Murdo Girl…Old people are funny

Staying home and writing reruns..

Old People are Funny…by Mary Francis McNinch

Old people are funny. I’m glad I’m not there yet.

They forget to remember, but remember to forget.

Now what was I just saying? Oh yes, I’m not that old.

I’m always far too hot, when the old folks are too cold.

I admit I sometimes have a little trouble with my thinker.

I’m hoping I last longer than the bulb in my left blinker.

If my hair gets any thinner it will look like some old geezer’s.

Each day I pluck the long hairs from my chin with eyebrow tweezers.

The feet I used to run with are now busy growing bunions.

My acid reflux keeps me eating Tums instead of onions.

When I get my bags out to pack for a vacation,

my clothes go in the smallest and in the big bag…medication.

My friends and I agree the latest fashions don’t excite us,

but Katy bar the door if there’s a new cure for arthritis.

It saddens me that I can’t sing and dance much anymore.

My kids say, “Don’t worry mom you never could before.”

I guess it won’t be long now til I’m forced to face the truth.

I heard my Dentist say I’m getting longer in the tooth.

Even though most people call me ma’am instead of honey,

I’m not considered old yet cause I’m really not that funny.


P.S. When someday I am faced with things yet unforeseen,

I’ll hold my double chin up and remember I’m a queen.

Murdo Girl…Just one pretty flower

Just one pretty flower

by Mary Francis McNinch

Put a flower on my grave. That’s all she asked of me.

Just one pretty flower that I’ll be sure to see.

She never had a chance they said. She won’t make it through the night.

She might have won some battles, but she’ll lose this final fight.

I tried to say I love you as I stood beside her bed.

She smiled her biggest smile, and this is what she said.

You know I’ll never leave you right? It’s really not that far.

Look through all the darkness. Give my name to one bright star.

“It never did make sense they’ll say. She had little ones to rear.”

“Nothing much that she could do.” I know that’s what you’ll hear.

 I said, what you did mattered, and she held my trembling hand.

She saw her Country struggle and she had to take a stand.

There are those who disagree. It’s their right to think that way.

They might not survive tomorrow, but they’ll live free today.

Tell the kids I love them. Show them my picture now and then.

Tell them where I’m going, but don’t tell them where I’ve been.

I hope the evil can be stopped and we keep our flag unfurled

I gave you all my love she said. My life I gave the world.

The last time she closed her eyes, I knew what she would see

Whatever love looks like those who fought to keep us free.

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Put a flower on my grave, that’s all she asked of me.

Just one pretty flower that I’ll be sure to see.

Murdo Girl…What do you know, and when did you know it?

It seems to me that the negatives in our world are out to get the positives. I am not a scholar of such things, but you don’t (usually) have to hit me on the head with a board before I get it. How can anyone be right if no one is wrong? Sometimes it seems that everyone on this great earth wakes up frustrated and goes to bed angry. In the end, we all hang on to life as long as we can, because life is sweet, especially to those who know the end is much closer than the long ago beginning.

If you are still trying to figure out whose fault it was that you were traumatized when you were twelve, how can you enjoy life when you are 40 or 50 or 60? I see inspirational quotes, I hear beautiful music, and I feel alive. I turn on the news, look at the date of birth on my driver’s license, feel a new ache or pain, and I am fearful.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid I won’t live long enough. There is a difference. There is a phrase that captures the essence of life. Without hope, there is nothing. I will add that without love, there is no hope. Love of nature, family, animals, flowers, God, other people, art, poetry, the seasons, reading, work, movies, history, and a million other things foster hope to those who look at it that way. No matter how oppressed we are, given the chance, inclination, and the support of another, I believe we can find hope and maybe even joy. Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned money at all.

It’s not easy to fight through pain and fear. I have succumbed to both more than once. I have used too much energy fighting the wrong battles, winning the wrong wars, and pointing my finger at the wrong people… but guess what?

I’m just like everybody else I know. We all have our crosses to bear. There will always be someone better off than I am, and there will always be those that suffer far more than I do.

I choose to have fun!!


