Murdo Girl…It’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, Pearl the dog and I are on our way over to Pearl’s Busy Nest. I’m kind of looking forward to the next two weeks. My mom and I haven’t been able to put up a Christmas tree for the last couple of years, and we don’t have to get one this year either because Pearl is letting us get one for the Nest. We’re going to try to get away this morning to buy one of those trees they’re selling at Super Value. I hope we get to make popcorn and cranberry garland and get tinsel and little candy canes to put on it. I’m out of school for two whole weeks. I think I’ll ask Grace if she can help me make some Christmas cookies to give to people. As you can tell…I’m so delighted!

Well we aren’t there yet, but we almost are.


Hi Pearl, Hi Grace…I’m here are you?

“Yes dear,” Grace hollered. “Pearl is here too. Come on in and see what she’s done.”

“Pearl,” I said. “What have you done? You said we could get a real tree at Super Value. That tree looks like it’s full of cotton candy.”

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I could tell Pearl was a little miffed that I rejected her Pepto-Bismol Christmas tree. I didn’t say anything, even though I felt crushed like a bug under her shoe. I just went to get Pearl the dog’s water bowl. I was trying not to cry.

“Why, Essie…I thought you would adore this tree. It has class. It’s different, like we are.”

“Christmas trees aren’t supposed to have class, Pearl. They’re supposed to have lights and pine needles that smell good.” I couldn’t keep what I was thinking to myself any longer. “You look more like a Christmas tree than that pink thing does.”


Neither one of us had much to say to each other after that, but I could tell Grace was getting nervous and we always regret it when Grace gets nervous.


I didn’t tell you everything we now offer at the Nest. Here is a compost list of everything we have and do.

Light Therapy... of which there have been very few takers

Dear Grace:  Pitiful people write to Grace and she answers the questions through the mail. The writers and the answerers are all anonomolis.

Pearlelixer Fixer, which of course is our best seller.

We have added:

Ballroom dancing two nights a week and Laughter Yogi two mornings a week.

Right now Pearl leads all of the classes, but she’s trying to find a laughter yogi teacher because Pearl is not a morning person.

It was a long day for me, and I had to walk past that Pepto- Bismol tree all day. If Pearl hadn’t kept moving, someone would have hung a star on her head. I was getting ready to take Pearl the dog back  to Pearl’s house and then go home, when two ladies walked in.

“Zee need fixer,” the shorter one said as she handed her empty bottle to me. I couldn’t remember her name, but I knew it wasn’t Zee.

“Here’s the empty,” the taller one with the red glasses said. “Say…is there anything in this juice that will harm my dentures?”

“Zee have teeth.” The shorter one said. She said something else that I didn’t understand, but the taller woman knew.

“She wants to know if you have it in other flavors, because she doesn’t like flat 7-up too much.”

Well, I’m telling you, I had never seen Pearl move so fast! She burst out of her broom closet office and ran right to those ladies. One of them had a headscarf on her head and didn’t seem to be hearing Pearl to well, and the taller lady had the red glasses, which Pearl took a moment to stare at.

Pearl looked stricken and I wondered why. The short woman spoke again. She glanced out the window and saw a little black car pull up. “Zee must go…Zee no like 7-up. Zee no like take’os, too.”

The taller woman spoke.

“Someone tried to feed her tacos today, so she wants to make sure everyone knows she doesn’t like them. Next time we’ll bring you some eggs. We would also like to sign up for ballroom dancing.”

They got to the door and the tall one with red glasses said, “Hm..You look more like a Christmas tree than that pink thing does.

When they were gone Pearl looked at me and said, “Please don’t ever leave me, Essie. I will take you to Super Value the first thing tomorrow and get you a real tree….And Essie, remind me to tweak the Elixer Fixer. Those two ladies could be our undoing.”


I didn’t believe that for a minute. I wondered if she would dress in pink tomorrow.


These people just signed up for Laughter Yoga, or was it ballroom dancing? Same expression either way…Ha! Ha!… Ha,Ha,Ha!

Murdo Girl…Crisis Averted

I’m on my way to Pearl’s Busy Nest. Pearl the dog is with me. I think she likes going to work every day. We have a lot of clients coming and going and they all just love her. She gets shy at first when people try to pet her, but it only lasts about a minute.

When I take her on walks after school, Pearl the human has me snoop around. She wants to know how many customers the other business people have, and try to find out if they’re real buyers or just tire kickers.

