Murdo Girl…Sorting things out

The fire did a lot of damage to the barn, but thankfully it didn’t come near the house. That night, Brad took the cow and calf to his ranch because there was a lot of damage to the barn and corral where they were kept. Arf stayed the night with Miss Bessie again, which he didn’t question because that was where he had stayed since he found her and she had taken him in.

Miss Bessie woke to the sounds of a hammer and a saw. Arf was already outside.

**I heard noise and because I’m sort of a guard dog now, I thought I should check it out. What I saw was Brad working on the corral.

“Morning Arf,” Brad said. He measured a board, sawed it off, and nailed it to the corral post.

** I sat and watched him work. I could tell he was probably fixing things so the cow and calf could come back home. I promised myself I would watch over them better.

I could hear Miss Bessie coming our way.

“Land sakes, Brad. What are you doing here so early.”

“Hi Miss Bessie, I forgot to ask you last night if you still have to milk your cow. Sometimes even though they have a calf, they have extra milk.”

“For a while, I milked her every morning, but she gave so little milk, I feared I was taking from her calf. Both of them seem to be doing fine,” Miss Bessie said. “I really do appreciate this, I was trying to figure out where I could find someone to fix the corral. I’ll have to wait on the insurance money before I rebuild the barn.”

“Well, the weather will be nice enough that she’ll be fine if we fix up a pen in the corner of the barn that wasn’t damaged so much. You know, you’re welcome to leave her at my place if that works out better for you”

“Oh no,” Miss Bessie said. “She and her calf should be here. It’s my responsibility to care for them.”

** I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was just hoping Miss Bessie would feed me soon.

“Give me a few minutes, Brad and I’ll fix up some bacon and eggs and buttermilk biskets.”

Miss Bessie went off to the house and I was right behind her. I understand food.

************

When Brad got back to the ranch, Jamie was sitting in the kitchen having coffee.

“The housekeeper said you had gone to Miss Bessie’s. Is everything okay over there?”

“I guess so. I’m trying to fix a place for her to keep her cow and calf until all the repairs are completed.”

“Brad, I need to ask you a question.” Jamie had been pondering something all morning.

“What is it, Jamie? You look a little upset.”

Well, as you know, I’m on spring break for the next two weeks. I haven’t mentioned this to you, but I’m in veterinarian school. After the break, I’ll go back until after exams which will be a month later. I’m taking the summer off and then I’m scheduled to do an internship in the fall.”

“Really, Jamie? You’re going to be a vet? That’s wonderful…but I don’t hear a question.” Brad leaned back in his chair and removed his hat.

“Did you really mean it when you said I could stay here as long as I liked?”

Brad sat back up in his chair. “I don’t say things I don’t mean,” he said.

“Then I would like to stay until I go back to school in two weeks.”

“No problem. I’ll tell Frances. Are you going to bring Arf over here?”

Jamie stood up and walked over to the window.

“I’ve been thinking about that,” she said. “As much as I would love to, it really wouldn’t be what’s best for Arf. My parents are always gone and I’ve just told you my schedule. He’s better off staying with Miss Bessie.”

“That had to be a tough decision. Arf loves you, too. It might confuse him to have you around but no longer be his master.”

When Jamie turned to look at him, Brad realized that might not have been the right thing to say. She had tears in her eyes.

“Arf likes to feel needed,” she said. “He’ll figure it out and he’ll be fine. He’s a smart dog. I would like to see him though, and I need to talk to Miss Bessie. Can we go over there?”

“Are you forgetting this is Easter Sunday. We’re picking Miss Bessie up for church. Can you be ready to go in an hour?”

Murdo Girl…Sky blue

I’m working on my she-shed and there’s still much to complete.

My body hurts already from my head down to my feet.

I have grandiose ideas. My husband says that all the time.

I’ll begin the transformation, but first I have to prime.

The boring tasks I’d rather skip but I must do the doing.

Between you and me, this shed needs serious renewing.

I’m going to paint the ceiling to match a clear blue sky.

