Murdo Girl…Catching up with Queen E.

Some of you newer readers don’t know that over the years, Queen Elizabeth has become a big Murdo Girl blog favorite. She was part of the Brick House gang and on several occasions, has flown across the pond with Windy Berg and Airy Heart just to spend time with us. On many of those times together, we have critiqued her attire (or made rude comments…whatever you want to call it.)

Below, is just one person’s opinion of some of Queen E’s faves. Several pictures are just one person’s opinion of what a snapshot in the life of a Queen looks like…

Let’s face it. We all have challenges raising our little princes.

“Charles! Caugh into your elbow. Where is your mask? Do you call this six feet? You wear me out, Charles!!”

I hope Philip doesn’t notice I took his throw from the couch. It’s always colder than a nude Nellie’s navel on a November night in Norway in here.


Excuse me…Have you seen my husband? He’s wearing a red coat and an adorable Captain Jack Tricorn hat.


Someone sat on my hat and squished it. Next thing I know, it’s the new rage…I’m stylin’

Not even close, Cam…


Is that a giant squid?

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Before cataract surgery…or…Come on Mom, King me!

This is my sunrise/sunset dress.

I learned how to make bows and it changed my life…

***I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day weekend!

Murdo Girl…Brad Talks

***I only partially faked being sick. A broken heart counts, right? Annie didn’t want to go live with Barbie and Gloria and I sure didn’t want her to go. It wasn’t like we were being mean to Barbie. She wasn’t attached, yet. It hadn’t been long enough and Brad said he was going to get her another dog. Who ever heard of a ranch with only one dog, anyway? I wouldn’t even mind if we had a cat or two…wait! what am I saying? no cats. There are cats over at Jamie’s farm and we never have made friends.

Alf and cats



Gloria had spent over half of her life taking care of Barbie. She had assumed that it would always be that way. She would always be Barbie’s companion.

Over the years, Brad had, for the most part, left Barbie and Gloria to their own little life in the beautiful little bungalow. Gloria had been with Barbie since the day she came home from the hospital where she spent five years having multiple surgeries between long stretches of healing. Her beautiful eyes would never see again, but that was a small price to pay. She might not look as she had before the fire, but she was indeed beautiful.

In Gloria’s opinion, Brad had become a little pushy as of late. He wanted Barbie to get out more and do things with the hodgepodge of people he had living on that magnificent ranch of his. Gloria couldn’t believe that she had agreed to spend the night there. And then there was the younger brother, Tom. Apparently he had just become a part of the fold, too. Gloria had more to learn, but she was determined that her life with Barbie would not change. They had always managed on their own and she, Gloria, was the only one Barbie needed to care for her.


Brad and Jamie were in Brad’s study. They were both looking out the window Arf liked to sit by and watch the squirrels run up and down the trees.

“What do you want to talk to me about, Brad?” Jamie asked. She truly did not know what she expected him to say, but she was willing to listen.

“Let’s sit over here,” Brad said. He took Jamie’s hand and led her to one of the overstuffed chairs near the fireplace. When she was seated, he pulled the other, matching chair close to hers and sat down facing her.


“Please bear with me here, Jamie. I want to say this in the right way. I don’t want to feel awkward about it. Do you know what I mean?”

Although she didn’t have the slightest idea what he meant she nodded just to keep the conversation moving forward.

Brad grinned and started over. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m crazy about you and I don’t want you to go anywhere. The problem is that I don’t know what you want. You’re the one with all of the big life decisions ahead of you.”

Jamie took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m pretty crazy about you too, Brad. I didn’t think you felt the same way. In case you didn’t know it, you send mixed messages sometimes.”

Brad grinned again and nodded.

“I’m sorry, Jamie. I never meant to confuse you. Life has been pretty wild recently hasn’t it? Maybe that has something to do with it.”

“I’m off work again tomorrow,” Jamie said. “Do you have a busy day planned? I was thinking it might be nice to spend the day together…just the two of us. We could go for a horseback ride and take a picnic lunch with us.”

