We’re getting ready to leave on an RV trip in a few days. I have to pinch myself to believe it. We went on a COVID trip last fall, visiting State Parks and the part of the Grand Canyon that’s near Flagstaff, AZ. It was a fun trip and so good to get away during the COVID lockdown. We were mostly outside and there were no crowds.
This year we have 2 different dogs that we are in the middle of training and we’re hoping on the road is a good time and place to do it.
My name is now Nellie. I’m one of the new dogs
I’d like to meet the readers of the Murdo Girl blogs
The dogcatcher found me wandering the streets
I love my new home…man its sooo SUWEEET!
I had it all to myself for a almost a month
Then along came dufus who’s a feisty little runt.
We have something in common. We both lived “At Large.”
We hid from dog catchers and ate tasty Garbau’ge.
Our twains didn’t meet until we got to this house.
I came from the North, Dufus (I mean Rylie came from the south.)
We’re trying to adjust, but it’s not always easy
At first eating dog food made my stomach feel queasy.
As for Rylie? Well he’s growing on me.
We’re going camping. Sounds like “At Large” used to be.
Having taken to the idea of being a private eye, William now referred to himself as W. Spade. He has also recruited his daughter, MG and his niece, Lav, to be his Sherlocks. They do all the legwork…and the paperwork. The three of them still squeeze into the El Camino, but Berferd has to ride in the back. The life of a gumshoe, is not an easy one.
After solving the now famous Click case, W. Spade Et Al has become a household name. Everyone in town wants their mysteries and crimes solved by W, his daughter, MG, and his niece, Lav. Luckily, once she completed the fundraising for the new swimming pool, Friday Click decided to stay on as the call screener.
Since the basement office had been buried, it was necessary for the business to find a new place of business. Luckily, there was another dirty business place for rent. It looked like a gingerbread house.
Let’s get right to it…
It’s Monday and Friday is sitting at her desk when the phone rings. It only takes two or three rings now for her to recognize the sound. She usually manages to answer it by the fourth ring, or if her nails aren’t dry, she lets it go to voicemail.
VM: You have reached the offices of W. Spade Et Al. Your call is very important to us (you can hear the distinct sound of someone blowing on their nails.) If someone is holding a gun to your head, hang up and call me back. I’ll answer it this time. If you’re holding a gun to someone else’s head, you have the wrong number. Please hang up and call the cops. Get it? Got it? Good!
Ring, RIng, Ring, Ring
Friday: Hello…you have reached the offices of W Spade Et Al. What can I do ya for?
Caller: I think I just stumbled over a dead body.
Friday: Wow…really? Male or Female? Did you know the body was dead before or after you stumbled? A good way to check to see if they’re really dead is to hold a mirror up to their nose. If it fogs over, they’re still alive. Hold on…W wants to talk to you.
W: This is only Friday’s second Monday. She’s still got a lot to learn about detective phone etiquette. So who’s the poor stiff?
Caller: YiiiiKES! Click
W: I think said caller just hung up on said me. Did you put a tracer on the call, Friday?
Friday: Say what? Oh yeah…remember? Tracer won’t be here until tomorrow. He had to give two weeks notice at the warehouse. It sounds like W. Et Al has a real murder case this time. Sounds like the dead guy is as dead as your cigar.
W: The vic can’t have been dead that long. I think I’ll go drag Main and see if there’s someone running around town yelling, “YiiiKES!” You get ahold of MG and LAV. Tell them to meet me at Mack’s Cafe and I’ll buy them a cinnamon roll.
What W doesn’t know is that MG and Lav are being held captive by a guy from Presho, a town about thirty miles east. They aren’t in Presho, but that’s where the captivator is from. His name is Chris Cross.
Lav: MG do you have any idea where we are? It’s really dark in here.
MG: No, but I think it might be close to the North Dam. There’s a golf course nearby and I heard someone yell. “Fore.”
Lav: Who do you think captivated us and why?
MG: I don’t know, but he sounds like he has a Presho accent. I’ve come up with two clues and you haven’t come up with anything concrete, Lav.
Lav: Why are you always so Cross, MG. Besides, I have too come up with something concrete. Did you know we’re standing in wet concrete right now?
