Murdo Girl…The gang…Making themselves at home

1880 Town…day four. 


How do you like my selfie?

All of a sudden it got extremely busy in the gang’s little town. It appears that tourists love ghost towns. They have been coming in by the droves to walk through all the houses and businesses and eat at the restaurants. The ladies that teach at the school house are overjoyed. They still don’t have any students per say, but they feel like celebrities anyway. At least a lot of people come to see them, and once they give them a tour and come up with bogus answers to all the silly questions, they get a tip. They’re making so much money they decided to go to the Prairie Pizza Place, but MG said N-O.

Wait! Where are the teacher ladies? Look at that line!

Teacher ladies: It’s been fun, but we’ve got places to go. Who wants to pull us?


Lav was immediately attracted to the Dances With Wolves attraction. She enlisted the Queen to try to fake out “Stands with a Fist,” so she could have Lt. John Dunbar all to herself.

TC: I feel out of place wrecker man.




AC: I’m almost to Kadoka..Am I ahead or behind the Gang?

DM realized they didn’t have indoor bathrooms in 1889, so he brought in a porta potty. He charges a dime.

When you gotta go, you gotta go

wp-1500676610388.jpgThe cake thing is getting out of control. Watch where you’re pointing those guns ladies.

Looks like Sissy moved from the bank to the saloon


So, the sunsets on another beautiful Central South Dakota evening.

Who cares? 

The Cowboy says: Nope Lucky says: I can’t get away from pictures of sunsets. The wolf, the dogs, and whoever was at the end of the line for the porta potty: We’re leaving tomorrow at sunup

The Phantom Wrangler says: (wait for it….) It’s time


Murdo Girl…The gang..Their own town?

It’s been a few days since we raced the Pioneer Auto Museum’s cars at the NASCAR race in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota. By the way…We found out that none of our Presidents were born there. What can I tell you about the race? Not too much. We got there a couple of hours early so we went ahead and got started. Three of us ran out of gas before we made the first turn. Thankfully TC has a friend with a wrecker.


Somehow we got those autos back to the museum before sunrise. As we were leaving, the guy who acts like he owns the place showed up. The rule I live by and try to put into the minds of others is this: If you are not asked a question, do not, and I repeat, do not, give an answer.

Lav: Hi Mr. owner…We are the ones who took your cars to the NASCAR races in Mt. Vernon, and I believe if we hadn’t run out of gas, we would have won. Why is it Mr. owner that you don’t keep your Pioneer Auto Museum cars gassed up?

Mr. Owner: RUBEN!!!

Ruben: Lies, they’re all lies. The cars were all gassed up…I think.

Now that is a case of a question being answered before it was asked.

All that was yesterday and today is today. We had a fleeting thought, “Maybe we should stay in Murdo. Maybe we should try to get on at the Frosty Freeze.

Well, that was a thought that had to flee.

All was not lost. We still had the old pick-up truck and the Queen was still driving the orange and black VW van. We even had a little gas left thanks to an unauthorized pit stop at the races. The van even got two new tires. Looks like the Queen got a new hat!



Kodak Kadoka is still feeling a little beat up after riding that low to the ground ram in the rodeo. She had a great run at the races though. You never know what is going to give someone the confidence to do something that is absolutely crazy.

While we were waiting for a good plan, Lav came up with an idea that Murdo Girl fully endorsed. There is a little town west of Murdo that has a lot of buildings, but they’re all going to waste because nobody lives there. Let’s put a stop to such wastefulness. Let’s move in.

1-road to 1880

So down the road they went. After a busy few days, making a movie, rodeo-ing, and racing, the gang agreed it would be good to have a little R and R in a laid back town.

The 1880 Town

4-sign 2

They weren’t kidding when they said laid back! It appeared to the gang it was more like laid out! They would be doing the little town a favor by moving in. It might “liven” things up a little.

Lav: I love my ideas and I love Kevin..and dancing…and wolves.


This is our school where we teach all of the 1880 students of which there are none, so we entertain ourselves.

We take care of the renters at the 1880 Hotel of which there are none, so we go to the bowling alley of which there are none.

I’m the Bank tell all, I mean teller. I take care of the money of which there is none, but I do serve delicious cake.

Lucky: I’m Lucky, the town dog. I love this place! I’m top dog here. The sign says 3 dogs and 9 cats. There are so many rabbits, if you turn around you’ll run into one. Yee Haw!!

They forgot..2 mice

What’s the difference between a healthy rabbit and an odd rabbit?  One is a fit bunny, and the other’s a bit funny!

How do you catch a unique rabbit? Unique up on it!