“I would like nothing better. If you can get here by nine in the morning, I’ll have the horses saddled up and ready to go. I’m sure one of the ladies would be happy to fix us a picnic lunch.”

Brad leaned over and took Jamie’s hand in his. “I hope you decide to complete your internship and do whatever else you have to do to become a Veterinarian. I’ve watched you with the animals and I know you love working at the clinic. You’re a very caring and compassionate person, Jamie, not to mention you’re extremely smart and talented.”

Jamie couldn’t believe Brad was actually saying these things to her. It was truly music to her ears.



&&& Here I am back at the ranch. I’m happy to be away from Gloria, but I really did like Barbie. I don’t think she knows that Gloria isn’t as nice as she makes out to be. I know she doesn’t want Barbie to have anything to do with us. She wants her all to herself. If you ask me, she’s really nervous and she’s playing tricks on Barbie. Gloria didn’t want Barbie to get attached to me, either. Arf is helping Katie this morning. She’s balancing really well now and Arf is helping her to walk longer distances. Everyone says Katie has really come a long way. I wish I had a job like Arf does. He’s a therapy dog.



“Annie! Annie! come here Annie… I need you. I have a job for you.”

Murdo Girl…What’s wrong with Arf?

After work, Jamie dropped Miss Bessie off at the ranch and then went straight home to the farm. Miss Bessie had talked or gossiped rather, the whole way and now Jamie had a massive headache. It had been a long day and she needed to take care of her animals before settling in for the night. She intended to fix herself something to eat and go to bed early. Sleep had been alluding her lately and she was bone tired.


It was close to eight o’clock when the phone rang.

“Jamie…This is Miss Bessie. I know you just dropped me off a few hours ago and I’m sorry to bother you, dear, but we need you! Something is wrong with Arf. He’s lying on the floor and panting. He won’t get up…even for those bones he loves.”

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” Jamie said. She quickly dressed and took off in her Jeep. “Please God,” she prayed. “Let Arf be okay.” All the way to the ranch she tried to figure out what could possibly be wrong with the dog she had known since he was a puppy.

Arf had been fine all day. He danced with Katie at the hospice and the nursing home and later played hard with Annie at the park. It had been a great day for all of them, but shortly after they got home Arf suddenly became lethargic and his eyes didn’t look good.


“Maybe he’s just worn out from his big day, but I didn’t want to take any chances,” Miss Bessie said.

“I’m really glad you called me. I’ve never seen him like this.”

“Steve and Dina are putting a very worried Katie to bed. Brad left shortly after they all got home. He went to take Barbie and that Gloria back to wherever they live. Sounds like it’s a pretty long trip. Helen is cleaning up the kitchen.” Miss B felt obliged to fill Jamie in on everyone’s whereabouts.

“Okay, my good boy, let’s see if we can find out why you’re not feeling well.”

Jamie couldn’t find anything that would explain Arf’s sudden illness. She questioned Dina and Steve about what he had eaten and asked if he could have gotten into any tainted water.


“Where is Annie?” Jamie asked. “Is she acting sick as well?”

“We don’t know.” After getting Katie settled in, Dina had come to see if she could help. “Brad took Annie with him back to Barbie’s house. I guess she must want to keep her.”

“So you’re telling me, after a wonderful day with his friend, Annie, whom he loves so much, she was suddenly whisked away?” Jamie looked angry. “I can’t believe Brad would do that. He knows how attached those two have become.”

“What do we do now?” Dina asked. “We can’t let him stay like this.”

“I get the feeling that Arf and Katie haven’t been spending as much time together, either. He must feel like all of his best buds are drifting away from him. I think the answer is for everyone, especially Katie, to love on him and spend as much time with him as possible. A dog like Arf needs to have a purpose.”


