Murdo Girl..A day in the life of..

I was feeling kind of down today. I posted the final Connie Story last night, and I already miss Pearl, Lauren, Hope, Aunt Grace, and Pearl the dog. I still have the epilogue to post in the next couple of days, but I wasn’t ready to start anything new, so here’s what I did.


I thought it might be fun for all of you readers out there in readerland to accompany me throughout the day. How often do you get a chance to see what the day in the life of a famous author is like? Besides, I wanted to remind everyone the reduced price for We Shall See what We Shall See will not be there when you wake up on Thursday morning ..(the 16th). That is, unless you get up before I do.

I sat around the house and drank coffee for a couple of hours before going to my Yoga class. The instructor insisted she get a picture of me and some of my groupies.


I’m the one in the black and blue..praying. Crystal the rather nimble instructor, is the girl next to me in the cute instructor outfit. You probably noticed I’m the only one with my socks on. It’s very important for highly successful authors to keep from catching a cold. Barbara in the front with the perfect hair knows me the best of anyone in the picture.

Unlike most days, no one invited me to have lunch with them, so I went and hung out at Walmart for a while. I stood in the isle and read a couple of the children’s books, but they were really boring (compared to mine, which is still being sold on amazon at a reduced price.) I eventually left and came home.


I told Kip this morning that I was ONLY going to have a protein shake for breakfast and lunch. These are quite good and they come in Banana Cream, Strawberry Cream, and Chocolate. They also pack a whopping 30 grams of protein.

Television makes you look 10 lb’s heavier, and I plan to be ready to go on the Oprah Show..Is she still on TV?


Seeing the Beasterhop sitting on my desk, reminded me to check my amazon royalty report. It’s up to double digits. My goal is to make enough money to build a rabbit shelter for all those bunnies people buy their kids for Easter. They don’t stop to think the darling little bunnies grow up to be rabbits that multiply. My rabbit shelter is going to include a huge garden like the Beasterhop has. He only grows carrots. He tried to grow lettuce, but the deer got into it. 1-carrot-13737

I’m like the Beasterhop..I have lots of bunny mouths to feed. I’m really lucky because I get to play with all the characters in my story. There’s Jack Sprat and his wife, and the Beasterhop going to work..Hi little girl with a curl in the middle of your forehead!!


Yes, it’s been an eventful day here at the home of a famous author..

At least I had time to shop for my Easter crown.


I’ve got to go..We’re going to have Mexican food with Pat and Jerry. Then I’ll spend the remainder of the evening practicing my autograph for all the signing parties I plan to have people give me. Pat asked me to sign her book tonight and I froze. I couldn’t think of anything to write. That doesn’t look good for someone who thinks she’s a writer and is trying to sell her book which is on sale on amazon. Those bunnies need every $.83 I can get.


I’ll be back tomorrow…..

Murdo Girl…We Shall See..soon

For those Murdo Girl readers who don’t already know this…I have a book available on Amazon. The title is “We Shall See what We Shall See.”

The book is about a Beasterhop. It’s the story I told my Dad when I was a little girl. My brother Billy reminded me of it when he first read my Murdo Girl stories

It is currently available for $10.49. I had to go up a little because I added 2 pages, so the printing cost increased.

However: I am offering a price reduction from 3-10-17 to 3-15-17. You can purchase as many books as you would like for $9.49. You can go to Amazon and search for the book title or my name (Mary Francis McNinch). If the price doesn’t show $9.49, wait..I will be monitoring the change to make sure it shows correctly.

I love this book and I know you, and the children in your life will too. It’s sure to inspire girls and boys to use their imaginations. They might even come up with their own versions of the Beasterhop.



Sometimes when our eyes are closed we can see much better. 




The table is fashioned from one of my Grandma Sanderson’s cups and saucers


(picture of two little girls)

Cousins Valerie Leckey Halla on the left, and Andrea Miller Sheehan on the right

Later on, I’ll give a history of all the photographs in the book. Some were gifts from our children and grandchildren, others are reminders I have kept from momentous occasions over the years. The bunny figurines were a gift from my very dear friend Pat Davis.