How do you know carrots are good for your eyes?  Because you never see a rabbit wearing glasses!



So as the sun sets on another central South Dakota evening, the gang is settling into the 1880 Town…And they love, love, love it! How long do you think it will be before they’re asked to leave?



Oh no!! Here comes the tourists!! They look like they’re from Texas!




The Cowboy: That old town sort of reminds me of my childhood


The Phantom Wrangler looks on…He’s probably thinking, “Do I want to face what’s behind me, or a bunch of crazy people?”

(I have no idea what he’s thinking, it’s just a wild guess.)



Murdo Girl…Heal thyself

I accidentally landed on this story last night when I was looking for something else. I read it again, and please don’t think I’m narcissistic, but I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. You just can’t mess with the truth. It will lose it’s luster.

I could have been a little emotional because I was very tired. I have been working on Connie’s story… the book …until the wee hours of the night. I have had a very sweet friend,who knows her stuff, edit it for me. I have learned so much from her. I tend to rush through things. I’m a good idea person or starter, but a poor finisher. You are going to love the book. I’m very proud of it. I’ll give you more information on Friday.

What you are about to read..again..Is the truth as I remember it. It reaffirms that I could never pull one over on Mom.


I would like to assure all of you little Murdo Girl readers, that although her stories sometimes seem outrageous, they are indeed a true accounting of her life in Murdo. She really is a good Murdo Girl!

I dislike school after New Years, because there aren’t any more holidays where we get significant time off, and  it’s still a long way til May. I think the whole town gets kind of crazy because there is usually a bunch of bad weather too. Yesterday a lady Mom is friends with came over and she was carrying a high heeled shoe and said she was Cinderella. She didn’t appear to be looking for a Prince and she was drinking her beverage out of the shoe. She had the other shoe on, which made walking difficult. I asked Mom what was wrong with her and she said she got a hold of some bad water.

I’m bored at school too. I have to tell myself that every day I sit there in the front row, is a day closer to not sitting there in the front row. Sometimes it feels really awkward. For instance, Mr. Pickner gave us an assignment to write a story about ourselves. Everybody had to stand next to Mr. Pickner’s desk and right in front of me. I tried not to stare at them, or indicate in any way how I thought their report was going, but a couple of times it was too much for me.

My friend Karen, who is a straight A student, got up to read her story. She forgot a punctuation mark and said, “I was born at the age of three. My family moved to….” She stopped for a minute to try and figure out why some were snickering a little, but I’m not sure she ever got it, because I started choking. I knew laughing would be bad, but it was too late to get myself under control. I think Mr. Pickner wanted to make an example of me, primarily because I was so close to the situation. He sent me to the library with instructions to stay there until recess. That was the first time I realized that being a Pickner pick does not guarantee you can’t still get in trouble, which means there are no pluses to it at all. I think he’s biding his time just like I am. He probably knew early on that he had made a wrong decision. He just didn’t want to admit defeat. It wasn’t in the cards for me to get straight A’s.

Mom said I haven’t been very good natured lately and she’s right. What she doesn’t know is I’ve been having bad stomach aches. It feels like something is pulling  the outside of my stomach to the inside. I don’t want to tell Mom because she’ll take me to that woman Dr. In Kennebec. Her name is Dr. Horthy. I think she’s from Hungary. We can barely understand each other.  Mom claims she understands her just fine, but I don’t see how.

1-3a9941352be52fdc52edb91bdbce2f371-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 008

I guess I should tell you what I went through last year about this time. I had been home from school for a few days with a bad sore throat accompanied by a spasmodic cough. Mom said it appeared that I wasn’t going to get better, so she took me to Dr. Horthy, who examined me. She said a bunch of things I didn’t understand, and gave me a shot which almost made me pass out. Then she took Mom aside and talked to her in a low voice. When they finished talking, Dr. Horthy told me I was having “epleptic sizsures” and I would have to have a “shut” every week until the symptoms went away, or got worse. She paused.. to catch her breath I guess. Mom said not to worry, because Dr. Horthy was going to teach her how to give me shutz so I wouldn’t miss anymore school and flunk. Then she said there was nothing more she could do and sent me home. I remember having a fleeting thought that for some reason, I could understand every word Dr. Horthy said.

Well, I bawled all the way home, and Mom didn’t appear to be very sympathetic to the fact that her only daughter was an epileptic having fits. When we got home, she made me drink Peptobismol and put me to bed. I didn’t even have diarrhea.

I’m very thankful that a miracle happened and the first shot did the trick. I haven’t had a seizure or missed a day of school since.