W Spade Et Al got themselves in a jam. This case takes place at the Murdo North Dam. MG and Lav are in a fix. Instead of gum on their shoes, they’re stuck in concrete mix.
W. drove the El Camino uptown, to see if MG and Lav were anywhere around. The guy who called said he tripped on someone dead. Before he hung up, “Yiiiikes” was all he said. His Presho accent was real distinct. It was enough to put Berferd hot on his scent.
Was the “Yikes” guy guilty or was he the victim? Were the girl’s new shoes meant for them to swim in? Would W Et Al and Berferd crack the case? Or would they stumble over the dead guy and fall flat on their face?
To solve the mystery you need to know there is more than one guy here from Presho. If one’s name is Chris and he has a brother, what do you think is the name of the other?
I wish there was a simple way to describe the last three plus weeks. I’m sure many of you will scratch your head and wonder if this is a true story. It can be validated by my brother, Billy and our Step-Father, Gus. Just remember as you read this, Gus is 90, Billy is 77, and I’m 69. The good news is we all found that we’re made of pretty good stuff.
Between the three of us, we can usually remember the important things…like where our list is hidden. Except for Gus, who has recently had open-heart surgery, we can lift heavy objects and still walk the next day. We have learned how to pile garbage sacks on a wheel chair and, with the aid of a flashlight, find the dumpster in the middle of the night. We’ve learned how to discard items belonging to someone who never throws anything away…and for the most part get away with it.
I’m from Texas, my brother is from Los Angeles, and Gus lives in Ontario, California.
It all started several weeks ago when I decided that Billy and I should try to gather all of the paperwork needed to help Gus file for a VA pension. At the same time, Gus was scheduled to have his chest opened up to replace a valve. Sounds easy enough. Billy put about 4,000 miles on his car transporting Gus to his regular doctor’s appointments and taking forms to said doctors to complete and sign. Be advised…you make an average of 5 trips and 10 phone calls to get one form.
By the time I got to Ontario for Gus' surgery, which didn't happen then, there was frustration in the air. You can smell frustration, you know. BTW Gus didn't have surgery until about two weeks later because his COVID test, which was part of his preop came back positive. That was a real shock to us as he had COVID last February and later had the vaccination. It was even more of a shock to the group of Gus' friends who were sitting with us in the bakery when he got the phone call. I came back to Texas and stayed the 10 days that Gus was in quarantine. I flew back to Ontario the day before he was scheduled to try it again. He sailed through the surgery and they released him 5 days later. His ribs are literally wired together. (My brother missed two vacations, and was picked to serve on a jury the week Gus came home. Kip and I got two new rescue dogs. We found one on the day I came home the first time and the other the day I came home the 2nd time.
The problem with the coming home part was that Billy and I hadn’t finished making our midnight trips to the dumpster so we couldn’t get the house ready for the recovering patient. Gus is an admitted, um… collector and we had to uncollect him.
One important lesson that I would like to pass on. Before you try to move a newly purchased recliner, be aware that with most of them, the back slips off, making it much easier to carry. We moved that sucker to the motel before we discovered that feature. If we hadn’t figured it out, we would have had to take an ax to it in order to get it through the door at Gus’ house.
Since we weren’t ready, Billy put Gus up in a very nice motel for several days and I stayed at Gus’ house.
Back to the VA project.
We finally got everything together and a Veteran’s Service Officer pronounced it ready to send off to the big guys who make the ultimate determination. Three days ago, we got a letter stating they needed another piece of information. We got it, took it, and handed it to a local VA Service Officer. We read they try to expedite the process if the veteran is over 90. Now we’ll wait and see.
The night before I left, I got to take a break and took the train to Los Angeles. My brother’s wife, Liz, picked me up at Union Station and I spent a lovely evening with Liz and Billy, my niece, Erin, and her boyfriend, Carlos. Liz fixed a wonderful dinner, and we sat at tables on one of the two beautiful decks that were recently completed. As they used to say in the Murdo Coyote, “A good time was had by all.”
Have a wonderful evening. I can’t sit and type too long. I stiffen up.
Pearl started putting cornstarch in her Elixerfixer and then called it new and improved. All the women were buying it and losing weight. The cornstarch and hot water thickened in their stomachs and maded them feel full. They were buying that stuff like there was no tomorrow.
