Murdo Girl…Paralyzed by fear (me… I was)

Something happened to me today that has never happened before. Maybe it was a good thing…, Maybe not.

Growing up in Murdo, I never found myself in a situation where I felt real fear of another person. In the first place it would have been strange not to know someone living in Murdo or at least heard about any new folks. Well, there were the tourists, but you could spot them a mile away.

I had to mail a Christmas gift today so prepared to stand in a long line, I drove over to the PO around three o’clock. There were only four or five people in line in front of me. I was thinking about all the things I had to do and trying to decide when I was going to do them.

A man walked in and normally I wouldn’t have paid any attention, except he didn’t go to the back of the line, which was behind me. Instead, he kind of walked around, I guess you might say he paced around. He was of average height, probably in his mid thirty’s, and average to slim build. He seemed rather nervous, and as I was trying to size him up without staring, I noticed his jacket was protruding in front. It was really noticeable. It almost looked like he had a basketball under there. Or could it be something more sinister?

No one else seemed to be paying any attention to him, so I felt it was my duty to watch in case he made any sudden moves. All kinds of things went through my mind. If this guy was someone who wanted to do us in, I needed to be prepared. I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me to leave. I guess I thought it was my moral obligation to remain watchful, since no one else seemed to pick on the little subtleties he was exhibiting.

Then I started to worry a little. Not so much about what he might do to us, but I was trying to remember if I made my bed. I was wishing I had picked up the house a little before I left. I mean if something happened to me, throngs of people would be coming to my house. They would be bringing hot dishes to Kip. Oh, man…my refrigerator was full of leftovers that I should have thrown out days ago. The only bright side was the fact that I hadn’t done all the mundane things, because now it seemed it would have been a waste of time. I really did want to mail my package, though.

Then I heard, “Mam, Mam!!” It was my turn. The basketball man was standing over by the mail boxes, so I took my eyes off of him for just a minute or two to while the post office person took my package. She said, “It will be there by Tuesday.” I wondered if the mail would still go out…

While I was contemplating all of this, the half door to the side of the mail boxes came open. The clerk stuck his head out and said, “I’m sorry sir…I just got back from lunch. The basketball guy reached in his pocket and I held my breath. He pulled out a notice that he had a package to pick up, which he did and then he left.

As I drove home, I convinced myself that it is always a good thing to be aware of your surroundings. Maybe he just had a few too many Christmas cookies under his jacket. Oh, I forgot to tell you, as I saw him get into the car, he pulled out a pair of huge gloves from his front pocket and threw them in the seat beside him when he got in.

I’m sure glad this story had a happy ending, because when I got home, the mailman had delivered the best packages ever. I have incorporated the contents into my Beastertown Christmas display. I’m still smiling and having fun with them.

I am so glad I lived to tell this story, and I’m especially happy the mail came. Thank you my photographic drawer, (Sherri). You must have sensed I needed to be reminded of how much you and all those I have come to know and love through the Murdo Girl blog mean to me. I will keep the card forever and read it often.





Nothing like a water tower and a crown to cheer a girl up. Right Queen E?

Murdo Girl…Keeping our eye on the Queen

It occurred with me today that we haven’t had fun with Queen E. in a while. As far as Queens go, she is the best of the best. Look how long she has kept the hat makers and suit-makers busy. They must make a fortune designing just the right apparel for just the right occasion. I don’t know how she keeps up with her social calendar. It must be grueling. She has all of these events to attend and still have time to play with George and what’s her name. Now another what’s her name or what’s his name is on the way. No wonder she spends so much time across the pond in Murdo.

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They call me Peppy…That’s Pepto Bismol to you…


Hey bloke!! The sign says no cell phones


Did I get it all?


Barney Fife friended me


I dare say Mum it’s either raining or a bird flew over  our heads. Don’t they know royalty when they see me?

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You ruined my best hat you dodo bird.

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Philip!! I dare say…were we supposed to catch these bouquets?…Lovely couple beside us don’t you agree?  


Too much Pepto-Bismol…


I saved the best for you…or you can come up with something better for my quips. I need a laugh.

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Murdo Girl…Decking the halls

I’m on my way to pick up Pearl the dog. I’m early because Pearl the human said we were going to have an employee meeting at 8:00 sharp. It’s okay with me, ’cause I can’t wait to see our beautiful Christmas tree. You should have heard Pearl wheel the deal. That Super Value guy had to hold up every one of those trees for Pearl to inspect. She wanted it to be perfect.Then she made him tie it on top of the clunky old Jeep, ride with us to the Nest and bring it in. He also went and got us a tree stand, because we forgot we needed one. It turns out Pearl had two big boxes of decorations in the cat room, and all of them are shiny gold. We put every one of them on the tree or hung them up somewhere. It’s just dazzling.