I’ve got certain places I like to go. It’s not really like I’m in cog-knee-toe, because people can see me, and I don’t have a costume on. The key is, they can see me but they don’t know why I’m hanging around. They just know I never buy anything. The only place I’ve had any trouble is the drug store. They don’t like me to tell the people they should try PearleIixer Fixer because it’s been tested  by blind people who study in a clinic somewhere. You have to believe if it cures blind people, it’s worth a shot or two.

Well, we aren’t there, but we almost are.


“Hi Pearl and Grace! I’m here are you?”

This time Pearl came running to me. “We have to drive over to Pierre today,” she said. “I already called your mother. Go and use the powder room if you must, but hurry!”

“Why do we have to go today Pearl? Saturday is our busiest day.  Wait…are you going to drive that clunky old Jeep? I can’t  believe my mother is going to let me ride with you in that clunky old Jeep.”


“I’m almost out of the ingredients for Pearlelixer Fixer, Essie, and that won’t do.”


“Well Jeez, Pearl, you can buy all that stuff at Sanderson’s store. They won’t  have flat 7-up, but I don’t think anybody will.”

“Hush child, we can’t have my clients know what’s in the Elixer Fixer. That’s why we have to go all the way to Pierre. We’ll be fodder for the gossips if they see us hauling bottle after bottle of 7-up out of Sanderson’s Store.”


“What about Grace and Pearl the dog?”

I was getting nervous about this trip, and I really hoped they would stay here.They both deserve to live. I was trying to remember if I had on clean underwear and when was the last time I told Mom I loved her, ’cause I was pretty sure we weren’t going to survive this trip. I can see my tombstone now.

Hear lies Ellie/Essie

The elixer couldn’t fix her
Grace and Pearl the dog are staying here. Pearl told me Grace said she would try her best to hold down the fort, and that she welcomed a break from all those sorry people with nothing but problems and no gratitude atall. (That’s her word.) I don’t see how we’re going to make money on the ‘Dear Grace’ part of the business. So far, we’re out a bunch of stamps and stationery. Pearl says, at the right time, the newspaper will pay us to have a column in The Murdo Coyote every week. People will be so excited to see their problems in the paper, they’ll be out there buying every one of them.

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I ran and hugged Grace and patted Pearl the dog on the head. Good-byes are so hard. I’ve always hated them. I wondered if the accident was going to hurt.


I forgot to tell Grace she had on Pearl’s glasses. I hope she doesn’t go blind like those clinic studiers.

Well, we made it to Pierre and back without instadent. (Although the Jeep has about a million dents anyway no one would have noticed.)

Grace was a real wreck by the time we got back to the Nest. People had been very upset that we had run out of the Pearlelixer Fixer. She told them we were waiting for it to ferment which seemed to calm them down some. 

Pearl said we all did good today and she would get to the store about five minutes early in the morning and mix up a batch of Elixer Fixer. And then she thought about something else. We only had a few of those blue bottles left. I had an idea that peeked at her interest. We would put a label made out of those “Hi My name is ____________________” stickers. They have plain ones. It will say that those bottles are inside of the public domain and cannot be filled with anything but Pearlelixer Fixer. But if they bring the empties back in like new condition, we will give them five cents for each one…at which time we will sterilize them before we fill them with Pearlelixer Fixer.

There sure are lots of things you have to think about when you run a business. I sure hope the 7-up goes flat by in the morning. We dumped it in a bunch of turkey pans.



Murdo Girl…Pearl fixes everything

Well, I’m on my way to Pearl’s to take Pearl the dog for a walk before we go to Pearl’s new business, which is now named Pearl’s Busy Nest. I don’t know why she named it that. It’s not like we sell birds or anything. In fact, we don’t really sell things. Pearl says we sell a state of mind and ambulance. I didn’t ask her what that meant…I was afraid she’d tell me.

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Grace gets letters asking her all kinds of different stuff. I help her answer almost all of them because I know who wrote most of them, and I know all about their problems. I think it’s a real good thing don’t you? I’ve wanted to tell most of them what they’re doing wrong anyway.

I’m Pearl the dog. Sometimes little kids come with their Moms to Pearl’s Busy Nest to get therapy. I play with the kids

Pearl isn’t too happy yet. She is trying to get her light therapy business going. She has a different theme every day. She’s going to put an ad in the Murdo Coyote once a week. She wants to make sure people don’t think she’s going to hypnotize them or play with the Ouija board. She tells the client her methods have all been clinically tested. Did you know there isn’t such a thing? Pearl says there is no place where people go to have their stuff clinically tested. It just makes things sound more expensive and their innertuition will make them think it’s the best stuff ever.

Well Pearl the dog and aren’t at the business yet, but we almost are.


I always go in the back door. “Hi Pearl and Grace. I’m here…are you?”