I’ll add some clouds and birds. Boy that ceiling’s waaay up high.

I’m using our new ladder and I spilled some paint on it.

I’ll try to clean it off before someone throws a fit.

What? Clean the paint pan, brush and roller? That doesn’t sound like fun.

Why can’t I just go back to Lowes and buy myself new ones?

I have sky blue on my clothes. The can said wash with soap and water.

The paint is still on everything. I guess the water should be hotter.

If you tell someone I said this, I’m afraid I must deny it.

In fact it might behoove me to aggressively defy it.

It takes a lot of work to turn a shed into a she.

And when it’s said and done, it also takes a lot of money.

Murdo Girl…Where there’s smoke

Arf could smell smoke, but he didn’t know where it was coming from. His instincts told him to wake Miss Bessie up, so he nudged her until he could see that her eyes were open, and then he went to investigate.

“My word, she said. “I smell smoke.” She immediately got up and grabbed her robe. Where is Arf, she wondered as she hurried through the house looking for something on fire.

*******

I had already been through the house and didn’t find anything. Now I was outside. I could see right away what was happening. The field next to the barn was on fire. I looked behind me and saw Miss Bessie standing in front of the house. I wondered what I should do. I ran to the barn. The fire was getting close and it was moving fast. The milk cow and her calf were in there and I had to get them out. Lassie would know what to do, but I wasn’t Lassie.

“Arf!” Miss Bessie was running back to the house to call the fire department. She just hoped that Arf wouldn’t put himself in harm’s way.

********

I tried to jump high enough to push the bar on the barn door up out of the latch, but I couldn’t reach it and the fire was getting closer. Then I saw an old tire lying nearby. I managed to drag the tire over to the door. I could reach, but the door wouldn’t open. I shoved the tire to the other side and when I pushed the bar up, the door opened.I ran inside the barn and chased the cow and calf outside just as the fire climbed the side of the barn and the roof caught on fire.


“Arf!” Miss Bessie yelled. “Come back here. A bad storm is coming. Oh, my,” she said. “Where is the firetruck? Arf!”

*******

I was still trying to keep the cow and calf from the fire when the big firetruck came. I remembered it from the Easter parade. The firemen were spraying water on the barn with their hose, but the fire in the field was getting bigger.

Miss Bessie brought a rope to where I had the cow cornered. She tied it around the cow’s neck and led her to the fence around the chicken coup. “I’ll tie her up over here. Her calf will follow her. Brad should be here soon. I called him, too.”

Shortly after that, Brad pulled up in his truck. Jamie and Mark were with him. Brad came running over to us to make sure we were all right, and then ran to see what he could do to help the firemen.

“I don’t know if they’re going to be able to get either fire out,” Brad said when he came back. “The barn and the field are burning fast and there’s just one firetruck. Let’s just pray the wind doesn’t change direction or it might go toward your house.”

“I can’t lose my house, Brad,” Miss Bessie said. “I just can’t.”

*********

I was with the cow and calf, Jamie and Mark were still in the truck, and Brad and Miss Bessie were standing near the house watching the firemen. Suddenly, I saw a big bolt of lightning come out of the sky and then there was a big downpour that thankfully, put the fire out.


When it was over, everyone went inside. Miss Bessie made coffee and invited the firemen in, too. I stayed to watch over the cow and calf because they just lost their house and that’s what Lassie would have done.

Later, Brad and Mark loaded the cow and calf up into Brad’s truck. “They’ll have to stay at the ranch until we can do something about your barn,” he said to Miss Bessie.

As they were leaving, Jamie asked Miss Bessie what had alerted her to the fire.

“Arf woke me up,” she said. “Thank God for Arf.”

Jamie looked at me and her face looked sad.

Murdo Girl…Birds of a feather

Poor Miss Bessie. She got herself into a fix by saying she had been working on a costume for Arf to wear to the doggie Easter Parade. The truth is, she hadn’t even thought about it until she blurted it out to Brad and Jamie. Now, she had to spend the biggest part of the night, crafting Arf an Easter hat.