I guess you have figured out by now why I’m not too anxious to go back to the good Dr. Horthy. If I describe my stomach pains, she’ll probably do some sort of emergency exploratory surgery right in her office. Why did we have to lose Dr. Murphy? He was such a sensible Doctor.


The pain continued, and Mom became concerned without me even having to say anything. I was worried too, and went willingly to see Dr. Horthy. All the way to Kennebec, I was positive the tests that Dr. Horthy would surely give me, would reveal a fatal illness. It didn’t help that Mom was pretty quiet too. I’m sure she was eaten up with worry.

When the examination was over. Dr. Horthy went into her back office for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, she came back with a small packet which she handed to Mom. “Geeve dis child peils as 2x each dei! She hov wiermz.”

On the way home it started sinking in that I wasn’t going to die from the worms, but severe mortification might kill me. Mom must have sensed my distress, because she said, “Do you want to stay home from school tomorrow?” I nodded yes and said, “Thank you Mom.”

“You’re welcome,” she said. “When we get home, I’ll give you some peptobismal. It will soothe your stomach.” (I was hoping for cinnamon toast.)


P.S. Billy called here last night and said that although my stories are factual, they are becoming a little overblown, and bordered on sensationalism. Sometimes he’s hard to understand… like he’s Hungarian or something.

I think after he reads my story today, he’ll feel sorry for me, because of what I’ve been through, and stop threatening to get me back when he comes home in July.





Murdo Girl…Reunions..There’s always one somewhere



I decided to add a few lines to one of the blogs I wrote about the 2016 Murdo and Jones County High School All School Reunion. I wish I had another one to go to this year. Val does too. She still talks endlessly about being in the parade. I have shown the picture of us riding in the red convertible Tammy Lindquist snagged for us from the Pioneer Auto Museum so many times, I can find it easily among the over six thousand pictures I have accumulated since I started writing the blog. Skip to 2017 if you don’t want to read this part again.

I don’t blame Coach Applebee for putting plastic on his floor. Do you think that’s why it was hotter than fire in there? My hair looks dripping wet in every picture. With my most recent bad haircut, it didn’t look that good dry.

Below is a photograph of me with Mrs. Peters. She was a favorite of mine. She looked the same as she did in 1970. I sure hope she is enjoying her retirement.

I was so hot, I couldn’t wait another minute for her to turn around, so Val snapped this photo. You’re my favorite Mrs. Peters!!


The Queen imitating Mrs. Peters

I had to go to the doctor a couple of days before I left for Murdo. It was just a regular check-up. I had gained a few elbeez since the last time. When I commented that I had gained weight only because I was going to a reunion, the good Doc said, “You look great and everyone you see will think so too!” Then as I was walking out, he said, “Of course, there’s always someone who looks better.” What is that supposed to mean? I will say most of the alumni I saw, were pretty well preserved.

For the Parade, Valerie was dressed like the Queen who’s 90, and I was supposed to look like an eight year old playing dress-up . I’m sure there was more than one eight year old that looked better than I did.

Kip thinks it’s kind of weird that I’ve been wearing my red gown and tinfoil crown every day. I don’t see why he should care as long as I continue to do all my chores. Well, not all of them I guess. Part of the reason I still wear the gown is because I haven’t done the laundry in three weeks. When I wear the dress, I have to wear the crown or people will look at me funny.


Yesterday,  I hung around the Monitor until it got too hot. The Monitor is our local newspaper. I believe in being proactive when I need to get noticed for publicity. You know, for my campaign. They finally snapped a couple of pictures. The picture was okay. It was even on the front page, but the caption said, “Aging queen posing as an 8 yr. old. Approach with caution.” It’s not true what they say. There is such a thing as bad publicity.


I can’t believe it’s been a year since we had so much fun at the reunion. It seems like so much longer. A lot has happened since then, but I will save that for another day.

Guess what? I get to go to Laramie, Wyoming to Kip’s high school reunion in August. He graduated in 1962…the same year as my brother Billy. He said I cannot bring my red dress or my tinfoil crown, but I still get to gain the ten extra reunion pounds. I kind of hope I don’t get a reunion bad haircut. After too many years to worry about, I finally found someone who cuts my hair the way it looks best, no matter what I tell her or how many pictures I drag in there. She just says “Okay.” Then she cuts it the way it should be cut.



Queen Val and I work hard to stay in shape

We went to Kip’s reunion in 1992 and there is one thing I don’t look forward too. They just invite their class and even though there are hundreds, the conversations can get depressing. They started talking about…at what age should you stop getting puppies? If it outlives you, that would be too sad. Another guy wanted to know how many years they should finance a new car. One said,”five max! But why would you even buy a new car.” Later, they had a rousing conversation about the success of hair plugs for balding men.