Grace flew out of the bathroom and came over to me. “I’m so glad you’re here, Ellie. We got a doozie of a letter back from someone we um…advised. I don’t know what to do. Doozies make me really nervous.”


“Please take deep breaths, Grace. You’ll get a bad stomach and we don’t have any ice chips here. Where’s the letter?”

“Here,” Grace handed it over to me like it was a hot potato.”

Dear Grace,

Well, I took your advise and something awful happened. If you’ll remember, I’m the one with the sweet, sweet husband who said he was going to live forever because he drank so much apple cider.

 I told you about last week when we went to the doctor for his regular check-up and the doc said my sweet man was going to have to quit drinking alcohol or he was going to need a new liver. I piped up and said, “Oh, no doctor, that can’t be right. My husband doesn’t drink anything but apple cider. The good doc said, “That’s what they all say. Haven’t you wondered how he gets loaded every night?”

Miss Grace…you told me to gradually wean him off the hard stuff. You said to dump a little alcohol out of the bottle and replace it with apple cider. You said to gradually increase the amount of apple juice and cut back on the alcohol.

Well I’m here to tell you miss Grace, after the first few days, he got so mean, I started to swig out of that bottle instead of pouring it out. Then I started gulping. The more I drank the nicer he got. I realized I didn’t know he drank so much until he came home cold sober one night. 

I’m in a fix and it’s all your fault missy! What am I to do. I hope to read your answer in the newspaper SOON!


“Land sakes, Ellie, what are we to do?”

“Well, we’re going to have to think of something. I was worried my plan didn’t work. I saw Anonalmous coming out of the post office the other day and she didn’t look so good.”

Pearl must have heard us because she came out of the closet/office with a bottle of her clinically tested Pearlelixer fixer.


“We must sell her some of my Pearlelixer fixer. It cures fixations and prolongs life. I even sold it to a gentleman with a gambling fixation. He was cured. He never again entered a casino, although I did hear he went to the horse races once in a while because he loves to watch horses run.

“So…she doesn’t know who Miss Grace is does she?” Grace and I both shook our heads. ” Good..write her a letter and tell her she must get Pearilixer fixer. Her desire to tip the bottle will leave her along with her arthritis.”

You have to admit…this is a big improvement

So that’s what we did and it worked. ANONALMOUS turned into a new woman., and Pearl started selling Pearlelixir fixer hand over fist. I didn’t know flat seven-up, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of apple cider vinegar could cure everything. Did you?




Murdo Girl…The frown

Lately I’ve been feeling down. Something’s causing me to frown.

A smile can’t be that far away. What would make me smile today?

It can’t be food, I’m on a diet. I found a hat, but didn’t buy it.


I just got rid of so much stuff. I still have way more than enough.

I’ll phone a friend. Will I feel better? Better yet…I’ll write a letter.

I can’t call or write today. That won’t chase my blues away.


Should I nap or read a book? Or figure out whose frown I took?

I have nothing  much to gain if I take on another’s pain.

Drive me crazy?…It’s not that far, I won’t ride in the crazy car.


Talk to me and tell me more. Listening is what friends are for.

No one else can live your life, solve your problems, feel your strife.

I can’t take away your frown, it will only double down.

I’ll have one and so will you. Then what are we to do?


I’ll sit with you and hold your hand and really try to understand.

There’s one who knows what’s in my head. Should  I talk to Him instead?

He’ll give me answers and if I listen… the sun will shine, the stars will glisten.


Think of things you’re thankful for, but never try to keep a score.

You shouldn’t give your frown away and ruin someone else’s day.


A cheery smile is what they need. When we smile, we plant a seed.

So do not give your frown away. Save it for another day

Give your smiles away instead. Nothing more needs to be said.


A smile is just a frown turned upside down




Murdo Girl…Look at me and smile

This blog started forming in my mind while I was enjoying everyone’s Thanksgiving pictures on Facebook. Those kids had to work for their turkey and pumpkin pie. I remember those.. if I smile one more time my face is going to crack, smiles. When our kids were around five or six that’s how they smiled when we dutifully took them to Super Value or Lee Beckwith’s store once a year to have their pictures taken..By the time they were seven, they started losing their teeth. It was pretty much the same smile but without teeth, it doesn’t have the same “frozen on the face effect.”


I have a few other pictures of our kids with the frozen look, but we took those before digital cameras, cell phones, and computers.

I never did get around to putting them all in albums. In fact, they’re in plastic crates in the attic. Now, I actually only print a handful a year, but I have thousands stored…most of them since I started the blog.

I take a lot of the pictures I use and purloin the rest. When I go through the pics stored, I’m often surprised at how many years have gone by since the picture was taken and I wonder if I will ever look at it again.