Miss Bessie made me a colorful Easter hat and one for herself that was exactly like mine. I wasn’t sure I liked wearing a hat, but if Miss Bessie wanted me to, then I would.

“Goodness…look at the time,” she said. “Brad and Jamie will soon be here and there’s still so much to do. I must get the eggs ready to take to the General Store, put the hot cross buns in the oven, and get the ham ready to bake.”

I knew there was one thing I could do to help. I went to where Miss Bessie keeps her egg crates and brought some to her.

“You are such a smart dog, Arf. What will I do without you?”

Without me? Why would she be without me? Was Jamie coming back to get me?

A little while later, when everything was in order, Miss Bessie changed her dress and put her Easter hat on. She put mine on, too. It sort of looked like a boy’s hat, I guess, until she tied a bow under my mouth to keep the hat on. I looked funny.

“No, that won’t do.” Miss Bessie said. “I can’t make you wear that hat, but I have another idea.”

“What do you think Arf?”

I barked at the one with the bandana.

“Here comes Jamie and Brad.” Miss Bessie was so excited. “They’re both on horses and the hired hand is driving Jamie’s Jeep. Look! It’s decorated for the Easter Parade.”

We loaded up the Jeep and headed for town. Mark, the hired hand, drove and Jamie and Brad rode the horses.

I kept my Easter stuff on all day. We all had fun being in the parade. I walked beside a real nice golden retriever. Afterwards, I got a hot dog and then it was time to go home. I sure hoped Miss Bessie would give me some scraps of that ham she was cooking.

“I’ve made a ham with all the trimmings for Easter dinner,” Miss Bessie said. “And Brad, there is also a fresh apple pie.”

“I want to thank you all for a wonderful day,” She said. “I don’t remember when I’ve enjoyed Easter Sunday so much. Even though it’s only Saturday.”

“Miss Bessie,” Brad said. “Do you have family around here?”

Miss Bessie sat down in her chair and took her hanky out of her dress pocket. “My husband, Harold, died almost two years ago. We were never blessed with children. For fifty years, we only had each other, but that was enough.”

“I have my parents,” Jamie volunteered, “but the past four years, while I’ve been in college, they’ve traveled most of the time. They’re not even home for any of the holidays. Without any brothers or sisters, it gets kind of lonely. How about you, Brad. Do you have a family?”

“I think it’s time to go,” he said rather abruptly. “I have some chores to do. Are you up to riding back to the ranch, Jamie, or would you like me to call Mark and ask him to come back and get you?”

“Of course I can ride,”she said….”I guess Arf will have to spend the night here again. Do you mind Miss Bessie?”

Why would she mind? Why would Jamie keep coming to get me and then leaving me here? It’s very confusing to a dog like me to belong to two humans who don’t live together…especially if the dog really loves them both.

That night, I slept on my pallet at the foot of the bed like I always do. It was still really dark when something woke me up. Was that smoke I smelled?

Murdo Girl…Too many dilemmas

Bessie gathered the eggs and fed the chickens while she waited for Arf’s owner to come and get him. As she walked back to the house, her heart was heavy. As always, Arf was by her side. As always? It had only been a few days since he had shown up at her door, yet it seemed like they had been together forever.

The Johnsons, Arf’s owners, had a daughter in college. Jamie was her name. She was headed home for spring break and would be stopping by to pick up Arf on the way.

“Oh Arf,” Bessie said. “I do hope Brad gets here before that young girl does. I’m not sure I can bear to let you go.

I think I hear his truck coming now.”

I ran to greet Brad and then back to Miss Bessie, back to Brad and back to Miss Bessie. I was really nervous. Wait! I think I hear Jamie’s Jeep. Yes…Jamie is here. I’ll run out to greet her.

Jamie…it was Jamie. She found me.

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Brad walked over to Jamie and began to introduce himself. Bessie ran to the kitchen to make coffee. She still looked sad.

“We’ve been expecting you Miss Johnson. I’m Brad Holcomb a friend of Miss Bessie’s. I believe she went inside to make some coffee.”