Well, our success was short lived. The very day that Pearl doubled her sales, Mack’s Cafe had a roast beef and mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, special. That gravy hit all that cornstarch and hot water in the ladies’ stomachs and they all felt like they’d swallowed twenty pounds of concrete. They feared they’d been poisoned by the beef. The real dramatic ones were sure they were knocking on death’s door. Doc Brown was called to the scene and it wasn’t long before the Doc, followed by twelve sick women came marching over to The Busy Nest. We saw them coming and could tell they all had their knickers in a twist.
Pearl: Why Doc Brown, what an unexpected pleasure, and my goodness, you brought some ladies with you. Welcome to The Busy Nest.
Grace: Pearl, don’t you recognize these ladies? They were just in here to buy new bottles of Elixerfixer.
Doc Brown: So I’ve been told. It seems all of these ladies took their dose of your famous elixer shortly before eating Mack’s Cafe’s special, consisting of roast beef with mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.
Grace: Do they make their gravy with cornstarch?
Pearl: Grace, dear, would you mind going to get the mail?
Doc: I was looking at the very fine print on the back of the label and it just says it’s made with all natural ingredients. Would you mind telling me what they are?
Pearl: Certainly…I travel many miles to purchase the greatly sought after freshly distilled spring water it contains.
Grace: It’s the kind you put in your steam iron so it won’t clog up.
Pearl: Grace, the mail! I add a very carefully measured amount of extract from the endosperm of corn, li’mon juice from a small producer in Arizona, and mother’s apple cider vinegar. Believe me, it’s a very precise combination.
Grace: Can you believe we can get all that stuff in Pierre at The Red Owl Store?
Well, Doc Brown happened to know that extract from the endosperm of corn was cornstarch and concluded, when followed with hot water, it would swell up in the stomach enough without adding a good amount of gravy to it.
Those ladies were bound up for a week and our new and improved Elixerfixer sat on the shelf and thickened.
I’m bringing Pearl the dog back to Pearl the human’s apartment. We had a really long walk. I would rather take a beating than have to deal with Pearl this morning.
You see the value of Pearl’s Elixerfixer sunk like the cornstarch in the stomachs of at least twelve Murdo women. Doc Brown let it be known that though no one was in danger of dying, living wouldn’t be pleasant for the next couple of weeks until the corn starch worked it’s way through their systems. On the good side, they might drop a few more pounds and it did seem to take the edge off of Mint Magnet’s halitosis.
Grace and I both know that it’s just a matter of time before Pearl gets over feeling sorry for herself and has another flash of business brilliance.
“Hi Grace. Pearl the dog and I are back. Where is Pearl?”
Grace: Come over to my apartment, Ellie/Essie. Pearl’s not here. She had another flash of brilliance. A real biggie this time. She said her new business would be a perfect fit for the Busy Nest.
EE: Jeez… I knew she would be back in the game of trying to succeed in the business world, but I thought we’d have a few days of rest first. Listen…here she comes. Isn’t that “Old McDonald had a farm” she’s singing?”
Pearl: “ee eye ee eye oh”
EE: Please don’t tell us you bought a farm, Pearl. Please!!!
Pearl: Oh heaven’s no, Essie. I’m a business woman. I don’t do dirt. I am however, going to invest in some chickens for my chicken bingo business.
Grace: Oh Lord, I feel like I’m going to faint dead away. Ellie/Essie could you get me a glass of water, please?
Pearl: Grace…must you be so dramatic? This is an up and coming entertainment money maker. I read about it in a magazine at the beauty shop.
EE: I don’t think your brilliance is flashing right, Pearl. You ran off the Methodist Church basement cooks and now you’re going to compete with the Catholic Bingo fundraisers. You barely have any customers now. How do you play bingo with chickens. anyway?
Pearl: I haven’t read the whole article yet, but I bought a copy of the magazine at the store downstairs. We have no time to waste girls. The first matter at hand is to get Herman the handyman to make the bingo board while we figure out the details. We don’t even have to change the name. The Busy Nest is perfect for a bunch of chickens.
EE: Do the chickens feel any pain, Pearl?