I love this water tower. It was submitted by Nancy Authier. She embellished it, but it is a real photo of a real WT. I have chosen it to be the  Beastertown water tower. Beastertown is another children’s book I am writing about the Beasterhop, who as most of you know, is a rabbit that rides on a bicycle. I am not going to blog the story this time, and I haven’t written it all yet, but I am having a ton of fun taking the photos for it. You know most of this already don’t you?


I am also editing Connie’s story for a book, and writing Dakota’s story, The Whiteboard House, showcasing my Water Tower Collection, and other things on the blog. In between all of these things, I sometimes throw in a load of laundry or say hi to Kip. I have some wonderful friends who pretend to understand me. Pat is especially good at that. I work a couple of days a week, but I can’t really count that because the lady I help out has become a good friend too. (I think you also know all of that.) Oh, and once in a while I go to Goodwill.

We get to go on RV trips, and really enjoy the friendship of some fun fellow RVer’s. When the stars are all aligned, we get to see a few of our 8 grand kids and 3 great grand kids, who are sometimes attached to our four kids and their husbands and wives. We also have 3 doggies and a cat who love us. The dogs mostly like Kip, but the cat likes me the best. Be careful what you wish for.

I can look at the photos I have accumulated in the last 2 years and feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I love people and animals that I have never met. Old friends have become new again, and I have come to really appreciate Murdo, the place where I grew up. I have been touched by so many, and my life has become so rich and fulfilled.

Yet…I still get sad, depressed, disappointed, unreasonable, irritated, tired, stubborn, and all those other stupid things.

How much do I know, and when did I know it? Don’t ask me, I’m too busy to answer a dumb question like that.

Murdo Girl…The saga of Empress the dancing pig

I was so disappointed yesterday. After walking with my friend Barbara, I stopped at GW to see what was newly old. My eyes went straight to a ceramic pig. She was a bank, I think. Anyway, she was purple and she was wearing a little tutu….And..a shiny crown.

I took my remarkable find to the check-out counter where the clerk looked all over my purple pig for a sticker with the price on it. She couldn’t find one. She said the rule is…if there is no price tag, they can’t sell the item until the next day when someone prices it. I know why they do this. People take price tags off things hoping they can get a better deal. That might work at the Church garage sale, but it is a punishable offense at the GW store.

So they said….

I started to write a poem in my head about Empress the purple pig. I got so attatched to her that I actually decided to stop by and visit her after work. I would take a picture of her…yes! That was a great idea! I could show how I saved her from crashing to the floor in some little kids room and breaking to smithereens.

On Wednesday, I would buy her. (At this point, I was willing to pay any price..within reason.) I would take Empress home and introduce her to all of my Beasterhops and dolls and show her my crowns. But that didn’t happen.

“We sold her about 15 minutes ago,” a different clerk said. “What??” I gasped. “Don’t you know the rules around here?” I frightened her, I think, but I had to leave anyway so she wouldn’t see me cry.

I thought it might help if I wrote a different poem about Empress.


“Then can we Pleeeze get back to Dakota’s story?”

“Yes Soo’-TAH..Good boy.”


I’m Empress the dancing pig. My agent thought he had me a gig.

But when it never did pan out, my owner kicked my pig can out.

She took me to the GW store…My price tag fell on the floor.

I fear no one will know my worth? My tutu barely fits my girth.

A real strange  nice person wanted me. She said her heart was filled with glee!

Cause no one knew how much I cost. Another chance for me, was lost.

Couldn’t they just take a guess? Then I could be a great success!!

The stranger said not to worry, for tomorrow she would hurry.

She said, “I’ll come and buy you honey, shine your crown, and give you money

to fill your empty hole inside. You’ll wear that purple crown with pride!

She said she’d take me off this shelf and teach me to self help myself.


Well… that glorious life was not to be. Another person purchased me.

She didn’t give me a chance to show her how this pig can dance.

She took me to a real nice store. Will I stay here forever more?

She gave me a close inspection. She wanted me for her collection.

It seems I’m worth thousands more, than the price she paid at the Goodwill store.


The above story is true..I found this pig picture on the internet.. Empress was purple. This one goes well with my Francis Plumbing and Heating ceramic commode.


Murdo Girl…Here comes Trouble or Fun with Gus

This is a rerun, but the message hasn’t changed. Gus is still living in California. He sees Billy almost every Saturday, and spends the holidays with my family or Billy’s. He even played Santa Claus for our Grandkids last Christmas.