You were There??

“Hey, would someone like to dance with me?”  I asked. Kip was the only one to volunteer. Everyone else said they wanted to wait for a slower song. They were playing “The Tennessee Waltz.” The next song was “The Orange Blossom Special.” Kip danced one dance with me, and we went back to the table. The women were comparing who was the most “regular,” and the guys were talking about hearing aids.

I asked everyone at our table where the Queen was sitting. I thought I could hang out with her since we would have being a Queen in common, you know? They didn’t remember who she was, let alone where she was.

I realized it was a big mistake to ask for permission to bring my gown and crown with me. I’m going to pack it. I might even see if Cousin Val wants to meet me in Laramie. Now all we need is a red convertible.

Kip in 1962


Murdo Girl…NASCAR?

Have you ever seen anything like it? Murdo Girl and Lav started out on a road trip just last week. The first day they picked up a dog who was standing by the river. It must be that his owner passed away and left him homeless because he sure seemed depressed. It wasn’t long until Lucky began to feel really important, because…well, not to run ’em down or anything,…sometimes those girls just don’t think right. 

They sort of felt bad when they got run out of Murdo. The town made them feel like they were invited to leave. Is not being able to hold down a job at that Prairie Pizza place good enough reason to show them the road? My goodness that place has standards higher than the Queen was at the Rodeo. Amazingly she came down unscathed, but the bull antlers like to have scared her to death.

After meeting up with Lucky, Lav and MG motored 20 miles south of Murdo and, what do you know? They stumbled onto the Cowboy’s movie making ranch. The whole gang was there, plus a few more.

So, they made a real interesting movie, called “Take 2.” Then when that milk cow dried up, they hit the road and got as far as the town of White River itself, and guess what? They participated in a rodeo. It was great fun, but there’s not much money in rodeo making, so they hit the road again.


Hey…It’s AC! What am I supposed to do with these horses? Whose truck is this anyway!

Lav: How far are we going to get today MG?

MG: Why don’t you just ask me how much gas we have. That tells the story. Are they all still behind us?

Lav: It was really nice of the Cowboy to give us that VW van. He even indicated that he might come and see us once we get settled.

MG: Is that what shrugging your shoulders means in the Cowboy ‘s language?

Lav: Durned if I know…

MG: Well, I was going to try to get to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, but I can’t make that happen. There’s a map in the glove box, point your finger to a town we can stop at on the way.

Lav: Well, it’s 151 miles to Mt. Vernon, I hope there’s something fun to do there. Hey! guess what? Is says on the map the NASCAR Races are in Mt. Vernon this year. I’ve always wanted to drive a car in a big NASCAR Race. I sure hope we make it, cause they start tomorrow. Hey! I’ve got a good idea. Let’s stop by the Pioneer Auto Museum and see if Ruben will let us borrow a few cars.

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If you want something bad enough, sometimes all you have to do is ask…and sometimes you’ve got to get a hold of Ruben in the dark of the night.

So, Mount Vernon it was…and it never will be the same again…ever!


Sissy couldn’t wait to get out of the museum to start serving her cake. I had some…It’s kind of dry.

wp-1500237463192.jpgAnd who would already be out on the track with her Pacer car? Sissy’ s sister, Stephanie Spielberg.


TC seems to be getting pretty friendly with some guy named Doyle. Probably cause he has a wrecker.


Kodak is a favorite to win. She’s going around these punks.

wp-1500250789948.jpgHey look at Sherri, one of the punks.. And she’s having a virgin Bloody Mary while she drives.


Somebody should tell the hat cake lady she’s going the wrong way. Looks like she plans to take a nap later.


Lav:  Don’t you just love all these people clapping and taking pictures of us?

MG: It’s kind of hard to see with this helmet on. Now why did we have to wear a helmet instead of our crowns?

And the Winner is?


Looks like Lucky has it by a nose, or a tire…Good job DM. It’s got to be tough having to announce… and race!


This guy is cheering for Lucky

And so the Sun sets on another beautiful south South Dakota Evening. I just hope the gang gets their cars back to the museum by morning.

6-sunset 2

As the gang makes their way back to Murdo, they aren’t aware of what the Cowboy’s thinking…And the Phantom Wrangler has some plans of his own.




Toodaloo Mt. Vernon…Now where can I get some gas?



Murdo Girl…A Rodeo?

