Murdo Girl…Pearl’s flash of brilliance

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?

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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.

Herman the Handyman

Pearl: I must go to Pierre and buy some new outfits. What do you suppose chicken bingo entrepreneurs wear?

Pearl: Where are my Red Owl glasses?

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!

Murdo Girl…But it’s been tested in a clinic by blindfolded people!

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.

Methodist Church basement cooks

“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!”

Murdo Girl…The old ball and chain

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.

Does it smell good, Skyler?

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.

Remember the Aldens package with the Connie like dress I couldn’t wait 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.

My son took this picture of my daughter-in-law, Amy. She said she was going out for a run, but I can’t help but notice it looks like she’s about to get into a golf cart. I don’t blame her. It’s a cold Wyoming winter.

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.

Murdo Girl…Lo and behold

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…

This is before I stopped dying my hair gray. The baby is our grandson, Hudson who is seven years old now.

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.

Murdo Girl…A storybook life

I’m Empress the dancing pig. I thought I’d found a dancing gig.

But when it never did pan out, my owner kicked my pig can out.

She took me to the GW store…My price tag fell onto the floor.

I fear no one will know my worth? My tutu barely fits my girth.

A real strange  nice person wanted me. She said her heart was filled with glee!

Cause no one knew how much I cost. Another chance for me, was lost.

Couldn’t they just take a guess? Then I could be a great success!!

The stranger said not to worry, for tomorrow she would hurry.

She said, “I’ll come and buy you honey, shine your crown, and give you money.

I’ll fill your empty hole inside. You’ll wear that purple crown with pride!”

She said she’d take me off this shelf and teach me to self-help myself.

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Well… that glorious life was not to be. Another person purchased me.

She didn’t give me a chance… to show her how this pig can dance.

She took me to an uptown store. Where I will be forever more.

She gave me a close inspection. She wanted me for her collection.

It seems I’m worth thousands more, than the price she paid at the Goodwill Store.

Though now I’m with the big deal pigs, I rather miss my dancing gigs.

Why am I worth so much dough? The me inside still feels hollow.

I was in this store a week or more, when I found a boy pig I adore.

My name is Emperor and I’m a boar. I don’t belong in this uptown store.

I will learn to dance the jig and we’ll find us a dancing gig.

I’m really not the marrying kind, but I fear they’ll make me fried pig rind.

The Emperor and Empress…, soon became a great success.

They danced the jig in every town and raised three piglets who built houses.

Murdo Girl…Funny feet

My poems of late are serious and not the least bit humorous.

Laughter is a lot more fun than tears.

I’ll try to strike another tone that might tickle your funny bone.

Let’s see if I’m able to switch gears.

I saw a man walk down the street. I swear he had two right feet.

He tried to sell me two left shoes.

“I have two right feet,” he explained. “One right is wrong,” he complained.

“I’ll make you a deal you can’t refuse.”

I looked at him in disbelief. I didn’t want to cause him grief

But what would I do with two left shoes?

My feet never cause me strife. One is left and one is right.

Yet I never pass up a good deal.

I paid him pennies on the dollar. Then I found one left was smaller.

It made my little piggy squeal.

I saw a man walk down the street and asked if he had two left feet.

He said, “No!” And I chose not to persist.

My left food hurt like heck on earth but I sure got my money’s worth.

And so did my podiatrist.

Murdo Girl…Tough luck buttercup

Now I’ve done it! I somehow hit something that made everything on my laptop huge. The letters look a foot tall and I have to keep scrolling up and down and up and down to see the entire page. Kip can read my email to me from his chair clear across the room. Maybe my eyes are getting better. No…I took my reading glasses off and I still can’t read what’s on the screen,

I did what anyone who spends too much time looking at a computer would do. I started to investigate to see how I could fix it.

The older I get, the more I hate to read and follow instructions. I found an outline which was supposed to help me locate the problem. It’s called troubleshooting. I like to push troubleshoot and have the internal workings search for the problem, although I have yet to find a fix through troubleshooting. It usually tells me to make sure my wires are hooked up tightly. (That even made me laugh.)

