Murdo Girl…She got away

I just spent an hour writing the latest chapter in the story of Arf and Annie. I hit the wrong something on my laptop and lost it all. Did you hear me? I lost every word…and they were good words. I liked them a lot. They really added to the story. The story was exciting and full of adventure. I can probably manage to rewrite some of it, but there is no way it will be as good as it was before I lost it.

Let’s see if I can remember what was going on.

Steve and Tom had discovered the kids and the old woman had been to the house that Steve and Dina lived in when Katie was a baby. After that discovery, they went back to the ranch where Steve gave the information to the Sheriff.


Brad and Mark were together,  checking with all of the ranchers and finally decided to drive into town before going back to the ranch.

Arf spotted Brad’s truck and ran to catch up and take them to the hot dog stand where Jake and Katie were. The old woman who said she was their grandma was waiting for them in her truck. Annie was still hidden in the truck bed.

When Arf caught up with Brad and Mark and got them to head back to town, they got stuck waiting for a train to go by. In the meantime, Grandma saw them and took off… leaving the kids sitting at a picnic table by the hot dog stand.

(I don’t like how this is going. I didn’t do a recap the first time I wrote this.)

Arf barked and Mark let him out so he could take them to the children. It wasn’t long before they reached the hot dog stand.

They could see Jake sobbing and Katie was holding on to him tightly. “Grandma left us,” he said. “I just saw her drive away.”

“There’s Uncle Brad and Uncle Mark!” Katie said excitedly. “Arf is with them, too.”

“Daddy.” Jake shouted as he ran to Brad’s open arms. Brad couldn’t believe he and Jamie had been given this beautiful little boy to raise as their own.

“Daddy, Grandma left us here.”

“She did? You two are going to have to tell Uncle Mark and me all about it.”

“Brad, I’ll go over to the General Store and call the ranch to tell everyone we found the kids. Where is Arf? Katie, were Arf and Annie with you two?”

“Nope. They weren’t with us.”

Both Brad and Mark were puzzled. Arf had seen them  and took them to the kids and now he was gone.

When Mark called the ranch, he talked to Steve who told them about finding Katie’s hair ribbon. “We went to the house Dina and I lived in when Katie was born. No one is currently living there, but when we found the ribbon, we knew they must have been there earlier.”

“Maybe that’s where she went, now,” Mark said. “I think we should go take a look.”

I can’t imagine who this person is,” Steve said. “I’m just grateful that Katie and Jake are alright. What about Arf and Annie? Are they doing okay?”

“Arf led us to the kids and then took off while we were distracted. We haven’t seen Annie at all.”

Mark handed the phone to Brad and turned to ask Katie what the old woman had been driving.

“It was an old pickup truck. It was kind of rickety. Jake and I put our seat belts on Uncle Mark. We went on some bumpy roads.”

“Steve and Clark are going to head over to the house and see if the woman is there and if by chance Arf and Annie have found her,” Brad told Steve. “Katie said the woman was driving a rickety pickup truck. Arf and Annie must have hidden in the back. We had better get these kids home. Their mothers are having fits.”


All the woman who called herself Grandma was thinking about was getting home. She was unaware that Annie was hidden in the back of the truck.


Annie: I was able to see behind us and I was relieved when I saw Arf. He had caught up with us in good time. I just hoped wherever we were going wasn’t too far for him to run. I had been able to tell that Grandma human was in a weakened state. She didn’t appear to be feeling well at all.


Arf: It was a good thing I had caught up with them because Grandma human wasn’t going where I thought she would. She had gone in a completely different direction.


Murdo Girl…Who is Grandma?

The old woman slowly walked to the truck as the kids, who were getting extremely hungry, rushed ahead and jumped in. Arf and Annie were already in their hiding place in the back. Eventually, the woman made it into the truck and began to drive the remainder of the way to town.

“Can we go to the hot dog stand on Main Street?” Katie asked. “You like hot dogs don’t you Jake?”