It’s the morning after the big Hoedown Throwdown, and things have finally settled down a bit. Most of the cast and crew ended up tubing on the White River.  Only the animals had sense enough to go to bed.

Sissy was a real trooper. She went through three water falls without dropping her cake.


Lav Got a little carried away with her “no hands” and grounded herself on a big rock. “Ouch!”


Who is that with TC? I know I’ve seen that cake somewhere before.  Swim TC, SWIM!! Throw her a net please!


Well, that was last night. The sheriff finally came and told them to hightail it back to their remodeled on the inside mansion and eat mashed potatoes.

Well, It’s hard to believe the movie is finally in the can. Yup…We picked up all the pieces that ended up on the cutting room floor and threw them in the can. Believe me when I say it was a very big trash can. I won’t show you the movie, but I will let you read the script for the final scene of, “Take 2.”

The scene begins with Dr. Longhorn and Dr. Howliday in the old pickup truck headed for a rodeo in White River. Lucky is happily sitting between them. They are hauling a couple of bucking broncos.


“Hey! Are our horses supposed to have riders on them?”Never look a gift horse in the mouth, Lucky. 

Lav: Well, Dr. Howliday, aren’t you glad I talked you into rodeoing? It’s too bad we didn’t make it as veterinarians. All those years of school down the tubes. Funny though, I don’t remember going to school all those years. Well, at least if our horses get sick, we can doctor them. You too Lucky. (Lucky growls).

MG: Well Dr. Longhorn, It just wasn’t fun at the ranch anymore. The lines for the Jacuzzi were too long, and I got sort of sick of mashed potatoes.

Hmm, it sounds like the script is imitating real mansion life. Lav and Val playing rodeoers? This should be worth the price of admission. There are a couple of other vehicles with the cast and crew behind them. The only ones missing are the Cowboy and the Phantom Wrangler. Well, we plan on travelin a fer piece. maybe we’ll mosey on into them again.

They soon pull up to the White River fairgrounds. There are cars everywhere. It looks pretty festive…just like a real rodeo.

Well cut my legs off and call me shorty…Jerry and the family got a singing gig..Yee Haw!!


Lets get to the action..We’ve got some brave Cast and Crew.

They ridiculed us. They called us  namby-pamby city slickers. One thing about the take 2 cast and crew.  We pony up. Yup you can put your money on us. What we lack in brains, we make up in brawn.

I like to start off small


I can do anything as long as I have Odrum with me.


Oh dear, I’m on the program. It says “We’ll see how high her Highness can go?”


That DM..No matter what he’s doing, he always has football on his brain. Hmm, from the looks of things, he might need that helmet.


What do we have here…Dueling concession stands? “


“Get your hands off my hat cake cowboy.”


“Sorry Cowboy…I only have enough tea for me and the city slickers”

Giddy up, I’m right behind ya’.

The Cowboy and the Phantom Wrangler…Huh..Still hightailing it out of here. Does anybody know where they’re goin?”

So, the sun sets on another south South Dakota day. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

( I didn’t write the following cool cowboy tune, but Jerry’s family sure can sing it!)

Well I wake up in the mornin’, I brew my coffee hot and strong.
I get out my ole guitar, and try to write a song.
An them larks are singin, oh lord, just outside.
And I’m stuck here in this kitchen tryin’ to write.
And I’m writin’ these cowboy songs. yodellehe, cowboy songs
Just me and my beat up ole guitar.
Cowboy songs, yodellehe, cowboy songs
Well maybe one of these cowboy songs is gonna make me a star.
Now Hank Williams Jr. writes ’em rough, and sings ’em tough.
And Charlie Daniels sings a song about the devil.
And Waylon and Willie sing about, whatever they like.
And I’ll probably be sing these cowboy songs for the rest of my life.
And writin’ these cowboy songs. yodellehe, cowboy songs
Just me and my beat up ole guitar.
Cowboy songs,



Murdo Girl…A Hoedown Throwdown


People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.
–Steven Spielberg

We can relate. We stopped counting takes of our movie, “Take 2.” It got too confusing to keep saying, “take 47 of Take 2, scene 1.”

I guess we should be impressed that Stephanie and Sissy Spacek Spielberg are 2nd cousins twice removed from Steven Spielberg. Makes me kind of wonder though if he likes cake and tea as much as they love to serve it.


Well, I’m at the staging area of the Cowboy’s ranch. It’s almost 10:00 o’clock in the morning and production was supposed to start at 9:00. I’m the only one here. I know they can’t all still be eating breakfast. It’s french fry day, and those get wolfed down pretty quickly.

