Murdo Girl…Looking for answers

If you asked John what day it was, he probably couldn’t tell you. His routine was the same one day as it was the next. He rose early and went to bed late. He ate three times a day, and drank a cup of coffee after each meal. After breakfast, he tended his garden, after lunch, he worked on his carvings or fished. After dinner, he played his guitar and sang the songs he had played and sang from the time he was a child until now. If the right words and tune came to him, he wrote them down and added the good ones to his repertoire.

He stayed busy, but he couldn’t fill his days enough to keep from being lonely.

John couldn’t understand what he had done in his life to deserve the indifference his son and his family had shown him. He thought he had a friend in Harvey, but apparently Harvey had not agreed. He had left in the middle of the night without so much as leaving a note.

It was time to get ready to go down the mountain to the small town below where, every two weeks, he shopped and did whatever else he needed to do.


Arf and Annie had finally shown Steve where they put the keys to the old pickup that Harvey drove. They hadn’t been able to carry everything they had hauled down from the bedroom so they hid them under the front door mat.

Right before the Sheriff handcuffed Harvey to take him down to the police station, he gave the partially carved piece of wood to Clark.

“Give this to your grandpa,” he said. “Tell him I was making him a comfort cross.”

“Why did you stay, Mr. Samuels?” Clark asked. “After the kids were taken from you, why didn’t you just leave?”

“I didn’t know where to go. To be honest, my heart really wasn’t into getting a ransom for those precious kids. It’s just that being a criminal is the only thing I’ve ever known. Can you believe that? Once a criminal always a criminal I guess….come on Sheriff, I’m ready to go. I’m a tired old man and I need a bed…any bed, even if it’s in a jail cell.”

Arf: No one ever asked Mr. Harvey human why he came here to the house that Steve owned a long time ago. I seems kind of weird to me.

Annie: I guess it could be just a coincidence. He was kind of confused. Remember, he said he didn’t even know whose house this was? Here comes Steve. He’s probably ready to go. I can’t wait to get back to the ranch. I’m hungry.

Arf: Me too. Where is Clark?

Annie: He’s driving Harvey’s truck to the police station. The policeman is going to bring him back here to pick up the truck he drove from the ranch and Steve is going to take us home.

Arf: Why do always know everything?

Annie: Because I’m a good listener. It’s just who I am.

When they all got back home, the place was a hub of excitement. Arf and Annie got their food plus a really big good bone. After that, they went to Brad’s office to sit by the squirrel window. They weren’t alone for long. First Brad came in and then Clark.

“It’s been a big day for you, hasn’t it son?” Are you doing okay?”

“My head is spinning. All I can think about is trying to find my grandpa. Harvey is right. My daddy is the meanest man in the world. I have to wonder what made him that way.”

Brad was thinking about something Steve had mentioned when he was talking about Harvey at dinner.

“Do you know your dad’s brother and sister? I heard Steve say your dad told Harvey their names are Kathy and Jim. It sounded like your grandpa told Harvey your dad was very jealous of them. Who knows? Maybe that has something to do with it.”

“I’ve never heard of Kathy or Jim,” Clark said.

Brad got up and walked around to sit on the edge of his desk.

“I’ll start looking for your grandpa, tomorrow. You should go and try to get some sleep. You’re supposed to start school tomorrow. I know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but you really can’t put it off any longer.”

“Yes sir,” Clark said. “As long as I know you’ll be looking for my grandpa, I will go to that school and do the best that I can do.”

When Clark left to go up to his room, Annie went too and took her usual spot by his bed. It was good to be home.

“Arf,” Brad said. “Why don’t you go sneak into Katie’s room. She’s probably sleeping, but when she wakes up, I’m sure she will expect to see you there beside her bed.”

Arf: When I went into Katie’s room, both Dina and Steve were there. That’s one good thing about being a dog. You can just walk into places and no one stops talking because they don’t think you can understand what’s going on. My Katie was sound asleep so I just laid down in my usual spot and closed my eyes and listened.

“It was very strange being in that house,” Steve said. “It really hasn’t changed that much since we lived there.”

