Murdo Girl…The road trip..day 6

I decided that it isn’t really necessary for me to describe every minute of each day of our road trip. You don’t need to know about every time we walk the dogs or every morsel of food we eat. I’ll just hit the highlights of each day.

We’ll be in Galveston until Friday morning. As I’ve said, Jamaica RV is a beautiful place and it’s right across the street from Jamaica Beach, which is really nice, but not as crowded as most of the other beaches around here.

These kids were trying to teach a golden retriever how to surf. He seemed to be enjoying all of the attention.

We walked quite a distance this morning and we were at a place where we could take the leashes off the dogs and let them run.

Kip is sitting on one of the swings along the trail to the fishing docks

There are several good places to eat in Galveston. We picked two because they have outside seating. We had planned to go to The Sunflower this morning, but their outside area wasn’t open so we went to The Mosquito Bite. Strange name, I know…One bite does it. We both ordered French toast and bacon. Kip also had scrambled eggs and orange juice. We were sitting there enjoying the delicious food when a thought occurred to me.

“Let’s see,” I said. “We decided that we’re going to cook breakfast tomorrow, right? Didn’t we buy what we needed to make French toast and bacon?”

“Yup we did,” Kip answered. “We decided we were going to have it twice. Now we’ll be having it three times. It sure won’t be as good as this is, though.”

After breakfast, we went back to the beach. We were all in sort of a weakened state from all of the walking we’ve done, and maybe a little uncomfortable from all of the eating. After walking a short distance, Kip suggested that we go on down to the next beach access and then walk across to the RV park instead of going back to the cut-across we normally use. He said he didn’t think it was very far. He was wrong!

He finally decided to ask a little couple who was riding in a golf cart where the access was. “Jump in,” they said. “We’ll give you a ride.”

“We couldn’t,” I said. “We have these three dogs.”

“Nonsense,” the woman whose name is Dixie said. “Pile in and we’ll give you a ride. Hang on tight,” she said. “Mickie drives really fast.”

Nice golf cart

Mickie and Dixie got us to the place Kip thought would be relatively close to the park once we crossed the busy road. He was wrong.

“How far is your RV park from here?” Mickie asked.

“A long ways,” I offered.

“Come on,” he said. “We’ll take you back to the other access.”

We were very grateful not to have to walk all that distance and we told them so. They must have been able to tell that the three dogs were grateful, too. Mickie and Dixie were a hoot!

Since they were only able to take us as far as a line of posts, we still had a little ways to walk. We saw a couple sitting in a golf cart, who looked like they were somewhat distressed. Come to find out, they were out of gas. They had just arrived from Minnesota the day before and were so happy to be able to get out in some warm sunshine, they didn’t think about getting gas. They are staying at the Jamaica Beach RV Park, too. They are wintering here. There wasn’t much we could do to pay forward the act of kindness we had been the recipients of, so we walked with Jim back to the park to get his gas can. He had his own truck to get himself to the gas station and back to the beach to pick up Sandy, so he didn’t need us.

What a day! I still managed to find some time to fix up our patio a little. I’m a little disappointed because I never could locate my multicolored hanging lights. Kip must have accidentally lost them.

I only had a little sweet roll and a cup of tea for dinner

Murdo Girl…Crafty

My “creations” once created laughter.

I’m now a talented crafter.

(In a moment I’ll give you a little preview.)

I decided to pursue other interests.

I learn how to do things on Pintrest.

(They have videos that walk me through what to do.)

I have a little confession.

I took an online singing lesson.

(I failed Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do.)

In the world I live in,

talent is God given.

(I think there is something God wants me to know.)

Writing is my passion.

I’m still waiting to cash in.

(I discovered a way as you will soon see.)

If my books are humdrum,

there is no income.

(I craftily turn them into things Christmassy.)

My name is Crafty.

This house is so drafty.

(I’m made from a glove instead of a book.)

When MG made me,

She performed rhinoplasty.

(She forgot that a carrot is part of my look.)

Good thing I have a lot of EXTRA books.

Murdo Girl…Pearl gives a lesson on the value of gossip 1 & 2

Part 1

This is Ellie/Essie…

If I swore, I’d say every curse word I know right now. If I threw fits, I would lay down on the floor and kick and scream. I don’t know how that woman could be so mean.

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The old Methodist Church in Murdo, South Dakota. The parsonage is next to it.

You see the Methodist Church had a fundraiser. All of us kids had to work for someone who paid us by the hour. We had to work for eight hours and all the money goes to the youth program. I got hired by mean Mrs. Stone. She made me do things a two hundred pound man could barely do.