Below is one of my favorites from the earlier Murdo Girl stories. I still remember the night I wanted to sleep outside in my TV tray Tent.

I feel bad. Today I told Mom her teeth were yellow. She was getting on me about brushing my teeth, and I said,”Well, my teeth are whiter than yours!” I expected her to say something back, but she didn’t. Of course my teeth are whiter. Her teeth are 31 years older than mine. I couldn’t really tell her that now could I?

Then, I got the bright idea to make a tent out of a TV tray and a blanket, and sleep out in the yard. It works pretty good. You can actually use two TV trays if you have a big  enough blanket. You have to be able to stretch the blanket over the trays and pound a clothes pin in the corners, then into the ground. Don’t ever plan on sleeping two people in a one TV tray tent.

I got myself all set up, and I thought everything would be fun. It got dark kind of early. I have a flashlight, but what fun is it to lay there in your front yard under a TV tray tent all by yourself, without anybody to even talk to.

I don’t have a dog. Billy’s got a cat named Yappy, but she hides up in the attic above the garage all the time. She only comes down when she  brings her kittens to us. She’s friends with Pete Reese’s tomcat. Pete is the old man who lives next door. He has a tomcat we call Tommy. The cat got his tail partially frozen off one bad winter. I personally don’t think cats are all that much fun.

We kept one of Yappy’s kittens once and named him Tinkerbell. After he got bigger he ran off somewhere and didn’t come back for a whole year. Cats aren’t fun, but they must be smart to know how to get around like that.

You know, I’m just laying here thinking. I really don’t know Pete Reese very well. If he lets his cat’s tail get frozen off, who knows what he might do to a kid who’s laying outside under a TV tray tent.

The ground is getting hard on me. Dad never got around to planting grass, so I’m laying here on prickly weeds. What a dumb idea this was. Mom should have told me no. She’s probably still in there feeling self conscious about her yellowing teeth.

Maybe I should just go in and finish this night out in my bed. I sure hate to admit defeat. On the other hand how are you going to know if something will be fun unless you try it out? I could just say I tried it out and it wasn’t fun. It’s not like I just got scared and went in. I stayed out here quite awhile and I’m also without food and water.

Shoot, I forgot to go to the bathroom before I came out here. What if I fall asleep and have to go inside the house and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? I’ll have to leave my TV tray tent unprotected.

I don’t have any idea how long it’s been since somebody changed the batteries in this flashlight. What if a snake crawls in here in the middle of the night and the flashlight batteries are dead? There’s nothing worse than hearing a snake that you can’t see.

I shouldn’t have asked Mom if I could make a TV tray tent and sleep in it while she was distracted about her teeth. What if she didn’t hear me right? She probably didn’t even think about the snakes and Pete Reese.

I feel sorry for Mom. What if something happens to me? She’ll spend the rest of her life blaming herself, because she started this whole chain of events when she confronted me about my teeth.

Do you know how long a person should tryout an idea like sleeping outside in a TV tray tent, without food and water, and a flashlight with unknown battery life?

I don’t think we have another flashlight so Mom can’t check on me even if she wants to. I shouldn’t be so thoughtless.

Oh no… I’m going to have to go in. I just remembered something. I forgot to brush my teeth.




Murdo Girl…Kicking Buzzards to the curb!!

I have an extremely busy day ahead of me..So.. I’m posting this early hoping you will all have time to participate in a little challenge I have prepared for you.


(That’s supposed to be a wink.)

One thing is clear. With a few exceptions, Murdo Girl readers don’t appreciate South Dakota humor from 1938. Those that like it, love it! For all you others..I guess you had to be there?


One Murdo Girl reader, Dianna KB, recently made me aware of a dire circumstance the Burke, SD water tower was recently faced with. (See newspaper article below.) On behalf of water towers everywhere, I am coordinating a March that will take place the latter part of March. Water tower lovers throughout the nation will carry signs with slogans such as: “Beware Buzzards, Water Towers are not Dead.” Another sign idea might be: “Water Water everywhere, but not a drop for vultures!”