Back to the outline. Something stuck out to me. I run out of space a lot and I don’t want to pay for any more and I know I’ve got things I don’t need in documents and photos. I use memory cards and have three devices I store things on. I don’t go back and delete them for two reasons. I’m afraid I will need it someday and secondly, I get overwhelmed just paging through it all. So I looked at that outline and stuck with the instructions long enough to figure out what I needed to do to delete duplicate files.

It was suggested that I download an app (free) on google play. I have a hard time with free apps because I usually accidentally download one of the programs the free app is advertising, and then I have to deal with getting rid of that. At first, I was really impressed with the rid yourself of duplicate files app.. It organized each file and picture that had a duplicate. There were many that had duplicates and some had as many as ten that were just like them. When you work from a laptop, a tablet, and a smart phone, you duplicate things. and like I said, I’m afraid to delete.

This time I wasn’t. I didn’t see one good reason to keep all of those duplicates, so I confidently hit, delete all. A message came up and said all of my deletions would bypass the recycle bin and could never be retrieved…did I still want to delete all. Yup.

I sat there and watched as all of those duplicates went off to never never land…and they took my original files and pictures with them.

I didn’t jump off the nearest cliff because I still have a lot of duplicates on my SD cards, cell phone, and tablet. There are some older pictures and files I’m really going to miss, though. I’ll just have to deal with it.

I gave up trying to reduce everything on my screen for now. I saw the instructions to sync my cell with my laptop so I can even read my messages both places. That is so cool!

Sorry…I don’t have any pictures for this one. I’ll get one somewhere.

You mean I passed??

Murdo Girl… The recipe (book)

I have added onto this story I wrote about Mom a couple of years ago. What a character. I’m a little bit like her…

You have to see what I found today. I won’t enter it in the water tower contest, but coincidinks are things meant to be appreciated. Just look..

All of you know how many thousands of pictures I have accumulated since I started writing Murdo Girl. Tonight, I picked up a small photo album that Gus brought when he came for Christmas. This photo was among several more recent snapshots, most of which I had already seen.

The beautiful young woman wearing the fur coat is my Mother. She is holding Billy. This picture is over 70 years old. Maybe one of you Murdo readers will be able to tell me where it was taken. The Murdo water tower is in the reflection of the window, and in Mom’s handwriting on the back it says…Doc Murphy said this is a good picture of the water tower.

This is amazing for several reasons.

1) To state the obvious, I’m collecting photos of water towers. It delighted me to find this one.

2) We lost many of our older family photos when the storage unit Mom and Gus had the pictures stored in flooded.

3) Mom was not a preserver of anything. I can tell this photo barely made the cut. It looks like she spilled her coffee while she was writing the description. I also have a nice 5 x 7 picture of Mom’s very dear friend Sugar and her husband George taken on one of their special anniversaries. Mom wrote her grocery list on the back of it.

I have all of Mom’s old recipe books. Two Methodist Church, and one Jones County Cookbook. Mom’s favorite recipes are dog-eared, but it’s not the recipes I treasure, it’s the entertainment. Mom had all kinds of notes, newspaper clippings and letters tucked between the pages. I found a two page handwritten recipe for soft oatmeal cookies. I purchased all the ingredients, mixed the batter, and was down to the last bit of instructions on how to bake them, when I noticed on the bottom of the second page, she had written, “Emily’s on page ? of the Jones County Cookbook are much better.”

In all fairness, I’m not any better. Inside my Jones County Cookbook, I found a newspaper clipping that Mom had cut out and sent to my son. It was an Ann Lander’s column describing the best way to get rid of blackheads. At the top Mom wrote, “I noticed last time I saw you, you had some breakouts…Try this.”

In the same cookbook, I found another newspaper clipping telling me If I was going to move to Texas, I would need to know how to kill cockroaches. The advice was to place oranges all over the house. Fortunately, I never had the need to try that particular remedy.

Inside my cookbooks I found 2 report cards (Mason), immunization records (Heather), a note from our daughter (Heidi) telling us what she wanted on her hamburger, and birthday cards to various people. I’m sure I didn’t send them because I didn’t remember I put them in the cookbook. Many of the pages of my books are torn out of the binding, but I can never quite manage to put them back in the right sequence. Every time I make lemon bars, (Mom’s recipe), I have to turn the book upside down and shake the page out that has the recipe on it.