*** Jamie nailed it. My heart sank when Brad took Annie back to Barbie’s house. Now she has to live with that mean old Gloria. I don’t think I’m going to get better for a really long time. I’ll waste away to nothing. I’ll sort of be on strike…even though it’s going to be very hard to pass up those good bones.

The next day, the household did their best to cheer Arf up, but he had lost interest in everything. He probably would have worked with Katie because she was his number one human, but she had the sniffles and her mom wanted her to stay in bed. Katie told Dina that seeing Arf so upset made her sad. He didn’t even want to lay by her bed. He wanted to stay by the window in Brad’s study where he could see outside.

Jamie didn’t have to work the next day, so she drove over to the ranch to check on Arf. Miss B said he was still lying by the window in Brad’s study.

Jamie felt a little strange going into Brad’s private study, but that’s where Arf was, so that’s where she went. She sat down on the floor beside him and held his head in her lap. She began scratching his ears and around his collar which she knew he loved.

“I don’t know, Arf. I’ve been thinking a lot about selling the farm and going back home. I hate to have to transfer my internship, but it’s something to think about. I know you still have your work to do with Katie and you two really love each other. You’re just going to have to get over Annie and go on. I’m sure you will still see her occasionally.”

***Uh Oh…now I’ve made Jamie sad. Keep scratching my ears, Jamie.

“What’s going on in here?” Brad asked as he stood in the doorway watching them.

“The two of us are crying on each other’s shoulder,” Jamie answered. “Arf has been lying around being depressed ever since you took Annie to live with Barbie and Gloria. Was it really necessary for you to do that after the two of them had spent several days together and become so attatched?”

” I know. You’re right.” Brad walked over and knelt down to pet Arf. I thought better of it while we were on our way to Barbie’s. I’ll get her another dog if she wants one.”

“Do you mean…”

“Yes. Annie is out in the kitchen chewing on one of those good bones.”

***Did Brad say what I think he said? Stop scratching my ears. Jamie. Annie’s here and she’s eating a good bone?

Suddenly Arf had new found energy and without looking back, he was off to see Annie and chew on a good bone.

“Now Jamie,” Brad said as he took her hand to help her to get up from the floor…”I want to tell you about what’s going on with Tom and Barbie, but first, let’s talk about us…

Murdo Girl…Devastation while growing up

When my brother, Billy was a little boy, he loved Roy Rogers. He was very excited when Mom told him there was a Roy Rogers show at the show uptown. (We called movies shows and the place we went to see them was also called the show.)


Anyway, it turned out to be a devastating experience. You see, Billy watched Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on Saturday mornings and they were really Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. In the “show,” Roy’s name was Tom. He was playing a different character. The whole thing was pretty upsetting to poor little Billy. He did not like that Roy was Tom and he didn’t even ride Trigger and Tom didn’t act right. Not at all like Roy…and where was Dale and Pat, the sidekick?

Roy Rogers

That was back in the good old days when moms used to sit their kids in front of the television on Saturday mornings, give them a bowl of Trix and let them watch all of those wonderful shows.

I watched Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Sky King, Zoro, Rifleman and a couple of cartoons. I was always sad when I watched the last one.

Sky King

Sky King and Penny

I need to back up at little to tell you about my devastating television experience.

It all began the day we got our first TV set. I remember waiting for it to get all hooked up and suddenly, As the World Turns, which we later learned was a soap opera, popped up. Mom and I were mesmerized and we watched it whenever we could through the years. I still remember all of the characters, especially Bob and Lisa and their son, Tom. Bob and Lisa were divorced several times over the years and when they ran out of people to marry, they married each other again. That would just last until some new person moved to Oakdale.

Lisa and Bob

Bob and Lisa were daytime royalty…

Meanwhile, there was poor little Tommy who later became Tom…not to be confused with the Tom Roy Rogers played in the movie. As the World Turns Tom was played by the same boy for several years. Then one day, Mom and I were watching and some new guy was talking with Bob and Lisa.

“Who is that?” I asked Mom.

“That must be Tommy,” she said.

