Murdo Girl…Remembering the women who served

Just One Pretty Flower

by Mary Francis McNinch

“Put a flower on my grave.” That’s all she asked of me.

“Just one pretty flower that I’ll be sure to see.”

“She never had a chance,” they said. “She won’t make it through the night.

She might have won some battles, but she’ll lose this final fight.”

I tried to say I love you as I stood beside her bed.

She smiled her biggest smile, and this is what she said.

“You know I’ll never leave you, right? It’s really not that far.

Look through all the darkness. Give my name to one bright star.”

“It never did make sense,” they’ll say. “She had little ones to rear.”

“Nothing much that she could do. I know that’s what you’ll hear.”

 I said, “What you did mattered,” and she held my trembling hand.

She saw her Country struggle and she had to take a stand.

There are those who disagree. It’s their right to think that way.

They might not survive tomorrow, but they’ll live free today.

“Tell the kids I love them. Show them my picture now and then.

Tell them where I’m going, but don’t tell them where I’ve been.

I hope the evil can be stopped and we keep our flag unfurled

I gave you all my love,” she said. “My life, I gave the world.”

The last time she closed her eyes, I knew what she would see

Whatever love looks like those who fought to keep us free.

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“Put a flower on my grave,” that’s all she asked of me.

“Just one pretty flower, that I’ll be sure to see.”

I wrote this poem two years ago in honor of all the women who have lost their lives serving this country.

Murdo Girl…When rhyming goes wrong

Recently, my brother said that I was quite prolific.

Proceeding cautiously, I asked if he’d be more specific.

He said, “Prolific means productive… and that I can’t deny.

You’re blogging yourself crazy. I’m afraid your brain will fry.”


I told him I appreciated his genuine concern.

I let him make his point, and then I took my turn.

I know I’ve been a writing fool. Please let me tell you why.

The more I get distressed… the more my fingers fly.

I sit by my computer and I know I have to type.

I don’t have a beginning, much less an end in site.

My mind goes other places. It knows I need relief.

So much has been revealed to me. It’s way beyond belief.

Cancer is a scary word you never want to hear.

My brother said, “I get it…I’ve heard it too, my dear.

I said, “I thought you would be the one to understand.

Do you think my blogging has gotten out of hand?”

“Blog away,” he said. “If it helps to calm your mind.

But can’t you write in prose? Must every story rhyme?”

Holy cow! Have I gone crazy? Is my brain fried like he said?

I can’t stop all the rhyming going on inside my head!

I saw my brother’s eyes get big and I knew he understood.

All his thoughts were rhyming, too… but in his case that’s not good.

I can’t hear! You’re laying on my ear!

He called a few weeks later, asking if they’d found a cure.

He couldn’t stop from rhyming, and had all he could endure.

“I don’t believe they have,” I said, as I folded rhyming socks.

“But I have a nice surprise. I’m sending you a rhyming box.”



Thank you, Rebecca, for this box full of fun. You’re loving and kind and I’m the grateful one.

Murdo Girl…What was the question?

I was standing in the check-out line at the Woolco Store, right down the street from where we lived in Casper, Wyoming, when I felt a tug on my jacket. I looked down at this really cute little boy who obviously was troubled by something.

“What is it, honey? Is something wrong?”

He looked down at his feet. I thought he had become shy and was reconsidering telling me what was bothering him, when he looked up and said, “How old do you have to be before you know what’s going on?”

“Why would you ask?” I stammered. “What do you think is going on?”

“Never mind,” he said. “I have to go to the bathroom.”

I know I didn’t give him a very good answer, but that was back before people deeply analyzed the thoughts of children. I’ve thought about it many times since, and to be honest, if a child asked me that same question today, I would still be stuck for an answer.

The little boy was mine. I had to give up my place in line to take him to the bathroom. I was a caring mother, but I never looked too deep into my kid’s Psyche. In all fairness, I was only twenty years old when I had him, and I realized early on that I could easily be outsmarted by children of almost any age.

