Murdo Girl…I’m almost ready

The only thing I dislike more than cleaning is having a dirty house. The one thing I got used to during my recent health issues, is people coming over and seeing my house a dirty mess. That’s when company usually comes anyway, right? They never pop in when you’ve just sterilized the place. I realized I didn’t have to let it bother me. I now love having people drop in to visit.My mother once said to put get well cards on your fireplace mantle and other places even if you haven’t been sick. People will understand why they can write their name on your furniture. She also said to limp and hold a cold cloth to your head, but I think that’s going a little too far. Another idea is to throw sheets over all of your furniture and tell everyone you’re getting ready to paint. How about having some toys and crackers on the floor and then saying your neighbor with six kids just left, or put a hat on and carry your purse and say you were just about to leave. I may never clean my house again…even though I have every cleaning product known to man. I also have three vacuums, two swifters, two sponge mops, one small string mop (I need a big one), and a combination floor/rug cleaner.I took the bait when I saw the thingy on TV that you attach to your vacuum hose and it’s supposed to reach all the way into your dryer vent. It didn’t work.I can’t get a window clean to save my soul. I’ve tried newspaper, a squeegee, vinegar and as a last resort, I even tried windex.Well, now that I’ve drug everything out, I’m too tired. I’ll leave it out until tomorrow, just in case company comes.One other thing. Never shove things in closets, drawers and under the bed when you see someone pull into your driveway. Kip and I are still looking for things we stuffed different places last time, and the car only pulled into our driveway to turn around.

Mom would be proud.Seriously…come and see me anytime!

Murdo Girl…Grandpa’s car had super powers

Grandpa drove us crazy and other places too. His car had super powers…boy, the things that it could do.

Off to Prairie Creek he went. Grandma by his side. The two grandsons in the back had a real wild ride.
Grandpa revved the motor to build up all his speed. And then he sashayed up the hill, with speed he didn’t need.

(“We’ll park it where it stops,” he said, and everyone agreed.)

He headed for the lake with another young grandson. They were both excited to get out and have some fun.”We have to turn around, I forgot the lunch I packed.” He hit the ditch and gunned it and in no time they were back.

(They had warm milk and sandwiches in a thermos and a sack.)

Grandpa drove the cheerleaders to a high school game. If they got there late, he was not to blame. It was thirty miles away, but he clocked twenty-five. I think four out of five of them felt glad to be alive. It was a winding road he was supposed to twist and turn.

(Grandpa drove straight all the way and we had time to burn.)

He made it everywhere he went and Grandma rode along. We all lived to tell about those times now all long gone. The buzzer on the old Ford set at the speed limit. Buzzed all the way to everywhere.

(It seemed like every minute.)

When he took his grandkids fishing, he was always in his glory. Our fears began when he started telling story after story. He’d turn around to look, at those who sat behind.

(The car swerved to the road’s edge or crossed a double line.)

“Sit on the front fender and you can watch for pheasant.” The idea was a good one, but what happened wasn’t pleasant. Grandpa saw the birds, hit the brakes and honked the horn.

(The boys became airborne and landed in a field of corn.)

The car must have sensed it must try and stay on track, because we always made it there and somehow made it back.

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Murdo Girl…Happy BirthdayBilly

It’s my brother’s birthday today, so I decided to write a little poem to highlight some of my most poignant memories of growing up with him.

There are two sides to every story

Mom said, “Come sit in the rocking chair and you can rock the baby there.”

She said he sat and didn’t speak. A tear rolled down his little cheek.

Billy loved his little sister, held her tight and even kissed and billy

Mom said, “Your sister will soon be awake. Rock her please, I need a break.”

The baby cried and so did Billy. Together they were oh so shrilly.

He held her tight but didn’t kiss her. If she left, he wouldn’t miss her.



He said,” Mom I’ll watch her if you wish. I’ll stay home instead of fish.

The guys can all come over here. We’ll play cards so we can see her.

She’ll play with toys and have some fun. She won’t bother anyone.”


“Really Mom? I was wishing the guys and I could all go fishing.

Now I guess I’ll have to stay and take care of Mary for the day.”

We tried to play poker at the table. Unfortunately we weren’t able.


She walked around with dirty diapers. Those guys were a bunch of gripers.

They all left and wouldn’t you know it. Billy had a straight and couldn’t show it.


