Murdo Girl…They live in our hearts


Dad and Uncle Jerry were out driving around today like they do sometimes when they’re talking about jobs. Dad is a plumber and Uncle Jerry builds houses. Dad said they pulled up to a stop sign and there was Greg (Uncle Jerry’s son), throwing rocks. He was hitting a sign and causing it to dent all up. Well, Uncle Jerry wasn’t too happy about it, so he rolled down the window and was about to call Greg over to the car.

Before he had a chance to say anything, Greg ran over to the car and said, “Dad, I want to have a talk with you when we get home.” Dad said Uncle Jerry didn’t know what to say then, so he just rolled up the window and they drove off.

Andrea Miller-Sheehan, Jerry Miller, Blake Haverberg, Helen Haverberg, not sure, Wayne Sanderson, Elna Miller

Uncle Jerry doesn’t talk much, which might be kind of good, because there are plenty of people in our family who do. Two weeks ago we had a little mixup at my house. Mom went to Pierre, to buy flowers for the Motel planters, and to spend the night with a friend. She thought Dad was taking care of me. Well, Dad thought Mom was going the next day, so he went out-of-town to check on a job.

Spaghetti at Mom and Dad’s (Bill and Loretta Francis) Mom and Dad, Elsa Peck, Uncle Jerry and Aunt Elna (Miller)

When I got home after school, no one was there. (Billy was gone somewhere too.) I waited until suppertime and started getting hungry. Murdo is a small town. If your Mom and Dad get mixed up, there is always somewhere to go. I started walking and headed South of Hwy 16. I was really hungry by then, so I stopped at the first relative’s house I came to. Aunt Elna is a good cook, and I like to play with my cousins, Andrea, Stephanie, and Greg. Aunt Elna said, “Sure you can stay here, and we’ll just keep calling your house in case someone gets home.” Then, we all had chicken pot pies.

The outlaws

Al Leckey, Bill Francis, Jerry Miller, (not pictured, Bob Haverberg)

I ended up spending the night and the next morning, Uncle Jerry got me up early and took me to my house so I could change my clothes and get my saxophone for band practice. That was pretty nice I thought. He even gave me a ride to band practice.

Since I’m writing about Uncle Jerry, I will tell you about his office. My other cousins and I don’t go in there, because that’s where all his house plans, and other work stuff are kept.

Guess what? My cousin Andrea, (Jerry’s daughter), invited my cousin Valerie to go in the office. She said there’s a really nice stereo in there. She got to listen to a Gene Pitney album. I love Gene Pittney. He sings “A Town without pity.”

I’ m going to ask Stephanie if I can hear it too.

Uncle Jerry does a lot of work on the Cabin


The Days were Splendid, Every One

Murdo Girl…She should

I’ve been imagining how I can fix up my she shed. I’ve used fencing wood to finish the inside walls. This isn’t exactly where everything will be placed. I’m just playing around.

One wall before:

(The cabinet cleaned up well.)

Outside before…

Outside after…

The overhang will be different, and mine has double doors. The trees aren’t the same and I don’t have a real cow, but the neighbors who live behind my she shed have a pig and a bulldog who are best friends.

I couldn’t get a picture of them together today.

Murdo Girl…Can we go now?

I really want to go somewhere for a month or more.

I want to drive through little towns I’ve never seen before.

Let’s roll out the motor home and really make it shine.

Pack up all the things we need and leave the rest behind.

We’ll take the dogs and cat. They love to come along.

We’ll walk around those little towns pretending we belong.

When we’ve seen all there is to see we’ll hit the road again.

We won’t know where we’re going. We’ll love where we have been.

Those little burgs are waiting, for us to visit them.

Each town is different from the last. We find them on a whim.

I know that we can’t leave right now. I’ll stay here if I must.

I’ll try to count my blessings and suppress the wanderlust.

We have amazing friends here and for that I’m really thankful.

But let’s clean the RV anyway and gas? Let’s get a tankfull.

Murdo Girl…Waiting for a three dog night

“Three dog night,” is a phrase used by Australian Aborigines, meaning a night so cold you will need to take three dogs to bed with you to stay warm.

I have the three dogs, but there’s no three dog night in sight.

I feel like I’m on fire. It’s been 100 degrees outside

For days and days and days, relief has been denied

At three a.m. in the morning, there’s a 3% chance of rain

If we get a drop or two, it will feel like a hurricane

In the early hours of the morning, we take the dogs for a walk

They stay out until it’s 99, and inside they all flock

Once a day I wonder, what they did in the olden days

They didn’t get relief until 1902. That’s what Google says.

Air conditioning was invented. It surely was life changing

God decided if we cooled off, we might be more engaging

Took this on our 2017 RV trip

I guess I should stop complaining as I work on my laptop.

In my cooled down tiny home, where 3 dog naps don’t stop.


