip! As my Grandma Dykstra
    used to say, “Momma Milk My Goat!” (You should find an explanation of that saying elsewhere in my blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch November 18, 2016 / 11:37 am

      Girls with crowns have more fun Judy. What size do you wear? The retreat sounds like fun. Something like that would be good for me! I will for sure look for Momma milk my cow. Thanks for the Bings. They taste just like I remembered. I had big plans for photos but they were going too fast. I took those pics during a midnight raid..Enjoy slumming??


      • lifelessons November 18, 2016 / 2:17 pm

        It is “Momma Milk my Goat!”


  7. okcforgottenman November 18, 2016 / 12:22 am

    Hi, Mary. I just love this post, seeing photos of Judy, Patti, and Jim that I’ve not seen before. (I’m Judy’s guy in Missouri. I don’t know if you knew that.) I sneak over here to your blog now and again to see what’s up, where y’all are headed, where you’ve been, what you have to share of Murdo. (Judy & I were at the Murdo reunion in 2011, at Patti & Jim’s for xmas in 2012.) Thanks for letting me peek.


    • Mary Francis McNinch November 18, 2016 / 12:13 pm

      I just wrote a long reply then lost it. We are in a bad area. I do know who you are and I’ve enjoyed some of your writing. I should do less writing and more reading. If you haven’t already published the Duckee stories, you and Judy should do that. I hope I get to meet you someday. I wasn’t at the 2011 Reunion, but I do have the T shirt. You may have met my much older brother Billy. I adore Jim and Patti and Judy even though they’re all a bit too smart for me..

      Liked by 1 person

  8. scoper07 November 17, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Not much I can add. All has been said. Cheers to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch November 17, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      Good to hear from you 07 even if you don’t have much to say🙈🙉🙊☺


  9. sanjuan831 November 17, 2016 / 11:44 am

    Yup. You’re about the luckiest woman in the whole wide world. I will drink a coke to toast you today and send you my admiration and love across the smiles….and miles.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. sanjuan831 November 17, 2016 / 10:06 am

    I am just riding on cloud 9 after reading this, dearest cuz! What a beautiful connection you have made with beautiful people. Such a happy time and I loved the ending with you indulging in your fav candy!!! Dreams DO come true. The pictures set it all in perfect harmony. Thanks, MG and to Patti and Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

      • sanjuan831 November 17, 2016 / 10:32 am

        Me too! And I noticed the candy is in a twin Bing package so that means you’re supposed to SHARE them with someone. Also noticed you ate them while wearing your lovely crown!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mary Francis McNinch November 17, 2016 / 11:23 am

        I told everyone they wouldn’t like Bings. Being served on a plastic platter and wearing a tinfoil I said. It doesn’t get much better!

        Liked by 2 people

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