“That’s a good idea. I’ll find Main Street and you can tell me where the hot dog stand is, Kathy.”

“My name is Katie, Grandma. Don’t you even know?”

“Of course I do,” the old woman quickly said. “I’m getting tired and I just misspoke. I see the town up ahead. Help me look for Main Street.”

They were on the edge of town when unbeknownst to the woman and the two children, Arf bailed out of the truck. He had seen Brad’s truck and he was trying his hardest to catch up with it.

Meanwhile, the woman and the two children continued on to town with Annie still in the back of the truck. It would be her job to keep the kids safe.

“Hold up,” Mark said. “There’s Arf. He’s trying to catch up with us.”

Brad pulled over and both he and Mark got out of the truck and waited for Arf. When he got there, he barked and turned around. Time was of the essence and he wanted Brad and Mark to get back on the road. Arf got into the cab with them, and they headed back toward town.

“Where’s Annie, Boy?” Brad asked. “Are she and the kids okay?”



The old woman and the children were able to find the hot dog stand on Main Street. By this time, the woman wasn’t feeling up to getting out of the truck, so she parked it in the closest parking spot to wait while the kids went to buy the food.


“Now, I’ll give you kids some money and you can buy the hot dogs. We’ll eat them in the truck and then I will take you home…Okay? How would that be?”

“Good, Grandma,” Jake said. “Are we far from there?”

“No Jim,” the old woman answered. “Home is much closer than you think.”

“I wonder why Grandma called me Jim?” Jake asked as he and Katie walked hand in hand to get the hot dogs.


The old woman watched as the children purchased the hot dogs and sodas. The town was small so even though it was Main Street, there wasn’t much traffic. She wished they would hurry as she was not feeling well and she was in a hurry to get going.

From her parking spot, she could see in all directions. She noticed a truck pull up to the train track that went through Main Street just as the light turned to warn that a train was coming. She knew that truck and also knew she couldn’t wait for the kids. She backed out and left. She would go home. Yes…She would have to leave the children and go home.

Annie knew what was happening and made the decision to stay where she was. She would stay with the old woman and somehow, make sure she would be found in the event she was able to hide out somewhere.

It was a very long train, and by the time Brad and Mark were able to cross the tracks, the old woman was long gone.


“Grandma is gone!” Jake began to cry. “How will we get home, Katie? Grandma left us.”






Murdo Girl…Listen here

Do you have a minute? That’s all I’ll take today.

I have a problem with myself that just won’t go away.

I’ll give you an example. See, this is how it goes.

I need some information so I ask someone who knows.


My hitch is in the listening. It’s something I can’t do.

If you ask me what they said, I won’t have a clue.

My mind wanders off and as I wait for it’s return

I forget to listen…and therefore I don’t learn.


It isn’t that I intend not to give my full attention.

I know it makes me look as if I’m in the fourth dimension

I’ve often been told that I’m a little too intense

And if I think about it, that makes a little sense.

I’ve searched for remedies and I’ve even tried a few.

I hate to report there has been no big breakthrough.


I tried meditation and it just put me to sleep

If I journal my thoughts, I only laugh or weep.

I drank mocha latte’s and took a yoga class.

Nothing seems to help. I’m at a huge impasse.

My reason for sharing this isn’t too obscure

I’m hoping against hope that someone knows the cure.


One Week Later

I think I found the answer and it’s in a little bean

I can’t listen long when I’ve had too much caffeine.


Murdo Girl…What is the plan?

“So we know that the kidnapper was a woman, but that’s about all we know,” the Sheriff said. “We don’t know if she knew the kids, or since Katie was half asleep and no one heard the woman in Jake’s room, we don’t know if either of them recognized her.”

“Wouldn’t it seem that she had to be somewhat familiar with the house to know where the kid’s rooms were?” Dina asked.

The Sheriff pondered that for a minute.

“You mentioned you had a rodeo here, yesterday. How well do you know all of the people that attended?” Sheriff Thompson was still taking notes.