The other problem was I had a guilty conscience and really hoped he hadn’t caught on to what I was doing. I was at Woolco to buy a birthday card. I already had the gift. It was a nice, pinkish colored, bottle of Ambush. I can’t remember if it was cologne or perfume or even who gave it to me. I just hoped it wasn’t the girl from work whose birthday gift I had forgotten to buy. Back then we didn’t have an acceptable name for what I was doing… like re-gifting. My little boy tugging at my coat would have called it, lying.

I was really late, and I was taking the smart little thing, who was wondering how old you have to be before you know what’s going on, to the party with me. Time for a foxhole prayer. Please don’t let him rat me out. How embarrassing would that be.


Fortunately, he had gone on to other things his little mind questioned like, “Mommy, why is the goldfish so much smaller than it was yesterday?”

“Remember? He was sick. He must have lost weight.” I tried to think… Did I bury the (now dead) “other” fish deep enough in the garbage?


“You have to take us swimming because you promised! You said you would never break a promise.” I reminded my son, who now has two kids of his own, that he had to keep his promises to his boys, because he made me take him swimming that day.”

“I remember,” he said. “The pool was closed by the time we got there and I threw a fit all the way home. “Besides,” he added, “I break promises to my kids all the time. They understand that sometimes the stars just don’t line up and I can’t make it happen. It takes them about two seconds to get over it.”


This was taken when he was a little older. He got to travel by himself to visit Grandma Retta and Grandpa Gus in California.


I have several better pictures of those times, but they’re all cataloged by date, person, event, and place. I didn’t have time to alphabetize them, so it would have taken me too long to find them.

“Don’t lie, Mom. They’re thrown into large plastic crates, with people whose names you don’t even know!”


This was taken right before I told him what really happened to the goldfish.

Murdo Girl…Windy and Airy

Windy Lindy Berg

…….and Airy Heart

Windy and Airy are pilots for hire. Though the sky is their limit, they should fly much higher.

They’re very concerned with their flying appearance, but they pay no attention to their fly-over clearance.

Windy can sometimes be a real renegade, but adventure ain’t easy when you have a broken leg.

Airy has sometimes been known to go rogue, but she always looks like she just stepped out of Vogue.

They have many clients of whom they’re quite fond, but their favorite gig is flying over the pond.

They fly Queen E from Murdo to Great Britain. They can’t wait to meet Archie, to see why everyone is smitten.

He wasn’t made a Prince, or a Duke by Queen E… I heard Mum and Dad said, ” NO to royalty.

Last April when Queen E turned ninety and three, the pilots for hire flew over Buckingham’s balcony.

HRH looked up!

“Take me to Murdo,” she shouted! I can’t stand it here. This balcony’s too crowded.”

So with help from some friends who threw her rope, they took off for Murdo on a real high note!

The sky was full of hot air balloons. Queen E. rode with MG because the note had no tunes.

Lav floated by and said, “What a hoot! There goes Pattycake with a heart parachute.”

There’s more fun to come. We’re going to Murdo for tea. Then we’ll all circle back to see little Archie….

The End

Murdo Girl…Topping it off

Individual or personal

Alone or together

Long or short

Calming or intense

Thankful or pleading

For you or for me

Wants or needs

Sorrows or joys

What am I?


My friend. Pat gave me several hats that belonged to her daughter, Amy. I would love to know where she wore some of these. They’re really fun additions to my growing collection.


Waiting for my racehorse to arrive


Third floor? Sorry, I’m afraid of heights.


This is a real Stetson.

(Right now, Pat is saying OMG, I gave her Amy’s Stetson.)


Garden? Do you mean like touch dirt?

No…I just go to the garden parties.


Pink Dallas Cowboy hat. I found it in the garage. Pink is a good color…

Separated at birth

Answer to the above question:

A prayer…. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all the prayers you’ve been sending up for me…I can feel every one of them and I feel calm, thankful, and so very blessed…

Oahe Chapel…photo by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm

Murdo Girl…B time

I could get into a lot of trouble for writing this, but I usually write my stories without looking over my shoulder a whole lot. It interferes with my concentration.

When I wrote all of the “Little Murdo Girl” stories, I used everyone’s real first and last names. I never once thought that some people would not appreciate that. No one ever complained. At least not to me. I told it all… but this story is different, so I’m going to call it a docuestory. A true story about what you know first hand, is what you might call a docuestory.

