Murdo Girl…My Birthday in photos

It’s 10:25 on New Year’s Eve. The ball will drop in New York City 35 minutes from now. That’s when the countdown ends at our house. The celebration of the day of my birth will end at the strike of 11:00. 

I have been inundated with well wishes and calls, and of course I was showered with a gift. Kip gave me a box of caramel corn. He doesn’t know I just polished off a big can of caramel, butter, and white cheese popcorn.

I am posting some especially poignant pics of my day, which I celebrated with my granddaughter, Skyler, who turned 8 today.

Isn’t this a wonderful display? Unfortunately, they placed it in my neighbor’s yard. They got my moniker wrong and the age is slightly off, but it’s the thought that counts. (WHATEVER WERE THEY THINKING?)

We wore matching crowns

Ryan Constance had a little trouble with hers.

There ya go, sweetie. It takes practice.

What is the hold-up? Where is our cake.

Several other family members attended. We just didn’t take their pictures.

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I’ve heard from all of the family members who couldn’t attend, and my brother, Billy and his family just called to seranade me with their annual “Happy Birthday” song.

I can go to bed in 4 minutes .

Happy New Year everyone…2018 here we come!! 

Murdo Girl…Still Thankful 30 years later

You know how things can wake you up in the night and sometimes cause panic which causes fear, which causes lack of sleep, which causes crankiness which causes discord, which causes lack of enthusiasm and drains you of all energy.

Well, this plan of ours hasn’t caused any of that…yet.

We have sectioned off the storage unit and everything is in one of three categories. They are:

  1. Keep
  2. Church garage sale
  3. Things the kids might want someday. (A keeper for now.)

I heard somewhere that if you haven’t used or missed something in a year, you should get rid of it. We have a lot of things in that category, but just to be on the safe side, I think we should store them for another year and see if we miss them. The trouble with that is, we won’t remember if we have what we are missing or need to use. I really can’t see us running over to the storage unit because we now have a use for the electric can opener we packed in a box. We would have to also remember the category of the box that held the item. Maybe we need more categories. We might need to catalog each item. Another idea would be to take pictures of everything. No…we can’t do that because we already have half of the storage unit full and no pictures.

I better stop thinking about this or tonight will be the night all those emotions that cause bad things to happen will show up.

We got a break today. We went to a 50th anniversary surprise party.  The couple’s three kids hosted a luncheon celebration at a local Mexican restaurant. There must have been fifty friends and relatives there. We had a private room and it was full. We ate fajitas with all of the fixings and for dessert, they had a delicious anniversary cake, which really pleased Kip. I think the luncheon idea was a winner.

 

Here I go in a different direction again. I think it says somewhere in the writer’s rule book that you shouldn’t jump around. It’s better to stick to one central theme. I found this tea towel while Christmas shopping. I think I get it, but I’m not totally sure.

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I ran across a picture and it brought to mind what happened the day I snapped it.  Kip, Mason, Craig and Calamity Jane are standing on a big rock that we saw while walking along the rugged beach near Fortuna, CA.

We decided we all needed a little bit of fun since we had to stay in a motel for three weeks waiting for our house to be ready to move into. Now that I think about it, I remember it was Thanksgiving Day. We went to a restaurant around noon for a turkey dinner. From there we dropped Heidi off at a movie. She wasn’t interested in coming to the beach with us. She was fifteen at the time and missed her friends.

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We hadn’t been to a beach that was so rugged, with waves crashing against the rocky shores. We didn’t know about the dangerous undertow. After this picture was taken, Craig came back to where I was standing and started playing in the sand with some rocks and a stick. Mason and Kip were standing on a huge log and we were watching the waves. I took my shoes off and rolled up my pant legs and walked the short distance to join them. We were all standing there on the log. It was so wide and long it didn’t even require balancing to stay on it.

