Murdo Girl…”Murdo Smurdo”

I have far too many things going on and it shows up to all of you as a disjointed, all over the place, blog. Since this tiny house project began, I started the Murdo/history/camera story, I’ve posted excerpts from the Beastertown story, threw in a few Pearl stories, and of course, the tiny home progress stories. I have to settle down a little. We stay so busy, it’s hard to devote the time it takes to do this blog I love, justice.

I will get back on track, soon. I have so many things I want to do and write about.

It looks like we’re about four or five weeks from being able to move into the little abode we’ve been waiting for. We have shopped for the few furniture pieces we will need, but we aren’t going to buy anything until we get moved in and can see what will work, and what won’t.

So here comes another rerun. I appreciate that I still have readers and I hope you all hang in there until the house is done and we’re sitting out on the front porch watching the grass grow. I can only imagine how lovely that will be.




It got around that I was having difficulty finding words that rhymed with Murdo. Judy Dykstra-Brown threw out a few, and made the comment that she was only kidding and it would be a miracle if I could make a poem out of those words. It kind of felt like a challenge to me. I had other things going on today as well, so I was in the mood to have some fun with my post tonight. Thank you for indulging me.

I wrote another masterpiece of poetry. (By the way, did you catch the words that band used to rhyme with Murdo?) The song was great, but they used poetic license on the rhyming words. There is a difference between “poetic license” and”poetic justice.” I use both. That’s how I know.

Oh, I like to read my “works” out loud sometimes.. so I can use the right inflection.

I might have been reciting poetry


Murdo Smurdo

I have self-will. I’m quite tenacious, bold, strong and goodness gracious

I’m like a big dog with a bone. It won’t be me they want to clone

When I was just a child in school, I came up with my golden rule.

The rule I followed through on…gave teachers much to chew on.

I went to school in.. Murdo and I always sat in the.. third row.

I sat in the 3rd row all 12 years, amidst a lot of heckles and jeers

Some Murdo School kids

Do you think paranoia will destroy ya?


 lots of people played that game. I smiled at them and said, “for shame”

My mother tried to hoodwink me. Her cookies were supposed to be

Homemade using her dough.. not from a store in Murdo

She thought because I saw her baking, they were homemade cookies she was making.

She put store-bought cookies in the oven, they started to smoke and the buzzer was buzzin

 she burnt those cookies to kingdom come… I’m talking well done and then some.

“Oreos for PTA?” They called me nerdo. I know I was the laughing-stock of Murdo

As I walked home I thought about..all those things that I should doubt

I heard a bird you never hear in Murdo. Was he mocking me? How did that bird know?


Are you sure?..Yes I’m sure. It was only 45 years ago. It was a mocking-bird!


In time I got over the humiliation. I think it was just a culmination

Of falling for the trickery and believing things they all told me

I think about those hard times I endured so.. I guess that’s why I’m strong. I lived in Murdo

I stood in the 3rd row too!
Murdo..Then and Now

Murdo Girl…Murdo and old

Kip and I, along with the pets, are RVing in Galveston with friends for a few days. We’re having a great time relaxing and eating. What could be more fun? It really has me looking forward to our longer vacation in the fall.


Cyndie is having a wonderful time chasing seagulls. Too bad she can’t run free.

Ron and Barbara’s, son, grandkids and friends with kids  are are having fun at the beach. It was a great day!

I’m attaching another Murdo memory rerun. I hope it’s one you like!


I wonder if anyone has ever written a poem or a song about my hometown. I wonder if I could write one. I wonder if I should write one. Okay I’ll try. Keep in mind, the baseline of my life was growing up there in the 50’s and 60’s. I love that town as much as ever.


So we’re back in Murdo Papa John. Does Queen Murdo Girl Have a sign yet?


By Mary Francis McNinch aka Murdo Girl

I’ve been sitting here for five long minutes, wondering how I should begin this.

Now I’ve written four short lines and nothing that I’ve written rhymes.

I guess it’s close enough for me. Until I have an epiphany.


I’ve got my crown on. I’m good to go, and I know the words will begin to flow.

Why oh why is my brain so slow. Nothing much rhymes with Murdo.

I think I’ve thought of a better way. I’ll start by describing Mack’s Cafe.

Macks Cafe

Linda Kerns..inside Mack’s Cafe 1969

Breakfast, dinner, supper, snacks…The food was always good at Mack’s.

Doris  made yummy cinnamon rolls..served ham and beans in great big bowls.

Hot beef sandwiches were a favorite. Don’t eat too fast, you must savor it.

I ate so much my stomach hurt, but I always had room for a big dessert.

Sanderson’s Store is on Main Street, and everyone there is really neat.


If you’ve read all I’ve written about. You know this store inside and out.

Groceries, produce, they’ve got it all, and mounted deer heads on the wall


Grandpa Sanderson after a successful hunt

 Uncle Jeff, Uncle Al and Great Aunt Tet..Just a second I’m not done yet.

Billy, Jeff H. and Eldon Davis, thanks for the good service you all gave us.