I was too fast at my work. That’s what it was. I washed all of her dirty windows inside and out. I pulled the weeds in her garden and worst of all, I had to clean out her refrigerator. Now I’ve got to go take Pearl the dog for a walk if my poor little wobbly stick legs will let me.

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

“Hi Pearl, I came to take Pearl the dog for a walk.”

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Can we go see my frog friend?

“Well ,Essie…you look like you could go bear hunting with a stick. What or who has gotten you so worked up?”

“Working for Mrs. Stone has me all worked up. She never let me rest once except for the fifteen minutes it took me to choke down a minced ham sandwich. When I took the last bite, she smacked her hands and said, up, up, up…time to get back to work! Then she got really mean.”

“Tell me, Essie. I just love to hear gossip. When I had my beauty shop, I’d have a woman on each side of me shooting gossip into my ears. Oh how I miss that. I don’t get to talk to many people now except Grace and she tells me everything twice and comes up way short on the details. Gossiping is an art you know. One of these days I’ll teach you how to get people to spill everything they know, or think they know, and you won’t have to give up a thing. Now, what was the really mean thing she did?”

“When I got ready to leave, Mrs. Stone said I might have to come over again tomorrow. I said to her… no way, Mrs. Stone, that’s not how it works. Then she said she was going to have to deduct an hour’s pay on her check to the church. When I asked her why, she said it was because I didn’t get all the weeds out of her garden, and Mr. Stone would be upset because he would have to do it. It’s not fair Pearl,”

“You have got to get some dirt on that woman, Essie, that’s all there is to it. Now go take Pearl the dog for a walk. When you get back, I’ll give you a couple of quick lessons.”

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Pearl’s Gossip Lesson

Listen closely, Essie, and you will have that mean Mrs. Stone right where you want her. If she has told you something secretive about herself, she won’t cross you ever again. It will be worth it for you to go over there tomorrow. When she says something mean to you, and she will, you say this:

“I sure don’t see why several of the ladies in town aren’t partial to you Mrs. Stone. I think you’re real nice.” Then smile your sweetest smile, just don’t laugh when you see the look on her face.

“Then what do I do, Pearl?”

You say, “Now, show me those weeds in your garden that I missed. I’ve heard from reliable sources that several of your friends think Mr. Stone is henpecked and I wouldn’t want to add fuel to the fire… if you know what I mean.”

“See Essie… it’s nothing you can’t do. You’ll be a natural.”

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“Then what do I say Pearl?” I was really starting to get into this gossip lesson.

“Nothing. You won’t have to. She will be so upset she’ll spill the beans on every gossip friend she has. She’ll say things like, I bet I know who said that! It was Ethel, well let me tell you a thing or two about Ethel..bla,bla,bla,bla. Then you have to close the secret transaction.”

“What’s a secret transaction, Pearl?”

You say, “Well, I guess I should get started on those weeds now so poor Mr. Jones doesn’t have to do it. It’s not in my nature to cheat the church either.”

“Do you mean I’m still going to have to pull the weeds, Pearl?

“Not a chance. Mrs. Jones will probably say something like this. Oh no, dear. You sit right here and I will get you a nice cold glass of lemonade and one of the cookies I baked for Mr. Jones. You must call us Charles and Helen…I’ll pull the weeds.

One more thing, Essie. When she tries to get out of you who told you all that gossip, you say…I think we both know who told me those terrible things that you told them. It’s just awful how people spread gossip they hear on the grapevine.

” I can’t wait for you to tell me how it goes tomorrow, Essie. Wasn’t that a great lesson? I should have been a mother. I believe my mothering instincts have gone to waste all these years.

The Beauty Shop is a great place to hear good gossip

Part 2 – Ellie/Essie Executes the plan

Well, I decided I would try out Pearl’s gossip lesson and go back to Mrs. Stones’ house and get some dirt on her. I sure hoped Pearl was right because I sure did not want to pull more weeds.

There was one thing Pearl’s plan didn’t account for.

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

“Hi, Mrs. Stone…I came back to pull those weeds in your garden; the few little ones that I missed yesterday.

“Well just don’t stand there, Ellie, come in. I don’t have much time to direct you. My bridge club will be here in just a few minutes. Get one of those paper bags in the pantry and fill it with the weeds you pull. Now get to it Ellie. Why are you just standing there with that dumb look on your face?”

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That’s the mean thing, I thought. The bridge club coming over could be a hot potato, but I decided to move forward with Pearl’s plan.

“Are the bridge club ladies the ones that don’t like you very much?”