All of a sudden a mammoth wave hit the log and it started to roll toward the beach. I fell first and was forced under water. Because of the undertow, I didn’t know if I was moving up or down. I eventually came up. When I realized the log was being pushed forward I felt a stab of fear. Which way did Mason fall? I was screaming and crying until I saw Kip with his arms around Mason. He had pushed Mason the opposite direction of  the rolling log. They were both okay and the log stopped moving. Kip told us to run up on the beach because the log was about to start rolling in our direction as the tide went out. We made it up there in time to see the log roll back out. Craig was still busily playing in the sand. Mason and I were still visibly shaken. If any of us had fallen in front of the log, we would have been crushed. When things calmed down, Kip and I walked out to the log and tried to move it. We were trying to see if we were strong enough to roll it at all. It wouldn’t budge.

The remainder of the time we lived in Fortuna, we had a healthy respect for the ocean. It was not a place to ride the waves like the beaches in southern California. We had to stay on shore and watch. It was beautiful and mesmerizing.

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I have often thought about that day. It could have ended so differently. What would Craig have done if he found himself alone on the beach? Heidi would be expecting us to pick her up after the movie. She had no idea where we were and of course that was twenty years before cell phones.

Thank God the worst didn’t happen. All we had to worry about was getting the car full of sand and riding all the way back in wet clothes. It was definitely a time to give thanks.

Murdo Girl…The way we were

We are one step closer to becoming minimalists. We have until Tuesday morning, so we’re in pretty good shape, I think. The floor guys are supposed to be here at 9 am.

Our 10′ x 15′ storage unit is going to be pretty full by the time we get done. Kip says he’s going to go through all of his tools and get rid of the ones he doesn’t use anymore. That will be a fun experience. Kip loves his tools. One of the boys once said, “If you wreck your car, he’s very calm, but if you don’t put one of his tools back in the right place, all heck breaks loose.”

I called the RV Resort in Canton to make a reservation and was told they were going to be closed all next week. They’re fixing the roads. Kip found another RV park that looks nice. It’s between here and Athens which is only seventeen miles away and we were able to make a reservation there. It’s going to take 4 to 5 days to rip up the old flooring and put down the new one. Remember the ugly plastic strip that covered the cords to the electric recliners?…gone! The wires will go under the floor. I’ll take some before and after pictures.

I’ll be able to tell you next week what our plans are for this coming year. It will be an adventure that will either work out…or it won’t.

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Won’t what?

Kip and I have been pretty adventuresome when you think about it. Many years ago when we were living in Casper, Wyoming, we decided it was time for a change. We got our map of the U.S. out and randomly chose a little town in northern California. We got Kip’s parents to come and stay with our kids, arranged to take a couple of weeks off work, and headed that way.

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It was a great trip. We went through some beautiful country. (I would post some pictures, but they’re packed in crates and in the storage unit.) I was driving while Kip napped when we hit the Oregon, California border. Suddenly, I felt like Alice in Wonderland. The redwood trees were bigger and taller than any trees I had ever seen. Did you know there is enough wood in one redwood tree to build at least four houses? The forest floor was covered in beautiful ferns. It was dark, which made it even more surreal. I woke Kip up and we slowly made our way to Eureka, California…a community of about 25,000 people.

We loved the little seaport town. The two industries that support the area are fishing and lumber. Most of the houses near the port are Victorian in style…colorful with lots of gingerbread. We looked around and liked what we saw so the next day we visited a couple of banks to check out the employment situation.  Kip was working at a bank in Casper at the time and I was a loan officer for a mortgage company. He was interviewed at the second bank and was told they had a bank in Fortuna which was about twenty miles south. They were accepting applications for the position of bank manager. I could tell Kip was a serious contender.

We left Eureka and drove to Fortuna. It is a smaller community, but equally pretty. It was surrounded by forests and about fifteen miles from the beach. As we were leaving Fortuna, we got a call from Kip’s mom. She had taken Mason, who was in fifth grade at the time, to the doctor. He had the beginnings of a cold when we left, but we were shocked when she told us he had mononucleosis. It’s a terrible feeling to know there is at least a two-day drive separating you from your very sick child. I didn’t think we would ever get there. Even knowing he was in good hands didn’t help.