The post office, Ford garage, Mr. Kell…Laundromat, Gambles, and the Gem Hotel.

The Murdo Coyote keeps us in the know, even 25 and 50 years ago.

Maybe they know what rhymes with Murdo.

If the Ford Garage sells you a car, and you celebrate at the Buffalo Bar.

The Hotel owned by Alice Tornow is the place you probably aught to go.

Still nothing rhymes with Murdo.

My dog Berferd got to go, uptown to the picture show.

He was as quiet as he could be, (unless a dog barked in the movie).

If you want to change the way you’re livin, or maybe you need to be forgiven.

We’ve got churches everywhere, so you can go and say a prayer.

Go to Dr Murphy if you’re feeling sick and Doc Bork will fix your teeth real quick.

Joy Payne sells the ladies their dresses and Evie McKenzie curls their tresses

Down on the highway called Old 16, there’s a lot more to be seen.

Fern’s Cafe makes a great hamburger, or maybe dessert is what you’re there fer.

Chocolate cake with lots of frosting. (Writing a poem is so exhausting)

Head to The Pioneer Auto Museum.  Old cars and buildings..Wait til you see em.


Together our motels sleep 800. (Just in case you’ve ever wondered).

 Super Value and Cafe 16, have goods and food fit for a Queen.

If you’re low on gas, don’t get nervous. All our gas stations are full service.

Dean’s Philip 66 will fix your tires, and Dean’s really good to the guys he hires.

later we got a drive-in and a diner. Their food and milkshakes taste diviner.

Than food you usually get “to go”.Still nothing rhymes with Murdo.

I wouldn’t be in such a frenzy if they would’ve named Murdo..MacKenzie.



My cousin Valerie Leckey with two friends shortly before she and her parents moved to California. I’m sure many of you recognize the other two cute girls. The photo was taken in 1963.



Old picture of the Murdo Water Tower

Murdo Girl…And 12 makes 32


I hope everyone is enjoying the previews of my Water Tower collection. As you peruse the photos, pick out your favorites. After I have named and displayed 50, there will be a vote amongst readers for awards such as: Most Unique,  Ms Murdo Girl Water Tower of Tomorrow, and Most aptly named. We probably won’t get into things like, The oldest, and Who came the farthest.




Whitewright, Texas… submitted by Lewis Williams

This is Whitewright’s answer to the Sam Houston statue in Huntsville, Tx..see photo below.

Now that I see Sam again, I guess “Wright On White” doesn’t have the same stature. Maybe if they hadn’t written a big blue W on the white tower… Oh well,  you have to admit,”Wright on White” is a whole lot easier to say than, ” Wow! The Whitewright Water Tower!” Which is hard to say without whistling.



22 and 23


East side of Lincoln, Nebraska…Mari and Eddie Jackson

 It’s my understanding there will be an open discussion at the next City Council meeting to determine which of these towers is the interloper. Once that is hammered out, one of the names will be changed to I WAS HERE SECOND.

There is controversy over everything these days.






Bells, Texas…submitted by Lewis Williams

See..I think having a big water tower behind a small fire department makes sense. Other communities should have this set-up. Since the town’s name is Bells it even makes more sense. IN CASE OF FIRE, RING THE BELLS would have been a great name, but it’s too long. Thanks Lewis. I really like this one!





RV Park near Sedona, Arizona…submitted by Mary McNinch

You don’t see many short-legged water towers, but that is the inique feature that makes this tower a collectable. The name is not in any way meant to be degrading, so please no letters from the newly formed group who call themselves W.E.T. (Water Equality for Towers.) The moniker comes from a song that goes something like this. “I’m a little teapot short and stout, I don’t have my handle or a spout, you can’t tip me over, or pour me out.” It would be easy enough to put a handle and spout on SHORT AND STOUT, which would catapult the worth of  this piece right through the glass ceiling of water tower values.





Shenandoah, Iowa…where the Everly Brothers grew up..submitted by Mari and Eddie Jackson

What better way to wake up a little Susie, than with a splash of water in the face? Judging from the cobwebs around the base, this is The Rip Van Winkle of water towers. I love getting submissions of water towers from hometowns of famous people.  Thanks Mari and Eddie. Say hi to the bros for me.





(The name incorporates the wire strung in front of the tower. It’s better to do that than to pretend it’s not there.)

Sidney, Iowa…Eddie and Mari Jackson

If I didn’t know better, I would think SHORT AND STOUT was moved from Sedona to Sidney. Looks like short WT’s aren’t all that unique. Well at least W.E.T. can’t accuse me of discriminating. ( more submissions of short water towers.)





Deloit, Iowa.. small village…Mari and Eddie Jackson

I will confirm with the submitter, but it appears this Deloit tower is in someone’s backyard, which could put a damp(er) on family BBQ’s. There are no offsets here. The tower is not only in a poor location, it has little aesthetic appeal. Don’t despair Mari and Eddie..they can’t all be winners. You might check to see if anyone famous was from Deloit.