When I got to Pearl’s to pick up Pearl, there was a note on the door saying Pearl and Grace and Pearl the dog were already at the Nest and to hurry and get there. People were waiting for the meeting to get started.

Sometimes Pearl thinks strange. There’s only the three of us currently employed there. Maybe she was just practicing for when she gets chains of Pearl’s Busy Nests.

I’m not there yet, but I almost am.


“Hi Pearl, Hi Grace, Hi Pearl the dog. I’m here are you?”

All I heard was sobbing and one little “ruff.” I could see Grace standing there flailing her arms. She was saying, “Oh my, Oh my, Land Sakes, Oh my.” She even said her only swear word. “Joodust Preast.”


When I walked around the corner, I saw a terrible seen, scene. And it didn’t look good for Pearl the dog. She was standing beside the tree whimpering. The tree was NOT standing. It was crashed on the floor. Broken shiny gold balls were everywhere. I did not know what to say, which is unusual for me.


“I’m sure Pearl didn’t mean to wreck the Christmas tree. Um, She just thought it was pretty and wanted to get closer to the shiny gold decorations.”

Pearl the human jumped up. “What are you talking about Essie? Pearl didn’t do anything to that tree. It’s a wonder she didn’t get hurt when it fell over. Go take a close look at the perrrrrfect tree that Stupid Value guy sold us. It looked fine didn’t it? Each branch the exact right distance from the trunk that looks like a serpentine. It winds around so much, why if it was straight that thing would be ten feet tall! Come on Essie,” she said. “We’re going to see that tree guy and he better make this right or that tree trunk won’t be the only twisted thing around.”

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The tree guy

Well, I prayed all the way down the hill to the Super Value Store. I might be the deadest one of all if Pearl finds out I told Grace to call the store and warn them what was coming their way.


We walked inside, me behind Pearl. We didn’t get a chance to say anything because the phone hanging on the wall next to where we were standing was ringing and the cashier answered it. “Please, please, please, don’t let that be Grace. I knew Grace wouldn’t be able to word what she needed to say so the checker would know not to say anything that would give us away. It wasn’t Grace on the phone though. It was the store manager.

We heard the clerk say, “Really Mr. King? You and Bruno will be gone all day? Okay…bye.”

“Might I help you?” She said to us.

“Was that the boss and the tree guy you were talking to?” Pearl asked.

“Yes,” said the checker. “It appears they will be out for the rest of the day.”

“Would you mind if I smoked an air cigarette before we leave?” Pearl asked. “My throat is dry, is your’s Essie? Might we have a coca cola on ice, please. I fear I’m so parched I won’t be able to talk to your boss and the tree guy. I see them walking up right now. I believe they’re slapping each other on the back. Hm…curious,” she said. “It appears up to now, they have been enjoying a beautiful day. ”

Pearl snubbed out her air cigarette and stood up to confrunt, confront the two sneaks.

Well, I won’t tell you everything that was said, but we got a beautiful new tree, and Super Value told us to go to the Gamble’s store and get all the decorations we needed. We got green this time because Pearl says she has more green outfits and she doesn’t look particularly good in gold tones.


The employee meeting was put off until tomorrow.


Murdo Girl…It’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, Pearl the dog and I are on our way over to Pearl’s Busy Nest. I’m kind of looking forward to the next two weeks. My mom and I haven’t been able to put up a Christmas tree for the last couple of years, and we don’t have to get one this year either because Pearl is letting us get one for the Nest. We’re going to try to get away this morning to buy one of those trees they’re selling at Super Value. I hope we get to make popcorn and cranberry garland and get tinsel and little candy canes to put on it. I’m out of school for two whole weeks. I think I’ll ask Grace if she can help me make some Christmas cookies to give to people. As you can tell…I’m so delighted!

Well we aren’t there yet, but we almost are.


Hi Pearl, Hi Grace…I’m here are you?

“Yes dear,” Grace hollered. “Pearl is here too. Come on in and see what she’s done.”

“Pearl,” I said. “What have you done? You said we could get a real tree at Super Value. That tree looks like it’s full of cotton candy.”

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I could tell Pearl was a little miffed that I rejected her Pepto-Bismol Christmas tree. I didn’t say anything, even though I felt crushed like a bug under her shoe. I just went to get Pearl the dog’s water bowl. I was trying not to cry.