This sample packet of Morton’s Season All has been inside the Methodist Women’s Cookbook for at least 20 years. I’ve never thrown it away because…well, it must still be good. It’s still in the wrapper. I also recently found the warranty for a Rival crock-pot I haven’t had for probably 15 years.

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This is the recipe file my Aunt Elna Miller gave me 50 years ago. It’s been a while since I’ve looked inside. I found a story in there that was written by my son in 1989. Maybe I saved it because he got an A+. I guess it’s not a story, but it’s a pretty good read.

Next, I found a picture of Aunt Elna, Mom and Grandma Sanderson. I haven’t seen it since around 1989. (I would guess.)

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Note to cousin Valerie: I found a recipe for Ella’s rolls. Do you have it?

I also found a recipe for eggless, milkless, butterless cake. It was one of Mom’s recipes in the Methodist Women’s Cookbook. I asked my brother if he had ever tasted one of Mom’s eggless, milkless, butterless cakes. He said he had never heard of it…me neither. I’m not going to try it. At the end of the recipe she said that you could add two eggs if you wanted to. I wonder why you would do that…Oh, yes…to make the name shorter…makes sense to me.

I might try Ella’s Rolls
From Left: Mom’s sister, Helen, with daughters Sue and Trice, and sister, Ella, with daughter, Valerie
Loretta and daughter, Mary

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Murdo Girl…From Big Bend to El Paso

Someone said the drive from Lajitas to Presidio was worth navigating the steep 15% inclines and the winding roads you cover for the entire fifty mile trip. They were right! It was definitely worth it. All of the pictures you’ll see were taken from the passenger’s seat in the RV. The formation in the first picture is named Abe Lincoln. I couldn’t see it at all until I decided he must be lying down.

After completing such a spectacular drive, we stopped in Marfa to grab a bite to eat before continuing on to El Paso where we are now. I had called ahead to reserve a spot for two nights. It was a long day of driving for us because as you have probably noticed, we stop a lot. We changed from Central to Mountain time so it’s an hour earlier in El Paso, which helped. We’re going to stay here for two nights. If we want to spend a whole day somewhere, we have to stay two nights. If we want to spend two full days, we have to spend three nights.

We’re going to catch up on a few things, tomorrow. I found a big dog park where we will take the dogs in the morning so they can go for a good run.

I’m also going to look for a place to get my hair cut. I didn’t have a chance to get the usual bad haircut that I get before traveling so I’m going to get it tomorrow. Kip needs to pick up a few things and he wants to go up some hill to see where some trams that you can ride down the hill start from. I just read they are closed to the public until further notice…They’re probably nothing compared to the climb up the Santa Elena Canyon, anyway.

It should be a fun day. We’ll be headed for Cattail Cove State Park near Lake Havasu on Sunday. We’ve been there before and it’s another beautiful place with a different kind of topography.

Murdo Girl…Where did the day go?

We were moving kind of slowly and didn’t make it all the way to the park, but we saw a couple of interesting things, today.

I had read about the Terlingua ghost town and it was just a few miles from the RV park. Terlingua was established in 1903 when mercury mining production began in the region. There are now remnants of old stone houses and a few touristy things in the town, but just down the hill there is an interesting graveyard which also began in 1903 when miners began to succumb to mining accidents. Beyond mining fatalities, the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 helped fill the graveyard. There is one grave with a hobbit theme. I saw another with a three foot statue of a Tyrannosaurus. I thought, sadly, that it must be a child’s grave. I looked at the dates and the man was seventy-eight.

Truthfully…I’ve never seen a more interesting cemetary. It made me think of the song the link below will take you to. You can listen to it and view the pictures below.

Here you go…

I spent part of the afternoon trying to figure out how to take a selfie that doesn’t make the words on my shirt look backwards.

Hey! I did it! Guess where I am.

I had to stop doing fun things for the afternoon and do 8 loads of laundry. I washed EVERYTHING!

Tomorrow morning we’re going to see Santa Elena Canyon. I read the canyon walls are 1500 feet high above the Rio Grand River.

Kip volunteered to do the yard work.