“I loved that house,” Dina said. “It was wonderful to see it again that day I stopped by and the man who lived there let me have a look around.”

“Dina, I have an idea that I hope you will think about. What if we tried to find the owners? The house is vacant so maybe they would consider selling it. It’s close to the ranch, which would make it easy for you to come and help Jamie’s mother continue to recover from her stroke and Katie could be near Arf and everyone else she loves here.”

“I don’t have to think about it,” Dina said. “I think that is a wonderful idea.”

Murdo Girl…Mr. Samuels

Clark waited for the old man to answer his question. Could it be possible that his grandpa was still alive?

“Your father lied to you.”

The old man looked at the young boy who had been needlessly hurt by his mentally abusive father.

“He was very much alive when I left him a month ago. I hate to think about how devastated he must have been when he realized I had run out on him. Here was a man who found me living in a tent in the woods and took me in. I had taken a careless risk and lost everything and he helped me get back on my feet.”

The Sheriff interrupted their conversation. He read the old man his rights and then placed him under arrest for kidnapping.

“Don’t go yet Sheriff,” Clark begged. “I have to know where my grandpa is. I have to find him. Steve please help me.”

“You’ve read him his rights Sheriff,” Steve said. “If Mr. Samuels is willing to talk with Clark, then what’s the harm?”

“I’ll give you five minutes,” the Sheriff said reluctantly.

Arf: When he was reading him his rights, the Sheriff found out the old man’s name is Harvey Samuels.

I could tell that Clark was really struggling with everything.  Annie was upstairs doing something. I decided to go get her because she’s closer to Clark than I am.

When I got upstairs, I could see that Annie was sniffing around for something.

Annie: I thought about something when Clark was reading the letter. Remember when the old man was still dressed like a grandma and we watched him while he was sitting in the rocker on the front porch? He was carving something out of a piece of wood. I just want to see what it was.

Arf: I began to look around, too. We had to hurry because we knew when the Sheriff took him in, he would probably take his possessions, too.

I remembered the bag he had brought with him from his pickup and I finally found it peeking out from under the bed. Dogs can’t open buckles or zippers by themselves, but Annie and I decided to give it a try. It took us a while, but we finally got it and we weren’t disappointed. The wood carving and the tools Harvey was using were in there.

Annie: Can you tell what it is? It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before.

Arf: Maybe he was just getting started. Should we take it downstairs and show it to him?

Annie: I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. We’ll get into trouble for dragging stuff out of his bag. You know how much I hate to be called a bad dog.

Arf: It doesn’t bother me. They always get over it. I’ll take it.

When Arf and Annie were going down the stairs, the policeman who came with the Sheriff was on his way up to get Harvey’s things. The Sheriff was standing next to Mr. Samuels, while Steve and Clark talked with him. He told them he had lived with his grandpa for six months and tried to explain where the cabin was.

Arf took the piece of wood and dropped it in front of Mr. Samuels who reached down to pick it up.

“I never finished this,” he said. “I was making it for your grandpa. He taught me how to work with wood. He probably wouldn’t want anything from me, anyway. He poured his heart out to me about his family and I was going to use the information for my own gain.”

“What was it going to be?” Clark asked.

“It’s called a comfort cross. You hold it in the palm of your hand.”

“Let’s go,” the Sheriff said. “Time’s up!”

The policeman came running down the stairs. “I can’t find the keys to his truck.”

Arf: You tell him where they are.

Annie: No you tell him.


Murdo Girl…True character is revealed

The old man’s expression didn’t change as he watched Steve hand Clark the envelope Arf and Annie had found hidden at the bottom of the toolbox.

“Did you read it, Steve?” Clark asked.

“Yes…I did.”

Clark looked at the man sitting across from him and wondered why he sat there, void of expression. Was this man his grandpa? If he was, he had changed. His grandpa would have never kidnapped two little kids, but on the other hand, he would have banished himself to the hills if he thought it would have meant his grandson would no longer be punished for loving his grandpa.