“No one but Brad has lived here a year yet,” Miss Bessie said. “Brad has owned the ranch for twenty years, but up until recently he hasn’t socialized much. If any of us know the neighboring ranchers at all, it would have to be a new acquaintance.”

The Sheriff was getting up to leave when Steve and Tom walked in. Tom said he had an airplane to catch and excused himself. Steve was interested in talking with the Sheriff.

“Please sit down, Sheriff Thompson,” Steve said. “I don’t know if this will help you much, but we know of one place that woman and the kids stopped. It’s a house that Dina and I owned seven years ago. Its about five miles from here. By the time Tom and I got there she and the kids were gone.”

“How do you know they were even there?” Sheriff Thompson asked.

“Inside the house sitting by the front door, there was a picnic basket packed with fresh food. At the very bottom of the basket was a pink hair ribbon.”

“Oh, Steve,” Dina said. “It was Katie’s wasn’t it? We didn’t take it out and brush her hair like we usually do because she was so tired from the rodeo. She must have put it in the basket hoping we would find it.”

“Any ideas about where they may have gone from there?” The Sheriff asked.

“None at all,” Steve answered. “I’m just hoping that Arf and Annie are still keeping them in their sights and will take a safe opportunity to get them away from whoever she is.”



Annie: I’d give my right paw for some water right now. Where do you think she’s taking Katie and Jake and why did she kidnap them in the first place?”

Arf: It beats me. It looks like she’s going towards town, though. I hope she is, it will be easier for us to call attention to ourselves and get the kids away from her. Let’s look around the back of this truck and see if we can get any clues that might tell us who she is.

Annie: Be careful, Arf. If she sees us, she might panic and hurt the kids.

Arf: Yup, I know. All I can see back here is an open toolbox. It has some tools like Steve uses in it. He’s a handy human. I don’t think she’s a handy human do you? Wait…there’s a locked file box back here, too.

Annie: I don’t see a suitcase anywhere unless it’s up in the cab. You would think she would have packed some things if she plans to spend the night somewhere. Uh Oh, she pulled over. If she comes back here and sees us, shall we corner her?

Arf: Not if we don’t have to. We don’t know how far we are from town and this is an old country road. It could be a long time before anyone comes along. We’ll just have to play dumb if she sees us.

Brad and Mark had been to every ranch they knew about and no one knew anything about the kids. or the woman.

“Should we go back to the house?” Mark asked. “Maybe they’ve heard something.”

“I can’t go back and tell Jamie we couldn’t find little Jake and Katie. We can’t leave any stone unturned. Let’s drive into town and check around. We can call the ranch from there.”

“Okay, sounds good,” Mark said. “Its not that far and we can take the shortcut.”

The woman got out of the truck, but didn’t look in the back where Arf and Annie were. She had spotted a little roadside park and she felt the need to get out and walk.

“Come on kids. Grandma wants you to get out and go for a walk in the park with me. I’m feeling a little light headed. I guess I should have gone back to get the picnic basket. We’ll just enjoy the fresh air for a few minutes and then drive on into town and find us something good to eat.”

wp-15976301933275795755080997736632.jpg Arf and Annie spotted a little water fountain. They were too thirsty not to take the chance they could steel a drink without the woman seeing them. They couldn’t let the kids see them either. They would tell the woman and it wasn’t a good time to show themselves if they didn’t have to. That would put them in a position to keep her from taking off with the kids for who knows where.

Katie and Jake were starting to get homesick. They didn’t know this grandma and they decided she should take them home. She could stay and visit if she wanted to. They would tell her right after they got something to eat in town. Yes…that was a good idea.



Brad and Mark were just a few miles from town when they saw an old truck sitting on the side of the road.

“Someone’s truck must have broken down,” Mark said. “Funny…you don’t usually see anyone on this road. Most people don’t know about it. Whoever was driving that truck was lucky someone came along to give them a lift…unless they walked all the way. Keep your eye out for someone walking to town.”

