Murdo Girl…Too thin?

They say

I know what they say…I spread myself too thin

They say I should finish what I labored to begin

When I start another, they say I won’t complete it

The ones that always say this, hardly ever read it

They say they aren’t just speaking of all the things I’m writing

What about the water towers, and the Angels I keep sighting

They say I have too many crowns to sit on my thick head

You only wear one at a time? That’s not what Queen E. said

They say the rabbits in my house keep on multiplying

Now it’s new clothes for them they say I keep on buying

Speaking of old things, of which we were not

They say this is another thing of which I am besot

They say I should stop buying things..they want me to confess

I spend far too much money at the Goodwill store no less

They say they’re grateful I’ve dropped one thing from my life

I forgot until they said this, I never mention Barney Fife.

They say they’ve noticed all the dolls I have been collecting

They say they know I sneak them in when no one is suspecting

They say I’ve lost the battle, and the war they too will win

But Mom always said… You can’t be too rich or too thin.

 

 

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Okay..I bought them each one new outfit for the book signing…so sue me!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murdo Girl…There are angels, and then there are Angels

Do you have a guardian Angel, or do you have a mysterious messenger who taps you on the shoulder every now and then? Have you been visited by a loved one who wants to reassure your troubled heart? Maybe you feel your Angel around you at all times. I’d be willing to bet you haven’t done what these three sisters do. They invite their Angel Mom to go on a road trip with them.

These trips have become a tradition for Karen, Kim, and Tammy. They take their Mom, Bonna along when they hit the road together. I know for sure that Bonna would love the idea. It’s so her. I can see and hear her laughing right now. She had a laugh that went all the way to her pigeon toes. You’ve heard of belly laughs. Bonna had an unforgettable whole body cackle. Her sisters Roni and Norma were blessed with the same contagious laugh. I loved it.

Roni, Norma, Betty

Bonna’s sisters Roni and Norma are standing. I believe the lady sitting might be another sister. You can almost hear their laughter in this picture.

Bonna didn’t walk, she leaned forward a little bit and half ran whether she was in the house or outside. When I think of Bonna, I picture her in long shorts rolled up to just above the knee, a white sleeveless blouse and white Keds. I’m remembering her from when I was a kid who loved to spend time with the Lindquists. We called it babysitting, but I was having fun. I was older than Karen, Kim, and Tammy, and totally responsible and trustworthy, but I was still a kid.

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Wait!! Who is John? I must have copied the wrong picture. I swear I have one that says Happy Birthday Mary. Roni’s daughter, Glenda is the girl behind the sign.

Stephanie Miller, Karen and I dressed up for Easter..Karen visiting me at the Chalet Motel.

When Karen sent me some photos of their recent road trip, she told me they always take Bonna’s tennis shoes with them. She said about ten minutes into the drive, they look at the shoes and they’re turned in exactly like they did when Bonna wore them.

It’s funny. I’m sitting here writing, and I’m saying, “What should I say now Bonna? She’s telling me to put the picture Karen sent me of her shoes in next. She wants to see if they’re really pigeon-toed.

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These are really Bonna’s shoes. I’m sure they enjoyed the trip

I can hear Bonna laugh. “I see you upgraded to Nikes. What next Bonna?” I ask.

“Tell me about my girls,” she says. We’re in the car now and she’s in the back, but she’s got her arms on the back of the seat, and her head is next to mine, while she talks into my ear.

“Well Bonna, you would be so proud of all three of them. They’re what you would call..good, hard-working people.. They treated me like a Queen when I was in Murdo last summer. Remember your house down from where Tammy lives now? They arranged for me to stay there.”

“I know all that Meary.” (That’s how Bonna said my name.) Maybe it was more like Mairy.) “I watched the whole time you were there. Did Loretta ever tell you about the time we left Karen home when she was just a couple of weeks old? We got to her house and she said, Where is the baby?”

“Yes she told me that story many times. It was Mom’s kind of story. She said you jumped up and said, “Oh my God, We forgot the baby.” Mom said you just weren’t used to having her around yet.” (She’s cackling again.)

“You really liked my brother Billy didn’t you Bonna?” I said.