“Piu! That’s not Tommy.”

I got up and left the room. I couldn’t bear to think that they could just put someone else in and expect me to treat him like he was Tommy.

I loved soap operas, but the Friday cliff hanger was the worst. I waited all week for something big to happen. The build- up was always intense, but did they give me the answer on Friday? No…

I couldn’t watch during the school year, but when I cleaned  motel rooms for Mom in the summer, I always took my break during my favorite soap opera. I could miss months and be able to pick up the story-line in no time.

This and other interesting subjects came up in a conversation my brother and I had today.

If you can relate to these devastating experiences, in can only mean one thing…You’re as old as dirt.

One more thing…

I was out back painting rocks when I heard this bird singing. Does anyone know what kind of bird it is?




Murdo Girl…Arf and Annie take a trip

Alice, the cook/housekeeper hadn’t felt like herself for a while so she decided to take some extended time off. That left running the house to poor Grandma Helen and Miss Bessie. (Except for the couple of days a week that Miss Bessie worked at the General Store in town.)

The morning after the party, both ladies were up early to finish cleaning up the kitchen and prepare breakfast.

“Well?” Do you know anything about what happened after Brad and his sister and brother went to his study?” Miss B asked. “They were still in there when I couldn’t stay awake a minute longer and went to bed.”

“They were all still in the study when I went to bed, too. I think Jamie was a little disappointed that Brad didn’t come out to say goodbye to her. She wanted to take Arf and Annie home with her, but they’re supposed to go to the hospice where Dina worked and to a nursing home, today.”

“Wasn’t the little recital Katie and Arf put on just precious? You must be so proud of your granddaughter, Helen. she and Arf have worked hard and it’s paying off.”

“Now…how are we going to find out the whole story about what happened last night?”

Miss Bessie almost swallowed her tongue when she saw Brad walk in.

“Is the coffee ready ladies? Do we have one of those cups that I can take with me? I have a lot of ground to cover today.”

Grandma Helen found a cup and poured coffee into it. Brad thanked her and walked out the kitchen door. The two “ladies” peeked through the curtain and saw him get into his truck. He hadn’t given them one clue as to where he was going. It was only a couple of minutes before their next victim walked in.

“Good morning Mark,” Miss Bessie ran to get his coffee. “Here you go, honey. Just the way you like it…Say, Helen and I are about to fix breakfast and we’re wondering how many people are going to be here to eat it.”

“Yes..Helen butted in. Brad just left in his truck. He was all by himself. Does that mean that his sister and brother and Glorified Gloria are still here?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that Steve, Dina, and Katie, already left with Arf and Annie. They’re going to see sickly people somewhere. Are you going to really fix my breakfast this time, Miss B or are you going to bail on me like the day you got your big head egg or egg head job at the General Store?”

“I swear Mark…You’re going to be the death of me. Do you want your eggs over hard like your head?”

***Dina got an SUV and Annie and I rode in the back of it all the way to the place where the sick people are. Katie rode in the seat just ahead of us, and Steve and Dina were in the front because Steve was driving.

When we finally got to the place, we had to wear a leash. I understood because I’ve been places where dogs don’t behave and they trip people who are trying to walk around. I sure hope Annie understands. I’ll tell you right now, no dog likes to wear a leash. It looks like everyone here is in bed.

&&& I heard that, Arf…I understand about the leash and I don’t like it either. Why is everyone here in bed? It’s almost bone time isn’t it?

“Hi Mr. Peterson…do you remember me? I’m Dina. I worked here for a long time. I’m so happy to see you looking so well.”

Mr. Peterson looked confused. It had been a while and he had been used to seeing Dina in her work uniform.

Arf figured out what was going on and intervened.

***The man in bed looked sad to me. I walked between Dina and the bed and over to where Katie was sitting in her wheelchair. I put my paw up for the signal. It was time for us to do our recital for these people. I told Annie in dog talk that we needed her to sing (whine) softly….real softly, while we danced.