Brad and Mark didn’t see the park where Jake, Katie, and the woman who took them from their beds were about to return to the truck.

Murdo Girl…How could this happen?

The morning after the rodeo at the ranch, as each member of the household woke up, they thought about what a fun day it had been. There was a good turnout from the neighboring ranches and everyone enjoyed the activities, the delicious food, and getting to know each other a little better.Little Jake’s room was next to Jamie and Brad’s room, and there was an adjoining door that Jamie used to check on Jake or go to him if he had a bad dream. This particular morning, she woke up later than usual. She assumed Jake was still sleeping, but when she entered his room, she discovered he wasn’t in his bed. Thinking he must have gone downstairs by himself, Jamie and Brad rushed to the kitchen to see if Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen had seen him.As they searched, it became increasingly apparent that Jake was gone…and so was Katie.Arf and Annie had followed a truck they saw leave the ranch, to a house they recognized as being the one belonging to Steve and Dina when they were first married. They had lived there until after Katie was born and for a while after Dina left the family. She left because she was very sick and didn’t want to subject Steve to having to take care of her. He was doing well with Katie who was unable to walk and that was enough. Dina came back six years later.***********************************wp-15974607514144629219915807376332.jpgArf and Annie decided to jump into the back of the truck in case whoever had the kids decided to leave again. From that vantage point, they could see through a window, until someone came and closed the curtains. That someone was a woman.Arf: Did you see Jake and Katie, Annie?Annie: Yes…they were sitting at a table. Have you ever seen that woman before, Arf?Arf: No. I don’t know who she is.************************************Dina and Jamie paced the floors until the Sheriff got there and started to question everyone.While all of this was going on, Miss Bessie went to help Barbie. She wasn’t quite used to the house and needed someone to help her find her way.”I see you’re all dressed and ready to go downstairs. You look lovely dear.””Thank Miss Bessie. I can do everything for myself except find my way around this rather large house.”There is something I need to tell you,” Miss Bessie said. “Little Jake and Katie are missing. They weren’t in their rooms this morning when their mothers went to check on them. The sheriff is here now questioning everyone.””Take me to him,” Barbie said. “I may be able to help. Tom hasn’t left for the airport has he?”wp-15928607178757756344248313167574.jpg“No, dear. He went with the other men to search for the kids. What if someone has taken them? I can’t believe they would run away. Besides, it’s too far to walk anywhere.”When they got to the kitchen, the Sheriff was questioning Grandma Helen who was sobbing so loudly he couldn’t hear a word she said.”Jamie…can you come here?” Barbie felt around and grabbed onto the back of a chair and pulled it out to sit on.”What is it, Barbie?” Jamie asked as she took the chair next to her new sister-in-law. “I’m trying to catch every word being said. I feel so helpless.””Bring the Sheriff to me, Jamie. I’m not sure, but I might be of some help.””It’s nice to meet you, Sheriff Thomas,” Barbie said. “I’ll get right to the point. I lost my sight in a fire twenty years ago and since that time, my other senses have become stronger. I heard something in the night, but not being used to this household, I didn’t think much about it until Miss Bessie told me the kids were missing.””Go on, Miss Humboldt,” the Sheriff said.”Katie’s room is across from mine and I think two doors to my left. In other words, if I were to stand in my doorway and walked across the hall, I would turn to my left and go down two doors and that would be katie’s room.”0703maison24“I have no idea what time it was, but I thought I heard a door creak? Does Katie’s door creak?””Yes!” Dina said.! “Yes, it does. I’ve been trying to get Steve to fix it.”Barbie thought for a moment before she continued.”I heard a woman’s voice. She was talking in a loud whisper, so even if I knew her, I probably wouldn’t have recognized her voice.””Anyway, I heard her say, ‘Wake up honey. I brought you some cough syrup. You were coughing in your sleep. That’s a good girl. Now before you fall asleep again, get up and come with me so I can keep an eye on you.’ And then I heard them leave the room. I never did hear Katie say anything. I just assumed it was you, Dina and you were taking Katie to your room.”The Sheriff had been taking notes and when he looked up, everyone could tell he was happy to get the information, but at the same time, he was hoping for more.The guys had all split up and gone to the different ranch houses to ask if anyone had seen the kids and when the answer was no, as it had been so far, they asked the families if they would keep an eye out for them.Around two in the afternoon, Steve and Tom pulled up to a place Steve recognized.”Dina and I lived here a lifetime ago,” he told Tom. “A month ago, a man and his wife were living here, but I don’t see any signs that anyone lives here now.””Let’s go knock on the door and if no one answers, I’ll get us in. In my work as a firefighter, I have to know how to get into the securest of places.”************************************Arf and Annie were still hidden in the back of the truck when a woman came out with Katie and Jake.”I didn’t know I had another grandma,” Katie said. “Are you sure it’s okay for us to go on a picnic with you, today?””I don’t want to go,” Jake said. He was tired and very close to crying. “I want to go home to my mommy and daddy and take a nap.”“We won’t be late getting you back home,” the woman said. “I just love having grandchildren and I want to spoil you.”Arf: What do you think is going on, Annie?Annie: I’m trying to figure it out. I don’t think she is anybody’s grandma do you?Arf: No, but we have to come up with a plan. We have to get the kids away from her without giving her a chance to hurt them.Annie: Whatever we do, it will have to be at the next stop. She’s backing out.”Grandma,” Jake said. “You left the picnic basket inside.”“We’ll get another one. I wanted to put more candy in it anyway.”When Steve and Tom got into the house, they first thought it had been a while since anyone had occupied it…until they spotted the picnic basket.