These aren’t frozen smiles are they? I just tried to download about twenty and somehow I lost them and I don’t want to take the time to go back and search again.

When I was a kid, we were very careful about how many pictures we were taking. Camera film cost money and so did developing the photos. We had to send the film off and didn’t get the pictures back for a week to ten days. In the beginning we bought the twelve picture Kodak film, then we got up to twenty-four…and they were in color. I will admit we sometimes left a film laying around the house a while before we finally sent it in. I wish we had taken more pictures. I love to look at pictures of anybody and their families. It doesn’t matter if I know the people or not. Snapshots of a moment in time fascinate me.

Well, I kind of got off the subject didn’t I. Right this minute I’m a little upset because I found at least twenty examples of the “frozen smile” and I somehow lost them before I transferred them to the blog. Lucky you, I guess.

I want to rerun a Christmas story I ran across today. I hope it makes you smile…a real smile. It might even make you snort. I’m sure glad I’m not as crazy as Yram.







Murdo Girl…Splitting hairs

Tonight, I am going to tell you a story about two brave souls who made one of those life changing decisions. Life changing is serious stuff. It can take weeks, months or even years to make that final commitment…and you can’t take it back.

The first individual happens to be our grandson, Ethan. He is a great kid and generally he knows what he wants. When he was four or five, he had four or five hero costumes, like Spiderman and Batman. If he could wear a costume all day and drink strawberry milk, he was happy.

A few years ago, I went to Wyoming for a visit. Ethan wasn’t in school yet, so I got to stay home with him. The first thing he did each morning was choose his costume which I helped him put on. His grandma, Linda, bought him most of the costumes and later a full Denver Bronco’s uniform. He loves sports, but he’s the only one in the family who likes the Broncos instead of the Cowboys. We bought them all Cowboy shirts one year for Christmas. When Dallas got slaughtered the very next game, Kip said to call them and tell them to turn their shirts inside out.

Anyway, back to the life changing decision. Ethan’s mojo called for long hair. (Why is it that the boys always seem to get the beautiful hair and long eyelashes?) He is ten now and he’s had several haircuts, he just has never had a short, barber cut.

Ethan is tall for his age and athletic. He’s really into football and basketball. Well, one day he got up and said, “Dad, I want a haircut.”

I guess his dad could tell Ethan wasn’t talking about his usual trim. He told me Ethan said he was ready. Long hair didn’t feel good when he played basketball. Mason took him to a barber shop called, Rapscallions. I almost cried when I saw these pictures. I felt the same way when Mason got his first boy cut…only he was two.

Ethan loves his new do. His mom got emotional, but he’s her baby and you know how we moms are when we think, “This is the last time I’ll ever do this or that.”


I decided around three years ago that I was never going to get my hair cut short again. I haven’t even been seriously tempted. All I have to do is look at my past attempts to wear my hair short and I quickly talk myself out of it.

I even threw one in there taken before I stopped dying my hair grey.


Then, of course there is my Harold the barber cut. I liked it.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across a picture of a lady in a magazine. I kind of liked her hairdo. It was different. It was short, but the top had long layers. I’m not describing it very well so I will show you the picture.


This lady dyed her hair grey, which I’m not going to do. At least not right now.

Before…….I couldn’t find very many recent ones.



This was my first try at styling it. the girl who cut it really straightened it straight. I think I like it better this way. Tell me what you think…

I sure hope it’s hat and crown friendly.

Tomorrow’s blog will be a story about children’s funny smiles. If you have any pictures of a little kid in your life with one of those fakey smiles…please email it to me before tomorrow around 4:00 0’clock…

Murdo Girl…Duck!

I wrote in last night’s blog that I would tell you about our two days at Livingston State Park. Stopping there on the way back from Galveston was a great idea for a couple of reasons. It breaks up the long trip from Galveston to Mabank, TX. It’s a little less than halfway home. Secondly, it’s beautiful there. It’s the second largest lake in Texas and the campgrounds are really nice. We got water, sewer and electricity for $28.00 a night. We also had a concrete slab which makes leveling easier, and we had a beautiful view of the lake.

It didn’t hurt that the perfect weather we had in Galveston didn’t let us down at the park. It was really refreshing and peaceful. They have all kinds of hiking trails, fishing and even horseback riding. They also have cute little cabins for those who don’t camp.


We had intended to stay just one night, but we took our time driving from Galveston and didn’t get to the park until after six. You can’t really do or see anything when you’re camping unless you stay at least two nights.


