Murdo Girl…A farmer’s dilemma

One day Grandma June had a talk with Grandpa Jim. She feared that big old farm would be the death of him.

“Our daughters have their own plans. They don’t want this place.” Grandpa said, “I know.” He had a sad look on his face.

“He said, “Let’s talk about it later, I don’t have time right now. There’s hay to be put up, and a field I have to plow.”

The farm had been my home every summer of my youth. I didn’t like what Grandma said, though I knew it was the truth.

That day instead of plowing or putting up the hay, we grabbed our fishing poles and fished the day away.

We didn’t get a bite, but we really didn’t care. I knew there was a reason Grandpa wanted to be there.

Grandpa Jim and Grandma June, had been this boy’s salvation. Grandma always told me I was truly God’s creation.

I wanted to ask Grandpa if it would be way too tough, for him to take care of the farm, till I got big enough.

Grandpa Jim looked straight ahead. I knew what he was thinking. My eyes filled up with water and Grandpa’s eyes kept blinking.

“We better pack it up, son. You know we can’t be late. When supper is all ready, Grandma puts it on our plate.

I chuckled to myself as we picked up our rods and reels. Grandpa’s never late and Grandma never serves cold meals.

Murdo Girl…Grandma June and Grandpa Jim

Grandpa Jim never had what’s called a formal education. He went to country school until his 8th grade graduation.

He was in the Navy during WWII. When he came back home, there were things he couldn’t do.

He told Grandma June not to make him chocolate cake. The cooks on his ship used flour with bugs in it to bake.

They had to make cake chocolate ’cause they couldn’t waste a bit. If they made cake white or yellow, you could see the bugs in it.

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He worked hard all his life. He and Grandma raised four kids. He used to chew tobacco. It’s something Grandma now forbids!

He used to drive his truck to town till Grandma threw a fit. He ran it off the road one day into the barrow pit.

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I’ll get rid of that old truck,” she said, “One way or another. I know you’re blind in one eye and can’t see from the other.”

Grandma June couldn’t hear and Grandpa Jim couldn’t see. Were the good times over? It seemed that way to me.

Now Grandpa gets to drive just to the dam where we go fishing. Grandma’s thinking ’bout a hearing aid. (Least that’s what we’ve been wishing.)

Murdo Girl…Slow motion

I don’t know exactly when the day came that I could no longer sit on the floor and get back up without holding on to something. I guess the good news is, if I have forgotten to look around for something to grab while I struggle to get back up, I can still, as of now, crawl to something sturdy. Maybe today will be the last day I can do that. There is no way for me to know.
I can usually remember the first time I met someone, but there have been a lot of people in my life that I haven’t seen in years. A lot of times, I didn’t know when I saw them for the last time, that it was the last time. I’m talking about old neighbors or people I met through work. I guess in most cases it’s a good thing that when I said good-bye to them I assumed I would see them again.

I didn’t know that the last time I was in the old Murdo High School building, Mack’s Cafe, Fern’s, or Sanderson’s store, that it would be the last time.

I guess as long as we have fond memories of the people and things that meant something to us in the past, accept aging gracefully, and make today interesting, It doesn’t have to be a downer to think about all of those last times.

Slow motion

Old people are funny. I’m glad I’m not there yet.

Oh, I guess there are a few things I’m starting to forget.

Why should I remember things I don’t need to recall?

Like what day it is or if it’s spring or fall.

I repeat myself occasionally, or that’s what I’ve been told

I occasionally repeat myself. It doesn’t mean I’m old.

My elbows crack, my knees snap, it seems that I can’t win.

I tried hard to lose some weight, but just my hair got thin.

When I look into the mirror, it’s my mother that I see.

I swear I saw her wink and say, “You look just like me.”

Twins

She said she often asked herself what she’d give up first.

A sharp mind or healthy body? Or should it be reversed?

It finally dawned on me that the choice was never mine.

What shall be will be. You’ll find out in time.

She said, “Old people are funny. Be glad you’re not there yet.

The two biggest wastes of time are worry and regret.”