Murdo Girl…It was nothing

Since Lav was unable to snag anymore interviews after Venus, she decided to rise above the flack and find a place where she could be queen all by herself. She’s had it pretty tough having to share her crown with Queen E or Murdo Girl. A change of scenery might be nice.

wp-15971154871351350301606158920395.jpg MG sees her: Hey!!! That looks like all kinds of fun. I’ve had enough stayca, I could use a little vayca.

MG: Hey Lav! Land that thing. I want to go.

wp-15973526940333369131232423026018.jpgMG: Where did you get this, Lav? I love it!

Lav: I picked it up at the Goodwill store. It was next to nothing.

MG: Do you know how many miles it has on it? It seems to ride pretty good. What’s it got under the hood?

Lav: I got it at the Goodwill store. It was next to nothing. I haven’t had to put any gas in it, yet. All I have to do is keep this burner back here going and steer it.

MG: Where are we going? I’m hungry.

Lav: I hope you’ve got some lunch money. I had next to nothing and I spent it on this air vehicle.

MG: Don’t worry, Lav. I’ll think of something. I have a lot of tinfoil on this crown. Cafes use a lot of tinfoil don’t they? So land this thing.

Lav: Land? I’m not sure this thing floats.


MG: Yikes! Steer it back to land, Lav.

Lav: Do you see a steering wheel around here?

MG: Look! There’s a plane…There’s a plane. HELP! HELP!


Windy: Do you see those two up there? They must be crazy. Don’t make eye contact.

This video doesn’t exist

Airy: I used to have one of those air vehicles. I took it to the Goodwill store. It was probably next to nothing.

Windy: Nothing?

Airy: Yeah, that nothing steering wheel. It didn’t work.

Arf: Come on! Quit messing around. I’ve got to find those kids!


Murdo Girl…Old people are funny

Yesterday, we celebrated Kip’s birthday. We got to see and talk to all of our kids, grand kids, great grand kids, and one of Kip’s sisters via a zoom call. I highly recommend doing that during this time of social distancing. We’ll do it again even when things get better. It’s not often that we can all be together and everyone really enjoyed it. Our daughter, Heidi captured some of us in this picture. I wish we would have thought to take several so we’d have some with everyone in them.


