Murdo Girl…How would you like to be more like your parents? How would you like to be different?

By Lav and MG…


What is one way you’d like to be more like your parents?

My parents, Ella and Al were wonderful parents. They had both lived through some tough times:  the Great Depression and World War II.  They showed me the right kind of person to be as I was growing up, by example, by how they reacted or acted through their lives. I learned from how they lived their lives.

That’s how I wish I could be more like them. Not preaching or talking about how a caring, kind, and productive human should be, but showing it through every day life.

Even if they were both tired after work – my Dad working in a machine shop in Pennsylvania or working all day at SANDERSON’S store in Murdo, SD- my Mom cleaning and doing laundry or working at a cafeteria restaurant in Orange County, California- they would get busy at dinner time fixing a good hot meal, set the table, gather us around and we would sit down for dinner together at the dinner table talking about the day’s events each of us had.

I can’t think of a better way to be.

Ella and AL Leckey

What is one way you’d like to be different from your parents?

I can’t think of any way I would like to be different except maybe not smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol like my Dad did for years. It’s important to be healthy.

It’s strange how we strive to become our own independent humans separate from our parents. Then when they’re gone, we wish they were still here to help us, to give us advice and to be nearby. I miss them each day. I do hear them sometimes talking to me and I remember what they taught me, with their loving, gentle guidance.


How I would like to be more like my parents.

I could write forever on this subject. As far as Mom is concerned. I love the fact that she was her own person from a very young age. She had two older brothers, two older sisters, and one sister six years younger. While her sisters were all prim and proper and helped Grandma with the cooking and cleaning, Mom preferred to stay outside and do chores with her brothers. I have a picture of Mom with her sisters, and the sisters all have on dresses. Mom is wearing coveralls and you can barely see her face because of her big black hat. She told me once that she was riding her horse when something happened and she fell off. She was by herself, so she thought it important that she let everyone know that she was hurt. The only problem was that she couldn’t keep crying until she got home so she didn’t get much sympathy. I think I asked her once why she never cried and she told me that story. Anyway, I think I have just described how I would like to be more like my mother. She had what she used to call, “skin on her nose.” She wasn’t afraid of anything and in later years became quite the entrepreneur.

Dad was highly intelligent. I was unfortunate enough to have the same science teacher in school as Dad did when he was the same age. Only in a small town would that happen. I hated science. Mrs. Lathrope would say, “I don’t understand it. Your father was brilliant in science. Dad quoted Shakespeare and all kinds of poetry. He had an amazing sense of humor. My brother and I were talking about him on the phone, tonight, and we were laughing at all the Dad stories. I think I inherited some of his humor, but he was much more intelligent and he had such a quick wit. My older brother, Billy, took more than his share of the brains.

How would I like to be different…or how am I different?

Mom loved the dog she and Gus had. His name was Trouble. Dad loved our dog, Berferd, who was born in our front closet and continued to sleep there. Dad’s chair backed the closet wall and he would say, “Berferd!” Berferd would wag his tail, thumping it against the wall behind Dad’s chair. That made Dad laugh. Also, Berferd was running around uptown in Murdo when a winter storm hit. The person working at my uncle’s store (Sanderson’s), let him in. Berferd spent the night there and helped himself to the most expensive dog food they had. Dad went to pick him up the next day, and came home complaining about the cost of the dogfood Berferd had consumed.

As much as Dad, Mom and Gus loved their dogs, they didn’t have 17 of them. Kip and I have been blessed with some special dogs throughout the 41 years we’ve been married. I’m a dyed in the wool dog lover. Although my brother had a cat, Yappy, I wasn’t into cats that much until Dollie adopted us. She has been a very important part of the family for almost 15 years.

This has been fun to think about and write about. I could tell stories forever, which is definitely something I inherited. Billy did, too.