I recently talked to a couple of guys I know who were traveling across the country with Guy #1’s ninety-eight year old mother. I think it’s bad luck to say things like, she’s going to be ninety-nine in a couple of months, so I won’t say that. Anyway, she’s very beautiful and very smart. Her hair is coiffed into one of those styles that doesn’t move for a week even in the South Dakota wind. She dresses to the nines from top to bottom and has beautiful nails.


While the threesome was driving across country, they decided to call and check on me. Guy #2 was driving, 98+ was in the back seat, and Guy #1 was in the passenger’s seat with B time on his hands. Do you know what B time is? Guy #1 didn’t know either, until I told him. Billy told me about it.

Let me explain…A time is when someone calls you when you’re at work, watching a movie, reading your children a book, reading yourself a book, or anything that is more important than talking on the phone with someone who you may or may not feel compelled to talk to except on B time. It’s pretty self explanatory. If you are driving your car, it’s always B time. It used to be easier when you could use your cell phone while driving. ( You still can if you’re a passenger, or if you have one of those hands free things, or live in Murdo, SD or Mabank, TX.)

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B time can also be a situation like this person found herself in. It’s called, I’m sitting around looking beautiful, but I have a broken leg, time.

BTW I don’t really like those hands free things. If you have your phone with you and your bluetooth is on and someone texts you, it comes up on the screen and if your husband’s name is Kip, he hits the listen button. It will say, TEXT FROM PAT or another one of my friends. Then I have to try to remember all recent conversations and ascertain if there might be something sensitive in the text. The voice of GPS reads the message to you. I call it C time for “Could be awkward.”


Oh No!!! Call from Trixie!!!

Back to my docuestory. I ended up talking with the three travelers for over three hours in three different sessions. Guy #1 did the talking with an occasional fact check from the driver, Guy #2 and 98+ changed the subject a few times, which made us forget what we were talking about.


(Lav likes to collect Styrofoam cups on her A time. She’s going to make some Colon Cancer Cups for my boxes with them. She also talked with the threesome for an hour.)

I decided that even though I had some A stuff to do, I would hang in there as long as they did. We were at the end of hour three, when we went back in time as far as discussing a girl who went to school with Guy #1 and I. 98+ said the girl only weighed 1.5 lbs when she was born. Right about then, the line went dead. Lines don’t go dead anymore do they? There are no lines. I guess the mountains around Murdo interfered with the cell signal. Anyway, I have my suspicions, but I’ll make no accusations. Remember this is a docuestory so I have to stick with the facts. I just think someone had to stop to use the bathroom or get something to eat, which are both A time activities. It’s the hardest thing to do. I’m talking about switching from B to A time when you’re on the phone and get to where you’re going.

I had a lot more to tell you about their trip, but I have a headache now so this is it. I’ll change the title of this to B time. It was going to be, A Docuestory You’ll Never Forget.

Besides, I’m spending too much A time writing about B time.


My name is Murdobird, but I’m not from Murdo. I’m flying there tomorrow. Is everyone there like her? I thought B time was for bird watching.


They call you Murdobird because you’re wearing orange and black… Has anyone seen my pom poms?

Murdo Girl…What’s in the box

I look at my new pink breast cancer shoes, and think about things I DON’T have to lose.


I don’t have to give up the sweet scent of a rose, or beautiful music that others compose.

I can keep all the love I hold dear to my heart. The gifts from above and I never will part.

Even the loved ones who are no longer here, live in my memories, which makes them feel near.

Yes…the things I don’t have to lose really are countless, but there’s just one problem. (I must confess.)

Today at the doctor’s, I received a nice gift. The contents inside gave me quite a lift.

With a box full of goodies all pink and cheerful. Instead of half empty my glass seemed clear full.


There’s a journal to write down a question or answer and a bracelet with kind words for those with breast cancer.

A pretty pink mug that will hold tea to sip, and a small pink mesh bag that will close with a zip.

A lingering thought keeps popping up. Where, oh, where is my colon cancer cup?

Shouldn’t all cancer patients be treated with kindness? Though not near my heart it WAS close to my hindness?

Life might throw me some pretty hard knocks, so I’ll treasure those things in my breast cancer box.