Before and after rain photos taken near Ft. Pierre, SD… by¬†Dianna Kenobbie Diehm

Last time I saw rain clouds here

Murdo Girl…Three quarters of a century

Kip’s birthday was yesterday. He turned seventy-five. I was just getting used to my brother, Billy, turning seventy-five two weeks ago. The only sign of aging I’ve noticed in them these past few years, is their naps are getting longer. When Billy calls me, it’s usually right after his afternoon nap. I think he’s using me to regain full consciousness. He sounds pretty groggy at first. Kip doesn’t do that. I can count the times he’s called his three sisters in the past few years on one hand. They make sure they stay in touch.


We had a good time Sunday night with the girls and their families. We met for Mexican food and I made cupcakes. The kids were all good. Hudson’s Mom did catch him pinching his brother, but when she said not to do that, he said, “I wasn’t pinching, I was massaging his arm.”

20190811_204132From left: Heather’s husband, Scott, Heidi’s husband, Brad, Kip, Heather, granddaughter, Nikki (Heidi’s daughter) and Justin, (Nikki’s husband) Kids from left are: Hudson, (Scott and Heather), Ryan Constance, great granddaughter (Nikki and Justin), Nikki is Heidi and Brad’s daughter.¬†

We have twelve more that live too far away to make it. Son Mason and wife, Amy, have two boys, Mason Jr. and Ethan. Son Craig and wife, April, have two daughters, Olivia and Charlie. Grandson, Mike and wife, Amber, have a son and a daughter, Griffin and Kai.

There are twenty-four of us. Are you ready for the test?

Yesterday we went to Denny’s for breakfast. You get your breakfast free if it’s your birthday. Some good friends told us about it and we all went. I love having a leisurely breakfast and time to visit after.

You know what they say, “Age is nothing but a state of mind.” What is that supposed to mean?

I just googled it. There are four states of mind. When you combine the types of focus (helpful and harmful) you get four distinct states of mind: autopilot, critical, thinking, and engaged. We want to be in the helpful states.

All that means to me is you’re either in a good mood or a bad mood. I’m just guessing, but I would say thinking and engaged are the helpful, and critical and autopilot are harmful.

Many of us think we have to be, look, and act like everyone else to fit in. I read something that made sense to me. God doesn’t want an orchestra of identical instruments all playing the same tune.


He wants us to let go of the status quo and just be ourselves. Anything else is too exhausting.

I’m going to start asking myself if what I’m doing is helpful or harmful and remember Shakespeare’s words, “To thine own self be true.” I’ll add, “Don’t wait for a better time to follow your heart.”


Are you trying to tell me that this was a snoozer?


Murdo Girl…Delayed gratification

Do you know what this is?

20190809_1617421330636034993760424.jpgIt belongs to the cat. It’s big enough for several cats, so it should do the trick for Dollie. She likes to be outside, but has to stay inside the fence. (When we travel, she doesn’t go outside at all.) Kip did a good job, don’t you think? It only took seven or eight trips to Lowe’s for materials. If he goes back for stain or paint, I’ll complain.


Meanwhile, my she shed is going unattended. Our friend, Scott, came over and gave Kip some good ideas on how to make it totally airtight and when that is completed, I can start to move my precious things in there. I haven’t found my round rug yet, but I’m going to paint the concrete, anyway. I’ve decided I want to finish the inside with reclaimed wood. That’s not very expensive is it? I would like a window, but that can happen later if need be.

Kip knows I’ve never been a very patient person, so the third time I mentioned my she shed to him (today) he said he had moved it up on the list of things to do. Tomorrow, I’ll ask him what else is on the list.

Kip’s birthday is on Monday and I’ve already decided to give him a gift certificate from Lowe’s. Do you think he’ll figure out it’s to help with the expenses to finish the she shed? I won’t write that in the card or anything. Men are impossible to buy for anyway. They have everything they need and what they don’t need, they don’t want. Kip usually shops for himself. He’ll say, “Here’s the drill you bought me for Christmas. Thank you very much.”

I don’t think he’s had the time to shop for his birthday, yet. I’m also going to make him his favorite, Tang pie. I know it doesn’t sound good, but it’s delicious.

One thing I never, ever do is keep Kip from his desserts.

I went to a new bakery today with my friend, Barbara, and this is what I brought home for him. He’s saving it for one hour.


Oh, Kip’s cake. I’ll just have a little bite.

Murdo Girl…A hat for every occasion

Had a long day in Dallas so I thought we’d catch up with Queen E’s hats and one crown.

Here she is at a photo session…

I really should drink more prune juice…

Can you smile for the cam, Cam, without scaring the baby?

Never mind…I’ll just take a myselfie…

Blasted garter belt

I don’t care if you’re the Queen of England. Get out of the car with your hands up, lady.

I like to play dominoes

And button button, whose got the button.

I learned how to tie bows and it changed my life.

I call this my feather dusting hat. It’s strange don’t you think?

This hat works well to knock down spiderwebs

Love this lady…She’s the hootiest!

Murdo Girl…The girls that I run with

The girls that I run with are the best you’ll ever find

Everyone is grateful that we’re all sound of mind.


Oh, we can get a little crazy, but no one seems to care

We’ll give you what you need…add a hug and say a prayer


We celebrate together every chance we get.