A special moment between my son, Mason, and his son, Ethan.

Murdo Girl…Watching Grandpa Jim

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Photograph by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm

This is my favorite picture of the old country church

It didn’t look much better in it’s day.

It was a real good place for those who came to search

For their Higher Power and to pray

We sang Amazing Grace and It is well with my soul

In the Garden was my Grandma’s favorite hymn

We saw babies being baptized and had widows to console

But mostly I liked watching Grandpa Jim

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When they passed the communion wafers he was whittling

Grandma elbowed him really good in his side

He threw his offering in with the wafers. It was piddling.

I think that second elbow hurt his pride

Those quarters in the wafer plate made a lot of noise

Grandpa didn’t get a wafer for his wine.

I know whittling on a stick is something he enjoys

Grandma thinks a knife in church is out of line

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Once she took his stick away and he fell sound asleep

Soon everyone in church could hear him snore

The elbow in his side went in pretty deep

Grandpa yelled “Judas Priest!” and he was done for

You might think our bell and steeple are too large

or the church it sits on top of is too wide

Grandpa rings the bell now. He’s happily in charge

Because Grandma and her elbow stay inside

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Murdo Girl…Cam and the Queen

We haven’t done Queen E. “Describe the picture” in a while. She is such a delightful lady. I hope she lives forever…Don’t you?

Oh my, Cam lick faster!…You look like Little Bo Peep!

Queen E. is such a fun loving Queen…

She likes to catch raindrops with her tongue.

But only if she’s dressed for it…

We’re racing to the Brexit…I’m winning…

Crying doesn’t mean you’re tired…

Yawning means you’re tired…

I’m not sleeping. I’m resting my eyes zzzzzzzz…

Would someone please get cousin Jimmy a pair of knickers?…the crazy old bloke left out and forgot his…

I saw these drapes in the window, and I said, “Mammy! Make me look like Scarlett O’Hara.”

I love you, Philip. But you’re no Rhett Butler…

“Hide me…here comes Cam…and she’s wearing the commode again…Take me back to Tara…

Why am I laughing? Atlanta’s burning…

MG…I must have this cape!

Murdo Girl…Angels of friendship

I know the truth of their existence.

Ethereal or heavenly.

I try to offer no resistance

When their message speaks to me.

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Be they visible or transparent

Each one is unique.

Yet some qualities are inherent.

Some are boisterous some are meek.

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They help me know what I am missing.

Help me find the things I seek.

Is there something I’ve been dismissing?

Do I listen when Angels speak?

My body can betray me.

My thoughts can go astray.

Is this the way it must be?

A total chasm of disarray?

What can I do to find the strength

To make it through the darkest hours?

My Angels go to any length

To bring sweetness to what life sours.

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Be thankful for your Angels

Never look past those who care

They will bring you to a place

Where you no longer feel despair.

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The first Angel is the Angel of Celebration, given to me by my sister-in-law and friend, Karlyce Newkirk.

The second Angel is an Angel signing love. She was given to me by my friend, Sherri Miller.

I received the third Angel, yesterday. My friend, Dianna Diehm had her made for me. She is the Angel of Friendship. Dianna also made the card which has a message inside that I will always treasure.

I will indeed be reminded to treasure my Angels, always. We all have them. We all need them. Nothing is more comforting than to be surrounded by beautiful and giving, Angels of friendship, love, and celebration.

Murdo Girl…You get what you pay for

I’m starting to lose patience with the guy I hired to remodel my she-shed. Nothing has happened since I first got the idea several months ago to make a she-shed out of the shed in our backyard. The guy can’t work on it when it’s raining, sunny, hot, cold, or any day of the week that ends in Y. I think he might be stringing me along.

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So what do I do? I thought about doing it myself. How hard can it be to seal up the area between the roof and the walls? I bet I could do it with some really thick caulking stuff. My next step would be to find some re-purposed wood, cut it to the right lengths, and nail it to the studs on the inside walls. The guy down the street has an old rickety fence I could offer to tear down for the wood and there’s a chainsaw around here someplace.