Peru, Nebraska…Mari and Eddie Jackson

A thin stream of smoke from a low flying airplane, and the rich brown and green hues of  the landscape meeting the sky blue sky, give this barely noticable water tower a presence collectors look for. I fear when the trees leaf out in the spring the view of the tower will be obstructed. I still think it’s a keeper. (I can always flip it right before the trees get too tall.)





Point, Texas…submitted by Lewis Williams

I couldn’t resist the obvious name. If I think of a better one, I can register a name change with the local TP (Tower Power) any time I want to. I don’t like all the wires, but love the trees to the right of the tower. Is that a cloud in the upper right side, or does your window need washed? I believe car washes during tower travels are tax deductible.






Yantis, Texas…submitted by Pat Davis

The cross- shaped utility pole and the name of the town made naming this piece a no brainer. When you can name your tower without a brain, you can punch up the price considerably. Thanks Pat




Deadwood, South Dakota…submitted by anonymous.

 If anonymous would please come forth and verify authenticity, I would love to display this South Dakota treasure in my portfolio.


Murdo Girl…The Brick House..Who are the Coyotes?

It’s Monday morning at the Brick House. Murdo Girl aka Next Pres, is in the Oblong Office reflecting over the months since she won the election. If you’ll remember, Murdo Girl ran on the Coyote ticket. It never has been determined exactly what she’s Next Pres of, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue uppermost in the minds of the town’s people or the administration. There is however, something bothering  Murdo Girl. She is pondering it now as she reads the latest edition of The Murdo Coyote.

You will never guess who walks into the Oblong office…..Did you guess Lav??


MG: Good morning Lav. Why the long face and the crooked crown?

Lav: I was just wondering Next Pres. Am I still Next VP?

MG: Why of course Lav. Why do you ask?

Lav: That means I’m still the designated survivor.  Does that automatically come with the job, or can I pass on it? Now if it was designated driver, that would be different, but designated survivor makes me feel like I’m a sitting duck with a target on my back. I can really feel the weight of this job on my shoulders. Do you think my crown is too heavy? Anyway, do I h-a-v-e to be next in the lineup? I’m not really looking for advancement. I’m just waiting it out until I retire.


MG: It’ll be okay Lav. I promise to eat right and get plenty of excersize. There haven’t been any threats on my life, so I don’t think you have to worry about ruling the town. I have a bigger problem right now. Due to all that happened during the campaign, election, and then there was the inaugracorination and all those other parties, there is one thing I never got around to doing.

1-20160724_161648Lav: Ooh..What’s that Next Pres?

MG: I never gave my inaugracorination address.

Lav: You’re kidding right? Everybody knows where we are.

MG: No Lav, the Next Pres is supposed to give a speech. One that fires everybody up. A passionate plea to the constituent subjects the Next Pres reigns over. Help me come up with a good idea. We need this town to know what we’re all about. The Brick House is just like The White House only it’s brick.

Lav: I’ve got it! We’ll have a presser in the Gym. You can give out the address, then every board in the cabinet can tell who they are and what they do. We’ll call it… (Lav gets up and walks over to Murdo Girl’s desk and gets right in her face.) Are you ready? We’ll call it..

Who are the Coyotes?

MG: I love it Lav. See, that’s why you’re on the top shelf of my cabinet. Quick, get Treason to put a notice in the Coyote. Invite the town. Get TC to cry it throughout all the neighborhoods. Please tell them it’s an event not a party. I can’t handle another party right now.


The Murdo Coyote

The Brick House Event

By stuff writer Yram Sicnarf


A (“Who are the Coyotes?”) event was held at the Brick House on Tuesday. Next Pres Murdo Girl gave a short Inaugracorination address and when that was finally over, TC got up and set the tone for the remainder of the event, and I quote:

04-Town Cryer
Town Crier


MG: Thank you TC. Now, as promised each board member in the Cabinet will give their title and state their responsibilities, go first.

Lav: Well..I kind of have a cushy job. I’m Next Pres with a Vice, which means as long as Next Pres is standing, I can do pretty much what I want. I’m the Designated Survivor, so I have to stay up on the issues of which there usually aren’t any.

PIco: My official title is Person In Charge Of Brick House Functions, or Pico for short. Picobhf was too hard to spit out. I plan all the parties of which there have been many. Today all I had to do was put out a few nuts and mints and clean the bathrooms.

Treason: I’m Teresa the Liason, or Treason for short. I’m in charge of Brick House communications with the news outlets which include the newspaper, Mack’s Cafe, Fern’s, and the Truck Stop. The Truck Stop is where I get the international news. I also nip rumors in the bud. Did you hear the one going around that Next Pres Murdo Girl might be implumed? It’s not true.

We’re  teachers and we think she means impeached..and it’s true.


I’m Treason and I’m a teacher too. I mean implumed. It’s Brick House speak.

DM: I’m the Defense Monitor. I make sure the town is safe from undesirables, like people from New Underwood and any town that has a basketball or football team better than ours. I’m a real sports enthusiast. If we keep the good teams out, it makes it a lot easier to beat them. Coach gets kind of bored, but he always gets to go to the Regional Tournament.