The first morning we drove to the town of Livingston which was a pretty seven mile drive through the forest. We saw a restaurant that said breakfast and bakery, and since, bakery, is the word that gets Kip’s attention, we went on in. It was not what we expected at all. They had all kinds of coffees and lattes and cappuccinos. I had a cup of Texas pecan coffee. It was so smooth and delicious, I kicked myself today because I didn’t think about buying some to take home. They had bakery items, but Kip had a waffle, bacon, and eggs. His waffle was more like a pastry. It had a rich flavor to it. I had a biscuit with homemade jam, one egg and bacon. The name of the place is Milan Street Bakery.

They had a bookcase full of books, a comfy couch and two chairs on one end. It’s fun to go to places you’ve never been to before and cafes that aren’t chains and you don’t have to unwrap your food.



The little trailer says, “All who wander are not lost.”

Kip has been interested in looking at tiny homes. Maybe you’ve seen them on HGTV. We went to another little town, Willis, and looked at a few there, and spent time just looking at all the little towns that had neat little shops on their main streets. Livingston has trade days every 3rd week-end.

Now the good part…When we were coming back from our fun day in Willis and Livingstone, we were close to a very tiny town by the name of Security. All of a sudden Kip stepped on the brakes and pulled over. He had seen a little duck struggling on the side of the road. Another lady pulled over and an old man on a bicycle stopped too. The duck was flapping her wings, but couldn’t fly or walk. There was no obvious place such as somewhere that was bleeding to tell exactly how badly she was hurt. The old man on the bicycle went and got a box, and the lady left. I got on the phone and called every place we could think of that might be able to help this poor little duck. The game warden place was closed, none of the vets wanted to take him, the SPCA, Humane Society, and even a lady who rehabs wounded animals like possums had no ideas for us.

We ended up taking her to the park with us. We put her in an animal carrier, gave her some water and put her in the jeep for the night. We didn’t think it wise to put her inside with three dogs and a cat.

The next morning she was still alive and even quacked a little, but she still could not fly and couldn’t get up on her feet. We kept calling places on our way back home, and people kept saying no.

Well, we got all the way back to Mabank and as it happens, we go right past our veterinarian’s office. It was 4:00 o’clock and there were about ten, or maybe six cars outside. We stopped anyway. We finally got in to see the vet who thought Miss Duck was probably just stunned. We negotiated with him and he said he would take her to his place. Oddly enough…this vet doesn’t have dogs, so little Miss Duck would be safe. He said he would do the best he could. She needed salmon or minnows and she needed to swim. The little assistant was going to try her in the bathtub before putting her in the pond.

We paid the $55 office visit and with only a few misgivings, we left. Kip called today and they told him Miss Duck was doing great. She was eating and swimming and loved her new surroundings.

There is a good place in heaven for people like Kip. He has a great deal of compassion for all animals, birds, and some bugs. I can’t begin to guess how many animals we have had as pets in the past thirty-six years. And then there was the six foot iguana. All I can say is, Kip will be much happier surrounded by animals than if he has to go where the people are. I’ll just meet him and Rainbow Bridge where all of the pets meet there humans or visa versa.

(Tomorrow I will show you my new hairdo…maybe.)



Murdo Girl…It happens every year

We got home from our camping trip a couple of hours ago. Some interesting things happened while we were at Livingston State Park. I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog. I wrote this poem on the way home today. I hope you enjoy it!

It happens every year and shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Autumn  disappears like Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pies.

The  orange and yellow colors of fall’s gobbledygook…

Turn into red and green, scenes everywhere I look.

I put my old fake tree up, and start to decorate…

There’s no time to find a new one. I’m already two weeks late.

I think about the days ahead and the gifts I need to find…

I start a list of tasks and it boggles up my mind.

Like the three wise men, I must travel near and far.

An  Angel  gave them great news, and they were guided by a star.


I have my car and GPS…this day should be fantastic

My list of names is pretty long.  I’m thankful God made plastic.
Things have changed since Jesus’ birth…that I know for sure.

Not one person on my list wants frankincense and myrrh.

When daylight turns to darkness, I’m still shopping at the mall…

I’m going back to the first place I saw the ‘wanted’ doll.

Though I didn’t finish buying gifts, I did get quite a few.

I really should stop buying one for me and one for you.

It happens every year and shouldn’t come as a surprise 

Something gets my attention and I begin to realize…

Instead of looking down at all the earthly things I do…

I look up toward the heavens and take in the beautiful view.

The wise men saw the same stars two thousand years ago…

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They brought gifts to baby Jesus, because they loved him so.

I’ll finish up my shopping with my lesson from above.

It’s easier to find the perfect gift when your heart is filled with love.


Grandson, Hudson last Christmas Eve