Cousin Val joined us for a few days in Ontario last summer 

We have been able to get out to California more often since Kip retired, and we travel more now in the RV. We are all very thankful you came into our lives Gus. Happy Birthday on 5/30.

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Mom, Gus, and Trouble

I decided to do something a little different for today’s Murdo Girl, because my thoughts are on a very special person in my life, and he’s turning 85 in a couple of days.

Many of you Murdoites know Gus Gustafson. He and Mom had been married 38 years when she passed away on December 30, 2008. He had never been married before Mom, but he certainly knew how to be a great husband, second-Dad, and Grandpa.

Gus was such a great Santa Claus last Christmas Eve at our Daughter Heidi’s home. The little kids were very excited. After he changed clothes later, he walked through the kitchen and our Granddaughter Skyler said, “Are you Gus?” He said… uh..yes.” He thought, “oh no, she knows.” She said, “Santa has got some presents for you. When he called your name, he told us to put them in a pile.”


Mom was definitely one of a kind. I’ll copy her phrase here. Truer words were never spoken, but life with her was never dull. Billy and I will be eternally grateful for the love and caring spirit Gus unfailingly demonstrated in all the years he shared his life with Loretta. If patience is a virtue, then he is the most virtuous person I know. Please understand, he would never say this about himself.

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Mom and Gus with Bill, Liz,. Erin and Damon

Mom and Gus did some traveling during the months the motel was closed for the winter. On one of their trips a shaggy dog found them. Some local kids said they knew his name was Trouble, but his owners were no longer around. Trouble didn’t have tags and seemed to be in need of humans, so Mom and Gus invited him to be their permanent companion.

It was a two-day trip back to Murdo, so they stayed in a motel that first night. When they got up the next morning, Mom opened the door of the motel room and let Trouble out. Gus expressed some concern. Maybe their new friend wouldn’t find his way back. Mom said, “Any dog that doesn’t know how to get back to its owners is good for nothing anyway.” Trouble knew a good deal when he saw it, and was back in time, ready to occupy his new place in the front seat of the car with Gus. Mom liked to sit in the back anyway, so she could lay down and rest when she wanted to.

Trouble enjoyed life at the motel. He learned to recognize Aunt Elna’s car, because he loved the leftovers she brought him. In fact, when he saw her car coming, he would run and get his pan to greet her. In his excitement, he would jump up on the driver’s side with the pan in his mouth and bang it on her window. Fearful he would scratch her car door, she started driving by and throwing the food out the window. That was just fine with Trouble. He had it in a flash.

Trouble outside the entryway to the basement house. Probably waiting for Aunt Elna

I looked everywhere for the picture of my son Mason, who was about 3, and Trouble. Mom loved the picture, because of the story behind it. Mason is playing with Trouble and holding a toy sheep. The sheep was part of a set of farm animals that belonged to David Edwards, who lived across the street. David’s parents owned the Graham Motor Lodge. Mom occasionally  took Mason over to play with David, and it appeared that Mason had purloined the sheep. Mom said she didn’t realize what had happened until one day David’s Mom Cynthia, mentioned that David knew all the animal sounds…except the sheep.

I Found it!!

It was almost as much fun to holler, “Here Trouble,” as it was to call for Berferd, plus we could always say, “Here comes Trouble!” In later years, if Mom wasn’t feeling well, Trouble would instinctively know, and didn’t leave her side until he could see she felt better.

By the time I moved to Gillette, Wyoming, Mom and Gus had sold the motel and purchased a travel trailer. They moved to the Crazy Woman campground in Gillette where Gus worked construction, and Mom had a job she loved at the Rock Pile Museum across the street. They soon befriended Charlie and Becky, who were from back East and also lived in the Crazy Woman Campground. One day Becky was out hosing down their parking area and a fellow camper sped by in his pickup. The dust and dirt flew. Becky was irritated, so she turned her hose on him. He had his driver’s side window open so he got doused pretty good.

Later that evening, Charlie was sitting in his favorite chair enjoying the daily newspaper, when the door to their motor home opened and some guy threw a bucket of water all over him. Imagine Charlie’s surprise.