Those 70ish girls…I laughed until I cried and I cried until I laughed

LAV:  When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
I probably have laughed a lot in my 70ish lifetime. The one time that I recall laughing and laughing and crying  hilariously was recently in South Dakota at the Martin Mason Hotel in Deadwood where my cousin Mary was my roomie in our sweet suite Cousin Blake gave us for three nights.
Mary started an impromptu video idea. She thought it all out, told me what to say and how to set up the short video. “Let’s do it!” she said. She did a pantomime of her Mom, a real character  (my Aunt Loretta) combined with another of our dear Aunt Elna. She played both parts. As I was Filming the video of Mary as Aunt Loretta smoking then hiding her cigarette in her purse, so her Dad – our straight as an arrow Grandpa Sanderson who didn’t know Loretta smoked- wouldn’t see her smoking as he came up the sidewalk, I started giggling. Then I cut over to Mary as Aunt Elna laughing and slapping her leg with Mary overdoing it but using the perfect ad lib for both characters. I lost it. I laughed so much I thought I would pee. Tears came to my eyes. It was so funny yet sentimental and I almost heard Elna’s infectious laugh and saw her face crinkle up. I could see Mary as Loretta puffing away as I panned back to Mary playing Loretta then stuffing the cigarette into her purse as the smoke lightly filtered up into the air and Mary pantomimed that, trying to fan away the smoke with her hand.
Mary played it like a true comical scene. It was genius.
Our friend Cynthia later said she broke up watching it later and that Mary she swears should do stand up.
I agree.

MG: I cried until I laughed

I think this is the best poem I have ever written…NOT

I cried most of the afternoon.

Our time to move is coming soon.

I had to go through every treasure.

Each had given so much pleasure.

Keepers will be unpacked someday.

Not here, but somewhere far away.

From many things I’d have to part.

The thought of it just broke my heart.

I fought the feelings of despair

As memories floated through the air.

Those tangible things my eyes could see.

They truly meant the world to me.

Each came from a loving friend,

Or family,…(Francis or Sanderson)

I cried while I sorted through

And separated old from new.

Should I cull all things big?

What would fit inside our rig?

I packed the things I chose to keep.

The stacks of boxes became deep.

I had no more tears to cry.

I dabbed by eyes and gave a sigh.

And then I laughed…

I hadn’t saved a bit of space.

Boxes took my treasures place.

I had no time to figure out

What things I could live without.

It didn’t matter…there weren’t any.

Kip will just have to get rid of some of his treasures.


These are a few of my favorite things…

Those 70ish Grammys, I mean girls :)..Baba Wawa’s rare interview with baby

Investigative journalism aims to uncover the truth about a particular subject, person, or event. While investigative journalism is based on the basic principle underlying all journalism-verification and accurate presentation of facts-investigative reporters must often work with uncooperative or recalcitrant sources who do not wish to divulge information. This is an example of the outstanding in her pasture talents of the renouned and reverbed Baba Wawa.

Photo previously used for a denture add

Exwoosive Interview:

Baba:  Good evening. This is Blabber Walters, Uhhh, I mean I am Baba Wawa speaking to you from Happy Down in the Valley, California. Tonight we will be interviewing a dimpled baby, that is…a 14 month darling toddler who miraculously has the power of speech. I feel privileged and lucky to get the first interview ever with a talking 14 month old. He can say entire sentences not just a word or two. Almost speaks as eloquently as I do. This is very rare in the annals of infant development.   You are about to witness history. I am about to pocket a million $.
This one will go in the record books and into the Guinness Book also. Speaking of Guinness, I could use a stout cold ale about now. But no, darn, sorry…interview comes first.
[Walks over to baby in high chair.]

This tea cup is the Royal brand that Queen Elizabeth and her family have used for years. It may or may not have Guinness in it…
Baby in high chair

Baba: Hi, Baby Ev. How is your day going? Super happy to meet you. I am the famous Baba Wawa of national television fame. I will interview you which means I will ask you a lot of infantile questions, um, meaning infant appropriate questions geared just for you. Ready?

Baby Ev:  Wight. I have to get my baff den story time, den off to bed. Weddy, set …go.