Mason ended up spending six weeks at home. I left my job and took care of him. When he returned to school, he could only go for 1/2 days until he built up his strength? A few weeks later, Kip was offered the bank manager position in Fortuna. He flew out to meet with the bank president in Eureka and ended up accepting the position.

It was the middle of November, on the heels of a snowstorm when we left Casper. Kip was driving a moving truck, towing my car, and I drove his Audi. Heather was in California at the time, but we had Heidi, Mason, Craig and our Airedale, Calamity Jane. We had no idea what kind of adventure we were embarking on.

Mom with Calamity Jane and Calamity swimming

I will continue with this story tomorrow as there are some crazy experiences to tell you about. I wish I could show you some pictures, but they’re in the storage unit.

(I just found a Polaroid of us at the beach. It was an experience we often talk about. I will write about it tomorrow.)

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Good night…

Murdo Girl…Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth.

I am so anxious to tell all of you what Kipper and I are up to, but I promised I wouldn’t leak a word until after January 1st. In the meantime, I am taking lots of step by step pictures. You are dying to know, aren’t you? You might… no you will… think we are crazy. Maybe we are, but we’re not certifiable…yet.

On another note…

We’re getting new flooring put in our kitchen and living room next week. They said it will take four to five days, so we’re going to fire up the RV and go to the place we went on our maiden RV voyage… Canton, TX. (It’s about 18 miles from here.) We have to move all of the furniture from both rooms and get all of the nicky nack’s out of the living room to prepare for the floor people. We decided this would be a good time to go through our whole house and get rid of “stuff.”

Well, the whole thing has gotten out of control. We were horrified at all the things we, (okay I), have collected in the three years we have lived in this house. I feel sorry for all of you out there who have decades of accumulated treasures that you will one day have to go through.

My brother, Billy, convinced his wife, Liz, to go through everything in the garage and get rid of the things they no longer needed, so they could maybe put a car in there. He said three hours later she was still reading all of the kid’s school papers that were in the first box. He couldn’t take it, so he called the project off.

I am so proud of Kip and me. We have sorted through everything that has been stored in the attic, and we are continuing to go through every room in the house. We are so determined to be, what do they call it? Oh, yeah…minimalistic.

Hold that thought. We now are the proud renters of a storage space. We have hauled box after box and even some furniture and exercise equipment over there. I know what you’re thinking. We aren’t brave at all. You are right.

I am a little bit like my mother. She was not attached to anything of the material nature. She gave away my grandmother’s (on Dad’s side) silver, piece by piece, in exchange for hard labor. The hired help would agree to complete a certain task like clean the basement or take everything out of the furnace room, clean it, and then reorganize it. When it came time for them to be paid, she said she didn’t have the cash, but would they like a piece of silver? Do you think I’m making this up? Well I’m not. I recently received this silver ladle in the mail from my cousin who felt guilty about having accepted several things that should have been handed down to Billy and Me.

Don’t tell him this, but that silver ladle is now somewhere in a rented storage unit. I did keep the Francis Plumbing and Heating ceramic toilet. The same cousin sent Billy our grandfather’s (on Dad’s side) watch. He even put it in a display dome for him. It’s probably in a box in the garage.

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I found myself going through my most recent collection. I was trying to decide if I should continue collecting hats, store them in the storage unit, or give them away.

What do you think dogs and cats?

A terrible thing has happened. I think Kip took my chest full of crowns to the storage unit. I wonder what that’s all about!

Kip has a collection of CD’s and several country western albums. Some of them he purchased back in the 60’s. He hardly ever listens to them. I’m thinking storage unit.

 

Murdo Girl… antiquated?

I was daydreaming today when I should have been paying attention. I try with little success not to do that. I was thinking about small town life.

Mabank, TX, where we live now, could be considered a small town, but it’s still many times larger in population than Murdo, SD. I can go into a store or cafe and not know a single person in there. I can’t tell you who lives in every house in town. I haven’t lived in Murdo for decades, yet on our recent visit, we drove through the neighborhoods looking at the houses and I could remember who lived there fifty years ago. My husband, Kip, couldn’t believe it. He grew up in the big city of Laramie, Wyoming.