Katie stood and put one hand on my head and took my paw with the other. Then she started doing her ballerina moves. She couldn’t get up on her toes, but she was very graceful.

People who were asleep woke up and people who were already awake were smiling at the little ballerina and her dog (me). We gave them our very best performance. When we were finished, everyone clapped and wanted to pet Annie and me.

We did the same thing at the nursing home we went to and the same thing happened. We’re going to have to learn another routine because everyone wants us to come back. I liked those people I met today, and I’d like to get to know them better. I just hope I don’t have to wear these ballerina slippers all the time.


After we did all of our dancing, Steve and Dina took us to the park where we found her when we were looking for her. Annie and I chased squirrels, and Steve threw the frisbee to us. It was the best day ever because I got to spend it with Katie and Annie.

Murdo Girl…A new flower for the garden

Barbie was there…

Everyone in the room was either surprised or confused. Some were both. Some thought Barbie had died in a fire, and some didn’t even know there was a Barbie. Only Barbie, her caregiver, Gloria, and Brad knew everything.

Barbie had been badly burned in the fire that started in the house, but she had somehow managed to get to the potting shed a few yards away. It was there that Brad found  her. Though Brad would never forget those big eyes staring at him, her face was otherwise unrecognizable. Even her hair had burned to the scalp. Neither of them thought it was possible for her to live.

Brad ran to the house next door. There was no one home, but the door wasn’t locked and he was able to use the phone to call an ambulance.

Not knowing what to do for his sister while he waited, he took towels from the neighbor’s house and wet them down with a hose before taking them to carefully cover Barbie’s charred body. Though she was unconscious, Brad knew she was alive. He rode with her in the ambulance that took them to an airstrip. The medics knew if she had any chance at all to remain alive, they needed to get her to a specialty burn center. They airflighted Barbie and allowed her sixteen year old twin brother to go with them. There was no time for questions and Brad didn’t come forth with information they didn’t ask for. Before Brad found Barbie, someone had called their mother’s sister and she had taken Tom, who was only twelve at the time, home with her. 

Brad was told his sister was not likely to live. In fact, it was months before she was out of the woods, physically. It was several years before she came close to being able to function like a normal human being, and many more painful years before she began to look as she did tonight. She was beautiful. 

It had all happened twenty years before. Barbie never regained her sight and one leg had remained dysfunctional. She had to use a cane to steady herself.

As the whole room stared at his sister and she stood in the doorway unable to see them or their reaction to her, Brad could only think about how beautiful and brave Barbie was. He was so proud of her.

Tom walked closer to the two women standing in the doorway and for the second time asked the question he already knew the answer to.

“Are you Barbie? Are you my sister?”

Brad was unable to move.

Barbie reached out and found her younger brother’s face. It took Brad back to the night she had reached out to him with her badly burned hand.

“Tom?…I didn’t know… Brad didn’t tell me you would be here.”

Tears were running down Barbie’s cheeks and Tom was sobbing as they reached out and pulled each other close. There was not a dry eye in the house. Even Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen remained silent for a few minutes.

“Would you all excuse the three of us for a few minutes?” Brad asked. “I think after a very long and painful twenty years, we need to spend a little time together.”

As he walked with his brother and sister to his office, Brad turned to add, “I have just experienced the best birthday I could ever imagine.” His eyes searched and found Jamie who was smiling through happy tears of her own.




*** I couldn’t understand why everyone was crying and smiling, but I had to do something so I went to Katie and lifted my paw. That was our signal to perform our special dance. It wasn’t very long, but  Katie and I had worked hard to get here and she looked so beautiful.




&&& I like it here. It’s a lot more fun than at Barbie’s house. Arf said I might be able to go with him to the nursing homes tomorrow to cheer up sick people. Sounds like fun to me.


Sometimes the longer you wait for something, the more beautiful it is…


Murdo Girl…The birthday party

FYI…The link below takes you to a post with the links to all of the Arf stories in case you would like to read them all together.