Pic of baby after he gets wid of Baba

Baba: I must say you’re speaking quite clearly for having just been around for a little more than a year. You even know your schedule! Tell me, how do you like living here with your parents?

Baby Ev:  I get stuck a wot. I am stuck wite now in this feeder seat thing. Where’s my snack? Hey! (Yelling.) You pwomised a snack. I know, I know! Use our inside voice.

Not you, Baba, the baby

Baba: So sawwee, I mean sorry!  Do you feel independent now that you have started walking and talking at just 14 months?

Baby Ev: Huh?… ooopps. Here Dey come whiff fud, mmmm. Wooks goooood.

This baby looks High Chair challenged

Baba:  That looks delicious. Glad you got your snack. Your parents kind of zip in and out a lot. Do you feel they are supervising you enough? – ~aside- This kid sure gets distracted easily.~

Baby Ev:  (Crunch, slurp, smush- lip smacking sounds)  I wuv dem a wot, however, Dey kinda ignore me cept when they smell my diaper, and den day gets uhcited.
[Picture of Ev after taking care of some business ]

Escoose me! Can’t you smellw dis?

Baba:  I can relate, I mean understand that. On the other hand, were they amazed, as we all were, that you started talking at such an early age?

Baby Ev:  Hey, dis dawg is mine but where did dat kitty come fwom ?

( Parents come back into the room and take Ev out of his high chair. They put him on the floor and he walks around falling here and there.)

Woops…He fell…Love his choice of books. (pic has been around for a month or 6.)

Baba: I think that’s MG’s cat! How did it get here? (Rushing to finish interview.)
Ummm. Well!  Looks like we had better wrap it up and let you get ready for beddie by!

Baby Ev:  I needs a dwink. Ohhh, here we go. The dawg left some Wawa here.
[Picture of Ev reaching into dog’s water bowl.]

Baba:  (Looking into camera smiling.). So dear fans and Fwends , I mean FRIENDS,
that ends another future Emmy Winning interview of darling little Ev. I see his parents are gathering him up now to get him ready for story time, bath and bed. Here’s hoping we can interview him again soon. Just not too soon. But that’s another story.  Good night and good luck.
[Picture of Ev with big smile and eyes closed holding a baby bottle.]

Funny Waeddie…Can I have more Wawa, Mith Wawa?


Those 70ish girls…showdown at the Buffalo

Lav has written a (tongue in cheek) accounting of the tour group’s final days in Murdo, SD. They were there to attend the all school reunion…Hey, Wait! They were only there for 48 hours. Oh well, to those who hung around with us, I mean them, I’m sure it seemed like much longer.


MHS/JCHS Reunion stuff they didn’t teach you in school

After a stunner of a day with Dianna and Sherri with burgers, rhubarb, chocoholic, butterscotch, you name it shakes, showered with gifts, crowns, and attention, MG was flying high. Then after the check-in at the Range Country, where the group was enlightened by an orientation given by the motel hostess, Get moving! Aye, aye, the group went to their rooms for naps.

After napping there was hair, makeup and dressing up for MG and Lav. They were off to the 1962 class dinner at the gun club, where they were guests of Billy. Lotsa food and small talk. Oh what a day, what a night!

Later that same night…or as some might call it…Part 2

Back room not Restroom (That’s what Lav calls it.)

It was past midnight at the Buffalo. We saw two guys at the end of the room who were just holding their beers-barely. They were looking us up and down. MG turned to the left in front of them at the restrooms.  She couldn’t figure out what the restroom signs meant :  Jackasses on one door, Jenny’s on the other. Which was the girls’ side? I couldn’t help her. I got distracted.
She yelled over to me, “I started to go in the Jackass room because a jackass told me that was where the back room was.” Those darn jackasses. Why don’t they stay on the farm?
Desperately I turned to the beer holders and said, “Where’s the back room?”
“Huh, the restroom?”
“No, the back room!”
“Oh, through there,” beer guy pointed to the right.
“Come on, MG. We gotta find Bill and Gus. It’s way past their bedtime.”

We kept walking way in back, past the bar, past the pool table and past the younger crowd.