If this man wasn’t his grandpa, then who was he? Clark opened the envelope and pulled out a folded sheet of paper and began to read. When he finished he placed the paper back into the envelope and handed it back to Steve.

“We better call the Sheriff,” Clark said. He looked at the old man who sat there still saying nothing.

“I’ll drive down to the neighbor’s and call the Sheriff’s office,” Steve said. “Arf and Annie will stay here with you. I’ll only be gone a few minutes.”

“You’re an imposter,” Clark said to the old man. “You took Katie and Jake because you intended to extort money. That was a ransom letter.”

The old man just looked at Clark.

“I have a question to ask you. How do you know so much about my family?”

With the help of a cane, the old man rose to his feet. Arf also stood. He was prepared for whatever he might need to do.

“I would like to change out of this bathrobe,” the old man said. “I’ll explain everything when the police get here.”

Steve had just come back…

“Arf, you and Annie go upstairs with this man and let him get dressed.” Steve hoped the Sheriff would be there soon. “Are you okay Clark?” He asked…

“I don’t know. I guess in a way, I was hoping he was my grandpa.”

By the time the Sheriff and a police officer got there, the man had dressed and Arf had led him back downstairs.

“Is it okay if we stay while you question him?” Clark asked.

“I’m sorry, son, but we’ll be taking him down to the station.”

“If you don’t mind, I would like to say a few words to this young man before we leave,” the old man said.

The Sheriff nodded.

“Your grandfather helped me when I had nowhere to go. I lived in the cabin with him for six months. That’s when I learned all about him and you. He told me all about your family situation. I betrayed a good man and I deeply regret it.”

Clark was in tears, but there was something else he had to know.

“Please tell me, sir. Is my grandpa still alive? Did my daddy tell me the truth or did he lie to me?”

(I’ve been a little under the weather for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to let too much time go by without at least adding a short one to further the story.)

Murdo Girl…Yes or no?

Clark wasn’t sure the old man was his grandpa. He really wanted him to be but he looked a lot older and thinner than the last time he saw him, and it had only been six years. It seemed so much longer.

His grandpa had been his lifeline and he left without saying a word. According to his dad, he went to live up in the hills in a cabin. His grandpa wanted to spend his last years hunting and fishing. Two months later, his dad came home and said he had been up to the cabin to check on the old man and found him deceased. His dad told him he looked like he was sleeping peacefully, but he had gone to the other side.

“Aren’t you going to say anything, Butch?” The old man asked.

“I got nothin to say. I don’t even know if I want to hear what you have to say. Except I’d like to know why you took those poor little kids from their beds in the middle of the night?”

The old man put his head in his hands and Clark could see his shoulders shaking. He and Steve remained silent until he composed himself. Soon he started to talk again.

“Your dad is the meanest man I have ever known. I tried to get you away from him. He didn’t treat anyone in the family like he should have, but he cut you down every chance he got and when you started to grow a little again, he cut you down even closer to the ground. I told him if he hated you so much why didn’t he let you come and live with me. Do you know what he said?”

If Clark knew any of this, he didn’t remember it. He wondered if it was even true.

“He said if he let his old man raise his kid, he would be the laughing stock of the whole town. People would think he had lost control of his family.”

“I couldn’t take watching him do that to you, so I got rid of my house in town and moved into a little cabin in the hills. He told me if I ever came around you again, he would treat you even worse than he had been. He said I was what was causing all the trouble between the two of you.”

Arf: When I went upstairs, I found the picture that I wanted to show Clark, but I was also looking for something else. I wanted to look inside the toolbox. I knew the old man had brought it upstairs, but I couldn’t find it. Pretty soon I heard Annie dragging the coveralls she had buried in the yard up the stairs.

Annie: What are you doing, Arf? You shouldn’t be snooping around in other people’s stuff.

Arf: Oh come on Annie. That’s what dogs do. They snoop around. That old man is downstairs telling Clark a long winded story and I can tell Clark doesn’t remember anything about it. All he knows is that he was really close to his grandpa and he was told he had died. Help me look around. Maybe we can find something…like a clue.