Mom and Becky were quite a pair. They loved to shop with coupons. Mom was really excited about one of her coupons until the cashier told her it was expired. “But that’s my best one,”she said. It must have ruined their whole shopping experience.

I hope I have remembered a few of Gus’s favorite stories. He still talks about Trouble and what a good dog he was.

Horse Creek..June 2009…Mom wanted her ashes spread where Grandpa and Grandma Sanderson and the family lived until she was eleven. Greg Miller found the site on land now belonging to Dan Height, and arranged 4-wheel drives to get us all there.

Eventually, Mom, Gus, and Trouble moved to Ontario, California. My brother Bill’s company managed the parking at the Ontario Airport, and they did some work counting the in and out traffic for him . One day Mom left the airport to go get some donuts and accidentally got on the freeway. She said she told God if he got her safely off that freeway, she would never drive again. I think she kept that promise.

Gus still lives in Ontario and manages the RV park where the travel trailer has been parked for many years. He facilitates Bible study classes at the local Salvation Army, and also helps them distribute food to those in need. He enjoys steak night at the American Legion and helps out with their functions.

Every Saturday that Bill is in town, he meets Gus at the Pomona Fairplex, where they have simulcast horse racing. They always say they hope to break even, because they sure could use the money.

Gus comes to Texas once a year for Christmas or Thanksgiving, and we try to go see him at least once during the year. He spends other holidays with Bill and his family who live in Los Angeles. Gus’s nephew Mark and his wife Marlene live in Rapid City, so he visits them and their kids and grandkids.

He’s always interested in hearing news of the Sanderson family and other friends in Murdo. Gus was very saddened to hear of Dwight Hurst’s passing.

Gus is a stand-up guy and we love him very much. We hope you’ll join us in wishing him a happy 85th birthday (5/30), and continued good health. He shares the day with my Sister-in-law Liz, (Happy Birthday Liz.) Bill always takes them to the restaurant of their choice to celebrate.

Murdo Girl…A Brick House surprise


It’s Monday morning at the Brick Help Yourself House. Murdo Girl and Lav are in what used to be the high school superintendent’s office before it was the Oblong Office, before it was the HYSTERIA (Help Your Self To Evolutionary Real Interesting Aid) Office.

MG: Just listen to all that racket going on out there Lav. People must be lined up for blocks just waiting to sign up for our DIY self help classes. We are finally getting the big break we need. Soon the money will be pouring in. I would bet my last bean on it.

Lav: (Looking out the window) Umm MG, What does demolition mean? Is it kinda like when there’s a big heavy ball being lifted way up into the sky by a crane? It’s beautiful to see, but there are no people standing in line…

MG: What?? (Murdo Girl runs over to the window just as the wrecking ball hits the window of the Rose Garden Room, which was named after the White House Rose Garden, only on account of a short growing season, the city decided to put the roses inside. The flower fertilizer creates quite a stench, but the roses are beautiful.)

They’re trying to knock this place down!! I thought we had another week to come up with the money to get this place out of hock. Do they have no shame? This multi-use brick house used to be Murdo’s answer to the White House. What are they thinking?

Lav: Well’s a pretty sad day. A pretty sad ending to our Next Pres Reign. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty sad. Think I’ll go hang my crown up. Then I’m going to make like a tree and leave before this whole place comes crashing down around us.

Murdo Girl doesn’t hear a word of what Lav just said, but she is feeling pretty sad. She decides to go down to the employee lounge for one last cup of coffee. The lounge is downstairs, so it will be a little while before the wrecking ball can get to it.

When she gets to the employee lounge, she is very surprised that no one is sitting at the table drinking coffee. Maybe it’s because all of the chairs are gone.

The coffee pot is gone too. Thanks for the memories employee lounge.

MG: I guess I’ll go on down to the gym. Maybe I’ll run into one of the gang. Funny, it’s been years since the Coyotes played basketball in here, but it still smells like dirty socks and butch wax. I have a lot of great memories of Next Pres Pressers here. I remember the time TC and the Queen got kidnapped and the bad guys released TC during one of the pressers and the electricity went out just as they took her blindfold off. It was dark down here and she thought she was blind. There’s nothing worse than a blind Town Crier unless it’s a Photo bombing Queen.

 MG continues on her nostalgic tour of the Brick House, which is in the process of being destroyed by a wrecking ball.