He said, “On the way to school, after dinner, We’ll race to see who’ll be the winner.

 “I promise I won’t run too fast. I bet some days you’ll run right passed.”

I ran as fast as my legs could. Someday I’d win! I knew I would.

But as I got close to the finish line. He’d speed up to pass me just in time.

His senior year I patiently waited for the day he graduated.

I knew that it would seem that Billy couldn’t be that mean.

Yes, when the race was almost over, I’d catch up and he’d move over.

I would win after four long years of never hearing a winner’s cheers.

He just could not give in. He couldn’t slow down and let me win.

When he left he kissed my cheek, I didn’t wash it for a week.

Happy Birthday to the best brother anyone could ever have…I love you!






Murdo Girl…Hats off to the Queen

I was going to name some more water towers, but I decided it would be more fun to describe some of Queen E’s multitasking hats and outfits.


I’m going fly fishing later. I have a pole and a net!

Now what have I done with my black gloves?

I spilled honey on my hat. Do ants bite?

I said I wanted to look powerful not flowerful. Jeez…I look like a gran gran hurled on me.

There was an older girl, who had a little curl right on the side of her forehead.

When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid.

Old mother Hubbard went to the cubbard to get the Corgi a bone. When she got there, the cupboard was bare, so I left.


Where are my beads? This outfit needs beads! Where is my purse? I need my purse. Where am I? I think I’m hyperventalating.

Oh, I see! It was a costume party…Did I win?

Murdo Girl…Lots of experience

longest and best job in my employment history lasted sixteen years. The worst and shortest lasted two hours. It should have only been fifteen minutes. I was a hangar clerk. Do you know what a hangar clerk is or does? Me neither. I’ll get back to that.

What is the worst job you ever had? What about the best.


Many times, when someone asked Mom how I was doing, she would say, “She’s just as happy as if she had good sense.” More often than not, she was right on the money.

Except for the job I had at the Frosty Freeze, and the time after high school when I worked in California for the summer, I worked at the Motel most of the time. One day the President/owner of the Draper State Bank asked Mom if she thought I’d be interested in a job at the bank. He told her he needed to hire an “outsider,” because everyone in Draper was related to each other in one way or another, and they didn’t want any “insider,” to know their business. So I got my first big break, because I wasn’t related to any of those rich farmers and ranchers who had all the money. I’ve always been lucky that way.


I’ve never been much of a gossip, so it worked out well for the town and me. Mr. Hayes was right. Back then, we hand sorted all the checks every day. As we put them all in alphabetical order, we knew who had been on a shopping spree in Pierre, and how much they spent. We knew  who had been frequenting the bars, and who couldn’t pay the bills because we were going to have to bounce their check. If someone had a car or house payment, we knew how much that was too. A savings account for Christmas? A tax refund or did they have to pay in? We never shared that information with another soul.

There was no such thing as a credit report. With all the above information, Keith and Leroy knew who had the means and/or the character to repay a loan. The  handshake agreements meant something then.

After I had worked at the bank a few months, Mom asked Mr. Hayes how I was working out. He told her he wished he had two of me. Her response was, “Is she that slow?” This from someone who thought I didn’t deserve the agreed upon amount per room, because it didn’t take me long enough to clean it. I learned from the best, Mom.

A couple of years later, I left the bank and moved to Wyoming. I called my friend Karen, who was working at the Okaton State Bank, and told her about the Draper job. She was another “outsider.” Karen worked at the Draper bank for about 50 or 75 years.

After moving to Wyoming, I decided to try something besides banking, and applied for and got the hangar clerk position at a power plant. I showed up that first day and was escorted to a small trailer with two desks in it. The girl who I was replacing handed me a hard hat, and introduced me to the guy who occupied the other desk. It took me about two minutes to form the opinion that he was a sleaze, and another two minutes for him to prove me right.

I should have left then, but I still wanted to know what a hangar clerk was. My trainer, walked me the short distance to the office of this humongous operation. She told me there were only four other females working at the plant, and they could all hunt bear with a stick.

Well, to make a long two hours short, I took the first opportunity I had to escape. I walked out to my car, put my hard hat on the hood of the car next to mine, and after I picked up my son at the babysitter’s, I drove home. When I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. It was the very nice man who had hired me. (Not the sleaze.) “Where did you go?” He asked. It should have been obvious that I had gone home? What I said was, “That job isn’t for me.”