To gin up some excitement, I am beseeching all of you to get involved by creating some awesome juice sign slogans. In addition, please help create awareness of our plight by participating in the contest outlined below. I will send all entries to the Burke, SD news outlets.

**Please refrain from saying things like, “I have thought.. about blowing.. up buzzards.”


Write the Caption


What do you suppose these bold turkey buzzards are saying and/or thinking? Submit your submission via Facebook, blog comment, email, or carrier pigeon. Wait..I don’t think flying a pigeon into a water tower guarded by buzzards is a good idea.

The winner of the caption contest will receive a lifetime supply of drinking water from the winner of the water tower contest, which will be announced at a later date. I’m giving you all day to do this so have fun with it. You might even want to name the vultures. This could very well be the most meaningful thing you do all day…or not..




( If you think you can come up with a better caption for this photo of Queen E..knock yourself out!)





Murdo Girl..Just what I need

I was feeling a little overwhelmed today and something that one of my teachers told me came to mind. I wish I remembered which one. Wouldn’t he or she be impressed that I remembered it all these years later? If I had remembered it 40 years earlier, it might have made a difference. Oh, well. We all do our best with what we’ve got right?

This is how my thinking went today.

  1. I need to make a list of things I need to do, then prioritize them.
  2. I need to check on a friend who’s been sick.
  3. I need to sort out my water tower collection. There are some I need to ask people to help me identify.
  4. I need to get back to the Connie stories before everyone, including me forgets what was happening.
  5. I need to quit staying up so late. I also need to quit eating so much junk, and I need to make my walking and yoga a bigger priority.
  6. I need to call Gus, Bill, Heidi, Heather, Mason, Craig, and so on..
  7. I need to write a thank you note to Liz for the birthday gift she sent me a couple of months ago, which reminds me, I need to get a Gift for Heidi today! Her birthday was 2/21, but we’re meeting her family for breakfast after Church tomorrow to celebrate.
  8. Heather’s birthday was 7/8. I text her husband for her work address the day before her birthday so I could send her flowers. He didn’t see it until the day after her birthday, so I never did get around to sending her anything. I need to stop doing that.
  9. I need to stop procrastinating so much. I need to quit being such a worry wart.

Okay that’s about enough. I could go on forever, but I don’t need to.

One of my teachers was talking to me about my homework, or practicing my saxophone, or something along those lines, and I was sitting there saying. “I know. I need to spend more time studying, or practicing. I need to spend less time running around with my friends, and eat fewer Bings, (I really didn’t have a need to quit the Bings.)

My teacher said, “Mary, if you need to do all those things, you need to remove the word need from your vocabulary.”

“What?” I asked. “I don’t get what you’re saying.”

The teacher said, “I’m saying, if you need to do or not do these things, then replace I need with, I am. say I am practicing, or I am studying, but don’t say I am going to. You can’t say I am, unless you are. When you’ve done it say I did it.”

The teacher made a good point. Mom used to quote Coach Riley, who was with the Lakers. Mom called him Riles. He said, “If you shoulda and you coulda, then you woulda.”

I think I’ve got it!

I am dusting off some water towers.


Juana Cupa Wata?

San Juan Batista, California…submitted by Lav aka Valerie Halla

 Lav sent me this one all the way from San Juan Batista, California where she lives. She says it’s right in her neighborhood. The descriptive words she used are: plain, tan, tank. There is no lettering. Well, that baby is big enough to keep the 1700 residents in water with no problem. At least there shouldn’t be a problem with low flying planes. Thanks for your contribution Lav.


De Plane! De Plane!

Burelson, TX…submitted by Laura Avant.

Wouldn’t you know it. The very next water tower I come to represents the perils water towers are often exposed to. This is an air traffic controller’s nightmare. You can see the smoke curling along the front. That airplane must have really come close to becoming water logged. Maybe Juana Cupa Wata has the right idea. I’ll put this one in the “Towers with an element of danger” category.