MG: One of my fondest memories was of the Espressofest. That was DM’s brilliant idea. It would have been okay if the townspeople of Murdo hadn’t gone into caffeine overload.


EXCERPT of the Crown contest:

There are three judges including the Queen. They have been cautioned not to consider the value of the crowns. We don’t want to know. The Brick House gets to keep all the crowns as part of their take..I mean donations. It’s all “not for profit,” because we don’t want to have any tax troubles, which could keep the money tied up for years. This was the advice of our new Lawyer Gentril. That’s an Attorney General who can’t pass the bar. Ours turns into the Buffalo Bar every time he goes by, but at least we know where to find him.

The DM (Defense Monitor..He never can keep a secret), Bean Counter, (couldn’t find a bean if it was pasted on his forehead), The Gentril, and the Judge…(Queen E judged the Espressofest Crown contest. She was ruthless!)


MG: Well, I like nostalgia as much as the Next Pres, but I sort of feel like it’s time to move on. (A wrecking ball smashing against the side of your office tends to make you face reality.)

Murdo Girl makes her way to the back door…woops! There is no back door, so it’s off to the open space that used to be the front door. She is really feeling sad by this time. Not one shelf of her self help cabinet has stopped by to talk about old times.

Funny…They had seemed really interested in the new business model. Self help is the answer to every burning question I can think of except one…What’s next for the old Next Pres?


All of the staff and most of the townspeople, (well at least 3), were waiting on the front lawn. They were clapping. (clap, clap). Sherri the photographic drawer was drawing a photograph of the unbelievable scene! Carol the singer was belting out “Oh Here’s for Murdo Coyotes! A I was buzzing the building with her airplane, and you can bet Treason was right there with her.!!!!! DM, PICO, TC, and even the Queen were all there, and they were smiling from ear to ear!!! Wait..the 3 Murdoites turned out to be the body guards, Bart, Smart and Brave-heart. Too bad…they would have fit right in to the Self Help stuff. Speaking of someone who needs help…here comes Yram Sicnarf. All of her restraining orders must have been lifted.

Lav: (Comes running up to MG). Come on MG, she says. We’ve got to get to work!!

MG: Lav..This was all fun and games until the building got hurt, but you must get a hold of yourself and face reality. They are tearing this place apart brick by brick. There is no longer a The Brick House.

1-fallen chimney

Photographic drawing by Sherri (copied from a photo taken by Dianna)

Lav Points to the sky…A I is flying low..and what’s this I see? A Banner? 

“Come to The Bored Help Your Self House, or just The Bored House for short..Which happens to be painted white.” 

MG: Huh??

Lav: We’re going to the REAL White House MG. Yup… We don’t even have to go to Washington DC. We’re going to set up shop at the old grade school right down the street, and it’s built from wood instead of brick! We even have a bored crown for you MG.


MG: You spell that b-o-a-r-d Lav!!

Murdo Grade School

Lav: Pico is down there getting all the nuts and mints ready, and guess what else? Today is her birthday so we’re giving her a help yourself self help surprise party!

Everybody claps (clap clap), and cheers, (cheer cheer).


You looked so lovely at the Inaugracorination…Here’s the description of your memorable eco-friendly gown.

Pico will look lovely in her gown of plant leaves. She even found some tomato earrings. If anyone craves a salad later, I’m sure she’ll oblige. The only downside to the gown is that it has to be watered every 20 minutes. There’s a sign-up sheet in the men’s room.

Pico: My official title is Person ICharge 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.

Happy Birthday Mari Jackson

from Your Brick House friends and readers.

Murdo Girl…Dakota’s story..Blue Water

This was the first time I had ever ridden horseback. I knew I rode well, but after two days, I was ready to get to our destination. Mahkah and I were both travel weary, although considering he barely had time to recover from his sickness, he was doing remarkably well.

A few minutes later he said we were getting close to the cabin where we hoped to find our Mother and maybe our Father. We knew Soo’-TAH would be there too. He should have arrived early the day before. As we grew nearer, Mahkah suddenly dismounted his horse and told me to do the same.