Later, I started to write a poem, but didn’t have time to finish it. It began…Birthdays get old sometimes or maybe its just me. I’ll finish it later, but it reminded me of this one.

 Old People are Funny…by Mary Francis McNinch

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

They forget to remember, but remember to forget.

Now what was I just saying? Oh yes, I’m not that old.

I’m always far too hot, when the old folks are too cold.

I admit I sometimes have a little trouble with my thinker.

I’m hoping I last longer than the bulb in my left blinker.

If my hair gets any thinner it will look like some old geezer’s.

Each day I pluck the long hairs from my chin with eyebrow tweezers.

The feet I used to run with are now busy growing bunions.

My acid reflux keeps me eating Tums instead of onions.

When I get my bags out to pack for a vacation,

my clothes go in the smallest and in the big bag…medication.

My friends and I agree the latest fashions don’t excite us,

but Katy bar the door if there’s a new cure for arthritis.

It saddens me that I can’t sing and dance much anymore.

My kids say, “Don’t worry mom you never could before.”

I guess it won’t be long now til I’m forced to face the truth.

I heard my Dentist say I’m getting longer in the tooth.

Even though most people call me ma’am instead of honey,

I’m not considered old yet cause I’m really not that funny.


P.S. When someday I am faced with things yet unforeseen,

I’ll hold my double chin up and remember I’m a queen.

Murdo Girl…A very long day

Clark would be starting school the following week, and Jamie and Brad wanted to be there to support him until he felt comfortable, no matter how long it took. Any plans for a honeymoon were put off for the time being.

Mark had planned a mini rodeo at the ranch, and the whole family was looking forward to it. Almost everyone participating was a novice, so Jamie decided to sign up for the barrel racing event. Brad worked with her and she was getting better every day.

Everyone from the neighboring ranches would be there. All of the ladies would bring mountains of food to add to the fried chicken, potato salad, and pies, Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen were preparing.

There was at least one activity for every age group and even some calf roping for the more experienced cowboys.

At the end of the day, There would be a special performance by Clark and Katie. Mr. and Mrs. Langford had choreographed a regular hoedown and they were all working hard to make it a spectacular event. They would be performing under the stars on an amazing stage. It was the surprise Brad had promised them and they were thrilled. Brad had also planned another surprise and he was hoping it would work out.

Mr. Langford would be playing the piano and Mrs. Langford brushed up on her harmonica skills. It would be a night to be remembered.

Mark and Steve decorated ten little wagons and made a choo choo train for the kids Jake’s age. He had already tried it several times. The only way he would agree to get out of the wagon was to let him take a turn on the pony ride.

Arf: Annie and I weren’t quite sure what dogs do at a rodeo, so we planned to watch it and kind of guard things. I mean, we were just fine with that. We were better than fine. We were a’okay.

Annie: Earth to Arf. Your dog-talking to yourself again. What has you so upset?

Arf: I’m nervous about this rodeo thing. There will be a lot of people and animals we don’t know around here. We’re going to have to be very vigilant.

Annie: I’m pretty sure they only invited nice people who won’t try to kidnap anyone or steal valuables.

Arf: Now why did you have to go and say that? I hadn’t even thought about those things. Now I’m really nervous.

They had reason to suspect something was up…but it wasn’t what they thought it was.

Meet the rodeo clowns

The day was action packed and that evening Clark and Katie put on an amazing show at sunset.

They all went to bed tired but happy. It wasn’t until the next morning that the nightmare started.

“Jake was a tired little boy. He’s really sleeping in this morning,” Jamie said as she went into the adjacent room to check on him. “Brad, Jake’s not in his bed. You don’t suppose he went downstairs to the kitchen all by himself do you?”

“He must have. Where else would he be?”

They ran downstairs as fast as they could. Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen were in the kitchen having coffee, but Jake was nowhere to be found.

A few minutes later, Dina walked in and asked if anyone had seen Katie.

Clark came in and when he saw how panicked everyone was, he asked what was going on.