Water is for Sapps

Somewhere in Nebraska…submitted by Eddie Jackson

At last a break from augua! This tower is probably full of coffee. I wonder if there’s a dairy farm close by. That would really top this tower off as being the cream of the crop. I don’t have the location written down where I can find it, but I’m sure Eddie will fill us in on this oasis in the desert of water.


The Juice

Located at Sunkist Growers, Inc., Ontario, CA…submitted by Gus Gustafson.

 My kids call this photographer of towers, Grandpa Gus and I am so pleased to showcase his fabulous entry. I would guess this tower is full of orange juice, which is a much welcomed deviation from the water, and coffee our other entrants boast being full of. You have to admire the moxie of this one. He’s saying you just try to “squeeze” me out. It won’t happen. Must be the vitamin C. Thanks Gus..Great picture. (Sunkist ceased operations of their facility in 2007, so look for this one to be classified as an antique soon.)


I am.. and then I did.. buy Heidi a birthday present. Do you think she’ll like it?

It doesn’t hold water. It holds your cookbook up, and keeps the page you’re on while you follow a recipe. Kip said she probably won’t use it because she’s a “pinch of this and a handful of that” kind of cook. I got her something else too, but I really liked this cookbook holder.

Lastly, I saw something when I was shopping today that made me think of you Pat Penticoff Bechard. I don’t know how I ever lived without one of these. (Pat said she got her first pomegranate at Sanderson’s Store.)

What Do You Say?

 This poem was written in honor of Pete Swinson, who passed away at the age of 100. The photographs are by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm.


 What do you say on a dying day?

I will think of you and pray?

I am here if you need me?

 I’ll bring a casserole or three?

 Do you need for us to know?

You need time to let him go

 We look at you and see your loss

And know why Christ died on that cross. 


Your Heavenly Father

 Does not want you to despair

There is no cross for us to bear 

Your Dad might say

 “I love you girls. Don’t be upset

 I am just beyond the sunset.”


“And though I yearn for those above

I will never forget your love”



A loved one lingers if they can

So you can take them by the hand

and say goodbye…



Murdo Girl…Blame game

I didn’t think anyone would notice if I skipped posting for a day or two. I have been working on editing and formatting a story I wrote about Easter. I’m going to make it available in paperback on Amazon. I’m probably too late for this year, but I’ve started the process, so I will finish it.

My 2nd father Gus, called and said, “It’s been days since you’ve written anything on your blog! What is wrong? “

I don’t like to call Gus my stepfather. As much as I loved my Dad, he was only in my life for 29 years. Gus married Mom when I was 20 years old. More importantly, Bill and I have been so thankful to have him in our lives. He was and is our Angel. He took care of our Mom for 38 years, and he is a genuinely good man.

I wrote this poem a while back and it has nothing to do with the aforementioned. It’s about owning your own mistakes.

Next week, I will catch up on the Connie stories and the Water Towers…

The Blame Game

Does your cell phone cause you strife?
Mine really wants to run my life
It pushes me to desperation
I have no time for preparation
When a call upsets me some
I react with something dumb


I type my feelings fast and furious
Knowing the sendee will be curious
Wait! I want to keep this friend
It’s too late, I just pushed send


Back to my life, who can I blame?
All  my reasons sound real lame
Give me a sec, I’ll think of another
Can I blame it on my Mother?
Yes of course she’s the one
Who made it look like so much fun
Ahh.. but she was such a pro
My reactions are much too slow


Dad must be the reason why
I lash out and sometimes cry
No..when he saw me throw a fit
He told me to get over it


I can’t give up all pretence
While I still have one defense
Times are different now I say
It’s hard to rise above the fray
Your thoughts weren’t so electronic
Agitations weren’t so chronic
Bartenders listened again and again
As long as you didn’t say.. “when.”

I guess you think I’m ungrateful
And my voice sounds really hateful
It’s not my fault, it’s just you
Who can’t see what others do
No help will come from those I love
No healing words from up above


There’s nothing I can do today
Nothing more for me to say.
Nothing makes my troubles vanish
They even sound weak in Spanish
One thought.. gives me pause..
Have I figured out the cause?

I haven’t wasted all your time


while I assessed the crime


It was my cell phone’s fault you see
It could never have been me