About a week later, when I got home from my new bank job, there was a check in the mail from the power plant for $14.00. I was extremely offended when I noticed, “Not eligible for rehire,” was typed on the pay stub.

A few years later, I had worked my way up to manager of the real estate lending department at a small bank. One day, the man who had hired me and sent me the “Not eligible for rehire” check  walked into my office. He had changed jobs too and now worked for a real estate developer. We ended up doing quite a bit of business together. I could tell he was going to be a gentleman and not say anything about my leaving the power plant without giving more than 2 minutes notice.

One day, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you about something. What exactly is a hangar clerk?” He said it had something to do with plans and specs. Then he added, “Don’t worry about it, that job wasn’t for you.”

This is a pic taken in the basement house at the Chalet Motel. From left Irma Sanderson, Harriet Parish, Ella Leckey, and Elsa Peck.  

After that job, I decided to buy a restaurant.. Yes…you heard me right. I bought Spiatza, a cute little Italian bar and grill in the west-end area (downtown), Dallas. I’m still not sure why I bought it… except for an occasional pizza, I don’t even like Italian food. The restaurant was in an area that drew tourists. We were open from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. (That had to be extended after 911 when people stopped traveling and vacationing.) I had to learn all the ins and outs of restaurant ownership, and quickly found out the most difficult part was managing twenty guys and girls in their twenties. I’m going to write a whole blog about Spiatza, which is a made-up word. Some of the stories are a hoot.


After we sold the restaurant, I took a little time off. Then a friend called me about a sales job for a company that owned assisted living facilities. The picture below is of me doing the macarena with some of the residents. I played a little jazz with my saxophone, We baked pies, took bus rides along the wildflower trail near Ennis, made Jackie Kennedy pillbox hats, and tons of other things.


One day, I saw a flyer in a restaurant asking for a stern, but compassionate person to care for an elderly lady in a wheel chair. I already knew I enjoyed working with older people, and part-time sounded good to me. I spent five years caring for Mrs. E. from 8:00 until noon. I’ve written stories about her before as well. What a character! She didn’t even speak to me for the first two days. Eventually, her health got so bad, she had to go to  a nursing home.


So that’s my work history. Anybody want to hire me?



Murdo Girl…Music to my ears

I thought some of you might like an update on the McNinch infirmary.

We almost lost our golden retriever, Cyndie. Her kidney numbers were between stage three and four, which is pretty bad, and she was also suffering from pancreatitis. She was weak and had stopped eating. We took her to our vet who gave us very little hope, but said, “Let’s look into her eyes and see if she still has some fight left in her.” We all agreed that Cyndie wasn’t ready to go to doggie heaven, so the vet kept her on an IV for three days. She seemed to be feeling better, and knowing the challenge was going to be getting her to eat, we brought her home.

For the first three days we had to feed her with a big syringe filled with blended beef, chicken and sweet potatoes. Once it was in her mouth, she tolerated it and swollowed enough to help her get some strength back. She has since graduated to eating full servings of soft kidney friendly dog food twice a day and seems to be enjoying life. We take her for long walks in the mornings and she can go up and down our front and back steps without a problem. She takes a medication to help with arthritis in her back legs, and she doesn’t seem to be in pain.

Cyndie is thirteen, but we’re hoping she has a couple of good years left in her.

I’m also doing well. My CT scan and blood work all looked good yesterday. With my recent history of test results, I was more than a little relieved. I have one more operation to complete a little reconstruction, and a very small area on my left side will be checked for cancer cells. The surgeon is 99% sure there won’t be any. That will be done in September. I am very grateful. Since all of the cancer was sugicaly removed, I don’t have to go through chemotherapy or radiation. I will have to take a cancer fighting medication for ten years, but I can do that. There will be lots of scans, blood work, and colonoscopies in my future, but that I can handle, too.

I will never forget the support I have gotten from my family and friends. Thank, you again for the prayers, and the many gifts of love.

Take heed, my friends. Schedule all of those tests that will catch cancer and other diseases early, because that is the key to survival. Cancer is a scary word. A very scary word. Do all you can do to prevent hearing that you have it.

A lady who sits behind me in church tapped me on the shoulder last Sunday and said, “You look so good…like all the poison is gone from your body.” Those words were like music to my ears.

Murdo Girl…Styling

I went to a new hair salon and looked at hairstyle books.