“Jake and Katie are missing,” Dina said. “How could this happen? Where could they possibly be?”

“Wherever they are, Arf and Annie must be on their trail, because they aren’t anywhere around here either.

Clark ran out the door. Steve and Brad were right behind him.

“You all stay here in case someone calls or they come home,” Brad told everyone else. “We’ll grab Mark and look for them anywhere they might be on the ranch….And Jamie…call the Sheriff.”

Annie: Can you see them Arf? Are they okay?


Arf: They’re getting out of that truck and going into the house. Let’s get closer so we can see what’s going on.

I’ve been to this house before when we were looking for Dina. Remember when she sprained her foot?

Annie: I know, I’ve been here, too. I was with Steve when he came to see some human that I don’t know. I do know one thing, though. This is the house where Steve and Dina lived when Katie was born. I’m getting to understand Steve-talk pretty good.

Arf: Let’s hide in the back of the truck. If they leave here we won’t have to chase them.


Annie: Good idea. I can’t see through the window. I hope they’re okay.

Just then someone came to the window and pulled the curtains shut. It was a woman.

Murdo Girl…Lav snags an interview with Venus

“Hi everyone. Remember me? It’s me…Venus! I’m the laughter yoga coach but I haven’t been laughing much, lately. I mostly cook and eat. It’s a good thing my cousin, Lav gave me this one size fits all apron. It’s reversible.”


“It’s just as ugly on the other side. I only wear it when she’s coming over. She was desperate to snag an interview so I told her to come on over to my cottage and I would give her candid answers to her provocative questions.”

“I hear a knock at the door.”



This video doesn’t exist

“Come on in, Lav.”


“Gee MG…how did you know it was me?”

“I recognized the knock. You must remember, Lav, when my hair is blond and I’m laughing, I’m Venus.”

“Gee Venus, you look like you’ve put on a few elbees (lbs). Are you going to a reunion? I smell cookies.”

“Don’t you think we should get started with the interview, Lav? Ask me a provocative question.”

“When are those cookies going to be done?”

“Come on, Lav…ask me about how I keep my skin looking so young and beautiful.”

“Yikes! Shouldn’t you be wearing a mask, MG?”


“I’M V-E-N-U-S, Lav. I lost my job and I can’t afford to buy that good but outrageously expensive makeup, anymore.”

“What are you talking about, MG, I mean V-E-N-U-S? Remember? You never had a job and no one would pay for laughter yoga! Look at me…I already know how to laugh.”

“Ask me a different provocative question.”

“Mind if I ask you something personal?”


“When was the last time you cleaned this place? It looks like a rabbit factory.”



“If I give you some cookies will you wrap this up and go?”

“Works for me!”

Don’t worry…Annie and I are coming back…Soon…real soon!

Murdo Girl…We do

“It’s getting late,” Jamie said as they pulled up to the ranch. They had left Brad’s truck at the farm and were driving Jamie’s Jeep because Jake’s things were already packed inside and of course they wanted to be together. “Do you think we should wait until tomorrow to tell them we’re getting married?”

“It’s your call,” Brad said. “But we’re obviously going to be telling them the good news about Jake and I would really like them to know that after we’re married, I will officially become his father. You do want to go through the process of making me his adoptive father don’t you?”

“Of course I do. We’ll go through the challenges of parenthood together. Jake is sound asleep. Poor little guy. This has been a big day for him and although he knows and trusts me, he has to be somewhat confused.

Just look at those two. He and Arf are both sound asleep.”


They pulled up to the ranch and Brad asked Jamie if he could carry the sleeping little boy inside.

“Of course you can. My room has a couch that makes into a bed. He can sleep there tonight. If he stays asleep, lets take him up there, now. Mother can watch him while we wake up the whole household to tell them our wonderful news.”

The next few days were a flurry of excitement. Brad and Jamie decided to have the wedding at the ranch. It was the beginning of a beautiful autumn, so they looked for a suitable place where they could have the ceremony outside. Katie and Arf showed them where their special tree was and they decided it was the perfect spot.