“We will wait here,” he said. “I will give Soo’-TAH a signal that will tell him we are close by. If all is clear, he will come for us. If something is not right, and it’s not safe for us to approach the cabin, he will find a way to signal us as well.” Mahkah cupped his hands to his mouth and I heard him make a high pitched whistling sound.. like a wounded bird. He only made the sound once, then we sat down on a nearby rock to wait.

We had stopped at a creek an hour before and watered our horses. It had been almost dawn the day before when we got as far as Sylvan Lake. It was beyond beautiful, but the path to the cabin was just as remote and difficult to travel as Mahkah said it would be. The rocks had been treacherous. Twice we had to dismount and walk, leading the horses, for one to two miles.


Vintage pictures of Cathedral Spires (Left) near Sylvan Lake, and Needles Highway where  towering rocks in a thousand shapes guard the (now) highway.

The Needles Highway is a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, surrounded by birch and aspen and rugged granite mountains.

The road’s name comes from the needle-like granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway.

The roadway was carefully planned by former South Dakota Governor Peter Norbeck, who marked the entire course on foot and by horseback. Construction was completed in 1922. This part of Dakota’s story takes place in 1900.

Visitors traveling the highway pass Sylvan Lake and a unique rock formation called the Needle’s Eye, named for the opening created by wind, rain, freezing and thawing.


We sat silently for more than an hour. We had a fair amount of water in our canteens, but we had finished the last of our jerky. It was clear that Mahkah did not want us to talk. We couldn’t take the chance that the men who would most certainly do us harm, had already found the cabin, and would hear us.

I still had so many questions. Why did Mahkah ask me to strap the Indian Princess doll to my leg so she would be hidden under my split skirt? I had a fair idea as to why the authorities were trying to locate our Mother and Father. They must have been seen as guilty for crimes against the United States Army. Our Father was an Officer of the US Cavalry and was married to a Lakota Sioux woman. They had become sympathizers to the Indian’s plight after discovering the white man’s true intentions. Our parents and Grandfather had used William Miles’ position as a roving Ambassador to help keep the peace while a better solution to the breaking of the treaty was found. He Sapa belonged to the tribes it had been given to.

Mahkah had told me as much while we were finding our way to the cabin. He said our Grandfather, who was a Lakota Sioux Chief, had tried to influence his people to keep peace with the US Government, but when he found that all the children who were taken from the Reservations and put in boarding schools, were forced to abandon their culture and become Americanized, he became furious.

He was outraged when he realized the children had been baptized as Episcopalians, given Christian names, dressed like soldiers, and were not learning English, but instead were made to farm and do industrial work. He was convinced the young people should learn the English language so in future communications they wouldn’t have to rely on translators, who might purposely give them wrong information.

At that point Blue Water removed the children of his tribe from the Carlisle school and instantly found the goodwill of many whites had evaporated.

Kunci was the Chief’s wife, and had lived with her daughter and Lieutenant Miles in their home, where she cared for their twin children, Mahkah and Dakota. Kunci and her daughter Makawee, had been forced to take the children and flee almost 14 years ago. They were afraid it would become known that Chief Blue Water no longer trusted the Government to keep their promises and they could no longer rely on him to help calm the tense situations the soldiers found themselves in. What would happen to the family then? It was better for Blue Water’s family to take things into their own hands.

It proved to be an accurate prediction, only at that point, Lieutenant Miles and his wife Makawee were not part of the fray. It was only Blue Water’s influence the US Government feared.

Winding Tail, a nephew of the old chief, Black Crow, threatened to shoot Blue Water, and continued trying to humiliate him with the fact that he was chief not by the will of the tribe, but by the guns of the white soldiers. Black Crow took up his gun and fulfilled his threat. Black Crow shot Blue Water in the chest, killing him.

Before Blue Water was killed, Kunci took little Dakota to one of the boarding schools that William Miles had located. He found it not to be as cruel to the children as some of the others. He had made a simple deal with Miss Harper. He would give her the agreed upon amount of cash each month, and his Mother -in- law would work as hard and long as they wished, in exchange for a safe haven for her and her granddaughter. Miss Harper had been cruel to Dakota, first physically, then mentally, but she had still received and gladly accepted the money each month. She remained silent as to the knowledge of the relationship of Lieutenant Miles with the Lakota tribe and kept from Dakota the fact that her Grandmother was there. She also treated Kunci reasonably well. When she was too old and feeble for hard physical labor, Miss Harper had allowed Kunci to tend to her flowers and live in a dug-out on a distant part of the school property. Miss Harper was not aware of the fact that before she was old enough to leave, Kunci had made contact with Dakota.