Back to discussing the small town connection. Where does the time go?

While in Murdo, we went to visit Tammy Van Dam at the grade school and she told us they were going to build a new elementary school. I said, “Huh? This school is new!” We moved into it when I was halfway through the eighth grade. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that was in 1966…51 or so years ago. My school is old and shabby. They are going to tear it down. It’s enough to give me nightmares.

I went to the first elementary school until the 2nd semester of 8th grade, which is when we moved to the new school. Tammy Lindquist Van Dam,(in the next photo), the day we visited and she gave me the shocking news.

Does that mean I’m old and shabby? I don’t think anyone mocked us when cousin Val and I rode down Murdo’s Main St. in a convertible. I went to see the red convertible when Kip and I visited last summer. It’s in a museum for old cars. Everyone has heard about the Pioneer Auto Museum. Museums are for old, outdated, antique cars. People live longer now. They might start calling old people antiques. It will be senior, elderly and then antique.

Is that an antique person sitting in the car on top of the sign?

Every time I visit home, I find myself a little more removed from the people. I used to see families and classmates I knew. Now I don’t recognize some of the names, and I get confused looks when I ask about someone who I think is related to the one I’m talking to. I’ll ask, “Are you so and so’s youngster?” They will say, “No, I’m his grandson, and I’m 45. My mind is a generation behind.

I am comforted by the fact that a lot of things are the same. The auditorium looks like it was just built yesterday, and it’s still the center of everything. Cafe 16 is now the Star Cafe, but the inside is very much the same. Kip and I had a great breakfast there.

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The home we moved to when I was eleven is still there, although it’s buried under the trees at the Range Country Motel. How many people can say their childhood home is buried? “Yikes!”

The motel back in the 70’s when it was the Chalet. The motel now…my house is under that tree.

The Frosty Freeze is gone, but what used to be Super Value is still there and when I walked in, Ruth Daum called me by name. (I hope I have her name right. If not, please correct me.)

Someone posted a picture of Main St. back in the 40’s. There was a restaurant where the dry cleaners used to be. I’m not sure what is there now. Robin Cromwell and Butch Rada listed several businesses that are north of old Hwy 16, and on or near Main St. I like knowing it’s thriving.

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Getting older isn’t all bad. I don’t have to fill out anymore employment applications or punch a time clock. I don’t have to worry about kids misbehaving or cooking big meals. I think I was about 40 when I stopped trying to figure out what I was going to be when I grew up. I was a mortgage loan underwriter. I don’t remember telling everyone that’s what I wanted to be when I was planning my future.

I’m probably not going to get back home this year, but I’m looking forward to a trip to Phoenix, AZ in February. My brother, Billy, our step-father, Gus, and our cousin, Valerie, are going to the Jones County Reunion. I don’t think they have a parade, or a Pioneer Auto Museum with a red convertible. I do know a lot of the people from Murdo who moved to AZ when they retired. Most of them are a little older than Valerie and I are. I wonder if they have a Pioneer People Museum there yet…

Do you think Valerie and I should take our crowns? I’m not wearing my long red Kitty Reynolds formal if I have to walk everywhere.

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 Here we come Phoenix!

I’m taking some blog breaks over the holidays. I have a big birthday on New Year’s Eve to plan for. My soon to be 8 yr. old granddaughter was born on my birthday and we usually celebrate together.

After the first of the year, I will be taking you on an adventure of a different kind. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

I hope everyone had a glorious Christmas. Here are a few of our Christmas pictures.

The above pics were taken Christmas Eve at daughter Heidi’s home. She is a born entertainer. Christmas day, we helped at a local restaurant. They served a free Christmas dinner to over 300 people. Vicky, who owns Vicky’s BBQ is a genuine community supporter. She accepted donations, but that all went to the Fire Department.