I’d really like to have big windows in the front on either side of the double doors. I could go to Lowes and buy a couple of windows, bring them home, measure them, measure the walls so I could saw holes the right size, and use some of that Gorilla Glue to hold them in. I might even put some cute little shutters on the windows. I think I’ll paint the concrete floor a blue-grey color. The shingles all look good, but I have to paint the outside. I’m thinking of painting it plaid.

Kip said he needs to dig a drainage trench around the outside. Is that kind of like a moat? How hard can that be? We have shovels. I’ll just do it before I put the yard in. Lowes has artificial turf that looks a lot like real grass.

I think I’ll put some of those floating shelves up on the inside and some planter boxes under the windows.

All I’ll have left to do is buy a little desk, a couple of chairs, and a good used round rug. I don’t think I’ll even need curtains. I should be able to do it all for around $2000 dollars.

Don’t worry. I’m not quite finished…I think I’ll make a copy of this and put it where Kip, the remodel guy, will accidentally see it.

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Photo might be subject to copyright, but I doubt it.

Murdo Girl…Language barrier

She saw herself as brave. Some thought she was a prude.

She called herself progressive, while others called her rude.

“You’re a small town girl,” they said. “Your world needs to expand.”

“You need to lighten up. Is your head stuck in the sand?

We speak a different language and use words people will hear.

The masses never listen. You must speak loud, my dear.”

“And also while you’re at it, your perceptions must adjust.

To get you in the groove, losing filters is a must.

Tell everybody’s secrets in person, book, or call.”

“And never act offended…by crude language most of all.

It won’t be all that difficult. You’ll soon be up to speed.

Society will help you grow that tough, abrasive seed.”

She said, “Now wait a minute. I really can’t agree.

I won’t apologize for my small town naivety.”

“I’m really not that different. There are few words I won’t say.

The one that makes me cringe begins with F and ends with K.”

They lol’d and said, “Do you think we’re all that deaf?”

“We heard you say it once, though it was under your breath.”

Murdo Girl…Living the dream, 51, The nightmare is over

Edith Morris hadn’t been able to sleep. She was anxious to get out of that dreadful hospital. Her once beautiful face was now scarred and ugly. As always, Annette had ruined everything.

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All Edith had wanted was to get to know her grandchildren. She had to know if they remembered anything about the day their mother, Jennifer, accidentally fell into the fire. She couldn’t live another minute with the fear that she might possibly be blamed for Jennifer’s death. The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced those girls could never be trusted to leave it all alone. 

Even now, she wondered where they were. She knew they had been brought to the hospital. She was in the police car with them. Annette had refused to discuss them with her, but that was okay. Edith didn’t say much to anyone, anyway. She decided to bide her time until Annette took her home tomorrow. She had hired a full-time nurse to take care of her. She would find a way to take care of those girls. 

Around seven p.m. Edith asked for a sedative. A strong one. She was sound asleep within a few minutes.

Sandy

 “I took a warm pie from the restaurant and wrapped it in a tea towel. It must have been about 7:30. If anyone saw me go into the room, I would say I was taking a gift for her and Annette. When I got there, I saw that she was sleeping soundly. I wrapped the towel around her face and held it there until I thought she must be dead. I was crying so hard, I had to take the towel and wipe my eyes. I ran out. I couldn’t believe what I had done.”

Paul

“I went to her room around 8:00 o’clock. I thought about everyone she had hurt. I felt responsible in some way for letting her continue to destroy everyone around her, especially Annette. Edith was sleeping soundly. It would be easy to put an end to her miserable life. I pulled the pillow out from under her head and put it over her face. I held it there for a while, but then I heard someone in the hall, so I left. The pillow fell to the floor. I had to hurry, so I didn’t pick it up. I looked back and saw a young girl go into the room.”

Annette and Jack had come into the kitchen to see what was going on.

“It must have been Vanessa going into the room,” Annette said. “She wouldn’t have known you. I got there shortly after and Vanessa was there talking to Mother, but she was sleeping. She was trying to tell Mother she remembered that it was her that pushed her mother, Jennifer, into the fire. We noticed the pillow on the floor, so we picked it up and put it under her head. A nurse came in to check on her, so we left.”