I turned the pages slowly and perused the newest looks.

I really liked the straight styles, but my hair tends to curl.

The next page showed a redhead.

Should I give that a whirl?

One model looked as if she was unable to decide.

She wore long tresses on her left and shaved the other side.

I began to watch the stylists and couldn’t help but stare.

They were waxing lips and eyebrows.

Not a one was styling hair.

They were replacing women’s lashes. Who knew that could be done?

Eyebrows were being threaded. Wow…this place must cost a ton.

I headed for the door. I knew I had to flee.

I was well aware…this place was not for me.

I went on down the street to the place I usually go.

I’m seated in a minute and in five I’m good to go.

I no longer look at books to chose a different do.

I won’t look like them, anyway. They’re all under twenty-two.

Murdo Girl…Fame is fleeting

I’m on my way to The Busy Nest. We’ve been really busy since Pearl started putting cornstarch in her Elixerfixer and calling it new and improved. All the women are buying it and losing weight. The cornstarch and hot water thickens in their stomach and makes them feel full. But no one, I mean no one knows the Elixerfixer formula, and they are buying that stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

“Hi Grace, hi Pearl, I’m here, are you?”

Grace: I’m here, but Pearl had to go on another Red Owl run. We’re down to only four bottles of Elixerfixer and just look at that line-up of women outside the door. There’s likely to be a real dust-up if Pearl doesn’t get back soon and formulate some more. I think I hear her coming in the back way.

Pearl: I’m back! I’ll get busy in the formulation room and you two can open the door and give those ladies a number.


Well, our success was short lived. That very day, Mack’s Cafe had a roast beef and mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, special. That gravy hit all that cornstarch and hot water in the ladie’s stomachs and they all felt like they’d swallowed twenty pounds of concrete. They feared they’d been poisoned by the beef. The real dramatic ones were sure they were knocking on death’s door. Doc Brown was called to the scene and it wasn’t long before the Doc, followed by twelve sick women came marching over to The Busy Nest. We saw them coming and could tell they all had their knickers in a twist.

Pearl pinched her cheeks, put on her lipstick, straightened her shoulders and met them all at the door.

Pearl: Why Doc Brown, what an unexpected pleasure, and my goodness, you brought some ladies with you. Welcome to The Busy Nest.

Grace: Pearl, don’t you recognize these ladies? They were just in here to buy new bottles of Elixerfixer.

Doc Brown: So I’ve been told. It seems all of these ladies took their dose of your famous elixer shortly before eating Mack’s Cafe’s special, consisting of roast beef with mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.

Grace: Do they make their gravy with cornstarch?

Pearl: Grace, dear, would you mind going to get the mail?

Doc: I was looking at the very fine print on the back of the label and it just says it’s made with all natural ingredients. Would you mind telling me what they are?

Pearl: Certainly…I travel many miles to purchase the greatly sought after freshly distilled spring water it contains.

Grace: It’s the kind you put in your steam iron so it won’t clog up.

Pearl: Grace, the mail! I add a very carefully measured amount of extract from the endosperm of corn, li’mon juice from a small producer in Arizona, and mother’s apple cider vinegar. Believe me, it’s a very precise combination.

Grace: Can you believe we can get all that stuff in Pierre at The Red Owl Store?


Well, Doc Brown happened to know that extract from the endosperm of corn was cornstarch and concluded, when followed with hot water, it would swell up in the stomach enough without adding a good amount of gravy to it.

Those ladies were bound up for a week and our new and improved Elixerfixer sat on the shelf and thickened.

I can’t wait to see what Pearl comes up with next. She’s a good idea person.

Murdo Girl…Pearl reformulates

This is Ellie-Essie I’m on my way to the Busy Nest. I’m a little late because I stopped at Pearl’s to walk Pearl the dog.

We went to the Red Owl Store in Pierre last night to buy all of the ingredients for Pearl’s new and improved Elixerfixer, and then we unloaded it at the Busy Nest under cover of darkness. You might be wondering what the big deal is. Well, we only buy distilled water, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, but the ingredients are a closely held secret, so we don’t want to buy them locally. Today, Pearl is going to add baking soda to it and call it new and improved.

Well, I’m not there yet, but I almost am.


Hi Grace, Hi Pearl…I’m here…are you?