Kip got me an intensive pulsed light hair removal system. I don’t know what it is for sure, but unlike my grandson, I don’t think I’ll have to buy anymore razors. The 3rd picture is of our son, Mason and his family hunkering down in cold Wyoming. The picture below is of Daughter Heidi with her granddaughter, our GGD, Ryan Constance.

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Murdo girl…Our Magical Christmas Eve

Murdo Girl

I am going to post “Our Magical Christmas Eve,” which is the story of the wonderful experience of the Sanderson family’s celebrations when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. This is my absolute favorite story of my absolute favorite memory. I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas to to my brother Billy, The M.E. and Mary Sanderson family, and cousins everywhere. This story was inspired by a recording of Stephanie Miller-Davis describing her favorite Sanderson family memory.

The first link takes you to my recording of “Our Magical Christmas Eve,” and the 2nd is a slide show of our Christmas Celebrations in the late 50’s and early 60’s

wp-1481685621790.jpg Grandpa Sanderson, Mary Francis with the bow and Stephanie Miller next to Grandpa

Our Magical Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve! I’ve been waiting all December, day after day.

It’s only morning.

So many hours to wait. Mom says…

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Murdo Girl…Everyone’s scared but Grandpa

Murdo Girl

I’m posting a rerun tonight about Grandpa Sanderson’s driving. Some of my cousins and I were talking about it on Facebook a couple of days ago, and I thought it might be fun to read all the cousins comments about their experiences riding with Grandpa.

Grandpa’s car and Jeep under a few inches of snow.

First, I want to mention a little problem I encountered with the eBook version of Dakotah’s Story. Transferring a manuscript to an eBook is the most difficult part of the whole publishing process. I was further challenged by trying to include several photographs. Anyway, it was pretty good, but not quite like I wanted it, so I tweaked it a little bit which resulted in a hodgepodge on the first few pages. Once you get into the story it levels out, but I am truly sorry to those who bought the eBook version and had…

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Murdo Girl…Can you say malipunate?

I’m on my way to Pearl’s to pick up Pearl the dog and go to work. It’s getting close to Christmas and the Nest has been really busy. Our tree is so pretty, I think we’re getting more tire kickers because the news of our beautiful Christmas tree is getting out. The Murdo Coyote even came and took a picture of it and put it on the front page of the paper. Pearl wore her flashiest red outfit so she would stand out from the green and gold of the tree.

It was only supposed to be Pearl and Pearl the dog in the tree picture because Grace and I weren’t dressed right, but we figured out a way. We didn’t want Pearl to have an empty nest.

wp-1513734882103.jpgI’ve been trying real hard not to think about all the things I want for Christmas. Mom says when I think about it, I set myself up for disappointment. I try to save the money I earn at the Nest, but Mom usually has to borrow it for things like food or gas for our old broken down car. It makes the Jeep look like a Cadillac.

We’re not there yet, but we almost are.

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“Hi Grace, Hi Pearl, We’re here are you?”

“We’re here, Essie…Grace and I are making plans for a Christmas party here at the Nest. Grace is all atwitter and she hasn’t written down one word on our list of things to do. Maybe you can help us.”

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“Well, the instructions you gave me make it kind of hard, Pearl,” Grace had a real atwitter look on her face. “You said you didn’t want to make any food or spend any money. What do you want us to do? Hand them a glass of water and say, enjoy yourself? We have plenty more where that came from.”

“Psha,” Pearl said. “You haven’t seen a Pearl party before. I have my ways. and I’m going to start at the Super Value Store.”

“Jeez, Pearl,” I said. “Haven’t you milked that tree incident for enough? Now you’re going to ask them for free food?”

“I know,” Pearl was frowning. “When I have an altercation with someone who is not quite as artful as I am, I usually cut them some slack, but for some reason I got carried away with the tree guy and his boss, which is why I’m going to start with them. Come on, Essie. We’ll go talk to him right now. Hopefully they won’t see us coming and hide from us again.”