Another hour passed and Soo’-TAH had not come to get Mahkah and me, or given us a sign that he knew we were there. It was too dangerous for us to approach the cabin without the assurance we wouldn’t be ambushed. It wouldn’t be long before the horses would become restless. I could tell Mahkah was deep in thought. It seemed like an eternity before he finally spoke.

“I’m going to get closer to the cabin. Something is wrong, and we can’t wait any longer. You go to the horses. Ride Ko’-LAH and lead my horse to the stream we took them to earlier. Come back to the same spot and tie them up again. Wait here for me my Tanke, my beautiful sister…I’m not sure if either of us will be safe. Hide the doll. If something should happen to us, she must not get into the wrong hands.”

Before he left, he handed me an envelope and told me to read it later. He had a sad look in his beautiful eyes. I don’t think I have ever been more fearful, but I did what he said, and I prayed. I asked the Great God that I believed in to let me see my Mother… in this life. I prayed for all of us, but I prayed hardest for the fierce protector. If there was a way for him to save us, Soo’-TAH would find it.



Murdo Girl…Mother’s Day rerun

Murdo Girl…The call girls

I know the Little Murdo Girl and her brother Billy, really love their Mom. Billy took her to the races for Mother’s Day, but really, what could be better than a heartfelt poem from your daughter?


Hi Mom, I called to…Mary is that you?

Yes Mom, I want to…I called Ella today. I had some “news” to tell. To get a word in edgewise, I really had to yell!

Well, Mom how long…Oh, we talked an hour, and it was on my dime. If she wants to talk again, she’ll have to call next time.

So, Mom…I’d tell you what she said, but it was blah, blah, blah. If you really want the truth, I forgot it, ha, ha, ha.

I only have a minute Mo…I went shopping with my coupons. I thought I’d save a ton. They told me they were all expired, no more two for one. Say, last time I saw you, I was constipated. Did I tell you aloe vera juice is very overrated? I use Metamucil now, two teaspoons to a cup. You should try it dear, you really sound bound up.

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I have a question Mo…I have a tickle in my throat. I’m sure that I’ll start coughin. It’s been fun catching up. You should call more often.

I’ve been trying to reach you Mom, but it’s been really hard….

Oh never mind, this Mother’s Day, I’ll just send a card.

I heard her hang the phone up. She was in a tizzy.

I knew, if I called back again, the line would still be busy.

She’d be calling sister Ella, so they can talk in rhymes.

I know for sure that every day, they talk at least 3 times.



Ella and Loretta Sanderson…sisters and friends

Murdo girl…Too far gone, or gone too far?

You all know that I do a lot of shopping at Goodwill and other thrift stores. If I get an extra dollar in my pocket, I go there and blow it. Mostly, I only get things I need, or at least that is what I tell myself and others. I’m dying to go over there right now. I’m worried there are things on display that I desperately need and someone else will snatch them up before I can get over there. Last week, I bought a nearly new $139.00 purse for $5.00. I hate the purse, but that’s not the point. I looked it up online and it was on sale for $139.00. It was originally around $165.00.


Most of my Beasterhops were either given to me by dear, supportive friends, or I purchased them at second hand stores. I have purchased so many clothes, I had to go to Dollar Gentril and purchase a portable rack to hang them on. Some of them don’t fit me, but they’re expensive brand name items. I just couldn’t suffer the thought of someone else getting them.

There are a few drawbacks to second hand shopping. I have to leave the tags on gifts I give family and friends or they will suspect I bought the items second hand. Once in a while, I get lucky and find something at Goodwill with the tag still on it. I usually keep those items myself, because I’m afraid the giftee will try to exchange them for a different size or color. That can’t happen of course.


These are some of my Goodwill receipts. Just look at all the money I’ve saved. Kip looks at it a little differently. He says, “Look at all the money you haven’t saved.”



I even bought this computer monitor at Goodwill.


Do you like my new shoes?


Now all I need to do is learn how to tap dance.