Arf finally found the toolbox clear in the back of the closet. Luckily, it wasn’t locked. Between the two of them he and Annie got it open. They saw all kinds of tools on top, but nothing that you could call a clue. When they pulled on the handle with their teeth, and got the top part out, there was another compartment under it.

Arf: Look…there’s an envelope. Let’s see what’s in it.

Annie: It looks like a letter. We can do a lot of things most dogs can’t but we can’t read.

Arf: You’re right. We’ll just have to give it to Steve. We’ll give the picture to Steve, too and he can decide what to do with it.

Annie: I didn’t dig up the keys I buried. We better go out and uncover them and give them to Steve, too.

They both sneaked down the stairs… Annie with the letter and Arf with the picture. They dug up the keys and put them under the doormat. They would have to get them later. The old man had his back to them so they were able to get the photo and letter to Steve without anyone seeing them.

He briefly looked at them and then got up and went to the kitchen. He came back a short time later. Clark was still talking to the old man.

“Let’s skip to the part where you took our kids,” Steve said.

“Very well,” the old man answered. “You see Butch, I lived alone in that cabin for six long years. I got in touch with your brother and he told me where you were. I came here to get you. I thought you would want to come and live with me, until I saw where you were living. I watched everyone in that mansion for two nights and then I found the disguise and came and got the kids. I told them I was their grandma. I was going to bring them back. I just wanted some company for a while. We were going on a picnic and then it all fell apart. They wanted to go home.”

He looked at his surroundings like it was the first time he had noticed where he was. “I don’t even know who this house belongs to.”

“It must have been really hard for you to live alone like that. How long ago did you lose your wife?” Steve asked.

“I don’t recall the exact year. Do you know when your grandma died, Butch?”

“Two years before you left. I wish I had known why you left. My life might have been different. It was bad enough that my own daddy hated me, but it hurt to know you didn’t think much of me, either. Daddy did have a moment of kindness. He brought your guitar home for me. I learned how to play it, even though he took it away from me everytime he got mad which was often.”

“I blame myself for his bad behavior. His sister, Kathy was always closer to your grandma and Jim was closer to me. That left him with no one.”

“you mean Granny.”


“We never called her grandma. She was Granny to all of us.”

Steve thought this would be a good time to give Clark the letter and picture.

“You might want to read this letter that Arf and Annie found before this goes any further.”

(What do you think? Is this man really Clark’s grandpa or someone pretending to be.?)

We know the answer

Murdo Girl…The truth hurts

The house was dark inside, so at first Clark and Steve didn’t see the man on the stairs. He had been halfway down when he heard the back door open, so he stayed where he was and stood holding his back tightly against the wall.

Clark and Steve didn’t see or hear anything, but Arf and Annie did. Arf ran past the man on the stairs and stopped at the top while Annie stayed at the bottom. This human wasn’t going anywhere.

The lights weren’t on, so the old man couldn’t see that Arf and Annie had him trapped on the stairs. He only knew he was not alone in the house.

“What’s happening?” Steve whispered. “We need to find a light switch.”

“Who’s here?” The frightened old man asked. “Please don’t hurt me. I mean no harm.”

Clark couldn’t move. He just stood there, frozen to his spot.

Arf and Annie stayed at their respective posts, growling when the old man tried to move up or down the stairs.

Steve felt around the door for a light switch. He was hoping there was electricity to the house. “That’s right Arf and Annie, keep her right where she is.”

Finally, Steve found a switch and when he flipped the first one, the light above him came on. The stairs were to his right and he was able to see well enough to tell there was a frightened old man wearing a bathrobe standing against the wall about halfway up.

Clark still couldn’t move.

“Clark, Are you okay?” Steve asked. When Clark didn’t answer, he turned back to the old man. “Who are you and where is the woman who took Katie and Jake?

“Why do you call him Clark?” The old man answered in a shaky voice. He’s named after me. His name is Butch.”

Clark walked a few steps toward the man on the stairs. “Who are you?” He asked again.

“I’m your grandpa, son.”


“You can’t be.” Clark said. “My grandpa died when I was ten.”