I was really not wanting to go to Super Value with Pearl, but part of me wanted to see her in action, so we headed down Courthouse Hill amd across Hwy 16 and parked the Jeep right in front of the Frosty Freeze. Too bad it’s not open in the winter. I sure would like a strawberry malt right now.

Anyway, you should have seen the checker’s face when we walked in.

“Well hello,” Pearl said in her sweetest voice. I don’t believe I know you. We live above Sanderson’s store so it’s more convenient to shop there, but now that I have seen your store and met some of the employees, I believe I will try shopping here on occasion. Is your boss in? Never mind, I see him coming this way.”

Pearl sashayed on over to Mr. Boss. She looked like something else in her red Christmas tree outfit. I know that boss wanted to snicker, but I feverently hoped he wouldn’t.

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“Hello my good man,” Pearl was beaming as she stuck her hand out to Mr. Super Value. “I wanted to come and explain why I, what some people might call, over-reacted, when the tree I purchased here cratered because it had a trunk as crooked as a slithering snake.”

‘Hmm, that’s an apology?” I whispered to myself. Pearl went on to tell Mr. Super Value man that she was inviting the whole town to Pearl’s Busy Nest to see the stunning new Christmas tree she got at the Super Value Store.

Pearl went on with her explanation.

“I won’t say anything about you buying all the decorations, because that would open up a can of worms, and you know how people talk. Anyway, all is forgiven, and to prove it, I have picked your Super Value Store to provide all of the food and drinks for the party. Now, here’s a list of everything we will need. Do you have a vehicle to haul it all in? If not we can use the Jeep if the tree guy is available to load and unload for us.”

I couldn’t believe it. The Super Value boss turned red and then green just like Christmas. I know he was sweating, and shaking a little too, but he said he really appreciated being picked by Pearl.

“It’s the least I could do,” Pearl said. “Come on Essie…we must go by the church. We need to tell the Preacher we are sending someone over to pick up some tables and chairs, and some white tablecloths. Next we’ll stop at the meat locker and tell them to make room for our pearashibles until the day of the party. Then all we have to do is stop at the Murdo Coyote and tell them we will pick up the invitations tomorrow. What do you think we should say on the invites?”

Pearl was in her heelhouse. This is what she was born to do….malipunate.

The whole town was there! Pearl was in all her glory! She sold every last bottle of her Elixer fixer.

 

Murdo Girl…Picture it

I love to look at pictures. It doesn’t matter if I know the people in them or where they were taken.

I have been in awe today by some pictures from the past and some recent photos of beautiful skies. I can’t ever get through all of the Facebook feed, because I spend too much time enjoying everyone’s photographs.

My cousin, Sue, posted some pics of our family from back in the 40’s during wartime. I remember Mom telling me she and Aunt Ella (Valerie’s mom), lived together in an apartment in California. My dad and Uncle Al were overseas. Grandma Sanderson couldn’t get to California in time to see Uncle Jeff before he shipped out. Mom said she wouldn’t look at the ocean the whole time she was there, because it took her Jeff away.

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Jeff Sanderson with Bob Haverberg. Jeff is Mom and Helen’s brother. Bob is Helen’s husband.

It was really fun to look at the picture of Mom’s sister, Helen. She was a beauty inside and out. All four girls were pretty. Grandpa Sanderson said when he had one of the girls with him, people would remark that his daughter was beautiful. He always told them he had three more just as beautiful at home. Aunt Elna was the youngest by five or six years.

 

Aunt Ella on the left…Mom and Aunt Ella on the right.

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Sue also ran across a photo of Grandma and Grandpa, and Mom at our house. They often came after church for Sunday dinner. It was usually fried chicken. Grandma always left a dime tip by her plate.

Grandma and Grandpa Sanderson….my mother, Loretta Gustafson

Below, is a picture of Grandpa’s Jeep that looked just like Uncle Jeff’s 51 Willy. Beside the Jeep, is Grandpa’s Ford. Valerie insists Grandpa had the roof painted dark blue so if he ever got lost in a snowstorm people could find him. (I believe you Val. I know I always expect you to believe everything I say.) If we believe it, then it has to be true. This is the car that had the buzzer that warned Grandpa when he was exceeding the speed limit, which he always was. Some of those rides to the cabin were really nerve wracking.