5-download (26)I think I know what the problem is. Everybody has been working around the clock to put this movie in the can. They are suffering from burnout. I’m sure some days they think they’ll never hear, “It’s a wrap.” It’s a grueling schedule. Movie making isn’t for sissies that’s for sure.

That’s the animals I’m talking about. The human’s are a another story. They gripe and complain about everything, and they have become such demanding divas. They are never on time. Even Jerry’s family is starting to annoy me. I have to be so careful about what I say. They break into song if anything you say reminds them of a song they know, and they know a lot of songs.


Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

See what I mean!

Oh well, I put a bug in the Cowboy’s ear. I think we should have an old fashioned hoedown. We’ll have it in the barn room… in the mansion. We’ll serve mashed potatoes, french frys, Sugar Frosted Flakes, bacon, and eggs. Of course, we won’t have anything to eat for 5 days except tea and cake.


I like it!! Action

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Night of the Hoedown Throwdown


It’s so nice to see Sissy having fun…Where is Stephanie?


It was my turn in the Jacuzzi tub. My unfortunate birthmark needed a rest, rest, rest…(It’s a music thing..Stephanie will know what I mean.)


I’m hiding in the hay til sunrise…I’m trying to get my arm down, I think it’s stuck.



Wait! Where are the other C and C? They’re missing out on all of the fun!!


I’m Sherri the Casting Director. They’re all nuts. Yup… crazy as a soup sandwich. I don’t know what to tell you about the Cowboy. I think the cheese slid off of that boy’s cracker! I’m kind of tired of casting seeing eye humans. I want to go in a different direction, so I decided to utilize my amazingly intuitive leadership skills. I called for a meeting of the minds…This is what I got. Guess they all dropped their brains off then went on to the hoedown.


Elvis is here, and he’s all shook up…he thought he was singing at the hoedown..crazy huh? You don’t have to hang from a tree to be a nut.

No words were spoken, but it was understood. The Cowboy and the Phantom Wrangler were gone, gone, gone…They were traveling faster than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

I’ll love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.


Sorry…Uh, Oh…Look who is right behind The Phantom Wrangler and the Cowboy.

I’m headed out in the truck to sell fertilizer.  I cleaned up the barn room.

So, another sun sets on a south South Dakota evening. If you’re wondering if Dr. Longhorn will catch up to the Cowboy and the Phantom Wrangler…Take my word for it…Not a chance. Oh, they will all be back. Crazy just draws folks in.


“Attica! Attica! Attica!…”
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Murdo Girl…Inside the mansion

Here we are back at The Cowboy’s ranch. The cast and crew thoroughly enjoyed one pepperoni pizza night. The Exec Producer and her twin sister Sissy outdid themselves in the dessert department, with a delightful Italian cream cake served with a smooth green tea that had just a hint of a citrus bouquet.

As I look around the newly remodeled inside of the ranch house, I realize it has become home to the cast and crew. I just hope I’m not around when they all get kicked out. It will be a sad day for sure. Let me show you a few pics of the not yet remodeled outside of the mansion.

 Not too many improvements to the outside yet…It’ll help when the outhouse is fully functional.

When you have seen some of the remodeled inside, you will be able to imagine that being a member of the cast and crew the Cowboy has assembled to make a movie about two lady veterinarians is like falling into quick sand and having Lassie get there in time to save you…no, wait..luckier than that…It’s like winning the lottery and you have no poor relatives, or being the only one to escape from a burning building. You get it right? It’s the kind of luck only the clueless have.

Hey!! We heard that!!

As the renovations have made the inside so comfy, it has been increasingly more difficult to get the C & C to memorize their lines let alone be able to hit their marks. They feel they have risen above their respective parts. Are you kidding me?? Lav and MG think they’re too big to play a country veterinarian in a blockbuster movie? Do they know how many highly paid actors would run over their own grandmother to get a much coveted part like this?

Forgive my outburst…It ain’t my job…That’s what Exec Producers and Casting Directors, and Writer persons get paid to do right!


Day 3 of filming the next blockbuster movie…Take 2

Exec Producer: Oh darn..I broke a nail. It must have been when the maid served me hot tea and I said, “Ouch!” and hit my fingernail on my front tooth.

The evil maid and a favorite pic of Stephanie Spielberg and her sister, Sissy Spacek Spielberg. They’re identical twins. Twins run in the family.

Director with a megaphone: I’m not happy with the lighting. It’s too dark in this barn. Let’s move this scene to the big animal room inside the mansion.


Casting director: This doesn’t work for me. How am I supposed to cast a dog who is not blind, but has to pretend like it? On top of that, he has a seeing eye person walking around in a harness, trying to sniff out where the blind dog should or shouldn’t go. A blind dog can get along without a harnessed human.