“This is crazy,” Steve said. “I thought we were looking for an old woman who called herself grandma.”

“We’re one and the same,” the old man answered. “I’m the one who took your kids. I can never remember their names.”

“Butch I’m not dead and I never was…except to your dad who happens to be my son. May I come down the stairs. I’m an old man and I need to sit down.”

Steve hesitated. He looked at the pathetic little man in his bathrobe.

“Annie, please go dig up the man’s pants and bring them in. Shake them out first. Let’s find a place to sit down,” Steve said as he lead the way to the living room. “I have a lot of questions for you sir, but first you might tell your grandson how you died and then came back to life.”

Arf went up the stairs. He wanted to get the picture and show Clark…and look for something else…


Murdo Girl…Clearing the fog

While preparing to write today’s Arf and Annie story, I realized I had written that Annie had gone back to the ranch and Arf had stayed at the house with the old woman. It was Arf who went back and Annie who stayed. She discovered the old woman was on fact, really a man.

Arf had been exhausted by the time he got back to the ranch. When Grandma Helen called for Steve and Brad, the two dads, they had decided Steve would follow Arf and hope that he took him to find Annie and possibly, the two dogs would know where the woman was.

Annie was doing a great job of detaining the man who had been disguised as a woman. She had dragged his overalls, with the truck keys in the pocket, down the stairs and buried them in the yard.

When Clark went to get Arf with the intention of going back to the house where he had seen his mother’s jam, Grandma Helen told him Steve and Arf had already gone.

“I’m going, too,” Clark told Grandma Helen. “When you see Brad, tell him I took the truck and went back over to the house. I think that’s where Arf and Steve were going.”

Annie: I saw Steve and Arf drive up and ran out to stop them so they wouldn’t wake the man up. (They didn’t know that I had discovered the person was really a man disguised as a woman.)

“There’s Annie,” Steve said. “It looks like she wants us to stop right here.”

When Arf and Steve got out of the truck , Annie showed them where the man had hidden his pickup and where she had buried his overalls and keys.

“I’m really confused,” Steve said. “What do these coveralls have to do with anything? Look, Arf and Annie! Here comes Clark. Run out and see if you can stop him. Someone is obviously inside that house and we don’t want to disturb them, yet.”

Steve, Clark and the two dogs, quietly entered the house through the back door. What they saw next, was confusing to Arf and Steve… and a big shock to Clark.

Murdo Girl…Thirty-nine is just a number

So much can happen in thirty-nine years.

An abundance of laughter interspersed with tears.

Two families came together and strived to make one.

It wasn’t easy for anyone.

The children adjusted to new family traditions.

We gave up some old ones and made some additions.

It’s hard to prepare for things unforeseen,

When the age of your kids range from three to thirteen.

Despite everything that life threw our way,

We survived each crisis and learned how to pray.

All four kids married and had two children.

They all have a good foundation to build on.

We have four great grandchildren for the time being.

The next in line is only eighteen.

We’ve had some health scares that your prayers helped us face.

And we’ll always be grateful for the gift of God’s Grace.

In thirty-nine years we’ve loved eighteen pets.

We gave them all homes that were as good as it gets.

Marriage isn’t made of just honeys and dears

But we’re looking forward to sharing many more years.

  Names of pets below

Calamity Jane, Angel, Frank, Baby Jane, McKenzie, Pixie, Sadie, Patti, Sammie, Missie, Obie, Cyndie, and Lilie (13) and one cat, Dollie, 2 iguanas both named Iggie, a Gerbil named Raider, and a hamster. (I can’t remember his name)

Kid’s Heidi, Heather, Mason and Craig

My office gave me a surprise wedding shower. They got me!

Murdo Girl…Annie and the human

“Do you think this woman somehow knows your mother? Your family lives miles away. Is there not another reason someone you don’t know would have a jar of your mother’s jam? Maybe a relative gave it to an acquaintance or something?”