Sherri the Photographic Drawer: My title is pretty straight forward. I draw every photograph the Brick House puts in the Newspaper. Recently I have started to draw tatoos and water towers. For instance the other day, I drew a tatoo on a water tower. There really is no end to the possibilities. I think it’s smart to have something to fall back on, just in case MG gets implumed, or I get carpal tunnel vision.

A I: I’m the Aggressive Informant. The reason I’m wearing this blindfold is because I lost my sunglasses and I don’t want anybody to recognize me. If you knew the things I find out because I’m so aggressive, you might try to hurt me so I couldn’t inform. I just have to shake my head when I think about all the danger I’m in. (A I shakes her head making her blindfold slip exposing one eye.) There is an audible gasp in the crowd. A I runs from the room while holding her blindfold in place causing her not to see where she’s going. She then runs smack into Jerry the Bean Counter, who falls on TC’s cheesehead which she had carelessly placed on the floor beside her chair. TC, being the Town Crier, begins to boohoo and waawaa loudly. If you have ever been in that gym, you know how it echos making it sound like 100 people are crying. All the townspeople cover their ears and run from the room, up the stairs, and out of the building. They begin chanting “implum! implum!” Carol who has practiced singing “Hail to the Next Pres,” which she had to make up words for, starts singing into the microphone no less.

Shortly thereafter, the Inaugracorination, “Who are the Coyotes?”meeting was adjourned.

The end and I hope I spelled the words right.

P.S. Just in case you didn’t get a chance to jot it down, our address is 000 Brick House Way, Murdo, SD 57559



Murdo Girl…A royal mess


Hello all.. my name is Faye. I’m writing MG’s post today.

Though you can’t tell by the way I look, I’m a chef who doesn’t cook.

I don’t dust or run the sweeper, other than that, I’m a good housekeeper.

I’ve never washed a dirty window, or had a mop or bucket in tow.

I don’t bother the webs spiders make. On birthdays I go buy the cake.

Dirty dishes I just toss. Queen Murdo Girl is my boss.

To her nothing is a travesty, as long as I say “Her Majesty.”

Just last week I threw a fit! As a matter of fact I almost quit!

You should see what she brought home. A funny looking dog she calls Jerome.

Jerome was frightened by what I said, and scurried to hide beneath the bed.


“Please stay Faye!” Murdo Girl pleaded. (She knows how much I’m needed.)

I’ll bet that poor, scared puppy cowers, when she brings home water towers.

I guess the worst thing that can happen is he might wake me when I’m nappin.

I suppose I can play it by ear, but if he sheds I’m out of here.

I’ve now decided he’s okay, so if she wants him he can stay


Hm! It seems I’m the only one in town, who doesn’t have a royal crown.

That won’t do and I forsee, that crown he wears will just fit me.


Whatever he has seen or heard, I know he won’t say a word.

I know what pleases Queens and Kings. I give them lots of bones and Bings.





Murdo Girl…They tower above us..reposted





Moline, Illinois…submitted by Karen Lindquist

This lucky tower has a great view of a children’s playground. What fun to watch the kids slide down the slide or climb on the monkey bars. This has to be a one of a kind location and as in all things of value, location and uniqueness add to the pricetag. A little kid playing would have been nice.





Denison, Iowa…submitted by Eddie Jackson

I almost put this in my “drive-by” category, but it sits in Denison, Iowa , the home of Donna Reed, and I rather like the feathery clouds and different shades of browns in the photograph. The viewer’s eyes are eventually led to the image of the tower in the distance. I’m sure Donna would be proud of this representation of her town.





Rapid City, South Dakota…submitted by Sherri Miller

The lines of this photo would be perfect if not for the utility pole appearing to tower above the tower. Nevertheless, the colors are pure and sweet, and just look at the perfect feathery clouds floating in the sky at dusk. Thank you Sherri.





Rock Valley, Iowa…submitted by Jerry and Julie Elrod

This style of tower is built to last, and it can hold some water!  No one will have to guess the name of the proud town the water receptacle belongs to. Rock Valley makes a bold statement here with black capital lettering against a stark white background. Thanks Julie and Jerry for this great closeup shot.





(Or Defiance for short)

Defiance, Iowa…submitted by Eddie Jackson

44.8 miles from Omaha, Nebraska.. (along the West branch of the West Nishnabotna River.) I’m not sure exactly what draws me to this photograph, but I think the rolling hill adds to the ambiance. I can almost see a horse drawn buggy along the road making it’s way to the top of the hill the dark tower sits atop. Blue skies and green grass seal the deal.





Camp Verde, Arizona (near Sedona),…submitted by Mary McNinch

Though I prefer the older styles, this water towers caught my eye because of the shiny silver set in a landscape of sagebrush and sand. The hills, cast in blue, appearing in the background almost seem like a mirage.