 MG and Lav: She might have a point…Are their harnesses tight? I can’t see that far. Where are we going?

Arf: Like I’m supposed to know…I’m playing a blind dog, but my best guess would be the funny farm: Jeez..sorry for your bad luck.

Uh oh, there is a low flying plane…no wait, that’s AC herding buffalo…What Buffalo? They’re all inside the large animal room.

wp-1499996507672.jpgNo this is the Jacuzzi tub, and I’m next.


Don’t worry Tattle Cowboy. I’m taking notes. This is unbelievable. Who are you gonna tell?

Well as the sun sets EARLY on another south South Dakota day, here comes the Cowboy to check stuff out.

I still think we can get a part in this movie… They need mice don’t they? Will we have to be blind? We could get a 3rd mouse. Yeah…3 blind mice!! let’s go see if he has anymore small animal parts.

I’m the camera person. If it weren’t for sunrise and sunset, I wouldn’t have anything to do.


And so the day ends. The cast and crew don’t know they are being observed by the Phantom Wrangler. I don’t even want to know what he’s thinking. I just hope he keeps phantoming around.





Murdo Girl…Movieing right along

The cast and crew got through the first day of filming the soon to be blockbuster movie,  Take 2, virtually unscathed. Lav (Dr. Longhorn) even came to in time for supper. It was sugar frosted flakes day, and that is her favorite day of the week.  Now, thanks to our Executive Producer, Stephanie Spielberg, and her twin sister, Sissy, we also enjoy tea and cake…often.

The Cowboy didn’t seem very impressed with the script, so he went out and hired a Writer person. She showed up today, with her script in hand. She seems to be up to the task. Her only request was she didn’t want to write the script in cursive… some sort of a childhood trauma thing. Let’s look in on take 2 of scene 1.

deb 4
I’m Deb the Writer person…I have a past

Director with a megaphone: Organ music please!! We want the music to start softly and CRESCENDO UNTIL IT GETS EVERYBODY’S ATTENTION!

Jerry the organ player: OKAY!! I brought my family of singers with me. For our first number, I will play and they will sing the ever popular organ tune, “Take me out to the ball game.” It has Take and to in the song. Don’t ya love it?


Executive Producer: I Love It!! Roll em..

Director with a megaphone: Excuse me Stephanie. That’s my line. I’m supposed to say when it’s time to roll. Where did you get the hat cake?

Executive Producer: We went to a garden party.


Jerry the organ player: Oh, we know that song…begins to play while his family sings Ricky Nelson’s, “Went to a Garden Party.” 

Writer: None of what just happened is in my script. Can’t you people read?

Several people roll their eyes, but they settle down and read their scripts.

MG/ small animal doctor Howliday: The dogs over there all have thick glasses on. Am I going to perform cataract surgery on them, so they can see better?


Casting Director: Not exactly…Our new script writer put a different twist on things. These dogs are playing blind dogs in the movie. They will each have a seeing eye person. You Dr. Howliday, are going to train the humans to work with blind dogs. The humans would be here too, but they’re all being fitted for harnesses. The dogs are getting used to wearing glasses. Later, we will train them to be blind.

Executive Producer Spielberg: You must be new to your craft writer person. PITA will be after you like ugly on an ape…oh sorry… that was not a PC, (Pet Correct) statement.

Writer person: Look at it this way Executive Producer, It will give some otherwise useless humans, a purpose in life.

Exec Producer: Oh…What kind of tea do you like Writer person? How about a red Bigelow? Tonight is pork and beans night.

Jerry the organ player: I hate beans…any kind of beans


I don’t want to be a blind dog with a seeing eye person that wears a harness, so I’m going to herd Buffalo for a living. Oh boy, here comes the Cowboy and he doesn’t look happy. Maybe I’ll stick around for a while.

The Cowboy rides in on his trike bike and pulls right up to the staging area. He gets off his ride and saunters over to the fake General Store. Everyone is holding their breath, afraid that he is having second thoughts about making a movie about two country veterinarians, and their feathered nests will lose their feathers. MG’s eye starts twitching, and The Exec Producer, her twin sister Sissy, the Director with a megaphone, AC, and the Writer person tremble with fear. Lav starts to cry….It’s raining.

Jerry the organ player and his family start to play and sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

The Casting Director and the Camera person: Hey! you left us out!


These two play with people’s emoji’s

I like being the Tattler Cowboy…I have an assistant now to help me keep track.