Grace: I’m here. Pearl is in the back formulating the new and improved Elixerfixer. She’s having trouble finding the right combination now that she’s adding baking soda. I tried some a little earlier and now I can’t stop burping. I do feel pretty good, though.

EE: Oh no. I hope she gets it right. The last thing we need is that lady we call mint magnet to go around belching and blaming it on Elixerfixer.

Grace: Oh, that reminds me. I got a Dear Grace letter this morning that I need your help with. That lady racked with wrinkles wants to know if she’s supposed to drink the Elixerfixer or put it directly on her skin. Do you know if that’s in the fine print?

Pearl: (Coming out of the formulating room, otherwise known as the broom closet.) Tell her to do both. She’ll have to stock up. I’m in a quandary, anyway. When I add the baking soda to the vinegar and lemon juice, it blows the cork out of the bottle. Maybe I should have added cornstarch.

Grace: I don’t know Pearl. That’s what I use to thicken my gravy.

Pearl: Don’t you have to heat it up and stir it when you thicken the gravy?

Grace: Yes. I…

Pearl: Perfect! We’ll say my Elixerfixer has been reformulated and you’re guaranteed to lose weight if you follow the directions in the fine print. We’ll tell them to drink 6 ounces of Elixerfixer followed by one cup of very warm water. We’ll say it helps to walk in place for five minutes after they drink it. Don’t you see? It will thicken in their stomachs and fill them right up!Now…Essie, come with me. We’re going back to the Red Owl Store for cornstarch. Don’t worry about all that baking soda. We’ll donate it to the Methodist Church cooks. Grace, you are my inspiration.

Grace: Dear racked with wrinkles, Suffer no more. Put the new and improved Elixerfixer directly on your face. Wait five minutes, and rinse off with very warm water. It will plump up your wrinkles and they will vanish. (Make sure to rinse thoroughly so plumpy doesn’t turn to lumpy.)

Next: Who knows

Murdo Girl…Can Elixerfixer be fixed?

It sure seems to me like Pearl is getting herself into deep Elixerfixer water. All the women in town who think they got their hands on some sort of miracle elixer, have been spending big money and expecting big results. Pearl gets kind of carried away when she’s in her sale’s mode and says her Elixerfixer will cure everything from halitosis to splotchy skin. It used to be they all convinced themselves the stuff worked magic, but the more realistic women are starting to suspect they’ve been hoodwinked.

Anyway, this is Ellie-Essie and I’m on my way over to The Busy Nest, which is Pearl’s place of business. She’s having a meeting to discuss the mess we’re in.

“Hi Pearl, hi Grace…I’m here are you?”

Grace: I’m here. Pearl is too, but she’s been locked up in her office all morning. She’s trying to come up with a scheme to save the Elixerfixer.

EE: I think we should call it a plan not a scheme, Grace. How is your advice column going? Do you need some help? I love reading about people’s problems. This is such a small town, it’s pretty easy to figure out who wrote the letter.

Grace: Here’s one that has me stumped. It says:

Dear Grace,

I’ve been using Elixerfixer for two months now and people are still continually offering me gum and breath mints. I’m beginning to think the Elixerfixer isn’t working. Do you have any other suggestions?

EE: Here’s what you say, Grace.

Dear mint magnet,

If you read the directions on the Elixerfixer carefully, you will note it says you must gargle with one fourth cup of Elixerfixer for fifteen minutes before and after every meal, plus it’s also good to stay about three feet away from people whenever you can. Elixerfixer works miracles, but you must follow the directions on the bottle that are in the extremely fine print. You have to look on the back of the label to find them.

(Pearl comes bursting out of her office. She is full of renewed vigor.)

Pearl: I’ve got it! I have been plotting, I mean planning for hours and I think I’ve found a way to save my Elixerfixer.

Grace and EE: How?

Pearl: We’re going to add a touch of baking soda to it, that always makes people feel better, and call it new and improved. We’ll up the price and add a little more fine print. We can tell everyone they should preorder. Because of the complicated process required to produce this miraculous miracle elixer, it will be rather hard to get for a while.

Grace: So now it will contain distilled water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda? We’re going to have to make another midnight run to the Red Owl Store in Pierre. Do we have to wear disguises again?

Pearl: Yes…we’ll put a sign on the door saying we’re out of town to meet with chemists. We’ll make a Red Owl run tonight!

Next…Elixerfixer explodes