“Please call me Jamie,” she said as she knelt down to makeover Arf. “I didn’t think we would ever see you again sweet boy. You look great!”

“Let’s go inside.” Brad led the way. ” I know Miss Bessie is anxious to meet you.”

Jamie walked into the kitchen and went straight to Miss Bessie. “I can’t thank you enough for watching over Arf.”

Miss Bessie nodded her head. She didn’t trust herself to say anything. Instead, she brought out a plate of cookies and poured coffee for everyone.

I laid on the floor between the two ladies. My head was spinning. Can a dog’s head spin?

“Do you have any idea how Arf got this far from home?” Brad asked.

“Yes. We finally figured it out. It seems he got caught in a moving van. The movers called the people who were transferring to a town near here and said a dog had gotten out of the van when they arrived. They said he ran off before they could catch him. Since none of us knew each other. It took a while for us to tie it all together.”

“You ran a long way, Arfie,” Jamie said. “I don’t know if we would have found you if Miss Bessie hadn’t called.”

Miss Bessie didn’t say anything right away. I wondered why…

“It was the right thing to do.” Her voice wasn’t much louder than a whisper.

Jamie looked at me. She had a sad look on her face, too. What’s up with all the sadness? I’m the happiest dog ever. I have Jamie and Miss Bessie and Brad. Three humans to throw me frisbees and make over me day and night. I wonder if Brad fishes. I love to go fishing.

“Miss Johnson…Jamie, do you have a place to stay tonight? It’s far too late to get back on the road, today.” Miss Bessie was pouring more coffee. It’s quite a distance between towns around here.”

Jamie looked surprised. “I hadn’t really thought beyond getting here to pick up Arf. I’m not in a real hurry to get to California. My parents are on a two week cruise. Can you give me the name of a hotel nearby? One that allows pets?”

“Nonsense,” Miss Bessie said. “You can stay right here. “I have a little spare bedroom and it will only take an hour or so to clear some things out to make room for you.”

Brad winked at Miss Bessie. He had seen that spare room. So had I.

“I have a better idea,” Brad offered. “I have a horse ranch just a few miles from here. It’s just me, the housekeeper, a cook, and the hired hand rambling around in that big old house. You’re more than welcome to stay as long as you’d like.”

BRAD

HIRED HAND

Jamie thought for a minute.

“Well, I guess I’ll take you up on your generous invitation. It seems to be the best solution.”

Jamie looked happy, so I was happy. Brad looked happy, too. But Miss Bessie still looked sort of puzzled.

“May I make another suggestion?” She asked.

Miss Bessie looked at me. I think she was trying to get up the nerve to say something.

“Tomorrow is the big Easter festival in town. I was planning to enter Arf in the doggie Easter Parade. I’ve uh, spent a lot of time making a costume for him to wear. I would be very grateful if you would consider staying over until Monday so that we could all go. Maybe you would let Arf stay with me tonight so I could put the finishing touches on his costume, and get him ready in the morning.”

Brad looked very surprised, but he didn’t say anything. Miss Bessie shot him a look that told him to be quiet.

“That sounds like fun,” Jamie said. “And of course Arf can stay the night with you. We’ll have plenty of time together, later.”

After Jamie and Brad left, Miss Bessie got all kinds of stuff out of her sewing room.

“We’re going to have to work fast Arf,” she said. “Do you have any ideas as to what you would want to dress up like?”

Murdo Girl…Jamie is coming

“It’s only two days until we go to the Easter festival in town, Arf. I must get my eggs ready to take to the General Store, and make some hot cross buns for the church bake sale. I also want to bake an apple pie for Mr. Holcomb. I mean Brad. He wants to be called Brad. Wasn’t it nice of him to insist he drive us to town for the festival? He’s such a nice young man.

Miss Bessie was talking and humming, and talking and humming. I was watching her because sometimes that means she’s about to give me a b-o-n-e.

Miss Bessie took her coffee and newspaper to the living room. She turned the TV on because she knows I like to watch Lassie.

