Murdo Girl…The ties that bind

God blessed me with the ties that bind . They are the strong resilient kind.

I look around me and I see the earthly love He’s given me.

You might think that I forgot those gone from where they once were sought.

I close my eyes and see the faces of those close by and faraway places.

The ties that tug at my heart strings, are sometimes found in little things.

An old letter, picture, or special scent can bring the past into the present.

Some ties that bind take time to form… first brittle and cold then soft and warm.

The small town where I became…who I am still feels the same.

Good memories bind me to that place. Sad ones have left without a trace.

Ties bind me to where I’m now living. Special friendships, loyal and giving.

My friends know without a doubt. They’re ones I deeply care about.

But family ties are strong and close. I feel their Joys and pain the most.

Above all else the ties that bind me when I’m lost know where to find me.

Ties forever with grace and love come to me from up above.

Murdo Girl…Our magical Christmas

The magical Christmas I describe in the poem is one of many I experienced as a child growing up in the small town of Murdo, South Dakota. My family, including aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, gathered together each year to celebrate the traditions of Our magical Christmas Eve.

I hope you will all be blessed this Christmas with the magic inspired by the birth of Jesus all those years ago.

Murdo Girl…The Christmas puppy



I’m a sad little homeless puppy. I named myself Jerome.

I’m in a big store waiting for someone to give me a home.

I’m sitting here in the window. I know I’m not very obscure.

I don’t know why kids don’t like me, or how I got here for sure.

A child asked Santa for a puppy. She couldn’t make up her mind.

That’s why I’m so many colors. I guess I’m one of a kind.

She asked for a puppy with short ears, long legs and a tiny head.

It’s clear the elves didn’t listen, because they made me instead.


I know I’m not what she asked for. She didn’t want a puppy that smiled.

I hope somebody will see me, and buy me for some other child.

I promise I’ll never make messes. I’ll never chew up your socks.

I won’t bark at the doorbell, and you won’t have to take me on walks.

It doesn’t cost money to feed me. I won’t ever lick your face.

I live on hugs and affection, and you can take me anyplace.


I see all the children pass by me. They won’t even give me a look.

They say they want a real puppy. Well, I’m pretty real in my book.

I wish Santa would tell me.. the where, the why, and what for.

Shouldn’t I be in a window, where toys are and not a pet store?


If you’re buying your kids that bicycle..The one with the shiny chrome.

It’s okay if I’m stuffed in a stocking. I’m Jerome and I sure need a home.

Remember all the animals.. The many who need your help.

A dollar or two makes a difference. Find Joy in the giving..”Yelp! Yelp!”

Murdo Girl…The self-anointed Queen

She calls herself a Queen, though they’re rarely self appointed. She thinks that when you meet her you won’t be disappointed.

She has costume crowns galore and wears them everywhere. She doesn’t know the reason all her people stop and stare.

She thinks her subjects are impressed by her regal ways. She doesn’t see their eyes are covered over with a glaze.

Her attire always sparkles from her head down to her toes. Even in a darkened room she absolutely glows.

Her heroine has always been the fashionable Queen Liz. I think she knows Queen E is even older than she is.

forgot my pompoms

Lav has stood beside her through all the thick and thinning. They’re longer in the tooth now and the thick is clearly winning.

They only ask one thing in life, but it could be a hurdle. They want to ride one more time down the streets of Murdo.

They’re busy getting ready to wave at all their fans. They work out every day stretching rubber bands.

She ain’t heavy, she’s my cousin.
“I dropped my camera!”

MG said to tell you if you want to catch her eye, just remember she’s a Queen and wave as she goes by.

My sister-in-law, Liz Francis, and my niece, Erin Francis, saw this awesome t-shirt and thought of me…You’re both royalty in my book.


Murdo Girl… I am, by Judy Dykstra-Brown

I really enjoyed reading this piece written by a friend and accomplished writer who also grew up in Murdo, SD. I learned Judy Dykstra-Brown had a blog called Lifelessons, after I began blogging my stories about growing up in Murdo.

Judy’s blog covers a wide variety of subjects. I could certainly learn from her about organization. She has also written several books. If you haven’t already read Judy’s work, you’re about to discover what a talented writer she is.


Murdo Girl…Wrapping it up

Traveling full time would get my vote, but a month on the road is all she wrote.

There’s still so much out there to see and do, and new adventures to wake up to.

God’s country has so much to explore. Each day is different from the one before.

We have an old RV and a Jeep to tow. Our 3 dogs and the cat all get to go.

And no matter where we roam, we have all the comforts of home.

When we need more supplies we can always venture, to the nearest Walmart Super Center.

We wear a mask and social distance and use sanitizer with much persistence.

During the day we’re usually outside. We let science and sense be our guide.

We have noticed something, we’re sad to say…when people throw their masks away,

They often throw them on the ground like cigarette butts, they’re all around.

Forgive me …for I digress. Our trip has been a great success.

We had a good time…the pets, Kip and me. Thanks for coming with us, albeit, virtually.

Last 3 pictures were taken between Socorro snd Roswell, NM

Murdo Girl…Petrified tree rocks

I guess you could consider this an epilogue to our big rock viewing adventure.