“Why, Essie…I thought you would adore this tree. It has class. It’s different, like we are.”

“Christmas trees aren’t supposed to have class, Pearl. They’re supposed to have lights and pine needles that smell good.” I couldn’t keep what I was thinking to myself any longer. “You look more like a Christmas tree than that pink thing does.”


Neither one of us had much to say to each other after that, but I could tell Grace was getting nervous and we always regret it when Grace gets nervous.


I didn’t tell you everything we now offer at the Nest. Here is a compost list of everything we have and do.

Light Therapy... of which there have been very few takers

Dear Grace: Pitiful people write to Grace and she answers the questions through the mail. The writers and the answerers are all anonomolis.

Pearlelixer Fixer, which of course is our best seller.

We have added:

Ballroom dancing two nights a week and Laughter Yogi two mornings a week.

Right now Pearl leads all of the classes, but she’s trying to find a laughter yogi teacher because Pearl is not a morning person.

It was a long day for me, and I had to walk past that Pepto- Bismol tree all day. If Pearl hadn’t kept moving, someone would have hung a star on her head. I was getting ready to take Pearl the dog back to Pearl’s house and then go home, when two ladies walked in.

“Zee need fixer,” the shorter one said as she handed her empty bottle to me. I couldn’t remember her name, but I knew it wasn’t Zee.

“Here’s the empty,” the taller one with the red glasses said. “Say…is there anything in this juice that will harm my dentures?”

“Zee have teeth.” The shorter one said. She said something else that I didn’t understand, but the taller woman knew.

“She wants to know if you have it in other flavors, because she doesn’t like flat 7-up too much.”

Well, I’m telling you, I had never seen Pearl move so fast! She burst out of her broom closet office and ran right to those ladies. One of them had a headscarf on her head and didn’t seem to be hearing Pearl too well, and the taller lady had the red glasses, which Pearl took a moment to stare at.

Pearl looked stricken and I wondered why. The short woman spoke again. She glanced out the window and saw a little black car pull up. “Zee must go…Zee no like 7-up. Zee no like take’os, too.”

The taller woman spoke.

“Someone tried to feed her tacos today, so she wants to make sure everyone knows she doesn’t like them. Next time we’ll bring you some eggs. We would also like to sign up for ballroom dancing.”

They got to the door and the tall one with red glasses said, “Hm..You look more like a Christmas tree than that pink thing does.

When they were gone Pearl looked at me and said, “Please don’t ever leave me, Essie. I will take you to Super Value the first thing tomorrow and get you a real tree….And Essie, remind me to tweak the Elixer Fixer. Those two ladies could be our undoing.”


I didn’t believe that for a minute. I wondered if she would dress in pink tomorrow.


These people just signed up for Laughter Yoga, or was it ballroom dancing? Same expression either way…Ha! Ha!… Ha,Ha,Ha!

Murdo Girl…Crisis Averted

I’m on my way to Pearl’s Busy Nest. Pearl the dog is with me. I think she likes going to work every day. We have a lot of clients coming and going and they all just love her. She gets shy at first when people try to pet her, but it only lasts about a minute.

When I take her on walks after school, Pearl the human has me snoop around. She wants to know how many customers the other business people have, and try to find out if they’re real buyers or just tire kickers.

I’ve got certain places I like to go. It’s not really like I’m in cog-knee-toe, because people can see me, and I don’t have a costume on. The key is, they can see me but they don’t know why I’m hanging around. They just know I never buy anything. The only place I’ve had any trouble is the drug store. They don’t like me to tell the people they should try PearleIixer Fixer because it’s been tested  by blind people who study in a clinic somewhere. You have to believe if it cures blind people, it’s worth a shot or two.

Well, we aren’t there, but we almost are.


“Hi Pearl and Grace! I’m here are you?”

This time Pearl came running to me. “We have to drive over to Pierre today,” she said. “I already called your mother. Go and use the powder room if you must, but hurry!”

“Why do we have to go today Pearl? Saturday is our busiest day.  Wait…are you going to drive that clunky old Jeep? I can’t  believe my mother is going to let me ride with you in that clunky old Jeep.”


“I’m almost out of the ingredients for Pearlelixer Fixer, Essie, and that won’t do.”


“Well Jeez, Pearl, you can buy all that stuff at Sanderson’s store. They won’t  have flat 7-up, but I don’t think anybody will.”

“Hush child, we can’t have my clients know what’s in the Elixer Fixer. That’s why we have to go all the way to Pierre. We’ll be fodder for the gossips if they see us hauling bottle after bottle of 7-up out of Sanderson’s Store.”