It was a peaceful moment. Jamie and Brad were leaning against the fence around the paddock watching Arf and Annie play as the sun was slowly sinking. Brad knew it was nearing the time when they would have to walk up the path and go back to the house. He wished now he had told Jamie about Barbie, but there wasn’t enough time for that. He was pretty sure Barbie and Gloria wouldn’t be there tonight, anyway. He hadn’t even asked Tom to come.

Even without his brother and sister there, it was going to be a great night. Everyone else he cared about would be gathered around the dinner table with Arf and Annie close by.

“There is a surprise for you in the kitchen,” an excited Katie said the minute Brad and Jamie walked in. More and more Katie was using her crutches instead of the wheelchair, which was mostly due to Arf’s dedication to helping her.

“A surprise? What kind of surprise? Are you going to come with me to see what it is?” Brad teased Katie as she slowly walked with him to the kitchen.

He was more than surprised, he was shocked to see Tom standing there eating a bowl of Grandma Helen’s banana pudding.

“Happy birthday, Brad,” Tom said. “Judging by the look on your face, I must be the last person you expected to see.”

“Not quite,” Brad answered as he walked over to shake Tom’s hand. “Thank you for coming. It’s really good to see you.”

“It’s great to see you, Brad. You have quite a family here and I know dinner is going to be the best. I want you to pay special attention to the potatoes. They were peeled by an expert.”

After a little bit of small talk and a few slightly awkward moments Brad and Tom seemed to get more comfortable with each other and the rest of the family helped to keep the atmosphere light.

***I’d rather be outside playing with Annie but I have to stay inside so I don’t forget Katie and I are putting on a show with Steve.

“Brad, would you please show everyone where to sit?” Miss Bessie asked. “Tom, you can sit here by me.”

Grandma Helen rushed to sit on Tom’s other side. “I don’t usually sit here,” she said, “but I’ve been meaning to switch places with Mark, anyway. You don’t mind do you, Mark? When everyone is seated, Katie will say Grace.”

After dinner, the group moved to the great room for coffee and dessert.

Once again, Tom marveled at Brad’s very close knit family. It was abundantly clear that each of them adored his older brother.

As Tom looked around the room, he suddenly realized there were two women standing in the doorway.

The younger woman was wearing dark glasses and she held a cane. She was very beautiful. The older woman did not seem at all happy to be there.

“Happy Birthday again, dear brother.” The younger woman said. I hope we’re not too late for birthday cake. After all, it is my birthday, too.”

Tom began to absorb what he was hearing and seeing, and soon realized it could only mean one thing.

“Are you Barbie?” He asked.

Murdo Girl…A goodbye to High Tea

Just for fun…..

To live a little longer you must drink a lot of tea

That’s why Queen Elizabeth enjoys longevity


There was a study done, of the clinical kind of course

They said its accurate, but we can’t confirm the source

So fire up the kettle and let your steeper steep

Drink tea when you’re awake and also while you sleep

The study says if twice a day you drink a whole carafe

Your time of living will increase by one year and a half

So flex your little pinky and pass the sugar bowl

And add a little cream if a long life is your goal

You must nibble on a biscuit and use a silver tray

Remember English High Tea is more than a cliche


Ordering in? We’ll have burgers and fries.

It’s of critical importance that you use the finest tea

I’ve got so much to learn and it’s really stressing me

This all sounds quite expensive. I’ll keep that in mind

I’m pretty old already, so I must be way behind.

I now know all I need, to make a good decision

I’ll do what is suggested with just one slight revision

If you see me with the Queen and really look close up

You’ll see a happy short-timer with coffee in her cup


Those burgers still aren’t here

Murdo Girl…Surprises for everyone

As she turned to see Brad standing there, Jamie’s heart skipped a beat. Seeing him was surprise enough, but when she saw who was with him, she was both ecstatic and confused.

“I think you’re speechless,” Brad teased. “I was hoping we would see you and Arf today. It’s a very special day for me, and I wanted you to be here.”