“Yes..I loved Billy. He made fun of me when we all went to the Ft. Pierre horse races. I always bet $2.00 to show. He said I was never going to win big money that way. I told him I got to collect more times than he did, and I always won enough money to keep me in peanuts and stuff to drink. We met him in Las Vegas for a few days a long time ago. On the third day, he asked me how some old guy I hardly even knew was doing? I said, Billy..if we’re down to talking about that guy, it’s time for me to go home.” (Bonna is cackling again.)

Bonna and I had a really nice visit today girls. She loved the picture of the three of you peeking through the cardboard cutouts. I love it too. I understand why you take Bonna’s shoes with you on your trips. I’m so glad you told me about that Karen. It gave me a chance to go back in time for a little bit and remember those days that were so special. The days when she was one of the food swap ladies who traded their leftovers with each other. The days Billy had to run from our house to yours, then to Kitty Reynold’s, and on to Aunt Elna’s to exchange the covered dishes.

When the Methodist Youth Fellowship auctioned the teenagers off to be slaves for a day, Bonna was always the highest bidder for me. When my friends all had to wash windows and clean houses, I got to hang out with you three and just have fun.

Thanks girls, for letting me borrow your Angel and your story. I love you all..always have, and always will.

By the way, I asked Karen who keeps the shoes between trips. She said, “The baby..Tammy.”

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Bonna with her granddaughter T J Cross

Murdo Girl…A crown, water tower, bunny rabbit, doll, and stuffed animal collection presentation

I have a lot of writing projects going on right now, so please forgive me if I put a bunny picture in the middle of a blog about water towers, or write a poem that doesn’t rhyme. Angels fit in anywhere, so it’s okay if one finds it’s way to a blog about The Brick House. I have the second Angel story almost ready, but I’m waiting for a photograph.

It was both heartwarming and gratifying for the family of Pete Swinson and me to read all the touching comments and to know so many of you shared the Swinson family’s Angel experience with your friends. The “Only time will tell” story touched many hearts. I know it made me look back over my life and see that I’ve always had an Angel watching over me. That gives me a feeling of calmness or serenity.

Since my Angel story isn’t ready, I will share a few new water towers that have been added to my collection. I really have so many to thank for helping me out. It’s fun to see them coming in from all over, and know that Murdo Girl readers are seeing water towers in a whole new light.

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Wasser Halter

New Ulm, Minnesota…submitted by Karen Lindquist

Wasser Halter means water holder in German, so I thought it would be a clever name for this tower which looms above three layers of atmosphere. There’s not much else to say about it other than it resides in New Ulm, Minnesota. Their city slogan is “Germans have more fun.” I guess that’s a good thing if you like bratwurst and sauerkraut. I looked for some interesting and telling pictures. This is a photograph of a putting green at the country club. It kind of makes it’s own statement doesn’t it?

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Vermillion, SD…submitted by Rob Edwards

This winter eye catcher was built in 2004. It came with a price tag of 1.2 million smackeroos..hence the name. My research uncovered a little bit of a scandal. It seems the city fathers and mothers wanted to have the Vermillion logo painted on it, and the college people wanted the college logo. Since it sits beside the college stadium, the city mothers and fathers said that was enough recognition for the University. They further argued that the water was for everyone. Not just the college. Then someone spoke up and said it was going to cost another 10 grand to paint the logo, so they decided to have the school pay to have their logo on one side and the city would paint their logo on the other side. It was close to press time and I had to stop delving into this towers shaded past. I can only see one side in the picture, which is in fact, the City of Vermillion Logo. Anybody know what it is? (photo below) It looks like a riverboat to me.

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Plum Proud

Submitted by…Karen, Kim, and Tammy ..I call them the Lindquist girls

This piece is already one of my favorites in the collection, and no matter how many or how high the offers to sell get, I will never part with it. That would be like disrespecting the memory of Mrs. Parks, who read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to us when I was in the 3rd grade. I even wrote about it in my, “maybe to be published” tell all about growing up in Murdo. Laura and her family lived in Walnut Grove on the Banks of Plum Creek. It even says it on the Water Tower. Of course, the girls didn’t capture the base of it, so we really don’t know what it sits on. I wonder if that will effect the value? Oh well, it will always have sentimental value to me. Thank you girls for thinking of your old babysitter on your recent girls trip. Did you see the dugout? Any pics of that? Guess they left.

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Kim, Karen, Tammy and Mrs. Park’s third grade class. I’m sure their little heads are full of stories from “The Little House on the Prairie.”