Hurry up and eat, Gus. It’s past our bedtime.

There they were. Bill and Gus were having a high old time at the last table.
There should’ve been a sign that read, “70 ish and oldsters only”.
The young-looking-old-guy Ralph was there and a few senior alumni and I don’t mean senior class. Eddie, who is always in Senior Athletic Coyote Mode was talking to Bill.

We got over to their table. The guys looked two sheets to the wind, a strong tumbleweed prairie wind, dry, hot and unforgiving. They had been hit hard by that wind. They were zonked, in a galaxy far, far…you get it. We had to get them back to the motel. There were lots of doings the next day and we needed sleep.

“Sure, Eddie, You remember me. We went to different schools together.”

The School Reunion celebrations had taken a lot out of us, not to mention sapped our energy. MG was fading fast. I looked like I had been pushed through a knothole. But Bill kept telling stories like a dog owner dishing out kibble and Eddie ate it up. What happened next was a miracle. Gus got up and walked away. Bill topped off his drink then topped off his story.  MG said, “It’s time to go. We need to be in our place at the parade lineup tomorrow  by 9:30 am. Bill and Gus are you leaving with us?”
“Sure.  I can drive us back,” Bill said.
“And I have a brand new California drivers license hot off the press,” Gus blurted out.
“ I can drive on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before 8:00 pm in months ending with Y! Just tell me when to turn.” (Okay, this is MG putting pictures to Lav’s hilarious story. I’m laughing so hard, I’m crying.)
Ralph piped up, “And I can take you kids back to the motel in my Mercedes VW but you’ll have to answer a short quiz.”

(Who is Ralph?)

Sheesh. At least we avoided a showdown. It was more like a slowdown.  I would tell you about the quiz and the drive back to the motel, but that’s another story.

We were at the Buffalo and you weren’t
We don’t know Ralph, but we saw his brother…real nice guy.

Those 70ish girls…Bad stuffing happens

Lav wrote a hilarious, true Murdo story. There are two parts and I need to talk to her before we post it. I don’t want to ruin it and she has to help me with the pictures. I laughed until the tears were rolling down my cheeks. I needed a good laugh.

This is why…

We used to have what I thought was a really nice area rug. Apparently our dogs, Nellie and Rylie didn’t like it so much. While I was at the reunion in South Dakota, they ate it, or at least enough of it that it couldn’t continue to reside on our floor. We did the only thing we could do. We threw it away and bought another one.

For weeks, Kip and I didn’t leave the house, together. One of us had to stay home and watch the dogs. We didn’t intend to live that way, forever. We are trying to sell our house so we didn’t want anything else to get eaten.

We gradually started to leave the pups alone for short periods of time and they were good. They didn’t eat anything but a few toys we purposely left on the floor, and their bones.

I forgot to mention we purchased a video-cam. It’s sort of like a nanny-cam. A friend of ours showed us how they use one to keep an eye on their dog while they’re away from the house. It works great. It has a beautiful clear picture… as Kip discovered while he watched Nellie and Ryle eat the rug while he was at a doctor’s appointment.

This morning, because the dogs had been good for short periods of time, we decided we could attend church together. We stopped off to get a bite of breakfast on the way, and were about to leave when Kip looked at the doggy-cam and saw Rylie tearing Nellie’s huge bed up with Nellie lying in it. She really did just lounge there and watch him tear her bed into little pieces. Kip told me what was happening so we went home, kicked the dogs out of the room the bed was in, shut the door, scolded them, and left. (Nellie wasn’t the instigator, but we knew she had eventually joined in on the ripping-up party.)

After we got to church, Kip once again looked at the doggy-cam. He advised me that I had not closed the bedroom door or at least it didn’t latch. The dogs were back in there completing their task.

When we got home, we spent the next couple of hours cleaning up the mess. We stayed mad this whole time.

We thought about blaming the cat, but even if she had made fun of them, which she often does, we knew that blaming her was a stretch.

In the end, we did the only thing that made sense to us…We threw out the doggy-cam. We would rather wait until we get home to find out if bad stuff has happened.