Finally the Cowboy speaks

“We’re having one pepperoni pizza tonight”

So, as the sun sets on another south South Dakota evening, the cast and crew look forward to one pepperoni pizza night. They are blissfully unaware that someone is watching their every move. We’ll call him…The Phantom Wrangler.


Murdo Girl…The garbage house

Rerun…Good memories of fun times when I was a kid in Murdo


Look what I found…

1-garbage house

I made a playhouse where the Whitakers keep their garbage. They have a little building behind their house, which is across the street from us. I’ve played there a bunch of times already. It smells pretty bad in there; especially on hot days. I don’t spend much time inside of it anyway, because I go and visit my Mom across the street. The first time I went to visit, I didn’t know what my name was. Mom said, “Well hello Mrs. Man. How are you today?” Right then I figured out Mrs. Man was a  good name. Mom and I had a pretty nice little visit, then I went back to the Whitaker’s garbage house and tried to straighten things up a little.

I didn’t have anything to sit on in the garbage house, so I went back over to Mom’s and knocked on the door. She said, “Who is it?” I said, “It’s Mrs. Man. I came to see if you have any little kid chairs that I can use.” She said, “There are two little kid’s folding chairs in my little girl’s bedroom. You can use those, but bring them back when you’re finished or Mr. Whitaker might burn them with his trash.” So that’s what I’ve been doing every day that I’m Mrs. Man.

1-Loretta Gustafson's Life in Photos 009
I named her Mrs. Man

Today, I asked Mom if she would like to come over to my house for coffee? She told me no! I was surprised that she said no like that. Mom loves to go have coffee with just about anybody. “Why don’t you want to come over for coffee,” I asked? “Well,” she said, “Because I don’t like rats, and where there’s garbage, there’s always rats.” I said, “Oh.”  I thought about it for awhile, then I asked Mom if she would come with me to bring those chairs back that I had borrowed. I decided, since it was so hot, I wanted to open up a lemonade stand in front of OUR house.

Guess who my first customer was?  It was Gail Whitaker. I wanted to visit with her since she bought my lemonade so I said, “Gail, do those rats that live in your garbage filled shed ever come into your house?” Gail told me she didn’t know about the shed, but she had never seen any rats or mice in her house.

Gail Whitaker at my lemonade stand

I had to drink a lot of my lemonade because it was so hot outside. About the time I ran out, Mom said to close up because we were going to see Grandma Sanderson.

When we got to Grandma’s, I got some horehound candy to suck on and went out in the backyard. From there, I could see the little pond. Some of my cousins and a few other kids were playing in the water. I was really glad because the pond is fun and wading in it would make me cooler. We catch crawdads in the pond and cut off their heads and their legs and pretend to eat them. It takes a long time to get all the parts cut off just right. Suzanne Bork is the best at it.

Some of the older cousins built a raft kind of like Tom Sawyer’s. You can stand up on it and use a big stick to shove off. If there are two of us, we can use paddles, but the water isn’t deep enough to swim in. The bottom is slimy mud and when I walk in it, I can squish it between my toes. If we start early and have a lot of time, we can rub the mud all over our bodies and play like we’re in quicksand or use it to camouflage ourselves when we play like we’re hiding from the enemy.

There are all kinds of cattails and tall reeds in the pond. We can hide our raft in them when we’re playing like we’re pirates.

This isn’t the pond…This is the Dam east of Murdo where Pink Sandy taught us all how to swim.

I ‘m always afraid that I will get into some quicksand and it will suck me up before Lassie can get help, or someone with a rope and a horse can get there to pull me out. I don’t have a picture of the pond. This is a picture of the East Dam where Pink Sandy taught us how to swim. I think it’s on Seymour’s land.

I can always figure out things to do with just myself, but I like playing with all the kids south of 16 the best. Either way, there’s always someone or something imaginary around.

3feb7c7e397f3e8770588f87ddb3e513I like to dress in camo too and hide in Hawaii



Years later, my Dad came back from California to visit me. I picked him up at the airport in Rapid City. On the way back to Murdo, he was asking me about different people he knew. He asked how our old neighbor Ruben Whitaker was doing. I said that Ruben had died a while back. Dad seemed pretty sad about the news.

I just said, “My daughter is Mrs. Man”

The next day, he went to the Pioneer Auto Museum. When he came home, he said, “I went to see the Auto Museum today, and imagine my surprise when I ran into Ruben Whitaker. He works at the museum. I guess the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.” Almost every time I talked to Dad after that, he asked me how old Ruben Whitaker was doing.

I hired Ruben..I don’t know Mrs. Man


Grandpa Sanderson