Eustace, Texas…submitted by Pat Davis

This tower named itself. So far, it’s the only one in my collection to have a lamp beside it, and it’s only the second one to boast the school mascot. I understand there is much to be proud of if you’re a Eustace, Bulldog. While the immediate landscape is somewhat drab, the unique design sends a welcoming message. Thanks Pat





Somewhere in Northern Utah…submitted by Mary McNinch

Because I can’t figure out the exact location of the twinsies, this submission would not normally qualify for the collection, but I personally think that little flaw is offset because there are two of them, and I’m only counting them as one. They are out in the middle of nowhere and the colors are really pretty.





Loan Oak, Oklahoma…submitted by Lewis Williams

Once again, a submission virtually named itself. Remember…any unique characteristic adds value to the piece. The unique design of the banner saves the tower from being too plain. Also you could tell someone, “meet me at Junction 513 by the water tower with a banner on it.” It would be a hard to miss landmark. It didn’t escape me that the photographer’s thumb is in the picture. I didn’t take value points off because I could always crop it out.




Full of Blarney

Athens, Texas…submitted by Pat Davis

Athens, Texas is the home of the hamburger. (LOOK IT UP IT’S THE TRUTH.) This beauty would really be pricey if it had a good ol’ cheeseburger painted on it; anyway it looks like it’s Irish to me. It does have green lettering and the design is reminiscent of Ireland.


This ends the third in a series of showings highlighting pieces from my Water Tower collection. I believe you will find this to be one of the best collections of it’s kind. Please continue snapping pictures of these beauties. There could be a prize for “Best of Show.”




Murdo Girl…The Brick House..Party leftovers

It’s Monday morning at the Brick House. Everything appears to be back to normal after the New Year’s Eve party that didn’t happen. Let me rephrase. It’s as normal as it ever gets around here. It seems the constituents had better things to do New Year’s Eve than sit around a cold old school house and eat beans and bacon. Oh well, the team/cabinet members were all here, and beans taste better the second day anyway.

We had better things to do.
I don’t like beans.

Murdo Girl is at her desk preparing for the day. Every paper on her desk is a demand for money, and since she has no money, there is really nothing to do to prepare for the day. As she contemplates this, Yram Sicnarf walks into the Oblong Office.


MG: Well hello Yram. Dare I ask what you’re up to today? The New Year’s Eve debacle was rather unfortunate, but then again, what would a Brick House party be without a debacle or two?1-85230426

Yram: Yeah, or three or four. I just stayed out of the way and took notes. Although it probably wasn’t the best night to do one of my crack up reports, I had to get my quota for the year. I set goals for myself you know. It’s real professional to do that. I turned it into the Coyote so they could get it in this week’s edition, but they gave it back to me.

MG: Because of content?

Yram: No, because it was fraught with misspelled words and incorrect punctuation. Some of the words I used didn’t mean what I thought they did, so it has to be corrected. It’s pretty depressing…guess I need to read the dictionary. I heard it’s one of those books you just can’t put down.

MG: Okay Yram, hand it over, let’s see what you’ve got.

New Years Eve at the Brick House

by stuff writer Yram Sicnarf

On December 31 of the year 1977 we had a spectacle party to sellabrate bringing in the New Year. (That’s why they call it a New Year’s Evening sellabration.) It was a real snoozer. Since there was not a televised means to watch a ball dropping finale, we put the Town Crier up on a ladder and gave her a ball to drop. She was supposed to wait until it struck midnight, but she dropped it early and it struck an inibrated guest who is usually inibrated, but functional. Now he’s no longer a functional inibrated guest. I guess you can’t even call him a guest, because he was forcefully, without his content, driven here by Lav, because she didn’t have enough gas to get him to be imprisoned where he normally sleeps off his stupid, or is it stupor?

1-Otis 3
I’m Otis, the guest


I’m Lav. Who are you?


I’m Laura the town Crier

Later that same evening, it was still 1977. Pico brought out a game of something or other. The name has failed me. It’s one where you can’t talk. You do whatever you think will make the people on your team guess what a card you pick says you are. They have to get it before the time is up. Everything went along fantastical until two very critical things happened.

I’m Mari, but you can call me Pico
I’m Sheila, A I Aggressive Informant..Now I have to kill you

Number one.. A I wanted to throw Sherri the Photographic drawer out of the game, because it was the census of everyone that she was cheating. That turned into a big bruhaha until MG (The Pres) said just because Sherri could draw better than everyone, and thought they were playing another game where you draw a picture; that would not be considered classical cheating. Finally that all got settled and Sherri was allowed to back in.

1-Pencil packin Sherri-001
I’m Sherri. I draw photographs for weddings and stuff.

Number two.. DM being the competition guy he is, went a little too far with his pretense and took the ball that was dropped too soon, and set it on fire. You have probably already figured out he was trying to portend, “‘Goodness, Gracious, Great balls a Fire!” Just to refresh yourself, I believe it was a song written and sung by the late, great, and our very own, Jerry the bean counter. He is still alive so he must be late a lot.