That 70ish girl…Say what?

I have been the victim of COVID. I got it from my husband, Kip who hasn’t been anywhere except Lowe’s in months. He did go to church several times but everyone knows church is not the hotbed of germs like Lowe’s is. Only tough guys and girls go to Lowe’s. People used to meet in the plumbing area on Sundays when we couldn’t go to church…and only wimps wore masks. My how things have changed.

I just heard on television that the CDC doesn’t care if you don’t quarantine even if a covid infected husband I mean person coughs right in your face.

I kind of miss the masks. My chin fell a foot when I took mine off. I wore it for two years then I came to find out it wasn’t any good because it wasn’t a K95. I thought those were for my dogs…could be why they remain covid free to this day.

I really sympathize with Doctor Fauci. I see he recently tried to switch from wearing a mask to pitching to one. Like the guy in the cartoon, it didn’t end well.

I’m feeling better. The dogs and I went to Tyler with Kip, today. He had a dermatologist appointment. The dogs and I were really happy to get out of the house. We begged (me more than the dogs) to go to Sonic for bacon, egg, and cheese toasters. Our nice master even took us for a walk. We got to go around the building twice after which we got our choice of a full bowl or half a bottle of water.

Where was I going when I started this? Who knows and who cares. I’m 70ish.

PS. I’m having all kinds of fun doing this 70ish thing with my Cuskin, Lav… we’ve got some fun stuff up our sleeves along with the Kleenex we stuff up there like Grandma used to…

Keep your ear to the ground but only if there is someone there to help you up. If you can’t hear anyway, then stand tall and talk loudly.

Lav can do both with her hands tied behind her back

That 70ish Girl…It’s easy till it’s not

By Lav

MG asked me to think up a few advantages to being 70ish.

First of all, have you ever done something embarrassing but then later you don’t really care?
Like Lav stealing another dinner at the All School Reunion Luncheon and getting caught by Flash Winterbottom. She didn’t seem to care even when the Feds were onto her. Chalk it up to being 70ish. She got off Scott free.

Then you have to acknowledge older people lying about their age. Some people can’t stand being 70ish.  MG even said she’s the new 40. Really? Older people often try to look younger.  Imagine that. MG’s hair is dyed dark black. I think there’s more than just her hair that’s dark! She’s also in the dark because the other day she started writing a new song and did a video of herself singing in the dark! She even thought she could sing. So you can get away with lying when you’re old.

Also, when you get older you cannot multi task as well.  Take our tour guide for example. He tried talking to his old friends at the special dinner for 1962 grads, smiling and joking! But he didn’t even help MG, Lav and Gus Wonderworthful at the next table when we all slipped and chairs, tables, food and drinks flew everywhere. He couldn’t talk and help us so he just announced to the hundreds of people in attendance that he didn’t know us.

He got away with it, too.

Getting old of course means creaky bones and aches and pains. Lots of physical ailments. Not easy getting older but at least with old age, like fine wine, we get better, wiser and more importantly forgetful. ~You mean wine helps us forget? I don’t know. I forget.~

Til we meet again whoever you are, just keep aging. It’s easy til it’s not.

Those 70ish Girls…How about that?

Age is a state of Lav.

WORDS:  Grandpa SANDERSON would use the word “deal” like when he couldn’t stop to think of the right word he’d say, “You just turn that deal to the right,” or “…it’s the deal you use to make the window open”. 
You can just say “thingy “ or “stuff” if you can’t remember a certain term.

DOCTORS:  At this age you’re probably visiting doctors and dentists a lot. Your calendar is filled with dates and the time of your appointments. My parents used to do a dry run to find the new doctor’s offices a few days before their appointment so they wouldn’t waste time searching – this was long before gps. They lived in a crowded area and streets in their area would have a name then when that street went into a different county, the street name would change. So Ball Road might change into Wood Street. Plus the extra trip gave them a challenge and something to do. They used maps to help them.