Pearl: Heaven’s no. Essie. All they have to do is eat and do their business on a number of their choice. The lucky bingoee who purchased the winning number gets the chicken pot. We don’t even get a cut because that would be gambling. We make our money on T-shirts, souvenirs, and snacks.
Grace: I’ll order the T shirts…
“The Busy Nest…
Where chickens do their business“
EE: I’ll get the chance tickets printed up with all the numbers and call Herman and see how soon he can get started on the bingo board.
Pearl: I must go to Pierre and buy some new outfits. What do you suppose chicken bingo entrepreneurs wear?
The pictures above were taken one hour into the first night. The entrepreneur had no idea just how seriously bingo players took their bingo.
One and one half hours into the night!
“BINGO ON 22!! WHAT’S MY PRIZE?”
“WHO GETS THE MONEY WHEN CHICKEN LEGS DOES HER BUSINESS ON THE LINE?”
“NO WAY, GIRL. YOU GOT A NICE BOTTLE OF BUBBLE BATH. ALL I GOT WAS A DRIED UP FRUIT CAKE! ”
“WHERE IS THAT LA TI DA LADY THAT WAS WALKING AROUND. THIS IS ON HER!”
“I GOT A TORN CHANCE CARD. THAT’S GOT TO BE BAD LUCK.”
“HEY! THAT ONE LAYED AN EGG. IS THAT WORTH A DOUBLE POT?”
“THE METHODIST BASEMENT COOKS ARE RIGHT! THIS PLACE SMELLS BAD…REALLY BAD!
My name is Ellie but Pearl the human calls me Essie so Grace calls me Ellie/Essie. Grace and Pearl are elderly ladies who live in the rooms above Sanderson’s Store. Pearl the human has a dog named Pearl the dog. Pearl said if they both have the same name, she’s not likely to forget and if she does, it’s time for them to part their ways.
I’m on my way to walk Pearl the dog before going to The Busy Nest, which is what Pearl calls her new store. It’s summertime so I don’t have to go to school. I still have my towel job at Mom’s motel, but I’m getting faster and faster at getting them washed, dried, and folded ever since Murdo got a new laundry mat with huge machines. Besides that, the laundry mat is just down the street from The Busy Nest.
We have two things developing at The Busy Nest. One is Pearl’s new Elixerfixer. She has formulated a secret recipe for an Elixer that is guaranteed to cure fixations and prolong life. She once sold it to a gentleman who had a gambling fixation and bad arthritis. He was cured of both. He never again entered a casino, although we did hear he went to the horse races once because he likes to watch horses run.
Once that story got around, Pearl started selling Elixerfixer hand over fist. I sure didn’t know that flat seven-up, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of apple cider vinegar could cure everything. Did you? Pearl says we can’t tell people what the secret ingredients are. We can only tell them they were all tested in a clinic by blind people.
Well I walked Pearl the dog while I was filling you in and now I’m about to go in the back door of The Busy Nest.
The second thing we have developing is Grace’s advice column. It’s not really a column because the Murdo Coyote hasn’t picked us up yet. Pearl thinks it’s just a matter of time. I agree because if the newspaper is smart, they’ll realize that when people start to see their own problems in the paper, they’ll be sure to run right out and buy them up.
But guess what? Pearl got a new winner of an idea. She was still selling Elixerfixer right along, but she said she needed a new frontier to conquer, so she has expanded her umbrella of services to include weddings. It seemed like the perfect fit and a way to bump up the finances and grow the goodwill in the community at the same time…. and… since Grace was already writing an advice column for the newspaper, Pearl said she could incorporate her advising thoughts and provide before and after marriage counseling. She figured, and rightfully so, that Grace couldn’t cause more marriages not to take hold than the unsolicited advice of people who stick their nose into other people’s marital goings on, and have no practical experience telling people what to do like Grace does.
Some figured the local preachers would be up in arms because they were losing out on some of their congregation’s nuptials, but they decided to let if ride for July and August. It had been tense at times in June with the church basement cooks and they could use some much needed time off. It was getting overwhelming taking care of funeral food, and wedding receptions, not to mention, Lions ‘s Club and other social functions held there. The Yoga/pottery wheel class, inspired by that Ghost movie that finally made it to town, had to move over to the bank’s basement just to keep their time slot.