Another rock sighting with See Ya

We took highway 40 from Flagstaff yesterday and then dropped down to 180 at Holbrook. When we saw a sign that said the Petrified Forest National Park was only two miles off the highway we decided to go for it. As my Aunt Ella would say. “We made the right decision.”

The photos I took don’t do these beautiful petrified trees in the Crystal Forest justice. The forest ranger told us that contrary to popular belief, very few of the fallen trees had been taken or stolen. You will notice that it looks like some of them have been cut into perfect sections. The question was, “Who cut them?” The answer was, “No one.” They break into perfect pieces when they fall.

My photos don’t adequately show the variety of beautiful colors in the sparkling interiors.

The forest stretches between highway 40 and 180. Kip and I only saw the quarter mile trail that we walked, but what we saw was awesome.

I had to put this one in

We spent the night in a little town by the name of Springerville and woke up to much warmer temperatures. Turns out from 6 to 16 doesn’t make much difference. It’s times like these that our dogs wish they were Dollie and wouldn’t have to venture outside.

Everybody has a recliner but Kip and MG

We’re in New Mexico now and our goal is to make it into Texas before the end of the day. We might make it if we don’t come upon some interesting rocks.

No rocks yet, but we just passed through Pie Town without stopping.

Murdo Girl…The rock finale

We ended our rock viewing marathon on a high note. You can’t get much better than the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. We’ve actually been to the west and the north sides, as well and this was our second time here.

We woke up to a daunting 19 degrees this morning, but we loaded the dogs up in the Jeep, and hoped for the best. The wind didn’t blow and the sun was out some of the day, so we ended up enjoying ourselves.

I took these pictures on the drive to the park. You will notice we got a little skiff of snow in some places.

Someone made a snowman
We found a great place for the dogs to play.

The Grand Canyon…

We had some tired puppy dogs when we got home.

It’s an extraordinary experience to walk up a sidewalk and suddenly, these breathtaking scenes come into view. Humans have not touched these huge rocks. We only get to look at them.

Murdo Girl…Jerome

We got up early this morning, but we moved slowly. When one of the dogs, or all three tell us they need to go out, we both hope the other one feels generous that morning. We also realize that the poor things can’t wait forever. They had to wait a little longer than usual today because the frost was killing the pumpkin. In the end, Kip took Lilie Dale out and I took Pattie and Sammie.

We did make it to Jerome this morning. As we drove to the town that was a copper mining town from 1876 until it finally closed down for good in 1953, we were amazed by how steep the mountain is that Jerome was built on. I’ve never seen anything like it. Houses appeared to be hanging on a very steep slope.

The picture below was taken on the way up.

Kip went through the mansion that James Douglas built above his Little Daisy Mine in 1916. It’s now a museum dedicated to the Jerome area and the Douglas family. Kip learned that it had a billiard room, marble shower, steam heat and even a built in vacuum system. It was built of adobe bricks that were made on site. He really enjoyed the movie they showed and the other historical displays. I stayed in the car with the dogs because I wanted to call Gus and see how he was doing.

The Douglas Mansion

After leaving Jerome, we stopped in Cottonwood and had a fabulous lunch at Jack in the box. Actually, we ordered at the window and ate in the car. They have yummy salted caramel iced coffees so I was happy.

Next, we stopped at a big field where Camp Verde is building a sports complex and let the dogs run free of leashes. Lilie especially loves to run. For a thirteen year old dog she is incredibly strong.

We had great day. When we got back, I took a few pictures of Distant Drums RV Park. Tomorrow, we’re going to drive the short distance to Flagstaff and spend two nights there. Monday, we’ll drive to the Grand Canyon, and then start making our way back home on Tuesday.

Our window coverings look green, but they’re beige.
It was foggy this morning
The doggy park
Poor Dollie stays by herself all day so I try to give her extra attention at night.

Murdo Girl…Sedona

It still feels surreal to me that we can ride all day in this house on wheels, park it somewhere that night, hook it up to water and electricity, put the slides out and it turns into our home. I love traveling this way for several reasons.

We can take all of our animals with us. There would be no way we could or would be gone this long without them. It’s also really nice to have your own things around you.

We still have to cook some, clean some, and do laundry. Yesterday. I made banana bread and ham and bean soup.

It was all good

This morning, Kip took the Jeep to a carwash and detailed it while I cleaned house. This afternoon, we drove to Sedona, an artsy town in a beautiful setting. Just before you get there you drop down into a canyon and begin to see these incredible rock formations. Some of them have names. None are named nor do they look like Abe Lincoln, however one does resemble Snoopy lying down.

I found this picture on the internet
I took this picture but now that I look at it, I don’t think it’s Snoopy.
This one is called the Courthouse

I didn’t get very many or very good pictures of the downtown area. It has lots of expensive boutiques and hotels. There are also a lot of places to rent four wheelers and Jeeps to get around in. The hills are steep and there are many trails to explore.

Today was overcast and on the chilly side. Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and sunny. We’re going to try to get an early start and go to the ghost town built on a hill. The name of the town is Jerome and I hear lots of ghosts still visit the place. We were there four years ago, but there was a lot we didn’t see.

I hope you all have a great weekend.