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…Dakota’s story..The cabin

Where could he be? Makawee paced as she thought. It won’t be safe to stay in this cabin much longer. She needed her husband. She needed her family. She was so very tired of the life she and William had chosen for themselves. They were being hunted like animals. Even after all these years of subterfuge; after all they had tried to do, the US Government wanted them to pay for undermining the goals of the greedy gold chasers. They had destroyed what had once been sacred to her people. The land was still there and it was still beautiful, but it was in the hands of those who sought to get rich, not those who respected what the Great Spirit had given them. Their tribes had hunted Buffalo and lived good lives. Now they were living in poverty and families had been torn apart. They no longer had respect for each other or themselves. Their culture, their way of life, was disappearing and there seemed to be nothing they could do about it.


Soo’-TAH’s eyes scanned the whole area from his position on the bluff where he had spent the night watching and listening. He sensed danger was coming. He just didn’t know when. He would protect his Mistress until his Master arrived.


What Soo’-TAH didn’t know was that Mahkah and Dakota had found the horses and were on their way to the cabin as well. Dakota had never ridden a horse, but she was a natural and rode almost as well as her brother.


Makawee watched the sun set on another day. A day that brought her closer to being found, but she fought her instincts. She knew she should wait no longer for William. What could have happened to delay him? She would wait one more day, then leave when the sun set again. It was better to travel under the darkness of the night. She knew her way around the rugged terrain that surrounded Sylvan Lake. Her (would be) captors couldn’t possibly keep up with her journey.

She would go to the farmhouse. She was sure the soldiers that were hunting her down, had already been there and found nothing that would cause them to return. Hopefully, William would think as she did, and he would find her there.

1-Indian Woman

Soo’-TAH was hungry, but he knew he dared not allow anything to distract him from his vigil. 

It wasn’t long before he was proven right. Two men on foot were approaching the cabin. His Mistress had been clever enough not to start a fire in the stone fireplace, so there was no smoke coming from the chimney, and there were no lamps or candles burning. The only brightness was the moon in the sky.

Soo’-TAH waited. It was not yet time to show himself.

Inside the cabin, Makawee slept. She was hidden in a dug out area beneath the wooden floor. Even in her sleep, she felt something was different and became fully awake with all of her senses in tune. She heard the creak of the cabin door. Was it William? She dared not make a sound. She heard the footsteps of two people, but neither spoke.

Soo’-TAH watched and waited. He had been trained well. The most important skill he had learned was to be patient. If he ran toward the men and started to attack them, they would shoot him. He had to wait for the right moment, just as he had when he knocked the gun out of the Officer’s hand that day at the farmhouse. He had to keep his Mistress from being harmed, and he knew exactly how to do it.

The two men searched the cabin, and were unable to detect that someone had recently occupied it. Not knowing what they would find, they had tied their horses to a tree about a mile away and walked to the cabin. It was dark and they were weary. They decided this would be a good place to bed down for the night.

1-wp-image-1308111159jpgAn hour went by and Soo’-TAH stealthily made his way to the cabin. The men were still seated at the table. They had found an oil lamp and placed it between them. They were oblivious to the fact that the Mistress was hiding beneath the floor not more than 4 feet from where they were sitting. Soo’-TAH wanted her to know he was near. It would ease her mind. He slowly walked a safe distance from the cabin and howled at the bright moon.


Beneath the floor inside the cabin, his Mistress smiled. She was not alone. Her fierce protector was there… waiting for the right moment to make himself known.

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

Murdo Girl…Nightmare on the Paluxy

It all seemed so harmless at first. We thought it would be safe. It’s not like the river was raging…Children were playing in it.

 We were only going to get a closer look at the dinosaur tracks. We should have turned back when we read this is the place where the carnivorous dinosaurs chased the plant eaters..(The meat eaters ate the vegetarians.)

“Come on Mary! This will be fun!” He said.

“We can get across the river here. Watch me,” he said.

“We’ll just wait here,” I said. “It looks like its all uphill.”

“And there is no way to get back down!!” I said. “We’ll have to backtrack for miles.” 

“I’m right behind you! I told you it was all uphill,” I said.

“What is that?”

“Run for your life!!” I said.

“Do armadillos bite people or eat dogs?” I asked.

“I’m not crossing that field full of venomous snakes and possibly big rats,” I said.

“I hear the river,” he said. “We must be getting closer again.”

“Cyndie..Go get help!” I said. “Kip.. Did you bring a flashlight?” I asked.

“Wait! I see a sign! It says the exit is this way! Good job Cyndie,” I said.

6 miles

“A hot fudge sundae, and a banana split!

And two fried pies we’re saving til tomorrow!

“We earned it all,” we said.

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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Murdo Girl…Beastertown, USA

Several months ago, I began writing a sequel to the children’s book I published last year right before Easter. We Shall See what We Shall See is a story about having faith in things you cannot see. The inspiration for the book was a memory of a story I told my dad when I was a little girl. It was about a character I made up. I called him The Beasterhop.

Since Beastertown, USA is far from ready to be published, I decided to share some of what I’ve written with you. I’m hoping you will want to share the stories about the townspeople with the little ones in your life.


Welcome to Beastertown

We are the shining crown

Of rabbit cities everywhere. None other can quite compare.

We treat others with respect and go beyond what they expect.

When it rains, we see the sun, and rainbows surround everyone.

Promises are never broken, and unkind words are never spoken.

When you speak, we will hear. There’s nothing in our town to fear.


What is right, is never wrong. In Beastertown we get along.

We try hard to break bad habits, but remember… we’re all rabbits.

 Perfection is not expected. Most mistakes can be corrected.

We might say, “For Heaven’s sake, learn from the mistakes you make.”

Come and see us everyone, we promise you’ll have lots of fun.


The Beasterhop has much to do, and many families to answer to.

He’s the Mayor of our growing town..The city with the shining crown.



Golden Rule School


In Beastertown bunnies go to school and learn about the Golden Rule.

Before you say what you’ll regret, to someone who won’t soon forget, ask what would happen if you put.. the same shoe on the other foot.

Think about how you would feel.. if others said what was not real, but made -up stories that did not flatter. Would you say, “It doesn’t matter?”


Could you be a friend to one, who caused harm to… anyone, because they told tales out of school and didn’t follow the golden rule?

The Beasterhop comes here every day, and listens to what the children say.

They all know how much he cares. Yes… no one else quite compares


to the Beasterhop


Murdo Girl reading We Shall See what We Shall See, by Mary Francis McNinch to the children attending story hour at the Seven Points Library. The book is available on amazon.