“I don’t know, but I think I’ll call home and make sure everything is okay.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” Brad said. “I’ve got to relieve Jamie, so I’ll be in Jake ‘s room if you need me and I think Steve is around here someplace too. I feel sure that woman is far from here by now”

Annie: I was really surprised when I found out that the woman was not really a grandma at all. she was only wearing a costume to look like one. Instead of being a plump grandma, she’s a skinny man. I tried to be really quiet and try to see what he was doing at the same time.

After he ate his supper, he sat in a chair in the living room for a while and stared out the window. He didn’t turn a light on, probably because the human didn’t want anyone to know he was there. I took a chance and went upstairs to see what I could find.

All I found was the little bag he had brought with him from the pickup. I nosed around inside and guess what I found? A picture of Clark. He was younger than he is now and he was sitting by an older man. Then I noticed the older man was playing Clark’s guitar. They were both smiling and happy.

I knew I was taking a chance staying upstairs for so long, so I went back down the stairs and stayed in the coat closet until I heard the man human go back up the stairs. After that, I went to the front door to see if there was a way I could fix it so the man human couldn’t get out. It locked from the inside, so that wouldn’t work.


Annie instinctively knew she was going to have to keep the human from leaving until someone came and found him. Maybe he would lie down and go to sleep.

About an hour later, Annie heard him snore, so she creeped up the stairs and grabbed his coveralls that were lying on the floor. She dragged them down and buried them outside. She was feeling quite proud of herself when she got an added bonus. The keys to the pickup were in his pockets.


“Mama,” It’s Butch. I just called to see how everyone is doing. Is everything okay?”

“Sure, honey…why wouldn’t it be? The kids are getting ready to start school and your daddy is busy making furniture. He’s got more work than he can say grace over.”

Clark felt better after talking to his mama. When he asked her about the jam, she said it must have just looked like hers and wanted to know if he had tasted it.

Something was still nagging at Clark. Brad and Steve were busy with their kids. Maybe he should ask Brad if he could borrow his truck. He wanted to take Arf and go back over to that house.

Murdo Girl…Don’t look now

The old woman sat in her rocking chair until the sun was setting and she could no longer see to carve. She picked up some of her things and took them inside the house. She had her tool box and binoculars which she would put away in the bedroom and then come back for her carving. The picnic basket was still sitting by the door. There was nothing in there she wanted except the fresh loaf of bread. She would make herself some bacon and eggs for supper. She couldn’t remember if there was a toaster. If not, she would just have some bread and that good chokecherry jam that Martha made.

While the old woman was upstairs, Arf and Annie came inside through the door she had left open. They decided to hide in a big downstairs coat closet and keep an eye on her for a while. If it looked like she was going to stay the night, they would go to the ranch and get Brad and Steve. It wasn’t that far away.

Upstairs, the woman couldn’t wait to get out of the getup she had on. First she took off the dress and put on an old bathrobe. Next, she removed the gray wig. Then, very carefully, she pulled off the silicone mask. Surely no one would come there tonight.

Arf and Annie didn’t recognize the person who came down the stairs, went into the kitchen and proceeded to fry eggs.

They decided this person had on a bathrobe so would most likely stay the night.

Arf: You go to the ranch, Annie. I don’t know who this person is, but we need to get Steve and Brad over here. Annie walked slowly past the kitchen and out the same door they had come in.


While Jamie was watching Jake, Brad went to his study and made another call to the Sheriff. He was only able to spare one officer and so far, he hadn’t located the old woman or her truck.

While Brad was talking, Clark walked in. He wanted to talk to Brad, but it didn’t look like this was a good time. Before he could leave, Brad covered the mouthpiece of the phone and told him to take a seat. He soon ended his conversation with the Sheriff.

“Are you okay, Clark?” Brad asked. “You look a little pale.”

“I should have told you this earlier, but I was trying to figure things out first. The thing is, I can’t. I can’t figure it out.

“What can’t you figure out, Clark?”

“When Steve and I were over at the house the woman took the kids to, we looked around some to see if she had left anything behind that might tell us who she is.”

“You and Steve both said you didn’t find anything.”