My favorite episode was on. It’s the one where Timmy finds a man stuck in quicksand and sends Lassie back to the farm to get a rope. I’ve learned a lot of neat stuff from watching Lassie. I was almost to the part where she gets back with the rope and Timmy ties it to a long tree branch so he can hold it far enough out for the man to reach it, when I heard the phone ring. Miss Bessie went to the kitchen to answer it. I was about to follow her when she came back and sat down in her chair. I hadn’t seen her look sad in a while, but something had made her sad tonight.

“Well Arf,” she said. “I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I guess I knew your owners wouldn’t change their minds.Their daughter, Jamie, is on her Easter break from college and she’s going to pick you up on her way home.

She will be here sometime tomorrow. The day before the Easter festival.”

At night when we went to bed, I got to sleep on a pallet at the foot of Miss Bessie’s bed. I liked sleeping there.

When I woke up the next morning, she was already in the kitchen baking bread. I knew something was wrong though because she wasn’t humming.

Later, Miss Bessie and I were out collecting eggs and Mr. Brad drove up.

“Good morning Miss Bessie,” he said. “I thought I’d better check and see what time you want me to pick you and Arf up for the Easter festival tomorrow.”

“Oh yes, the Easter festival,” Miss Bessie said quietly. “I’m not quite sure, Brad. I got a call last evening from Arf’s owners. The daughter is picking him up sometime today.”

Today? I was flabbergasted. I loved my before humans, but I never thought I would be going back to them. I had been forced to move on. Miss Bessie needed me. Where is my frisbee? What should I do? What would Lassie do?

While I was thinking, Miss Bessie was telling Mr. Brad the whole story.

“I need to get back to the ranch,” he said. “I’ll be back later to meet this Jamie. I’ll try to be here around one. If she gets here before then, don’t let her leave until I have a chance to talk with her.”

Miss Bessie nodded her head. Mr. Brad said goodbye and walked back to his truck.

“Arf, come here boy,” he said. “I forgot to give these to Miss Bessie. Will you take them to her please?”

Mr. Brad reached into the truck and picked up a pretty bouquet of flowers for me to carry to Miss Bessie. She was dabbing her eyes with her hanky, but when she saw the flowers, she smiled big.

An old woman, a young man, and a dog… they knew very little about each other, but there was already a strong bond building between them.

Murdo Girl…Live, Laugh, Love

“A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires your flowers.”

I totally understand this quote. A true friend knows you’re not perfect, but chooses to see the good in you. Everybody needs someone like that in their lives. You realize they know all of your flaws, but unless it’s an obnoxious sort of flaw, your friend ignores it. They will, however, tell you if you have spinach in your teeth.

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“A friend who understands your tears is much more valuable than a lot of friends who only know your smile.”

I like this one, too. I would add that one or two special friends who understand your tears is enough. It’s not good to cry on the shoulder of a lot casual friends. That would diminish the value of the trust you should have in a friend to whom you tell your darkest secrets.

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Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait to hear the answer.”

Who does that?

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“Sometimes being with your best friend is all the therapy you need.”

That and a good belly laugh.

“There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.”

Have you ever felt that immediate connection to someone you just met? Maybe you have the same weird sense of humor, or like the same movies or books.

“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.

Huh!

“It’s hard to find a friend who’s loving, generous, caring, courageous, spiritual, trustworthy, loyal and cute. So my advice to everyone is this. If you have a friend like Pat Davis, don’t lose her.

Happy Birthday Dear Friend…Everyone who knows you loves you…count me among them.

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Murdo Girl…The cowboy

In an effort to get help for Bessie whose car broke down on the way back from town, Arf was trying to chase down a cowboy he saw in a field. The cowboy was riding a horse and chasing cows. The poor little dog ran as fast as he could and finally caught the cowboy’s eye.

“What are you doing out here?” The cowboy jumped down off his horse and knelt down to pet Arf. “There’s not a house for miles.”