Everyone made a fuss over Jake and he loved every minute of it. He had been through an extremely tough time. A time no little four year old should have to experience. Jamie loved seeing the constant frown he usually wore, slowly leave and be replaced with the sweetest smile she had ever seen. She felt a complete and utter attachment to him and she knew Brad did, too.

On the eve of their wedding, Jamie finally sat Brad down and told him Jake’s story.

“I actually came to know him through Dr. Adams. He’s a children’s advocate and had been assigned to Jake’s case. He spent a lot of time with Jake and often brought him to the clinic.

Jake has been in foster care off and on since he was an infant. His mother was a very troubled teenager and was never able to give him a good home. It wasn’t completely her fault. She had no family support. She wanted to do teenage things and wasn’t interested in being Jake’s mother. She relinquished her parental rights a year ago.

Dr. Adams could see that I was becoming attached to the precious little boy and he was becoming attached to me. One day he told me that Jake was going to be moved to yet another foster home. There were no homes in this area with space for him, so they had been looking at other places. They felt it might be a good thing because if he were in a larger city, Jake would probably be adopted out immediately.

I couldn’t bear the thought of his leaving. In fact, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be his mother. I also knew that as a single woman, my chances were extremely slim… but I pursued it anyway.

I was going through rigorous interviews and inspections when mother had her stroke. I just knew that would be the end of my dream to be Jake’s mom.

As it happened, they had already inspected the farm. Remember, I was living there full-time before Mom’s stroke. The other thing in my favor was a promising future as a veterinarian and even if I didn’t get through my last two years immediately, Dr. Adams guaranteed that I would have a job at the clinic with enough income to support Jake and me.

Even with that, the answer continued to be no. Then several days ago, I got a call from CPS. They asked me how soon I could be ready to adopt Jake.

Of course I told them I could complete the adoption immediately. I still can’t believe he’s really mine…ours. Everything feels so right, Brad. Do you feel that way, too?”

“Come with me,” he said. “I want to show you something. Jake is in the kitchen with Miss Bessie. Let’s go get him and bring him with us.”

Arf: The little guy hasn’t let me out of his sight since he got to the ranch and he wanted me to go with them…wherever they were going. We drove until we got to a beautiful meadow about five miles from the ranch house. Brad stopped the truck and got out. He opened the passenger door for Jamie and got Jake out of his car seat which was in the back by me. I wondered why we had stopped. There was nothing there. I could tell Jamie was wondering, too, but I didn’t care anymore because Jake started throwing the frisbee to me.

“My beautiful, wonderful, Jamie,” Brad said as he took both of her hands in his. “I’ve been thinking about something ever since we decided to get married. What do you think about us building our own home on this land? We would still spend a lot of time at the ranch of course. Our family lives there. I just keep thinking it would be good for Jake to grow up in a home with just the three of us.”

“No…” Jamie said.

To say Brad looked surprised would be an understatement.

“Did you say no?”

“I grew up an only child with parents that cared more about traveling than spending time with their daughter. I’ve just started to get to know them and I’ve discovered they’re really fun, warm-hearted people. I want Jake to grow up sneaking cookies from Grandma Helen and Miss Bessie in the kitchen, learning how to throw a rope from Mark, and sing, dance and play the guitar with Katie and Clark. My parents can dote on him and you and I will just have to get used to being the adults in his life. In other words, I want him to enjoy the loving family we’ve all been blessed with. And Brad…he would never want to leave Arf and Annie. Just look at him playing with Arf.”

“What do you say, Brad?”

“Amen… Let’s go home. Someone told me tomorrow is our wedding day.”



Clark played his guitar and Katie sang the wedding song.


Arf managed to keep his boutonniere in place and Annie’s crown of flowers stayed on her head the entire day. To all who witnessed the marriage of Brad and Jamie, it appeared they were going to have a beautiful life together.