“I have a question, Pop.”

“What is it, Sugar?”

“Did you lie to me when you said you went to Mother’s room at 9:30? You said you went there to make sure she wouldn’t go home, but when you got there, she was already dead.”

“I didn’t lie. I wasn’t sure if she was dead, so I went back. She was most certainly deceased when I got there at 9:30. I thought that I had killed her until you told me a nurse confirmed she was still alive at 8:30. Now I realize it was Stella that wrote the note in her chart that said she was just sleeping.”

Stella

“I was cooking at Paul’s cafe when I decided I had to do something to stop Edith. I went to the hospital and when I got there, I found the nurse’s locker room where I was able to find some scrubs that fit. I also put a cap on. When the girls left, I took the pillow out from under Edith’s head and covered her face. She didn’t move, so I assumed she was dead. I took her chart and wrote down the blood pressure numbers that were close to the ones on the previous line. I said she was sleeping and didn’t want to wake her, and then I left. Vanessa and Annette had only seen me a couple of times and they didn’t appear to recognize me in my get-up.”

“What time was that?” The detective asked.

“It must have been around 8:30. That’s what I wrote on the chart.”

“Was the pillow still on her face when you left?”

“No, I placed it back under her head.”

“And you couldn’t tell if she was still breathing?”

“I was too nervous to think about it I guess. She looked dead to me, and she didn’t move a muscle when I put the pillow under her head.”

The detective was wearing his hat out pushing it back and forth on his head.

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “Miss Sandy brought a pie and tried to kill Mrs. Morris at 7:30. Paul Morris tried to kill her at 8:00…then, Miss Stella, who dressed up like a nurse, got there at 8:30 and attempted to kill Mrs. Morris. Lastly, Mr. Morris came back at 9:30 in case he had to finish what he had started at 8:30.”

“Now, let me look here. The coroner’s report stated the time of death was between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Looks like even though she was smothered three times within a couple of hours, she remained alive unless Mr. Morris is not being truthful when he said she was dead at 9:30 and in fact, he finished her off.”

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“How did you determine that she was…most certainly dead, Mr. Morris?”

“This time, I checked her pulse.”

“Did you notify anyone in the hospital that Mrs. Morris was deceased?”

“No. I figured I had killed her when I was there earlier, and at the time, I wasn’t anxious for anyone to know it was me.  Since it was never proven, I didn’t let myself believe that she had killed Jennifer, but I knew what she did to Jennifer’s daughters. I had left Annette with her and she made her feel like she was unloved and worthless. She brainwashed her own daughter until she believed kidnapping Vanessa and Alice was the right thing to do. You see, I killed Edith to assuage my own guilt. I was ultimately responsible for all of it. I will gladly turn myself in for the death of Edith Morris.” 

“What none of you knew was that Mrs. Morris was never going home. Upon release from the hospital, she was going to be charged with her crimes. She was to be held in a State Hospital until she was well enough to stand trial.”

“I’ll need you all to come down to the station and put your statements in writing.”

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 Annette stayed in Danfield. Paul, Sandy, and Stella were all out on bail. Their attorney felt their cases were weak and would eventually be dismissed. It turned out that Mrs. Morris had been so heavily sedated that her time of death couldn’t be accurately determined. Any one of the pillows and tea towels could have done the job.

Stella told Kat she had boarded Trixie and Spirit. Were they ever happy to see her and she was happy to see them. It was wonderful to get back to her daily runs on the beach with Spirit. She and Jack were becoming good friends and they made the commitment to each other that there would be no more undercover work. Hopefully, Stella would be home soon. Alice was improving daily and would be released from the hospital in a few days. Kat watched over Vanessa while Jack spent time in Boston with his youngest daughter.

Kat looked around at her beautiful home on the Cape. “Do you suppose we can finally live the dream?” Kat asked Spirit and Trixie. It was a beautiful day and she was enjoying her coffee while looking out her kitchen window at the beach. “Today we will,” she said. “Today we will live the dream.