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“Get ready, get set for your ears to flop, cause we’re gonna do the Beasterhop hop”

Murdo Girl…The Beasterhop hop

I was challenged the other day to “Step up my rap style.” I decided the Beasterhop needs a song. This is what I came up with, but if anyone has a better idea, I’m open for suggestions. Please send me a dancing recording of your kids or grand-kids. I didn’t have time to choreograph any dance moves. Anyone who sends me a video, will get a Beasterhop book and I’ll put their song and/ or dance on the blog.

Thanks for making this fun. The Beasterhop is gaining popularity. If you’ve read the book, you know he’s a very good listener.

Have fun with it!!

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The Beasterhop Hop…Rap and Song (Same Words)

Get ready, get set for your ears to flop

Cause we’re gonna do the Beasterhop hop.

The Beasterhop rides on his new bicycle

When you see him, your heart will tickle

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Make your ears flop… Do the Beastethop hop

Make your ears flop…Do the Beasterhop hop

For the Beasterhop we’ll give it up.

I know he’s real cause I made him up.

He works in his garden all day long

While you and I dance and sing his song

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Make your ears flop…Do the Beasterhop hop

Make your ears flop…Do the Beasterhop hop

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Close your eyes, you’ll see much better

Grab your friends and dance together

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Some might think that we look funny

Hopping and singing with a friendly bunny

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Make your ears flop…Do the Beasterhop hop

Make your ears flop…Do the Beasterhop hop

If you dance and sing, it’ll make you happy

your ears will flop or even flappy

smile real big,  and you’ll smile inside.

Let the beasterhop take us for a ride

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Make your ears flop…do the Beasterhop hop

Make your ears flop…do the Beasterhop hop

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Make your ears flop…do the Beasterhop hop

Make your ears flop…do the Beasterhop hop

Me Rapping

The Rap Music – (For you to use to make a recording)

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The Singing Music

Me Singing..just listen til you get the general idea.

Song Music for you to record the song

 

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We Shall See what We Shall See…The Beasterhop story is available on amazon

 

 

 

Murdo Girl…Only time will tell

Do you believe in Angels? There is a saying, “To those who believe, no explanation is necessary. To those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

Please know that I’m not trying to persuade anybody to believe one way or the other, but today, Tuesday and Thursday, I would like to share three very heartwarming stories..and they’re all true.

THE GRANDFATHER CLOCK

Back in the 70’s Sherri Miller’s Mom and Dad bought a grandfather clock at an auction in Presho, SD where they lived. As it turned out, the clock belonged to someone who lived just a couple of blocks from them, so they ended up hand carrying it down the street to their house, where it still resides.

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The clock soon became Mr. Swinson’s pride and joy and he seldom let anyone else touch it. His beautiful clock had to be wound each week before the weights were all the way to the bottom. If they do get to the bottom, the clock can lock up and fixing it requires a clock repair expert. Sherri said that throughout the years, it has only locked up on them once. They had to take the non-working parts out, wrap them very carefully and haul them to Bridgwater, which is about 135 miles from Presho. A couple of weeks later, they had to drive back and pick them up. They never wanted to do that again, so Mr. Swinson was very careful to wind the clock on time each week.

The Grandfather clock has three weights..one in the middle, that controls the time, and two on each side that control the chimes. When Sherri’s Dad started slowing down, he finally decided to let her take over the task of winding the clock. When he became really sick last November and had to go to the hospital, winding the clock was not on Sherri’s mind. When she got back to Presho a few weeks later, the weights on the grandfather clock had reached the bottom and everything on the clock had stopped. She had to get back to Pierre, (SD), so she wasn’t able to do anything with it on that trip.

In late December, she decided to try winding it to see what happened. The clock timing actually started to work, which meant the middle weight was moving down like it should. After that, Sherri was careful to rewind the clock part weekly. The two weights on the outside however, did not move, which meant the clock did not chime on the quarter, half, or on the hour. Fearing he would get upset, Sherri decided not to share this with her Dad.

Several weeks after Mr. Swinson came home, Sherri was helping him to the bedroom and he stopped at the clock and asked, “Is the clock not working?” Sherri responded that it was and it was keeping perfect time. He didn’t say anything more about it until a few days before his passing, when he asked her again if the clock was working. He said he couldn’t hear it chime. This time she told him what had happened. Sherri said he remained calm and said, “If I were able and if I could get to it, I know I could fix it.” Sherri told him she knew he could too, but he couldn’t get to it and they were not going to worry about it now. No more was said.