“What on earth are you talking about, “Ellie? Who told you that?”

“Um…I think we both know who spreads gossip around this town.”

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My mom played bridge

Mrs. Stone had a horrified look on her face just like Pearl the human said she would, but she didn’t tell me I didn’t have to pull the weeds, and I really didn’t think she would offer to pull them herself with all those women here. I was going to have to wing it!

The ladies started arriving then so I waited. Mrs. Stone saw me standing there and told me to go do what I came to do.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go pull those weeds, so you won’t make poor Mr. Stone go out there and pull them. Do you have some cold lemonade so I can go out and sit on your bench and drink it? Those cookies sure look good, too.”

“You are one strange child, Ellie.”

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Then a bridge lady spoke up. “Well, Helen Stone, did you get involved in the Methodist Church fundraiser? I heard most of the kids were on the lazy side. They had to be prodded to do anything. It was so good of you to give this girl a chance to do it right. Young lady, you need a few lessons in etiquette. You do not ask for refreshments and you definitely do not take a refreshment break before you have even started your work.”

She’s mean too, I thought. Pearl didn’t account for two ladies being mean to me.

“Mrs. Martin,” I said. “I heard your husband is henpecked.”

It worked again! Mrs. Martin looked horrified; just like Pearl said. All of a sudden, Mrs. Stone took me by the ear and marched me to the door. “You may leave now,” she said. “I would rather pull the weeds myself than deal with the likes of you, young lady.”

I couldn’t wait to tell Pearl the human all about my experience with her gossip lesson. I decided to walk Pearl the dog a little later.

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I like now, now is good!

“Hi Pearl, I came right over here to tell you what happened with Mrs. Stone. I said exactly what you told me to say and guess what? I didn’t have to pull one weed. Mrs. Stone said she would do it. There is one thing though…She didn’t offer me a cold glass of lemonade and a cookie.”

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I like cookies

“I knew it,” Pearl said. (I’ve never seen Pearl so excited.)

“I’ll have to think up some more life lessons to teach you, Essie. Living in this world takes know how and if it’s one thing old Pearl has, it’s know how!”

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“Do you know anything about etiquette Pearl? One of the bridge club ladies who was at Mrs. Stones’ house said I could use a few lessons on etiquette.”

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“Boy, Pearl the dog, Pearl the human sure was puffing away on that air cigarette when we left. She just doesn’t seem herself. Where should we go on our walk? How about Mrs. Stones’ house to see if anybody pulled those weeds.’

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Okay Ellie, but it’s getting pretty dark. Do you think she’ll give us a cookie?

Murdo Girl…Small town bridge

Mom is having her bridge club over tonight. The ladies in the club take turns hosting and tonight is Mom’s turn. Sometimes I help her get everything ready. First, we set up card tables with four chairs to each table. I’ve been meaning to ask Mom what happens if she has one lady too many, or she’s one lady short.

I also put the mints and nuts out. I fill little glass serving dishes with them and set out little plates and little spoons. At halftime, Mom serves real dessert. She makes cream o cheese o cherry pie and lemon chiffon pie every time. Lemon chiffon pie isn’t like lemon meringue pie. Its fluffy and lemony. The player who is a dummy always has to get up and make coffee so it’s ready at halftime.

I always stay awake until the pies are gone. Mom doesn’t let me have mine until she knows she’s not going to need it. I’ve never gone without one piece of each kind, yet. I think some of the ladies fill up too much on nuts and mints.

From left: Harriet Parish, Marce Lillibridge, Florence Murphy, Marge Bork, Evelyn Johnson, and Mom

I listen to them talk while they play. Mom says you have to let your partner know what kind of cards you have. That sounds a little like cheating to me. You have to bid and pass and and smoke all at the same time. A couple of the women don’t smoke. They usually cough a lot. One time Mom and I drove past a nonsmoker’s house the day after they played bridge and we saw her dress and coat hanging outside on her porch. I know how she feels. By the time they all leave, the smoke haze has floated into my room and my eyes burn.

They manage to work a little gossip in while they play, but Mom says they have to be really careful because Murdo is a small town and it’s very hard to remember who everyone is related to. One time something was said that was pretty shocking. Mom said you could have heard a pin drop. Thankfully, the relative stayed quiet, but the next day, Mom called my aunt and a couple of other people and told them all about the “news” she heard.

Mom in the red dress, Harriet Parish in the black dress, Florence Murphy in a dress with a white collar, and Marge Sorenson by the fireplace. Pictures were probably taken by Elsa Peck. The bridge party was in her home.