“Hi Grace, Hi Pearl, I’m here, are you?” (I smell orange blossoms. There’s either a wedding today, or Pearl’s added a new flavor of the day to her Elixerfixer promotion.)
“Essie! Grace needs you! She’s got a new bride in her office who’s wailing her head off. I just don’t have the patience to suffer other people’s misery. I don’t even want to see them again after they say their vows.”
“Hi Mrs. Smith. Remember me? I’m Ellie/Essie depending on who you’re talking to. What has you in such a dither?”
“Frank and I were only married for two days when he caught a cold. I tell you, he turned into a different person. He has run me ragged! Do you here me? Ragged! It’s my fault the heating pad is too hot on high and not hot enough on medium. He said I put the ice in the ice pack wrong. He thinks there’s something not right about someone who can’t count out seventeen ice cubes. He moans like he’s about to take his last painful breath and just now, he sent me to the store to pick up a bell he can ring when he needs me. I came here instead! What should I do?”
“CALL HIS MOTHER!!” Pearl yelled from the other room. “And then go to the yoga/pottery wheel class. It starts in an hour!”
After spending much of the last couple of days going through old pictures, I probably look like our granddaughter Skyler did when her dad held a flower up to her nose…cross-eyed.
Going way back… I found this picture of Kip with the ball and chain the girls at the bank where he worked made him wear a few days before our wedding.
If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll probably remember in the young Murdo Girl stories, my parents insisted I make a trip to New York to visit my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Chuck, and their kids, Abby and Paul. Western Airlines had been on strike for several weeks and I thought their planes would be rusty and I would crash and die before I got to start high school. I had to miss the first week of my freshman year and that seemed like the end of the world to me. This is the postcard I sent home from New York. Marlene was my best friend and Berferd was my dog.
It’s too bad we don’t write letters anymore. Even postcards would be fun to get.
I love these pictures of Olivia and Charlie playing in the rain…
I wrote a Christmas play for Kip, Olivia, Mason Jr. and me one year…imagine that! Kip was a reindeer. Looks like one of his antlers is broken. The pictures of Gus playing Santa and Olivia and Seamus staring at each other are Christmas photographs, too.
Well, I would like to say this has been fun. And it has been for me. I could go on forever and I just might.
This is not going to be a rhyming post. My rhymer is worn out. Besides, I have been going through every one of my printed pictures. Remember those? These photographs are not in the cloud. They’re all over my cottage floor. I’m trying to cull them out a little so when I want one to use in the blog, I’ll know where to find it in hours rather than days. So often, I can see the picture in my mind, but can’t find it in the cloud, on the computer, a memory stick or some other means of storage. I use them all.
I found a few that I hadn’t seen in a while…
Usually, Kip only wore his dress socks with shorts when he came home from work and changed out of his suit. Even then, the kids would ask him not to wear brown socks with his shorts. Maybe he forgot to pack his white socks when we were on this short vacation. The girl on the right, is Kip’s sister, Karlyce. I’m sure Heidi and Heather refused to be in the picture since Dad had his dress socks on.
These next pictures are rare photographs of Yram’s twin sister, Ecnatsnoc Sicnarf, Nat for short. She is not a crack up reporter. She used to be a pretty sly gumshoe, but sadly, she isn’t able to sneak around undetected anymore. Maybe after the baby is born.
***This was actually a costume I wore for Halloween shortly before we moved from Denver to Dallas. Unbeknownst to me, some tricksters in Denver sent these pictures to Dallas and told them they were recent photographs of their new underwriter. My new Dallas coworkers knew I had been wearing a costume of course, but a couple of them asked me how the baby was doing.
Our office manager in Denver had two babies close together and she wore this dress over and over again. We were all pretty sick of it.
I had someone who babysat for her occasionally get the dress. I came to the office party as Debbie who is blond, and wears glasses. She is much prettier than Nat.
The yellowed newspaper clipping, below, is one Mom sent to me after we moved to Texas. She wanted me to be prepared for roaches. This lady’s mother, who by the way is from Florida, called them palmetto bugs which sounds better than roaches don’t you think?
You won’t believe the things I have run across…well, maybe you will because you know me and what my mom was like. I’m having fun sorting, but I don’t know how many of these treasures I’ll be able to part with.