Sherri and her sisters had tried to fix the chimes several times over the previous three months, but to no avail. Then a few days after her Dad died, the clock needed winding. After she wound it, the clock made a little chime. She was shocked, but thought maybe she had touched something when she pulled the weight up, that caused the sound. That happened around 7:35, so Sherri and her sister sat there watching it, and waited for 7:45 to get there. Sure enough, they heard a small chime. They waited for it to come to the hour of eight o’clock. They were so excited when they heard the “minute before” chime and then the count..8 dongs..one for each hour. Sherri and her sister listened to each chime of the grandfather clock in amazement. The clock has been working perfectly ever since.

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Pete Swinson with his daughters. He lived to see his 100th birthday, and was a man loved by all.

The sisters were convinced the first thing their Dad did when he left, was to get over to that clock and fix it. It was his way of answering the request Sherri had asked of her Dad shortly after he died. She asked him to please find a way to let her know he was okay. Each time she hears the chimes, she knows her Mom and her Dad are together, and everything is as it should be.

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Sherri Miller with her Dad, Pete Swinson

Remember the song most of us learned when we were kids?

My grandfather’s clock was too tall for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
But it weighed not a pennyweight more

Ninety years without slumbering
Tic toc tic toc
His life’s seconds numbering
Tic toc tic toc
It stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died.

The man in the song must not have had a very special and loving daughter, who believes her Dad is now in heaven catching up with her Mom. Don’t you think he must have said this to his wife? “Sorry I’m a little late honey, but I had to fix the clock for Sherri. She asked me to give her a sign that all is well.

Sherri believes she now has two guardian Angels.

I believe our Angels will do almost anything to get our attention.

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Murdo Girl…Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed

Our favorite photographic landscape drawer, Dianna thought she saw Lav today wearing her favorite disguise , the tumbling tumbleweed. There is a little bit of folklore associated with a tumbling tumbleweed. (How long do folks have to lore before you can call it folklore?)

Anyway, Karen Lindquist told me she once saw a Volkswagen pull into Her Dad’s…. Dean’s Philip 66 Station in Murdo, SD. She said the tourist had the biggest tumbleweed she had ever seen strapped to the top of the car. Lav has been seen driving a car like this.

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The Saga…….

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Dianna: This is her right?

(I don’t know..her legs look too skinny.)

See her tumbling down,
Pledging her love to the ground!
Lonely, but free, she’ll be found,
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

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Dianna: She was drifting along with a bunch of her weed friends.

(Sounds about right.)

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Dianna: You could see something or someone was chasing them as they tried to climb the fence.

(This is not looking good. I recognize that fence post. It’s one of Lav’s favorite hangouts.)

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Dianna:You can see she almost made it to the top

(She got caught up there didn’t she. That had to hurt!)

Cares of her past are behind,
Nowhere to go, but she’ll find,
Just where the trail will wind,
Drifting along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds

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Dianna: Something really flattened her

(Where are her legs? I don’t see her legs)

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Dianna: From the looks of the dung left behind, I can only surmise that she was run over by a Buffalo. My deepest regrets.
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Dianna: Who photo bombed my folklore?

She’ll keep rolling along,
Deep in her heart is a song,
Here on the range she belongs,
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

Tumbleweeds, tumbleweeds!

(I think the record is stuck.)

See her tumbling down,
Pledging her love to the ground!
Lonely, but free, she’ll be found,
Drifting along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds

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Sherri the photographic drawer: Hold on there Miss Landscape photographic drawer…It wasn’t Lav

 Wanna know how I know? I just drew a photograph of Lav with MG..They’re both in JAIL!!!

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The End

Murdo Girl…Murdo is the Friendliest town

A few weeks ago my brother Billy and our 2nd father Gus, drove to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the annual Jones County reunion. Billy went last year and enjoyed it so much, he wanted Gus to make the trip with him this year. They knew I would be anxious to hear all about it, so they called me on their way home. Don’t tell him I said this, but Billy’s memory is either extremely good or he knows a lot about the things he makes up.

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Image result for old people reunions

The Arizona reunion is not a high school reunion like the one in Murdo. It’s a gathering of folks who lived in Jones County and moved to Arizona when they retired. I understand all of the name tags say, “I don’t remember your name either.” I’m sure the burning question on everybody’s mind when they get there is, “How far away is the bathroom?” I’m only kidding of course. I’m the one who still thinks and writes like an eight year old. I’m really 65 you know. I tell Kip all the time that I’m still very beautiful. You just have to read between the lines.