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I also look on Facebook every day for the sunrise and sunset pictures Dianna Kenobbie Diehm always posts. She catches the sun barely peeking over the landscape, or fading out of sight. Sometimes she catches fast-moving clouds. You can feel the quiet calm or the energy in that moment in time, Dianna captures so well.

These are photographs taken by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm. Aren’t they awesome? (By the way…You can see many of Dianna’s photographs in my new book, Dakota’s Story. It’s on Amazon and is available in black and white, full color, and e-book format. More on that tomorrow.)

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Seeing families together for holidays and reunions are also some of my favorites. You can almost feel the joy they’re experiencing.

(top left)…sisters Ella Leckey, Helen Haverberg, and Loretta Gustafson. The bottom photo is of Grandma Sanderson (with beads on as always). Bob Haverberg, Al Leckey, Ella Leckey and Helen Haverberg..This was taken at the Nemo cabin. The other picture was taken recently. I threw it in because I thought it was cute. My granddaughters are looking at the beautiful Christmas tree from underneath.

God bless the picture takers who capture precious moments in time, so we can go back and relive good memories.

This blog was also prompted by the photographs I found looking through boxes of pictures while I was supposed to be packing and sorting. The room you saw in last night’s blog looks a little better, but not much.

Murdo Girl…A little incoherent

I hope some of you missed my blog last night. I didn’t write one. This will probably be brief as well for two reasons.

I am working on the roll-out of Dakotah’s Story. It is now available on Amazon in black and white, full color, and ebook format. I will give you all the details, Tuesday.

It was a tricky story to convert but I think it was worth the extra time and headaches. Let’s just say I learned a lot. I included many of Dianna’s and Amber’s photographs, which wasn’t as easy as you might think. I learned a lot in the “art” of formating. The sunrise/sunset photos are beautiful, and we get to see Soo’-tah in action.

I still intend to donate the proceeds to cancer research. I found out that Amazon will take care of it for me. As I said before, I know it won’t be a significant amount, but It will be from us, right?

Here is an excerpt…This part was not in the original story.

I made my way to Deadwood by train. I was fortunate because this was the first year the railway came to the growing town. My first impression was that it was a pretty rugged mining town.

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I knew I would have to be there at least overnight, so I secured a small inexpensive room, in what seemed to be a reasonably safe hotel, before going in search of the Lawrence County Courthouse.

I found everything to be in order just as my father said it would be. While at the courthouse, I inquired about where I might be able to purchase a horse and wagon. The kind gentleman I talked to wrote down a name and showed me where I could find everything I needed. I was able to get a good horse and a wagon that was old but suited my needs. I hurried to purchase my supplies before heading toward Ft. Meade which was about fifteen miles east of Deadwood. The farmhouse was another ten miles north. I figured I should be able to make it to the property before dark. I was pleased that so far, everything had gone as planned.

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Now to the second reason I have been and will be a little hit and miss until after Christmas.

It all started when I was looking for my checkbook. Truthfully, I’m not sure I even have one anymore. It’s been so long since I have used anything but a debit card, and I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check.

It wasn’t in my office. I can’t believe how much stuff I had in a medium-sized closet. I was trying to find my checkbook, but I am also taking all of my Christmas decorations down because we decided to put in new flooring and the flooring people can do it next week. Everything in the living room and kitchen has to be moved and tearing out the old flooring will create a lot of dust. We’re not going to be home anyway, so I decided to take the time to sort through stuff and if I find my checks in the meantime, that will be an added bonus.

I also decided to show you a few cute pics of some of our grandkids.

Guess Santa wasn’t so scary last year. (Skyler and Ryan Constance)

Seamus and Hudson rode on the Polar Express!

Did someone say, (smile!)

Maybe tomorrow we will check in on Pearl’s Busy Nest.