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I was so happy the cowboy liked me. I think he could tell something was wrong. I’m no Lassie, so I wasn’t sure how to get him to follow me to Miss Bessie’s car. Finally, I grabbed his shirt sleeve and pulled on it just a little. The cowboy must have understood because without a word he climbed up on his horse. He just looked at me until I figured out he intended to follow me.

I ran all the way back to the car and the cowboy stayed right behind me. When we got back to Miss Bessie, she was crying. We could see her dabbing her eyes with her hankie.

“Oh Arf,” she said. “I knew you would find someone to help us. Thank you mister for coming. I was getting worried the sun would set on me.”

“My name is Brad Holcomb. I have a ranch a couple of miles from here. Tell me what happened?”

“This old heap just quit on me. It sputtered a couple of times and quit.”

The cowboy asked Miss Bessie if he could get behind the wheel. When he attempted to start the old car, it tried to turn over, but stopped short of starting.

“Miss?”

“Bessie, Mr. Holcomb, my name is Bessie.”

“Miss Bessie, when was the last time you put gas in this car?”

“Well…Oh, I remember…I filled up the day before I went to last year’s Easter Festival. I don’t go very many places. I remember now, the gas gauge doesn’t work.”

“Will you be okay here with your dog, Miss Bessie, while I ride back to the ranch and get you some gas?”

“Oh my yes…I’m just grateful you came to help.”

I knew I was supposed to stay with Miss Bessie. I was tired from running anyway, but I sure did save the day.

After Mr. Holcomb got the car started, he followed us back home in his pickup truck. I think he wanted to make sure we got there safely.

“Mr. Holcomb, please come in for some apple pie and coffee. I’d like to pay you for the gas and your trouble.”

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“I’ll gladly have a piece of pie, but there will be no talk of paying me for anything. That’s quite a dog you have there, Miss Bessie, A regular Lassie.”

Lassie? Did Mr. Holcomb say Lassie? I was very proud of myself.

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“Yes,” Miss Bessie said. “I don’t know what I would have done without him. In the short time he’s been here, he has saved me from two near tragedies. Unfortunately, Arf doesn’t belong to me. He belongs to a family that lives 1200 miles away. They’re coming to get him.”

Murdo Girl…She shedding

The she-shed is ever so slowly coming together. The inside is ready for me to finish. I’ll be doing a lot of painting and staining. I finished sanding and cleaning today.

I have purchased the primer, brown paint for the beams, blue for the ceiling and white for the clouds. The birds will be brown. I also got white wash for the walls. The double doors will probably be white.

On the outside, Kip needs to put in a French drain and a sump pump so the water drains away from the SS. He’ll finish boxing in the overhang, and replace a few bad boards.

Oh, I’m also going to seal and paint the concrete floor.

So you see, there is still a lot to do. The good news is I think it will be fun to put my own stamp on it. (That’s what they say on HGTV.)

There will be some landscaping to do later on.

Kip also finished putting in the air conditioner/heat pump.

This shelf is actually in pretty good shape, but I’m thinking about painting it.

I’m ready to rock and roll.

What do you think I should name my she shed…The Manor?

*************************

Tomorrow we’ll find out if Arf got help for Bessie and see what’s up with the cowboy.

Murdo Girl…Thankful thinking

The sun sets on madness and rises on a bleak tomorrow.

Overwhelming sickness brings our fellow man much sorrow.

The virus spreads like wildfire, and the only thing we can do

Is to stay away from others. It seems the opposite would be true.

The best advice that I’ve been given is to take one day at a time.

And trust in He who remains in charge. He knows the hills we’ll have to climb

The human spirit needs to heal before the world is truly well.

Looking toward the heavens will lift us up out of this hell.

Kindness, empathy, courage… compassion and lots of praying.

All things this world needs more of. It should all go without saying.

There are so many who do God’s work. We can’t do this on our own.

We must never forget what they sacrifice, so those who suffer aren’t alone.

THANK YOU to the:

nurses
doctors
scientists
gig workers
researchers
truck drivers
health experts
manufacturers
lab technicians
postal employees
hospital volunteers
supermarket clerks
warehouse operators
convenience store associates

You are heroes!