I spent some time in Arizona in the early 80’s. I lived in Denver and worked for a company that insured real estate loans. Arizona was my territory and I spent a few days there every quarter. The joke below, is no joke!

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Patti Dykstra Arnieri made this comment about the Phoenix reunion. ”We told a million stories,” she said. “Some of them might even be true.”

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Billy talked about everyone they saw and what he could remember about each person. It was a good idea for him to take Gus with him, because between the two of them they remembered quite a bit. Before he hung up, Billy said he really wanted me to call Belva Anderson and ask her to tell me the story about Murdo being the friendliest town ever. It’s a great story!

Murdo..The Friendliest Town

Some hiking buddies of Chris and Belva’s moved from Minnesota to Spearfish, SD. They had heard so much about Dave Geisler’s Pioneer Auto Museum, they decided to drive to Murdo and attend one of Dave’s car shows.

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They checked into one of the local motels where they planned to stay for the three day event. Everything was going along just fine and they were having a great time, until the next morning when the husband discovered he had neglected to pack his underwear. His sweet wife walked uptown and began looking for a store that sold men’s underwear. She went up and down both sides of the main drag, and was having no luck at all. She finally saw a lady standing in front of one of the stores and approached her to see if she could help her locate a place that sold men’s underwear.

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The lady of course told her what everyone from Murdo knows. There are no stores in Murdo that sell men’s underwear. Seeing the poor tourist’s look of disappointment, she said, “What size does he wear? Maybe I could go home and get some of my husband’s underwear for him.”

I don’t know how the awkward situation got resolved, but Belva said every time Murdo is mentioned when they’re with their hiking friends, the lady always says, “Yes, that Murdo has to be the friendliest town I’ve ever visited!”

I was dying to know who the helpful Murdo lady was, but Belva said her friend described her as being of medium height and she had brown hair. That didn’t help narrow it down much. Can you just picture her going home and rummaging through her husband’s underwear drawer and telling him she needed a pair for a tourist who didn’t have his underwear with him?

I think that story might top any of the funny experiences we had while we owned the Chalet Motel. Well, any I can remember anyway. You might ask Gus.

I’m sure Gus and Billy could have told the story much better, but I’m the one with the blog.

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Mable or May?

It’s been a long day and Kip just said, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” That used to mean it was time to relax with a cold beer. Now it means dinner is ready.

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The Way They Were

The Way They Are Now

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I told Billy that I’m going with Gus and him to the Arizona reunion next year. I live in Texas, but very few Jones County people retire here. When I went to the Murdo all school reunion last summer, they still remembered who my parents were. I realize that five years from now, that most likely won’t be the case, but as long as we get to ride in the parade, queen cousin Valerie and I will be there. Billy can drive us around in Dave Geisler’s red convertible.

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Murdo Girl… The Brick House..Give me a P??

It’s Monday morning at the Brick House. Next Pres Murdo Girl is already hard at work in the Oblong Office and it’s only 10:00 a.m. She’s trying to do the budget because it’s due. She has to have next quarter’s budget to the Courthouse yesterday. Murdo Girl, using her usual rationalization, figures since she lost an hour Sunday, it won’t be a big deal if she’s 24 hours late. So far she’s got nothing. Isn’t this Jerry the Bean Counter’s job?

In comes Lav.

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Lav: Hey NP can I have your audience for a minute?

MG: Been hanging out with the Queen again have we?

Lav: I just want to let you know I don’t want to be the Designated Survivor/Next Vice Pres anymore. It’s boring me, and I hate being bored. It makes me nervous, and when I’m nervous I bite my nails, and when I bite my nails, I..

MG: (Interrupting) I get it already Lav. My answer might just surprise you. I’m kind of sick of being Next Pres too. It’s too political. It was fun when we were all busy with the campaign and everything, boy..weren’t those some good times Lav?

Lav: Yeah MG. We had some great times didn’t we? All those fun dirty tricks and stuff. Now that we won, there’s nobody to dirty trick anymore. What are we going to do NPMG?

