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

Murdo Girl…Little Murdo Girl steals things

I ran across one of my favorites…

The pharmacist guy, who owns Murdo Drug Store, and his wife live next door to me. They have lots of crab apple trees in their backyard. Well, one day, my friend Suzanne and I were thinking, and we came up with a plan to get as many of those apples as we could. First, we checked to make sure Mr. and Mrs. Mowell’s car was gone, and then we each took two paper bags and climbed up two of the trees. We both had one bag full when we saw Mr. Mowell come out his back door. He caught us red handed with his red crab apples.

I figured out that Suzanne wasn’t going to say anything, so I said, “Mr. Mowell, we are picking these apples for you.” Well, he told us to get down out of those trees and not to ever come back. He didn’t say to drop the apples we’d already picked, so we took the sacks we had full, and ran all the way back to Suzanne’s house south of 16. We ate so many apples we were sick. Come to think about it, almost every time I play with Suzanne, I get into trouble. Once we smoked a whole pack of Mom’s Salem cigarettes. I was sort of sick then, too.

This is our backyard. Mr. Mowell’s backyard is behind us.

I guess I can’t blame Mr. Mowell for not wanting us to steal his apples. Imagine if every kid in town did it. Mrs. Mowell couldn’t make crab apple jelly or anything.

A while back, Mom took Billy and me to Rapid City to get our eyes checked. I really wanted to wear glasses, but my eyes are perfect. Billy’s eyes are the opposite of cross-eyed so he got glasses to keep them straight. I noticed that he never wore them so I took them and warmed the ear pieces with hot water and bent them so they would stay on me… sort of. I thought I looked good in those glasses. I wore them in school for a couple of weeks. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Louder asked me if I was supposed to wear my glasses all the time, and I told her, “yes.”

I was in 2nd grade when I stole the glasses. I was missing some teeth.

One day, I was playing with my friends at recess, when I saw Mom drive up in her car. I was so used to wearing the glasses that I forgot, that I had them on. Mom stormed over to me and said, “Mary Constance Francis…Billy has been looking all over for those glasses!” She was really mad and she said it was a wonder those glasses didn’t make me go cross-eyed. I don’t know who told on me, but they are NOT my friend. Billy never did wear those glasses.


Murdo Girl… A good time was had by all

We had the best seats on the lake last night as we enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display. One of our neighbors provides an unbelievable show every year.

Jim and Ruby Laney invited us to bring some lawn chairs and watch from their backyard. We enjoyed some delicious burgers with all the trimmings, visiting with other neighbors, and this amazing display which must have gone on for over thirty minutes.

It was a great celebration!

I remembered the 4th of July parades the kids in Murdo put on back in the 50’s? I, of course, got to be the queen of the parade…mainly because I had the red formal that Kitty Reynolds made for me. We also fashioned a stunning crown from cardboard and tinfoil. I rode on a kid’s folding chair sitting in a little red wagon and pulled by my Shetland pony, Governor.

The other kids all dressed in different red, white an blue outfits, carried batons, and rode on horses or their decorated bikes. We marched up and down all of the streets south of Highway 16. Our only regret was we couldn’t afford to have pieces of candy to throw to the crowds that lined the streets to watch. (I remember very large cheering crowds.)

I figure about sixty years separate these two celebrations. In both cases, a good time was had by all!

Murdo Girl…Do I smell food?

Our twelve year old golden retriever, Cyndie, has been having some serious health issues. She was at the vet for three days last week being treated for pancreatitis and kidney problems. She’s home now, and though not quite as spunky as usual, she seems to be enjoying life and all of the attention she’s been getting.

She’s on a special diet.

Yesterday, I made scrambled eggs with little pieces of chicken I had boiled, and sweet potatoes for her breakfast, lean ground turkey with rice, peas, and carrots for lunch, and for dinner, she got round steak that I had been slow cooking in the crock pot all day with some low sodium beef broth and rice as a side dish. Kip caught me eating a chunk of the roast. I told him I just couldn’t stand it any longer. (We had microwaved pizza.)

I haven’t cooked so much since 2010. I fear our two cocker spaniels are plotting to leave home. They have drooled so much, we now have them stand on a towel while their sister eats like a queen. (It’s okay, I stand with them unless it’s my turn to hand feed Cyndie.)

We went back to the vet yesterday to get some canned dog food a friend reccomended. It’s specially made for dogs with Cyndie’s problems. We were told they would give us a couple of cans, but when she was there, she wouldn’t eat it. “Did you try throwing it on the BBQ grill for a couple of minutes first?” I asked.

My refrigerator is full of Cyndie leftovers packed in little plastic containers. We bought ten in different sizes and labeled them with what they contain, the date, and how long they should be warmed in the microwave, only to discover that Cyndie doesn’t really like leftovers.

Oh well…you do what it takes, right? I have started to feel guilty about making my youngest child survive on Kraft mac and cheese his last year at home. We did take him out to eat occasionally, but how do you take your dog to a drive-up and order low sodium pizza, hold the spices and cheese?

I have to run to the store for eggs, now. I hear Cyndie stirring and she’s going to want breakfast.

Murdo Girl…Yram and Crazy Horse

Murdo Girl

Hi! This is Yram Sicnarf. I’m filling in for Murdo Girl for a few days. She’s resting. You probably don’t realize this, but I’m quite a bit younger than Murdo Girl. I reside in Texas near Gun Barrel City, where our motto is, “We Shoot Straight.” I’m a traveling crack-up reporter.

I just got to Rapid City. I’m going to the Crazy Horse Monument this morning. I snagged an interview with Crazy Horse, himself. This interview was hard to get, but it will put another feather in my cap, and an arrow in my quill.

The Crazy Horse Monument is far away from the Harold Thune auditorium and the Jerrald Applebee floor, so how much trouble can I get into, right? Can you see Crazy Horse putting a restraining order on me? I don’t even like to ride horses.


We are back at the Crazy Horse Monument where Yram…

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Murdo Girl…The star spangled banner

It’s five o’clock in the morning and this is the fourth of July.

After 243 years of freedom, our flag now struggles to fly.

Celebrations are now controversial. Our independence causes some to feel shame.

The men and women who have fought for our freedoms, are now part of a juvenile game.

I think of those soldiers who waited to see the dawn’s early light. Would our flag still be standing? Had it survived through that terrible night?

They were proud to fight for our freedoms. Some walked bootless through the cold snow. Now we fight over Nikes. I’m so grateful they didn’t know.

Respect was not guaranteed. Their honor is often denied. Why must we go through this nonsense? Why is it wrong to feel pride?

I don’t care if you are left or right. Fly that star spangled banner high. Celebrate that we’re all still free and then, ask yourself why.

photos are from my dad’s Army album.