“What about Grace and Pearl the dog?”

I was getting nervous about this trip, and I really hoped they would stay here.They both deserve to live. I was trying to remember if I had on clean underwear and when was the last time I told Mom I loved her, ’cause I was pretty sure we weren’t going to survive this trip. I can see my tombstone now.

Hear lies Ellie/Essie

The elixer couldn’t fix her
Grace and Pearl the dog are staying here. Pearl told me Grace said she would try her best to hold down the fort, and that she welcomed a break from all those sorry people with nothing but problems and no gratitude atall. (That’s her word.) I don’t see how we’re going to make money on the ‘Dear Grace’ part of the business. So far, we’re out a bunch of stamps and stationery. Pearl says, at the right time, the newspaper will pay us to have a column in The Murdo Coyote every week. People will be so excited to see their problems in the paper, they’ll be out there buying every one of them.

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I ran and hugged Grace and patted Pearl the dog on the head. Good-byes are so hard. I’ve always hated them. I wondered if the accident was going to hurt.


I forgot to tell Grace she had on Pearl’s glasses. I hope she doesn’t go blind like those clinic studiers.

Well, we made it to Pierre and back without instadent. (Although the Jeep has about a million dents anyway no one would have noticed.)

Grace was a real wreck by the time we got back to the Nest. People had been very upset that we had run out of the Pearlelixer Fixer. She told them we were waiting for it to ferment which seemed to calm them down some. 

Pearl said we all did good today and she would get to the store about five minutes early in the morning and mix up a batch of Elixer Fixer. And then she thought about something else. We only had a few of those blue bottles left. I had an idea that peeked at her interest. We would put a label made out of those “Hi My name is ____________________” stickers. They have plain ones. It will say that those bottles are inside of the public domain and cannot be filled with anything but Pearlelixer Fixer. But if they bring the empties back in like new condition, we will give them five cents for each one…at which time we will sterilize them before we fill them with Pearlelixer Fixer.

There sure are lots of things you have to think about when you run a business. I sure hope the 7-up goes flat by in the morning. We dumped it in a bunch of turkey pans.



Murdo Girl…Pearl fixes everything

Well, I’m on my way to Pearl’s to take Pearl the dog for a walk before we go to Pearl’s new business, which is now named Pearl’s Busy Nest. I don’t know why she named it that. It’s not like we sell birds or anything. In fact, we don’t really sell things. Pearl says we sell a state of mind and ambulance. I didn’t ask her what that meant…I was afraid she’d tell me.

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Grace gets letters asking her all kinds of different stuff. I help her answer almost all of them because I know who wrote most of them, and I know all about their problems. I think it’s a real good thing don’t you? I’ve wanted to tell most of them what they’re doing wrong anyway.

I’m Pearl the dog. Sometimes little kids come with their Moms to Pearl’s Busy Nest to get therapy. I play with the kids

Pearl isn’t too happy yet. She is trying to get her light therapy business going. She has a different theme every day. She’s going to put an ad in the Murdo Coyote once a week. She wants to make sure people don’t think she’s going to hypnotize them or play with the Ouija board. She tells the client her methods have all been clinically tested. Did you know there isn’t such a thing? Pearl says there is no place where people go to have their stuff clinically tested. It just makes things sound more expensive and their innertuition will make them think it’s the best stuff ever.

Well Pearl the dog and aren’t at the business yet, but we almost are.


I always go in the back door. “Hi Pearl and Grace. I’m here…are you?”

Grace flew out of the bathroom and came over to me. “I’m so glad you’re here, Ellie. We got a doozie of a letter back from someone we um…advised. I don’t know what to do. Doozies make me really nervous.”


“Please take deep breaths, Grace. You’ll get a bad stomach and we don’t have any ice chips here. Where’s the letter?”

“Here,” Grace handed it over to me like it was a hot potato.”

Dear Grace,

Well, I took your advise and something awful happened. If you’ll remember, I’m the one with the sweet, sweet husband who said he was going to live forever because he drank so much apple cider.

 I told you about last week when we went to the doctor for his regular check-up and the doc said my sweet man was going to have to quit drinking alcohol or he was going to need a new liver. I piped up and said, “Oh, no doctor, that can’t be right. My husband doesn’t drink anything but apple cider. The good doc said, “That’s what they all say. Haven’t you wondered how he gets loaded every night?”

Miss Grace…you told me to gradually wean him off the hard stuff. You said to dump a little alcohol out of the bottle and replace it with apple cider. You said to gradually increase the amount of apple juice and cut back on the alcohol.