MG: Don’t go through all that Next Pres Murdo Girl anymore. It’s too long. Let’s call a meeting in the Gym. Get TC in here, no wait! Let’s not cry it out to the whole town yet. Let’s just have a top shelf cabinet meeting, say in the employee lounge at 1:00 o’clock today.

Lav: It’s a good idea to have it in the employee lounge instead of the gym cause everybody will already be there. Should we invite the Queen? I hear she’s been getting bored too. She’s been causing some trouble in the campground.

MG: What kind of trouble Lav? Is it all the Corgis?

Lav: I’ll let her tell you about it.

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The time is 1:00 p.m. and everyone has arrived. Well, they were already there, but they didn’t leave except to go to the restroom. Next Pres Murdo Girl calls the meeting to order. TC, can you help me out here?

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SHUT UP EVERYONE!! CAN’T YOU SEE SHE’S TRYING TO HAVE A MEETING?

MG: Thank you…Now, who all wants to abdicate the administration and do something else?

Sherri the Photographic Drawer: Count me in. I’m tired of drawing all of you. It’s boring, cause you’re all boring. I don’t ever have anything fun to draw anymore..and when I don’t have fun stuff to draw, I draw stuff on people’s heads.

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MG: We get the picture Sherri. Anybody else?

Pico: Well this is great news for me. I mean, I’m so sick of bean themed parties. It’s like having a whole bunch of Tupperware parties, or Amway, or Mary Kay..although, I do like her make-up. The point is, nobody ever has the money to buy or in our case give. We wind up in the bean hole every time, and it’s starting to mess with my self-confidence. Will I have to change my name? I kinda like Pico. Person in Charge Of has a nice ring to it.

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MG: Got it Pico..Next

Jerry the Bean Counter: Well I don’t know. I’m kind of skeptical of new things, although I’ve kind of been toying with the idea of going back to school to be an accountant.

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MG: Carol are you tuned in to this meeting? You seem kind of distracted.

Carol: I’m practicing in my head..you know, for the birthday party later.

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MG: Oh man!! I forgot about the party. I’ve forgotten why we said we would honor this person with a Brick House birthday party?

AI: Treason was trying to gin up some good publicity for our admin. Remember, she put it in the paper before she informed us? She was totally out of line, but then I’m pretty aggressive so…Will I still be able to fly my airplane? And can I get Sherri and her daughter off of my head?

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Treason: I don’t care what we do, but unlike Pico, who likes her name, Treason is a Debbie Downer. Teresa and Liaison put together makes it easier I know, but it makes it really hard to sell myself to the news outlets as being a viable source..you know what I mean?

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MG: Jeez..I had no idea my top shelf cabinet was feeling like this. DM, you haven’t said anything. What do you think?

DM: What? (DM takes the earbuds out of his ear.) I agree!!

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MG: You agree to what DM?

DM: Um, I agree with the general consensus..but I would like to announce something. I still have some squares left.

MG: I forgot..It’s March Madness time. Don’t take any beans DM, cause they’re about to become worthless.

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Is March Madness Basketball or Football?

About that time, the Queen enters, followed by her bodyguards, yes Bart, Smart, and Braveheart.

Queen: We’re here for the birthday party. Where’s the cake and the birthday girl?

Looks Good..I’ll just take a bite..out of the middle

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday dear Pat Penticoff Bechard. Happy Birthday to you…HAAPY BIRTHDAAY TO YOU!!

And many moooore!!

The meeting is adjourned. The discussion will continue after the party.

We Love you Pat..Thanks for being a BB..(Blog Blessing)

We wanted to burn a P, but we only had M’s..Happy Birthday from the Harold Thune Auditorium and the Jerald Applefloor. We’re at the Motel signing your birthday Card. How long do we have to stand like this? BTW..we were supposed to form a P for Pat. Where’s Mick?

Murdo Girl…Murdo is the friendliest town

A few weeks ago my brother Billy and our 2nd father Gus, drove to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the annual Jones County reunion. Billy went last year and enjoyed it so much, he wanted Gus to make the trip with him this year. They knew I would be anxious to hear all about it, so they called me on their way home. Don’t tell him I said this, but Billy’s memory is either extremely good or he knows a lot about the things he makes up.

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Image result for old people reunions

The Arizona reunion is not a high school reunion like the one in Murdo. It’s a gathering of folks who lived in Jones County and moved to Arizona when they retired. I understand all of the name tags say, “I don’t remember your name either.” I’m sure the burning question on everybody’s mind when they get there is, “How far away is the bathroom?” I’m only kidding of course. I’m the one who still thinks and writes like an eight year old. I’m really 65 you know. I tell Kip all the time that I’m still very beautiful. You just have to read between the lines.