“Brad…why would that woman have my mom’s homemade chokecherry jam in her refrigerator? And there’s something else that’s been bothering me. Steve and I didn’t look upstairs.”

“Brad and Steve!” Grandma Helen yelled. “Annie is here. She looks like she has been running for miles.”

Next…Arf investigates

Murdo Girl…Take a clue from Arf and Annie

Arf was hoping grandma human would either slow down enough so that he could jump into the back of the pickup where Annie was, or stop. Either would have to be soon because a dog can only run so far and he didn’t want to lose them.

On the other hand, Annie didn’t know what to do, either. Now that the old woman was no longer a threat to the kids, did it even matter if they stayed with her?

Soon the pickup started to sputter and grandma human stopped and got out. Annie was hiding under the tarp so the woman didn’t see her when she reached into the truck bed to grab a tool. She lifted up the hood of the truck and began to work on something. While she couldn’t see him, Arf jumped in and hid under the tarp with Annie.

Soon they were on their way again.


When Steve and Clark got to the house where the old woman had taken the kids, Steve intended to show Clark the picnic basket he and Tom had found when they were there earlier. “It’s right inside the front door, he said. “They must have forgotten it, or at least the kids were hoping it would be left behind or Katie wouldn’t have put her hair ribbon in the bottom of it. I know she put it there so we would find it and know that they were here.”

“Or maybe the old woman put it there and purposely left the basket here,” Clark suggested.

When Steve was there earlier, he had been able to get inside the house through the back door, which is how he and Clark came in this time. On the way to the living room, they stopped to look the kitchen over.

They started looking through empty cupboards and then Clark opened the refrigerator door. Inside they found eggs, bacon, butter, a can of biscuits, and some jam. Clark took a second look at the jam and then put it back where he had found it.

When they got to the living room they found the picnic basket right where it was when Steve and Tom had been there.

“We looked through it earlier,” Steve said. “There is plenty of food in there to feed three people a couple of meals. It does tell us one thing, though. It doesn’t look like she’s come back here…at least not yet.”

They went out the front door, walked around to the truck, and headed back to the ranch.


Just as Arf and Annie were considering giving up, the grandma human pulled over and shut the pickup off.

Arf: She’s getting out of the pickup again, and it’s not even making a noise. Where do you think she’s going?

Annie: I don’t know but I think we should follow her. Maybe she’ll lead us to where she lives and we can show Steve and Brad, later

Arf: Ten four!

Annie: What?

Arf: Ten four… That’s detective speak for okay. But if we want her to take us to where she lives, we still can’t let her see us.

Annie: Ten four!

The woman human got her cane and a small bag out of the backseat of the truck and proceeded to walk along a path that, judging from the way it was overgrown, hadn’t been used in a while.

Arf: How did we get back here? She drove off from town and she didn’t take the turn that takes us here.

Annie: This is the same house we came to when we were following her this morning. But look! There must be a back way. That’s the back of the house.

The old woman went in the back door and up the stairs. She put her bag on a table in one of the bedrooms and then she went back down the stairs and walked back to the pickup. When she got there, she reached in the truck bed and grabbed the tool box that Arf and Annie had seen. Both dogs were hiding close by in the grass. They followed her back to the house but that’s as far as they could go.

Arf: Who is this grandma human and why is she here?

Annie: Hide Arf she’s coming out onto the porch.

They watched as the grandma human sat down in a rocking chair and put her tool box beside her. She opened it and reached inside to get a pair of binoculars. She began to look through them in the direction of the road. After watching for a while, she reached inside the tool box again and pulled out a piece of wood and some sort of wood carving tool. She began to work on the wood as she rocked.

Back at the ranch Jamie and Dina were hovering over the children while they were feeding them dinner. They had decided since the woman who took them was still out there somewhere, the moms and dads would take turns watching over Katie and Jake in their rooms all during the night.

When Steve was saying goodnight to Katie, he casually asked her a couple of questions.

“What did the woman that said she was your grandma look like, Katie? You said that she was old.”

“I don’t know what she looked like. I never saw her face. I know she was old because she used a cane.”