Murdo Girl …The Jeep


Murdo Girl…The Jeep

I love this story. I’m sure many years from now, our miss Murdo Girl will remember all the fun times she had with cousins and friends. Many of their adventures would not have been possible if not for the Jeep.



We all love Uncle Jeff’s Jeep. It has taken us on some pretty great adventures. It has been stuck more than once, and driven where only rented cars and trucks should go. Although we have asked too much of it on more than one occasion, it keeps on providing fun transportation.

Not too long ago, we loaded it up for a trip to the cabin. The purpose of the trip was to spend a day skiing at Terry Peak, near Deadwood. The first stop is always McDonald’s in Rapid City. I get a big mac, fries, chocolate shake, and a hot apple pie. I guess that’s what everybody gets.

I didn’t have any money for this ski vacation, but at the time I still had the Texaco credit card Dad had given me to use in case of an emergency. In my book, a ski trip without cash is an emergency. It worked like this. I bought all the gas, and the other kids gave me cash for their share.

I consider myself athletic, and I’m pretty brave, so I was excited to have the opportunity to enjoy a day on the slopes. I should have remembered that I gave up on tennis after my very first try, so I can’t really consider myself an “all around” athlete. It only took one trip down the slope to realize that if I wanted myself and others to live, I shouldn’t pursue Olympic skiing…better stick to gymnastics.

I was the only one in our group of four who hadn’t skied before, and I was the only girl. I didn’t think I needed help, so I was willing to stay by myself at the beginner’s slope, while the other three went on to something more challenging. I told them I would join them after I got the hang of it. One of them said something about there being a lot of trees I could smash my face into, but I still wasn’t concerned.

I rented my skis, got a  lift ticket, and up the mountain I went. It was a sunshine filled, ten degree day in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was loving it! When I got to the top, I looked around for a minute, to see what everyone else was doing, and down the slope I went. I did okay until I got toward the bottom. It was then I realized that I was “alldumb.” Any fool would have gotten a little advice on how to stop.

After the fact, it reminds me of what my Dad says. “We must be getting closer to town, because we’re running over more people.” As I barreled toward a skier who was in line for the lift, the best I could do was aim to cross over the back of his skis and yell, “LOOK OUT!!”

After I got up from my fall, and made sure the other guy was alright, I noticed the lodge was right in front of me. I was already cold so I decided to take a break and get some hot chocolate. I rather liked being a spectator, so I watched everyone else from the inside. If you include the hot chocolate my half hour on the slopes was pretty pricey. I was hoping the Jeep would need some gas soon, because I was running low on funds. I wanted to have at least one more big mac before we headed for home.

Terry Peak..the view from inside the lodge

The Jeep gets us where we want to go if we treat it right. One cold day, Mark and I went for a drive. We were hoping to find an abandoned farmhouse to explore. Well, we got distracted and we were farther out than we thought. After the ski trip, the Texaco card was removed from my possession, so we were pretty low on gas. Actually we were out of gas.

We had to walk about a mile before we even got to the highway, and we were still at least three miles from town. I didn’t even have to think about it. When the next car going our direction got close, I planned to stick my thumb out. Mark said that under no circumstances would he hitchhike. We argued about that for a while, and kept on walking. Neither of us had to worry either way, because it was a cold winter day, and there weren’t many people out for a drive. Wait! We saw a car approaching. Even Mark got excited because we knew the people. It was Eldon Davis and his wife. Eldon and Alma are janitors at the school. We started yelling and jumping up and down! Eldon and Alma, smiled, and waved, even honked the horn…and drove on by.

We could not believe it! We finally got back to town (just before dark), and went to the store to tell Uncle Jeff we were going to have to get a gas can and a ride back to the Jeep. Shortly after we got to the store, who came in but Eldon and his wife. Mark and I started yelling at them. “Eldon, why didn’t you stop?”

Eldon said, “I told Alma, why that’s Mark Sanderson and  Mary Francis!” He said he thought we were just out for a stroll.

Mark said, “Eldon…We were three miles from town, and freezing!”

I guess all is well that ends well.

We try to plan our outings around any pending rain because if you’ve got the windshield wipers on, you can’t step on the gas. Yesterday after school, I talked Mark into taking me to Kennebec. My friend Josephine got some penny loafers there, and I wanted some exactly like them. If the apparel I buy isn’t Connie like, it’s somebody else like. I don’t know what my personal taste is until I see it on someone else. I have quite a few Connie like things, but I’ll have to tell you how that worked out for me in another paper.

Anyway, we got to Kennebec and I found the shoes. They didn’t have them in my size, but I didn’t let a little thing like “not fitting” bother me. They had some a size too big, so I got them.

On the way home, it started raining. It was really coming down, so here’s what we had to do. We gunned it, then let up on the gas so the wipers would work. As soon as we could see a little, we gunned it again. We had to do that all the way back to town. Can you imagine what that must have looked like to the other cars on the road? Its a good thing the cops didn’t see us. We sure don’t have a ticket fund going.

We really love that old Willys Jeep! Uncle Jeff is going to give it to Mark when he turns 24.

Aunt Irma, Valerie, Mark, Suzanne 








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  1. VALERIE HALLAMay 27, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    We have to find out where that jeep is for sure! Mark probably has it in his folks’ garage. Great stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LIFELESSONSMay 27, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Can we go for a ride in it when we are in Murdo in July???


      • MARY FRANCIS MCNINCHMay 28, 2016 / 6:56 am

        Ha! I think it now resides in the Pioneer Auto Museum, but we can get our picture taken with it!


  2. LIFELESSONSMay 27, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    Our adventure vehicle was a Scout. Once the engine fell out of it on the way to White River. This happened on the top of a hill and we coasted down, not realizing why the car had stopped. We got someone to send a mechanic out from town and when he opened the hood he was amazed. “You don’t have an engine!” We told him we had to because we’d driven there. It took us awhile to figure out what had happened and sure enough, he drove up to the top of the hill and there was our engine in the middle of the road.


      • LIFELESSONSMay 28, 2016 / 8:20 am

        We must! For your loyal fans. and perhaps some of my readers, as well.


      • LIFELESSONSMay 28, 2016 / 8:19 am

        Yes… The screws that held it to the mountings just jiggled loose and fell out. They towed it in to White River, put the engine back in and we drove back home. I loved that vehicle. We would take the top shell off and load up the back with kids and drive around. It was a great conveyance for kids.


  3. JOHN KUCKLEBURGMay 28, 2016 / 9:33 am

    I believe that is the same Jeep that Jeff hauled the
    baseball team all over the country. He spent so much of his time coaching us; but as I recall we WON!

    Liked by you

    • MARY FRANCIS MCNINCHMay 28, 2016 / 10:15 am

      It was..I think it was a 1951 Willy’s. Jeff loved coaching baseball. Billy talks a lot about it.


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