I spent some time in Arizona in the early 80’s. I lived in Denver and worked for a company that insured real estate loans. Arizona was my territory and I spent a few days there every quarter. The joke below, is no joke!

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Patti Dykstra Arnieri made this comment about the Phoenix reunion.”We told a million stories,” she said. “Some of them might even be true.”

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Billy talked about everyone they saw and what he could remember about each person. It was a good idea for him to take Gus with him, because between the two of them they remembered quite a bit. Before he hung up, Billy said he really wanted me to call Belva Anderson and ask her to tell me the story about Murdo being the friendliest town ever. It’s a great story!

Murdo..The Friendliest Town

Some hiking buddies of Chris and Belva’s moved from Minnesota to Spearfish, SD. They had heard so much about Dave Geisler’s Pioneer Auto Museum, they decided to drive to Murdo and attend one of Dave’s car shows.

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They checked into one of the local motels where they planned to stay for the three day event. Everything was going along just fine and they were having a great time, until the next morning when the husband discovered he had neglected to pack his underwear. His sweet wife walked uptown and began looking for a store that sold men’s underwear. She went up and down both sides of the main drag, and was having no luck at all. She finally saw a lady standing in front of one of the stores and approached her to see if she could help her locate a place that sold men’s underwear.

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South end Of Main St.

The lady of course told her what everyone from Murdo knows. There are no stores in Murdo that sell men’s underwear. Seeing the poor tourist’s look of disappointment, she said, “What size does he wear? Maybe I could go home and get some of my husband’s underwear for him.”

I don’t know how the awkward situation got resolved, but Belva said every time Murdo is mentioned when they’re with their hiking friends, the lady always says, “Yes, that Murdo has to be the friendliest town I’ve ever visited!”

I was dying to know who the helpful Murdo lady was, but Belva said her friend described her as being of medium height and she had brown hair. That didn’t help narrow it down much. Can you just picture her going home and rummaging through her husband’s underwear drawer and telling him she needed a pair for a tourist who didn’t have his underwear with him?

I think that story might top any of the funny experiences we had while we owned the Chalet Motel. Well, any I can remember anyway. You might ask Gus.

I’m sure Gus and Billy could have told the story much better, but I’m the one with the blog.

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Mable or May?

It’s been a long day and Kip just said, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” That used to mean it was time to relax with a cold beer. Now it means dinner is ready.

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The Way They Were

The Way They Are Now

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I told Billy that I’m going with Gus and him to the Arizona reunion next year. I live in Texas, but very few Jones County people retire here. When I went to the Murdo all school reunion last summer, they still remembered who my parents were. I realize that five years from now, that most likely won’t be the case, but as long as we get to ride in the parade, queen cousin Valerie and I will be there. Billy can drive us around in Dave Geisler’s red convertible.

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Murdo Girl…Connie’s story..Being “Connie like”

When I wrote about Connie Jackson in my Murdo Girl stories, I had no idea where it would lead me. I hadn’t seen Connie since high school, and I didn’t know where her brother Eddie was living. Connie graduated from Murdo High School in 1968. Eddie and I both graduated in 1970.

I wrote most of my Murdo Girl stories about a year before I began to post them on the blog.

I had already written about my adoration for anything “Connie like.” I even located the picture of the navy blue and white dress I found in the Alden’s catalog. The one I thought embodied the “Connie like” style. I had written about all the trouble I went through to dump my motel job (working for my Mom), so I could work at the Frosty Freeze where Connie worked during the summer months. Unfortunately, she went onto another job that summer, so that didn’t quite work out the way I had planned.

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The shoes are ‘Connie like” too, but hers were black.

When I was putting my thoughts together to write the end of Connie’s story, I wrote a letter from Connie to me. Yes, you read that right. It helped me to sort out what she might have thought or said if she had known I was trying to be her clone back then. What if she knew I had written about that time in my life all these years later? I’ll share the letter with you at the end of this post.