I’m Eddie, but you can call me Defense Monitor, DM

Oh Goodness Gracious! I have misspoke and misswrit. Jerry the Bean Counter did not scribe or sing that song. It was Jerry Lee Lewis who is still alive, but always late, so I wasn’t too far off on what I sumerized. Sorry Jerry the BC if I offended you in anyway. I have no way of knowing if you’re late or on time, because we’ve never had as much as two beans to rub together, euphorically speaking, so we could buy a wall clock, which you can get for down to $5.00 at Gambles. It sure would have helped to know for sure what time to drop the ball. You know, through the fault of nobody, many good ideas don’t reach frutition.

I’m Jerry  I cook books not beans.

The whole thing kinda reminded me of the humane Nativity we portrayed at the Court House, when Lav the star, fell out of the sky onto Jerry who was holding a burning lantern which fell on Pico. Somehow it involved a tumbleweed, but anyway the whole thing went up in a ball of smoke .


The lesson learned here is to not use fire in your skits and games.

I’m Carol..I had better things to do

So, that’s about it. Carol led us all in a rendition of ” Josie can you see?” Treason, who was wearing a festive, patriot shirt, handed out celeberatory bowls of beans and bacon to everybody.

I’m Treason. Short for Teresa the Liaison. I had better things to do.


MG: No wonder I left early. Who put out the fire Yram?

Yram: No one… it just had to burn itself out. It was in the Gym. In a way it was a good thing because your invitation song said we were going to have fireworks. Do you want me to go see if it’s all the way out MG?


I’m Murdo Girl’s brother Billy (33) and this is MY team. We had better things to do than eat beans and start fires.



Murdo Girl… Thursday’s resolution

Like almost everyone in the free world, I woke up New Years Day with a resolve to get into shape. I didn’t set the bar for myself too high because I think that is the reason why others who are lacking in self-discipline might fail. I decided my plan would be to exercise a few days a week and stop eating anything white. I couldn’t start right away because of our New Year’s trip to Galveston. Under those circumstances, I have no control over what other people feed me right? Don’t be saying that it’s not what, but how much I eat that counts. I don’t like to hear that nonsense because if the truth hurts, I wear it!

That one in front is good! Keep it up and you’ll be out of that girdle in no time honey

For years, I was so committed to fitness, I didn’t have to worry about a fitness resolution. That all ended a long time ago and shortly after that, I came to the end of the years when I could start over anytime and results would be quick. Now, there is no more elastic in the skin. The pores stay visible no matter how much the pore cleanser/shrinker stuff costs. The eyelids hang and the bags stay no matter how many cucumbers try to lift them up. All of those things don’t really bother me that much, but there is one thing that does, and I experienced it yesterday in the midst of a yoga class.

I was already humiliated enough when I discovered if I tried to stand straight with one foot against my calf, I would fall over. Then the instructor said to move the foot upward toward my knee while still balancing on the other foot, and continuing to pay attention to my breathing. She said we could use a block that she had placed beside us if we felt “unsteady”. I hope she didn’t notice that my eyes were crossed and I was very close to hyperventilating. With very little oxygen going to the brain, I couldn’t feel my arms, let alone remember if I was supposed to hold them out like airplane wings, or above my head. I cannot breath right when I am trying to look at the sky through my right arm while I make sure my fingers are spread wide and my eyes are actually closed. By this time, my friend and the instructor had stopped making eye contact with me anyway.

When I was supposed to have my eyes closed, I caught a glimpse of my feet. I looked at my right foot. Not bad, I thought. My nails were clipped and filed and I had painted them with a couple of coats of orange-ish colored polish. I was pleased since I hadn’t realized you did yoga without your shoes on. It really does pay to be prepared for anything. I couldn’t see my left foot yet because it was still trying to get to my knee.

When we were again seated on our mats, I saw my left foot. How in the world could I have forgotten to manicure the toenails on my left foot? Did the phone ring? Did the doorbell ring? Did I run out of time before I had to shower and dress for work? I don’t know!! Now what? If I stopped to put my shoes and socks back on, that might draw more attention to my dilemma, and later people would ask me why I decided to put my shoes on in the middle of the class? I guess I could have told them I got cold feet, which would have been true. Instead, I did my best to put it aside and continued to struggle through the remainder of the class. Even though I was sitting, I still felt like I was falling. During the drive home, I made a Thursday resolution to never let that happen again starting Thursday. Now for the remainder of my life my left foot will be on a different schedule than my right foot.

I remember a time when my Grandpa Sanderson was showing me something, and I noticed that his fingernails were flat. I didn’t make the connection between flat nails and aging. I just noticed. I don’t know when it happened to me, but I have flat fingernails too. Are you looking? There is nothing you can do about it.


This is me after running in the Boulder Bolder in Colorado in 1995. Suzanne Brost started with me, but by the time I came in, She was already halfway back to Murdo.

Kip believed he had something wrong with his skin because it bruises so easily, and it didn’t used to do that. His skin has become thin. I told him that happens as we age. He must have believed me, because he cancelled his appointment with the dermatologist.