MG: Tell me about it. I drove my sister-in-law’s MG to your house and I stopped at a filling station to see if I was going in the right direction. The attendant said yes, so I called you and said I would be there in a few minutes. The filling station guy must have thought I pulled in from the other direction because I kept going. The next time I called you it was long distance. I finally made it hours late, said hello and turned around and drove back to LA.

Yeah, tell me about it…wake me up when she finishes her story…

My friend who recently fought cancer and had chemo, stem cell treatment and lots of meds was told by her oncologist to “abstain”. She told him at 75 she didn’t really have much going on in her sex life and the doc said, “No, Marie, I mean no smoking, alcohol or recreational drug use.”

DISCOUNTS:  Also, at 70ish your dinner gets started early so you can eat and clean up the dishes before bedtime. Plus you don’t want a lot of heavy food in your stomach before 8:00 pm bedtime. My cousin MG and her husband eat dinner around 4:30 pm and their daughter called one time at 4:00 asking, “Oh, sorry, am I disturbing your dinner?”

MG: The sad thing is, she was. I think we were having creamed corn on toast.

Early bird dinner discounts are a help with the budget, but start kinda late for some of us. During the pandemic, seniors where I live got their own special shopping hour at 6:00 am. It was viewed as a badge of honor.

MG: They opened our malls at 6:00 am so the seniors can fast walk. I probably should do that. What did you say you got at the mall, Cuz?

Sure hope he can walk fast…or did you just find a cool hat?

Coupons and senior discounts are also so much fun. My mom and Aunt Loretta would bask in double coupon days. Who could save the most money?

Mum must have found a double coupon

Our dentist gives senior discounts. My husband went recently and I asked if he got a discount. “Yes,” he said. “On my bill for $5000 I got ten bucks off.”

My husband’s grandma used to say, “It’s hell to get old.” It’s a challenge but all that keeps life interesting.

Lav hopes when she kicks the bucket, she goes early in the morning so as not to cut into the rest of her day.

MG: Maybe we can kick the same bucket Cuz

That 70ish Girl…It’s not easy going home

by Valerie Leckey Halla

Our tour group had to wake up at 6:00 am in order to get ready, pack up,  and get breakfast in the lobby of Range Country.  We had met some lovely friends, relatives and acquaintances there over the past three days. One gentleman always came there for breakfast but first he would stand for a minute and say, “It’s a beautiful day!”

Many others would chat about who they had seen at the school reunion and where did so and so used to live, who did his sister marry, why does that guy look familiar, where do you live now?

Mick Penticoff loved to strike up a conversation with anyone. He couldn’t see well so he’d ask nearby folks to get him some breakfast or help him get a seat at a table. Our group enjoyed talking with him and he is an old friend of Billy, our driver and guide. Mick didn’t watch TV, but he listened to it. He swore that the weather man on one station predicted today there will be high “humdidity” in the forecast. “I am sure he said that and then I heard him say it again!” Mick said.

Mick also relayed that a news reporter said many people who can’t afford houses now live in “condoms”.  Mick was a kick. He could keep us entertained just telling us his life story.

People felt comfortable sitting in the rocking chairs and on the big sofa looking up at the high platforms and ceiling which displayed stuffed birds and all sorts of sadly hunted wildlife.

We were fortunate enough to have the three Lindquist Girls come by to visit our last evening in Murdo. Mary used to baby sit them and their Dad Dean had employed many young teenagers at his gas station over the years. The girls told stories, joked around and reminisced. A few more people joined us as the Ranch Rodeo in town wound down. We had about 10 people sitting in a circle chiming in and I guess things got too noisy because a motel employee came over and asked us to leave, we were too noisy, so we broke up our wonderful group. Karen said they only do that with rowdy rock bands not Murdo school reunion visitors! It was sad to say goodbye.

You could feel the magic was all coming to a close. I am sure everyone in our group was
sad to say goodbye. But we will be back in 4 more years…if we’re able.

Video by Mary Francis McNinch

John Thune visiting with us outside the Range Country Lodge in 2016. He referred to us as the Sanderson Groupies…