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I hadn’t started my blog yet, but I had written the Murdo Girl stories, when I got the sad news. I read a comment on Facebook. Someone posted that Connie had died of cancer at the age of 63. I was devastated by the news. I had been remembering those high school days from long ago. Even though I knew I was no longer my once youthful self, in my mind Connie hadn’t aged a bit. I sat at my computer and stared at the picture I had found while searching for the notice of her passing. I came back to it off and on for several days. I had to accept that I was never going to see her again. I wouldn’t run into her at a high school reunion, or hear about her life after high school, which I knew very little about.

It was another two years before I found Eddie. I am really bad about getting or staying in touch with people. I thought about who I could call, that might know where he was living, but I never did call anyone. Time went by.

Then one night when I was talking to Karen Lindquist on the phone about the upcoming July (2016) all school reunion, she mentioned she had just talked to Eddie. She gave me his phone number and I picked up the phone right then and called him. We really had a nice visit and corresponded by email a few times before we all got to Murdo. Eddie and his wife Mari were there, along with our mutual friend and classmate Don Edwards. My Cousin Valerie Halla and I  hung out with the 3 of them most of the week-end. (Everyone has accepted Valerie as being an alumni of Murdo High School.)

We couldn’t have planned it better. Contrary to what people say, you can go back home and it can be the best time ever. In fact I saw more of my old classmates last summer than at any other time since graduating.

I first started my blog when Kip and I took our first long RV trip. I found I really enjoyed it, so when we got home, I wrote (day by day), two fictional stories that were inspired by dolls. When I completed them, I started posting the stories I had written a year before about growing up in Murdo. 1400 people read the very first story I posted under the name of Murdo Girl. That was a little over a year ago.

I had named the dolls in the first 2 stories Abby and Bonnie. Mari and Eddie sent me some photos of a doll Mari displays in their home. Connie’s story began to write itself. I now had a C doll story. Too much happened in a few short months to merely say it’s been a series of coincidences.

The Abby, Bonnie, and Connie dolls.. My next book will be this series of stories inspired by dolls. All three are different in their storyline. 

Eddie sent me some old high school pictures too. He figured I didn’t have any since in my earlier Murdo Girl stories I had used a picture of Audrey Hepburn for Connie. (He had found the blog and caught up with it after talking to me on the phone.) I didn’t have one single annual from high school. Eddie helped with background information and childhood stories. When we were in Murdo, he gave me a very special gift… Connie’s annual. He said he had wondered why he ended up with Connie’s MHS annual. He wrote a note telling me he knew now, that I was meant to have it. He said,”This isn’t “Connie like.” It’s the real thing.”

I have loved every minute of writing Connie’s story. It’s part Connie, part Mary, and most definitely about Angels. Connie Jackson believed that Angels surround us with love.

Dear Mary,

Thank you for your letter. I can’t tell you how good it made me feel to know you had been trying to emulate me when we were both in high school. You must have kept it pretty quiet, because no one else appeared to notice. If they did, they never mentioned it to me. Maybe because we were already more alike than you knew.

I feel gratified that I was mature in my actions and didn’t draw negative attention to myself. I guess it’s best to keep in mind that our actions influence others more than we know. Of course, the ability to act right should be embedded in our moral character, and be reinforced by the enjoyment of rewards that come from being a source of joy in the lives of others…difficult to do at every turn in life.

You have written about me as being a mature and self-confident teenager…A good student and role model. I’m a little surprised that you can describe my hairstyle, clothes and even some of the shoes I wore, like it was yesterday instead of 50 years ago. I understand you’re still unsure of what “Mary like” looks like. Although, I will say, I do like the Goodwill idea.

What interested me most about your letter Mary is your comments about life after high school. Why is it that some can make the transition with ease and success, and others struggle? I’m convinced the difference is not because of any inherent character defects. The question might be; what can or should happen in a young person’s life to make an easier transition more likely? I could have been more of a mentor to you had I known you were so influenced by me. It appears you literally watched my every move. I’m sure it would have helped us both if we had become better friends.

Look at it this way. We have both gone through hard times. Everybody does, but difficulties and a few wrong turns, cannot negate all the good things in our lives. Maybe the answer is we should listen more to the Angels sitting on our shoulders. Could it be as simple as that?

Take care of yourself Mary.

With love and understanding,

Your Connie Angel

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This letter and the Connie stories were written by Mary with Connie in mind. I have known many people since High School, but there has never been another quite like Connie.

I believe that all things happen as they should and in their own time. I for one will be paying more attention to the Angel sitting on my shoulder.