Well I’m here to tell you miss Grace, after the first few days, he got so mean, I started to swig out of that bottle instead of pouring it out. Then I started gulping. The more I drank the nicer he got. I realized I didn’t know he drank so much until he came home cold sober one night. 

I’m in a fix and it’s all your fault missy! What am I to do. I hope to read your answer in the newspaper SOON!


“Land sakes, Ellie, what are we to do?”

“Well, we’re going to have to think of something. I was worried my plan didn’t work. I saw Anonalmous coming out of the post office the other day and she didn’t look so good.”

Pearl must have heard us because she came out of the closet/office with a bottle of her clinically tested Pearlelixer fixer.


“We must sell her some of my Pearlelixer fixer. It cures fixations and prolongs life. I even sold it to a gentleman with a gambling fixation. He was cured. He never again entered a casino, although I did hear he went to the horse races once in a while because he loves to watch horses run.

“So…she doesn’t know who Miss Grace is does she?” Grace and I both shook our heads. ” Good..write her a letter and tell her she must get Pearilixer fixer. Her desire to tip the bottle will leave her along with her arthritis.”

You have to admit…this is a big improvement

So that’s what we did and it worked. ANONALMOUS turned into a new woman., and Pearl started selling Pearlelixir fixer hand over fist. I didn’t know flat seven-up, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of apple cider vinegar could cure everything. Did you?




Murdo Girl…The frown

Lately I’ve been feeling down. Something’s causing me to frown.

A smile can’t be that far away. What would make me smile today?

It can’t be food, I’m on a diet. I found a hat, but didn’t buy it.


I just got rid of so much stuff. I still have way more than enough.

I’ll phone a friend. Will I feel better? Better yet…I’ll write a letter.

I can’t call or write today. That won’t chase my blues away.


Should I nap or read a book? Or figure out whose frown I took?

I have nothing  much to gain if I take on another’s pain.

Drive me crazy?…It’s not that far, I won’t ride in the crazy car.


Talk to me and tell me more. Listening is what friends are for.

No one else can live your life, solve your problems, feel your strife.

I can’t take away your frown, it will only double down.

I’ll have one and so will you. Then what are we to do?


I’ll sit with you and hold your hand and really try to understand.

There’s one who knows what’s in my head. Should  I talk to Him instead?

He’ll give me answers and if I listen… the sun will shine, the stars will glisten.


Think of things you’re thankful for, but never try to keep a score.

You shouldn’t give your frown away and ruin someone else’s day.


A cheery smile is what they need. When we smile, we plant a seed.

So do not give your frown away. Save it for another day

Give your smiles away instead. Nothing more needs to be said.


A smile is just a frown turned upside down




Murdo Girl…Look at me and smile

This blog started forming in my mind while I was enjoying everyone’s Thanksgiving pictures on Facebook. Those kids had to work for their turkey and pumpkin pie. I remember those.. if I smile one more time my face is going to crack, smiles. When our kids were around five or six that’s how they smiled when we dutifully took them to Super Value or Lee Beckwith’s store once a year to have their pictures taken..By the time they were seven, they started losing their teeth. It was pretty much the same smile but without teeth, it doesn’t have the same “frozen on the face effect.”


I have a few other pictures of our kids with the frozen look, but we took those before digital cameras, cell phones, and computers.

I never did get around to putting them all in albums. In fact, they’re in plastic crates in the attic. Now, I actually only print a handful a year, but I have thousands stored…most of them since I started the blog.

I take a lot of the pictures I use and purloin the rest. When I go through the pics stored, I’m often surprised at how many years have gone by since the picture was taken and I wonder if I will ever look at it again.

These aren’t frozen smiles are they? I just tried to download about twenty and somehow I lost them and I don’t want to take the time to go back and search again.

When I was a kid, we were very careful about how many pictures we were taking. Camera film cost money and so did developing the photos. We had to send the film off and didn’t get the pictures back for a week to ten days. In the beginning we bought the twelve picture Kodak film, then we got up to twenty-four…and they were in color. I will admit we sometimes left a film laying around the house a while before we finally sent it in. I wish we had taken more pictures. I love to look at pictures of anybody and their families. It doesn’t matter if I know the people or not. Snapshots of a moment in time fascinate me.

Well, I kind of got off the subject didn’t I. Right this minute I’m a little upset because I found at least twenty examples of the “frozen smile” and I somehow lost them before I transferred them to the blog. Lucky you, I guess.

I want to rerun a Christmas story I ran across today. I hope it makes you smile…a real smile. It might even make you snort. I’m sure glad I’m not as crazy as Yram.