So here’s what I’ve decided to give to myself. I’ll make a colon cancer box to put on my shelf.


I’ll keep all the fun things I packed up to store. Remembering each battle won, helps win the war.

To those who go through things I can’t comprehend, I’ll send you my prayers and a smile now and then.

If you must lose what you’d rather not spare, a crown looks fabulous with… OR without hair.

Murdo Girl…Operation, operation.

Today went by more quickly than I thought it would. I kept thinking this was the last day that I could accomplish much, since I would be recovering from surgery. I cleaned, did laundry, went for a walk with friends, shopped a little, and even detailed my car. Quite a productive day. It’s now almost nine o’clock and it’s time I should go to bed since I have to wake up at 3:45.

(I took this picture today of a beautiful blooming cactus in Kip’s cactus garden.)


I got a little discouraged after I slowed down and it dawned on me that, yes, tomorrow’s appointments will give us the answers to some of our questions and the surgery will be scheduled, but I may not actually be starting the process of the surgery and the healing…and whatever comes afterwards, for weeks. That’s a real bummer. It’s a weird feeling to walk around feeling pretty good, but knowing there is cancer growing in my body. There is an automatic built-in sense of urgency for the not so patient, patient.

I may have to do more laundry and clean the house, and change the sheets again before operation, operation takes place. We have been dealing with all of this since I got the colon cancer phone call on January 15th. My prayer worriers have been hanging in there all this time, and I’m very thankful for that.

I know I can get through whatever I need to and I have to remember that Kip is going through it, too. He’s been great, but it can’t be easy.

(I purchased this canvas wall hanging when I was resale shopping, today. It will look great in my she shed. Our lot came with a shed in the back yard that I have confiscated for my “Home for Beasterhops.”


Forgive my rambling. I appreciate being able to do that with some people I have grown to know and love through this blog.

I want to say a big thank you to my daughter-in-law, Amy, for the Breast Cancer Bible. Amy is a nurse and knows it will help me anticipate what comes next and to ask the right questions.

I’ll keep you posted…

Murdo Girl…Blog Employment Agency

Those 70ish Girls

Hello Murdo Girl fans. We have a situation. One that has recently come to my attention. It seems that when I make personalities relatively famous in a series such as:  The Presidential campaign, The Brick House, Connie’s Story, and even Dakota’s story, there is a big letdown when, as all good things do, it comes to an end and fame and fortune no longer seek them out. So being the helpful and “get er done” person I am, I have decided to open an employment agency to specifically help all of the somewhat talented people, animals, queens, and cars affected. I will publish my interviews as we work through the issues we face.


Murdo Girl to Lav: Please send in our first desperate unemployed blog star please.

Lav: 10-4 comes the cheese-head

Unemployed blog star who shall remain nameless: I was the Town Crier for the Next Pres…

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Murdo Girl…An ode to huggers

Hugs are not for sissies. There are rules you need to know. It’s not the way it used to be many years ago.

I learned the rules the hard way, though I still don’t know them all. I’m here to help you hug right, so wrong hugs aren’t your downfall.

I saw a friend walk towards me, and I struck a huggers pose. He saw my arms wide open, and suddenly he froze!

It was an awkward moment. A situation to appraise. Should he walk into my waiting arms, or approach me from sideways?

(My cousin, Mark and me…the sideways hug.)

(Another sideways hug.)

Standing with my arms outstretched, I felt like such a fool. How could my friend know I didn’t know that hugger’s rule?

Unless they’re related, (less than twice removed), guys don’t give girls two armed hugs, unless they’re preapproved.

There is more you must remember. Age comes into play. If hugees are old and feeble, you can hug them the old way.

Wrap your arms around them. Just don’t squeeze too tight. A right hug could go wrong and they might put up a fight.

I must apologize to the men who felt anxiety, when I hugged them without knowing, the degree of it’s propriety.

My hugs are often longer than what’s acceptable today. I only know it’s too long, when my huggee pulls away.

Though I hope all of you know, I think hugging is quite harmless, I’ll follow all the rules or someday I’ll be armless.

So if you’re walking towards me and you think something’s amiss. Stop before you get there and I’ll just throw you a kiss.