I’m surprised the cards in town haven’t sold out yet.

There are trials and tribulations and moments to rejoice

Direction comes from up above, and we listen for His voice.


Before this poem is over I must confess to my mistake

I don’t want anyone to think my little rhymes are fake

I said with much conviction, we still have our faculties

Our lives aren’t always easy, we have had to tackle these

Wrinkles caused by laughter, gray hair caused by the years

A knee or back that causes pain or a couple of bad ears

We’ve suffered broken bones, and had the surgeries we should

If one forgets, one will remember…(in all likelihood)

All you have to do is call if a little pain exists

We’ll bring you lots of yummy food…(we’re all Methodists)

I can’t help but think about all the fun times up ahead

You will ALL be invited to my magnificent she shed

(Does not include all the beautiful Methodist women, outlying friends and relafriends)

Murdo Girl…My she shed

I’m going to have a she shed! I’m fixing up a little shed that is on the back of our lot. When we bought the lot, the shed was full of things the previous owner had left behind and it smelled of mice droppings. We cleaned out everything but a large cabinet and a really unique, rather large shelf made from pipe and wood.

My son asked me if I had power. I told him I had all of the power over my she shed. He said, “No Mom, I meant electricity.”


It hasn’t been sheet-rocked and the floor is concrete, but the roof doesn’t leak and Kip is going to calk and repair a few places so mud daubers and other things can’t get in. He has already put electricity in and installed three neon lights he bought at the church garage sale. He has also put in two plug-ins.

My she shed reminds me of the time when I was about five and made a playhouse in the neighbors garbage shed. It only lasted until my mom said she wouldn’t come for coffee because where there is garbage there’s usually rats. I hauled my 2 little chairs back home and opened up a lemonade stand.


I have big plans for my she shed when I get it all fixed up. My biggest challenge will be to keep Kip from violating my space with any of his stuff.

I am going to set up a Beasterhop town, and keep some of my hat collection in there. I’ll have a small desk and a bookcase. We’re going to paint the concrete floor, but I’m keeping my eyes open for a round rug that’s in good shape and cheap. I bought a rotating, standing fan today for $9.00.


I have agreed to a canvas zippered garment rack that will store our winter coats. It also has a couple of shelves for boots or shoes.

The dimensions of my she shed are 10′ x 12′ so I should have enough room for me and one visitor.

Do you want to come for coffee? How about lemonade?

20190805_1939176040549650816871692.jpgIt still needs a little work… plus landscaping…I’ll call you.

Murdo Girl…Doohicky dilema

After reading our miss Murdo Girl’s papers from yesterday and today, it appears she is learning how to rationalize a situation. The goal being to avoid trouble whenever possible. She is growing up, but she’s not going willingly. At least today, she didn’t try to use any ten dollar words like surreptitiously.

I had to start wearing nylons. It seems that when you get to the 8th grade, you’re supposed to wear them when you dress up. We went to Winner for a music contest, and that’s when some of the girls decided it was time to start wearing “hose.” I had to play a saxophone solo, and those darn nylons ruined it.

There are boys who read this. Oh well, I don’t care. They should know what we go through.

You have to wear a garter belt to hold your nylons on your leg. It is a very weird contraption. The top of the belt goes around your waist. There are four straps hanging from the belt. On the end of the straps you have doohickys. (There are four of them.) You put the top of the nylon under the bottom part of the doohicky. It has a button-like thing on it. I think they are called garters. The top garter goes on the top and buttons to the bottom garter. That’s what keeps your nylon up. The whole thing is called a garter belt. The nylons come separately.


Me without doohickys…Karen and Kim Lindquist

Right in the middle of my solo, the doohicky on the back of one leg came loose, and the nylon slipped right off, which caused the front to sag. I finally got an opportunity to glance down when the piano player who was accompanying me, had a little part that I didn’t play my saxophone to. I could see the nylon was a wrinkled mess just like Grandma’s hose (nylons) always are because they don’t make them small enough for her. Grandma wears a girdle to keep her nylons up, but it doesn’t work. Besides, you still have to deal with the doohickys attached to the girdle. (Some older ladies just roll them down over a rubber band. I wonder if that works better.) Well, at least the front doohicky on my garters never came all the way off, which was a blessing. I feared that all the doohickys would come off and I’d be standing there with my hose around my ankles.

Anyway, for the very first time in my life, I didn’t get a Superior on my solo, because I was too distracted to remember all of it. I can’t even tell people about it, because it’s going to sound like an elaborate excuse, and they’ll think the real reason is that I didn’t practice my solo enough times to memorize it better.

20190804_145055 (5)

Mom (all the way to the left) when she was about my age…Doohicky?

It just wasn’t a good experience all around. Mom threw a hissy fit because I forgot to mention I volunteered her to take me and some other kids to the contest. I told her the day before. She said I hadn’t even told her I was playing a solo, although I’m pretty sure I did. She asked me when I practiced because she very seldom heard me.

She didn’t even care about my doohicky dilema.

1-1-loretta gustafson's life in photos 0089063863682556794371..jpg

Mom and I during better times