Murdo Girl…the road trip..97 is just a number

I have no words…I mean I can’t find the right words..Where do I start? Our three days in Murdo were even better than I could have imagined and we all know I can be a pretty creative thinker. 

Monday night, Kip and I drove out to the beautiful LandMark Country Inn and spent a great couple of hours with my cousin Mark, Dave, and Mark’s mom…Aunt Irma Sanderson. This great lady is 97 years young and looks fabulous. She says the secret to her longevity is Mark, which is credit he certainly deserves. She tells me her youthful figure is owed to walking up and down the stairs several times a day. 

Aunt Irma, me, Kip, and Mark at the LandMark Inn

Aunt Irma. Me, Dave, and Mark

Me with Uncle Jeff’s Jeep…now housed at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo. 

The guys who grew up in Murdo back in the 50’s and 60’s and played baseball, probably rode in Uncle Jeff’s Jeep.

I should have taken more and better pictures. 

This 97 year old Aunt made her 65 year old neice feel like a kid again. She placed her hand on mine and smiled at me. Aunt Irma has beautifully manicured nails and stunning jewelry. She looked at me and said those dreaded words.”Let me see your fingernails.”

I knew it! I should have been using hand cream more regularly. I should have, at the very least, sawed off the uneven edges of my nails with the old worn down emory board I’m pretty sure I packed. 

Just before we left home, I filed and polished my toenails. I had found some orange polish with sparkles in it at Dollar General and thought it would look good. Kip cringes when he sees me with nail polish or hair dye. He knows when I’m finished, parts of something will be a new color…like our now sparkly kitchen floor. I haven’t found anything that will remove those sparkles. My trusty Mr. Clean pads that take hair dye off of light switch plates, didn’t even work.

Wow, I really got sidetracked didn’t I? After I gave this same explanation to Aunt Irma, she dropped my hand and we resumed listening to Mark tell us hilarious stories about his aunt, who happened to be my mother. I thought I had heard them all, but I was once again brought to tears by laughter. Aunt Irma seemed to be fascinated by the expression on Kip’s face as he listened to Mark telling us how his “Aunt Loretta” had trained him in the art of making money in the motel business. 

She first gave him a few examples of her tricks, I mean methods that she had successfully used to get the customers to pay just a little bit more for a room than they had planned to. 

To test her trainee, she laid down on the floor between the bed and the wall and listened to Mark talking to a tourist. When the transaction had been completed, she raised up and shared her feedback. She had sneaked into the room when Mark wasn’t looking, and when she raised up off the floor, he nearly hit the ceiling!

She promised Mark she would never do that again. Several days later, a little boy spotted her on the floor behind a partition separating the vanity area from the bedroom and he came out screaming, “There’s a dead person back there!”

Mark was tenacious, I’ll give him that. It appears he learned the art of room renting by using some of Mom’s techniques to maximize profits, resulting in a successful business. “Never leave a dollar up for grabs,” was her mantra.

There is another story that involves chasing down a customer with Mark’s car and Mom, in her training mode, riding shotgun. I don’t think I’ve got the energy to explain that one tonight.

By the end of an evening of constant laughter, I remembered why growing up with my cousin Mark had been so much fun. We went through all 12 grades together and had the ingenuity to create our own fun. I wrote a lot about this in the earlier blogs I wrote. 

We both played the Alto Sax in the band and switched chairs several times a year. The one sitting on the other’s left, got elbowed in the side continuously, and the other one got socked in the upper arm so much we always had a lump under the skin and a black and blue upper arm. Mr. Palmer just shook his head and made us change places again. He hoped we cared who was first or second. Mark and I played a saxophone duet in a contest and got a superior plus!

We both had an older brother who went off to college which left us the only kid at home. We took Uncle Jeff’s Jeep places it sometimes shouldn’t have gone. We randomly picked names out of the phone book and made crank calls. We made a competition out of it by seeing who could keep the poor person on the other end talking the longest. Once Mark convinced a guy he was his long lost army buddy. I laughed so hard, I couldn’t breathe.

Most of what we did was harmless fun. We didn’t wait for entertainment to seek us out, we made it happen.

It’s great to revisit fun times and tell hilarious stories with someone you have shared those experiences with. It’s even more special when you share grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who are all…one of a kind.

More Murdo visit blogs to come!

The wonderful rhubarb shake at the Murdo Drive-in. This is your last day to get one before they close for the winter!

5 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…the road trip..97 is just a number

  1. sanjuan831 August 31, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    No, I had never heard those “Loretta training Mark” stories- so funny. I had heard the one about chasing the tourist for the motel money! Too bad you didn’t get to see Aunt Elna or Andrea but you did it just perfectly- hit town for a few days, and then leave before they get tired of you. Adorable picture of you with the jeep. What is Kip climbing over in that photo at the end of blog??
    Yummy rhubarb shake!


  2. sanjuan831 August 31, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    What a joyful and fun filled visit to the LandMark! Too bad Aunt Irma couldn’t have taken some movies and blinded you all with the spotlights. I bet Kip couldn’t believe some of those Aunt Loretta stories! So Mark even had some you had never heard?!


    • Mary Francis McNinch August 31, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      No..he told some cute Aunt Elna ones too! Kip enjoyed talking to Dave. Had you heard the Loretta training stories? They chased a tourist because they thought he hadn’t left his money in the drawer. They knew his car because it had a California or bust bumper sticker. They caught up with him too. It turns out he left the money in the office drawer.


  3. countrygirl57 August 31, 2017 / 7:32 am

    What a great read! I love all the stories- more memories in the making! Love your Aunt Irma. She reminds me if my two aunts that I had so much fun with. Make the most of these special times. They don’t last forever. The memories do, however!!❤️❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 31, 2017 / 8:31 am

      I love you countrygirl. You read my mind everytime…thanks for your friendship and encouragement.


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