“I know,” Jamie said. “I heard that it’s your birthday.”

***Annie! Annie is back! Who wants to stick around and listen to Brad and Jamie talk when Annie is here to play. We took off to run and chase each other around. I don’t think they even noticed. Oh, what a happy day! Do you want to go to the river, Annie? Shall we chase squirrels?


“It is indeed my birthday,” Brad said,  “and I have so much to celebrate. Can you believe all that has happened these past few months? My world has certainly changed. It’s changed for all of us…especially little Katie.”

Brad leaned against the fence and looked out over the pasture. He turned to smile at Jamie and she wondered if he had gotten over being angry with her.

“How is it that you have Annie? are you the one who adopted her? It’s wonderful to see her again, but I don’t get it.” Jamie was watching Arf and Annie. They were certainly the best of friends and so happy to see each other again.

“I’ll explain how I got Annie, later, but first I want to say something to you, Jamie. I owe you an apology.”

“I don’t understand,” Jamie said. “I thought you were angry with me because I waited to tell you I had found Tom until after I had talked with him.”

“I was…and that’s why I owe you an apology. I realize now that you were only trying to keep me from being hurt. Besides, how can I question your integrity when I have done so many things I have come to regret…like convincing a twelve year old boy to lie about who started the fire. He lived that lie for years and I can see now that it harmed him a great deal. I don’t know if our relationship will ever heal.”

Jamie was a little overwhelmed.

“I can’t speak for Tom, but as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing to forgive. I shouldn’t have been so intrusive. You should know, Brad, that I didn’t like the way I felt knowing that you were so disappointed in me.”

Brad looked at Jamie’s smiling face. He was beginning to understand just how special she was.

They both turned to watch Annie and Arf playing in the field.

“I should warn you, Jamie. Prepare yourself, because as they say, more is going to be revealed.”

Inside the sprawling ranch house, everyone was bustling around preparing for the big birthday party. When Tom walked in and saw all of those people in his brother’s home, he began to feel something he hadn’t experienced in a long time. Was it a feeling of belonging to a family? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, it felt good.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” He asked.

Grandma Helen went rushing over to him, but Miss Bessie was a little faster. “Why yes,” she said. “How are you at peeling potatoes?

Grandma Helen got to the other side of Tom and linked her arm in his. “Just wait until you taste my banana pudding. It’s to die for.”

The sight of the two of them dragging poor Tom to the kitchen was comical to everyone else in the room.

“He’ll learn not to ask that question,” Steve said. “Is it true that Brad doesn’t know Tom is here for his birthday?”

“It’s going to be quite a night, “Dina said. “Katie has been practicing with Arf all week. Steve and I helped them choreograph a little recital in honor of Brad’s birthday.”



Earlier that day…

“Happy Birthday, Sis,” Brad said. “I came to ask a favor.”


“The answer is no.” I will not come to your ranch for the big birthday bash. Gloria made us a nice brunch and a birthday cake. We can celebrate together like we always do and get you on your way in time for your party tonight.”

“It’s time you left this house for a while, Barbie. You can come and spend the night and I’ll bring you back the first thing tomorrow. It would really mean a lot to me. There is someone special I want you to meet.”

Gloria entered the room with a tray holding two cups of coffee.

“Let her be Brad. You know how sensitive she is to being around a lot of people. We’ll have a nice evening right here at home, won’t we Barbie?” 

“I have asked very little of you over the years, Sis,” he said. “I know you can’t see, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live. Gloria…please convince her to come. A car will be here to pick you both up at two o’clock. I don’t have time for brunch, but thank you anyway. I’ll take Annie with me. She looks bored.”

On his way out, Brad walked by a very surprised sister and a very stern looking Gloria. Was he imagining things, or was Gloria getting a little too controlling of his sister. Maybe she had always been.



Murdo Girl …links to complete Arf story

Complete list of links to Arf’s story