The bottom line is, you cannot outrun mother nature. Even if you have everything lifted, tightened, tugged and sandpapered, you will not look young forever. Your knees will still sag and so will your bottom. It will be more difficult to stand on one foot, and getting up from the floor hurts. Your smile really will look like a frown turned upside down and you cannot live in dark shadows forever. You can whiten your teeth now unless you have a mouth full of crowned teeth like I do. Crowns don’t whiten, which is the only thing I have found negative about a crown.


I found this in some things Gus brought me when he was here for Christmas. Mom was much more modest than I am. I didn’t know she was a Murdo High School cheerleader for 3 years, and she won the Miss Murdo contest with a vote of 1499 to 710


Don’t be laughing men. Take a look at yourself and you will look at others differently.

My mother said, “Mary, you will get to a certain age when you have to decide if you are going to be plump with a good face, or be slim with a lined and sunken face.” She said to stay plump and sit down a lot. Thanks my forever beautiful Mother. I’ll do my best, but I will go back to that yoga soon as I can find the time for a mani-pedi. How much do they cost now anyway? I think I’ll have someone else do it.

Looks like Mom convinced her sisters to sit..I didn’t think she meant on the floor. Their faces do look great!

Murdo Girl…Chain of thought

I think I’m supposed to write about this today. The reason I think so is because lately, I have asked myself and others the question, “What made you think of that?” I go through tons of pictures looking for the ones I need for the blog. I always know which one I need, but finding it is another thing. This speaks more to my lack of organizational skills than anything else. I usually run across another photo or two that starts a chain of thought.

I saw this photo of an exercise class at the YMCA in Richardson, TX. I recalled taking the class years ago. The YMCA I belonged to wasn’t too far from the office where I worked, so some of my co-workers decided to join me for an aerobics class. The two in this photograph could each fill a very entertaining book, but for the purpose of this example, I am going to tell you a little about Jeri. (She’s the one in the red T-shirt. I’m in purple, and Kathleen, also a co-worker, is the red-haired lady to the far right.)


I should give a little history here.

When Kip was transferred to Texas, I was able to transfer to my company’s Dallas office, which helped a little as I contemplated the move. I doubted very seriously that I would like Texas. I loved Denver. A day or two after I started working in Dallas, two of my co-workers, Jeri and Barb, invited me to go to lunch with them. This started a routine that continued for many years.

Barb and Jeri always went to the mall, which was right across the street from the office. I assumed we would walk over there, but I was wrong. We got into Jeri’s very nice car and drove. We usually parked in the Dillard’s parking lot, because if we parked elsewhere, we didn’t remember we did, and we went to the Dillard’s parking lot first anyway. Then we had to backtrack. Finding the car at Dillard’s even proved to be a problem. Every time we walked out the door, Jeri would say, “Does anybody remember coming?”

The routine was to drive to the mall, and shop for 30 minutes before meeting somewhere in the food court, where we spent another 30 minutes eating. We didn’t count the drive over and back as part of our lunch hour. Jeri didn’t count her commute from home as part of her office hours either. Unlike the rest of us, her work-time started when she left her house. Nobody cared that she usually arrived at least 45 minutes late.

As Jeri approached her 50th birthday, certain things started to concern her. I remember walking by a lady sitting in the food court. We all observed that she had a very noticeable outline drawn around her lips. The fill-in color was not even close to the color of her carefully traced outline. When we sat down, Jeri had this horrified look on her face. She very dramatically said, “I will never wear lip-liner again!” I told Jeri it probably looked worse because of the fluorescent lighting in the mall, but she dismissed that explanation pretty quickly. A couple of days later, I walked into her cubicle and she had her compact mirror out. She said, “I am so disappointed in my lips. They haven’t aged well.” I made no comment.

On her 50th birthday, Jeri came to work wearing a sparkling, pink dress and some sort of headband with a pink feather attached. She looked like a cabaret singer from the 20’s. There was always a theme for her birthday parties, and they were always lots of fun. Each summer she and her husband Bill hosted Olympic games in their back yard. I hate to brag, but through the years, I took home several trophies and blue ribbons.

Each year our office participated in a chili cook- off. There were two parts to the competition. One was the chili and the other was the entertainment. Jeri had some influence over the chili recipe we used, but she and our manager B.J. always choreographed the entertainment.

This was the year of the poodle skirts. I don’t remember the entertainment. I think we did magic acts. Jeri is second from the left in the front, and I’m 4th. What a fun group.


The year that stands out most in my mind was the year of the Marilyns. We all wore blond Marilyn Monroe wigs. An hour or so before we were to take the stage, we heard a high shrill voice calling, “Marilyns! Marilyns!.. we must rehearse!” When Jeri got excited, she always sounded like Julia Childs. We sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President,” just like Marilyn Monroe sang it to President Kennedy. Jeri became a little irritated when we were laughing so hard we couldn’t finish, but my memory tells me we won that year. We always took home a trophy for either the chili or the entertainment, or both. 


The Queen follows a chain of thought…or maybe it follows her.