Anybody know where I can get lessons? Cheap?


Buy, I mean by the way. I’m facilitating a class at the Brick Help Yourself House. It’s called Goodwill Gone Bad. If the shoe fits, buy it. I mean wear it. Oh well, those that can’t do teach!


Murdo Girl…What Brick House?

I know. I have neglected the Brick House Gang.

We last heard from them several months ago when they all voted to find another use for the Brick House. The whole Next Pres thing was getting boring. I understand there is another meeting underway in the basement gym. Rumor has it that Murdo Girl has a bigly announcement to make. 

Murdo Girl: Thank you one and all for attending this mandatory attendance meeting. First let me review what was discussed at the last meeting. It was all about finding a new use for the Brick House without putting any of our jobs in jeopardy. As you all know, we have a very specialized staff.

We have an Aggressive Informant, a Town Crier, a Person in charge of Brick House Functions (Pico), a Liason to the Murdo Coyote, a Bean Counter, a DM (I forgot..what is a DM?) oh yeah..Defense Monitor.), a Singer person, and a town renowned Photographic Drawer…You were all asked to come up with ideas for a business that would allow us to continue to incorporate all of our positions. I got nothing from everyone. Lucky for you I am a very enterprising type person.

Several ideas have been floating about in my head. We could turn the BH into a health club, or we could make it into a farmer’s market BH. We should think outside the BH box. How about a BH bingo hall or a convention center? None of these sound like much fun do they?

I have the perfect solution to our dilema!

Self help is where it’s at. The first meeting is tomorrow night.

The first meeting of the “Brick Help Yourself House”

Murdo Girl: I would like to say a few things about self help. I have not actually tried it myself, but I hear it works. (clears throat)…The first question you need to ask yourself is: What kind of help does yourself need? We accept anything from phobias to plethoras, from Mastercard to cash. Remember yourself, you get what yourself pays for.

I only recently admitted to never stepping on a crack for fear it would break my Mother’s back! She never once asked me to do this. There is a name for this kind of behavior. It’s called volunteerism. No one can volunteer you for anything without your permission, so as an excuse..don’t even go there.

There is self help for everything. I’m personally working to overcome my need to collect things like water towers, rabbits, and crowns. I call it WTRC.

Let’s help this meeting of the minds move forward. Does anyone here have any questions?

The chair recognizes Lav:

Lav: We have ridden in this rodeo before MG…Quit saying you only just now recognize me. We have been Cuzes like forever…Are we still going to be NP and VNP? Can we still ride in red convertibles and wear crowns?

Murdo Girl: What’s your point Lav? This is not a place to air your dirty laundry. That place is next door and it’s expeeeeensive!

 Lav: I feel misunderstood. Is there a way I can help myself?

TC: I’ll answer that..Nobody understands you Lav, so the answer is no. I guess I’ll just come right out and say what I’m struggling with. I cry about everything.

A I: Isn’t that your job? You’re the Town Cryer for heavens sake. Besides that, I think self help is for sissies.

Treason: I kind of have to agree with A I. I read about self help in a self help book. The name of it was Self help for Dummies.

Lav: I saw the movie. It was a real tear jerker.

Pico: I’ve been really struggling with nopartyitis. We haven’t had a party for months. If anyone would like some of my mints and nuts, help yourself..or is that self help yourself?

DM: So let me get this straight. We are going to open the Brick House up to loco locals?

Murdo Girl: Well finally, someone has a good question. I thought you would never ask DM.

DM: Ask What?

Sherri the Photographic Drawer: I need something else to draw. I’m sick of drawing Beasterhops MG. I really hope you get the help you need.


Jerry the Bean Counter: How much are we going to charge people to help themselves? I have to keep track of bean flow.

Carol the Singer: I’m reminded of the Beatles song, “Help me if you can I’m feeling down. Please help me get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please please help me?”

THE QUEEN: I’m a Royal. Royals aren’t allowed to help themselves. We have servants to help ourselves.

Murdo Girl: I’m really excited. Look at all the problems we have to work on and we haven’t even opened up to the public yet. Let’s adjourn. We can all go to the employee lounge and help ourselves to some coffee and Little Debbie Snacks. We have to clear out of the gym anyway. There’s a compulsive crafters meeting at 6:00