“Oh yes, this reminds me of the time Charles got angry with his sister Ann for taking his biscuit. It happened years ago, yet he has never forgiven her Judge or is it Magistrate? I spend a lot of time in Murdo these days. It’s Judge in the States. Have you ever been to the States my lord? Anyway, to this day, Charles hides his biscuit behind his teacup. It really messed with Ann’s mind when he pressed charges. Then he… What Judge? Oh yes, I’m here to pardon Ann. I can do that can’t I Your Magistrate Judge? “

Murdo Girl…Recent study shows tinfoil keeps brain cells fresh

My brain is deader than a door nail today. Hmm, I thought door nail was one word, but spellcheck tells me no. I used to think spellcheck was two words, but spellcheck told me it’s one. Sometimes I get tired of spellcheck being so much smarter than I am. The only voice that makes me feel dumber than spellcheck is that of the GPS lady. If I decide to deviate 2 feet from the route Ms. GPS has me on, she gets very excited and says things like, “Make a U-turn in 400 feet!!!” At that point bells and whistles go off, and the screen starts going in circles and flashes, “Rerouting! Rerouting!” I know she’s thinking, “I gave you a route AND an alternate route, can’t you just pick one and stick to it??” I don’t like my every move put into question. In the first place, it’s rather unsettling to have inanimate objects telling me what to do all the time. Kip and I find ourselves whispering if we’re contemplating an unexpected stop. Is it really worth it if it gives the poor woman a coronary? Do I really have to go that badly? (Shh)

Kip and I all decked out in tinfoil

Truth be told, I’m worried that I can’t live without GPS or spellcheck. It all sounds like an example of a sick and twisted relationship doesn’t it? (According to spellcheck, I have misspelled 4 words so far.)

I think that I am pretty even-tempered. I don’t get ruffled too easily. I have tried to be really good-natured about all the age related teasing. (Spellcheck tried to change natured to matured.) I have listened to all of the advice of well-meaning people who seem to think it’s time for me to change my ways. This all became more of an issue when I reached the age of 65 last week.

I was standing behind a woman in line at the supermarket checkout yesterday. She was leafing through a health magazine. I guess she thought I needed some helpful suggestions because she said, “Do you know that regular exercise is the best thing you can do to promote longevity?” I said, “I’m over 65. Pushing 70 is exercise enough for me.” Then I added, “These Jelly donuts are for my 102 year old sister.”

I just spelled exercise incorrectly 3 times. I’m glad I finally paid attention. Spellcheck changed it to supersize, then to oversize. Sometimes it tells me, (not in so many words), “Hey, I got nothing for you.”

Mrs. Spellcheck..She looked much younger before she started correcting my spelling.

As far as GPS goes, I can be standing in Walmart and look at my phone to see what time it is, and there will be a message that says. “You are in the Walmart store in Gun Barrel City, Texas. Would you like to add a photo?” Why would I want a photo of myself standing in Walmart? What I would really like to know is why am I there? Please don’t tell me where I am unless you can tell me why.

This is my GPS lady when she was younger. There are no recent pictures.

The way I look at it, middle age is always 10 years older than whatever age I am. You are old if you add, “God willing” to every statement. One of these days I’m going to get brave and drive somewhere without the GPS lady. If I have a map, I know I’ll be able to figure it out, God willing.

For heaven’s sake, our ancestors lived without all the electronics hystrionics. (I spelled hystrionics wrong, but I like it better my way.) I carry so many devices and chargers everywhere I go, I look like I’m ready to climb a telephone pole. Do we even have telephone poles anymore?


I used to try to say growing up in Murdo did not prepare me for automation. Then someone provided me with a list of all the people who graduated from Murdo High School and went on to do things I can’t even pronounce. The list was 3 pages..front and back.

Oh, hello teachers who taught me in High School..Oh, hi John (Thune). Did I ever tell you about the time I won the coveted Miss Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow Award?

You were awarded what?

U.S. Senator John Thune receives Department of Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award


 I do have something exciting to tell you about. A few days ago I received a package from Billy’s wife Liz. I will tell you more about the contents another time, but one of the items was the William Francis Plumbing and heating pink porcelain, toilet stool ashtray someone gave Billy several years ago. I only know of three of them still in existence. One belongs to my cousin Greg Miller and one of my Murdo Girl readers has one. There used to be bathtubs too, but I don’t know of any that have surfaced.

Liz said in her note to me that she knew how sentimental I was about such things, and Billy agreed that I should have this tangible reminder of days gone by. She said she knew I would welcome this treasure back into my life and that I would appreciate it and give it a great place of honor. I’m trying out a few places. Don’t you think the commode bowl displays my crown perfectly? I think Dad would like the idea, but I will try out a few other places before I decide.

The photo is of Dad’s plumbing shop back in the 50’s. How fitting for my crown to be displayed in the pink porcelain throne.


The degree of my success will be a moot point as soon as I get my water tower collection ready to show. Who doesn’t like viewing water towers? I’m sure “The Collection” will finally and forever put my name wherever they put the names of successful people.

Here is just a sampling of those submitted by Murdo Girl readers. If you highlight the photo you will see what I have named each of my beauties and who submitted the photo. I will include the locations as soon as I have them all alphabetized..With the help of spellcheck of course.