The other thing that I was going to tell you about is how the ladies get all gussied up. If Kitty Reynolds is going to be there, they all try to wear a dress that she made for them. They usually look the best, anyway. They wear nylons and high heals. They also wear earrings, beads and sometimes bracelets. They all wear a different kind of perfume which about knocks you over when they first get there. You would think it would overcome the smoke, but it can’t. They come in smelling like perfume and go out smelling like smoke.

They all have a good time and I do, too. I’m never going to try to learn that game, but tomorrow, I’m going to ask Mom to show me a bridge trick.

Playing tricks is a measurement of trick-taking potential with your longest suit trumps. This is typically used when you have a 6+ card suit, such as for a preemptive bid, but can be applied any time.

Huh? Never mind…

I sure wish halftime would get here so I could have some pie…

Murdo Girl…Grandpa John comes home.

“What are you doing here, Brad?” Barbie wanted to know.

“I came to take you somewhere that I know you’ll enjoy, but first, you need to change into this. I’ll be back to get you in fifteen minutes.”

“Wait, Brad…I have no desire to go anywhere. I’m happy staying in my room, but thank you, anyway.”

“No one can be happy spending all their time holed-up in a bedroom. Please don’t argue with me, Barbie. I know this outing will be good for you,”

“Okay,” she sighed. “Come back in fifteen minutes.”

“Where are we?” Barbie asked. “And why am I wearing riding boots? Have you forgotten that I’m blind? There is no way I can get on a horse.”

“Sure you can. We are at an equestrian day camp. I’m told that you will be riding like a champ in no time.” Brad saw the frown on Barbie’s face. “Don’t scowl little sister. It’ll be fun. I promise. The fresh air will do you good. Come on. I want you to meet the instructor.”

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

Grandpa John didn’t want to stay at the ranch for even one night. It’s a good thing Dina and Jamie got the house all furnished and decorated. It was ready for him and Biff to move right into.

“Thanks for bringing me over here right away,” Grandpa John said. “I was nervous about moving out of the cabin and I know I wouldn’t have slept a wink not knowing where Biff and I will be living.”

“Not a problem,” Mark said. “I can understand wanting to get settled in as quickly as possible. I’m going to stay here with you until Clark can get here, and then he and Arf will spend the night with you. Arf will be staying here and working with you until you’re comfortable getting around on your own. I also want you to know you have two telephones that should be pretty easy to get to.”

Back at the ranch, Clark was loading Katie, Annie and Biff into the truck Brad had given him. They were headed over to Grandpa John’s house. Mark would bring Annie and Katie back to the ranch, but Katie wanted to see where she used to live.

Annie: This really is a super duper family. I love everyone and everyone seems to love Arf and me. I’m sure they’ll all get used to Biff, too. The only human I’m having a hard time getting used to is Jamie’s dad, Mr. Langford. He says things in a funny way. Like, “Don’t beat around the bush,” and “bite the bullet.” He’s always saying someone has a chip on their shoulder. (I think he’s seeing things.) Jamie said people like him are why aliens won’t speak to us. She said it in a loving way, though.

Jamie says she’s happy her mother, Mrs. Langford, is getting to be friends with Miss Bessie. Since Grandma Helen moved to the farm, Miss Bessie has a lot of people to cook for, especially since they’ll be bringing food to Grandpa John, too. Mr. Langford says they’ve got a big plate to say grace over, but I’ve never seen it.

That night, after supper, Brad and Jamie were sitting on the porch having coffee.

“Did Barbie enjoy her day at the equestrian camp?” Jamie asked.

“She did fine. I think she was a little surprised that her instructor was twelve years old. Nancy has been blind from birth and she has never known any other kind of life. Barbie was sixteen when she lost her sight. I’m not sure which would present more challenges.”

Jamie pondered that for a minute. “And now we have Grandpa John who lost his sight at the age of eighty. Does Barbie know about Grandpa, yet?”

“I don’t think so, she hasn’t shown much interest in anything that’s going on around here.”

“I know.” Jamie laughed. “Dad said she’s a hard dog to get off the porch.”

“He’s right. I’m hoping learning to ride will give her a little more self confidence. Speaking of dogs, Arf and Annie are spread a little thin. Annie is watching over Katie while Arf is working with Grandpa John plus she has really been Clark’s dog. What about our little Jake? He needs his own dog to love. We don’t have a shortage of people around here, but maybe we need more dogs.”

“I don’t think Arf and Annie would like that,” Jamie said. “It’s bad enough they have to deal with old Biff. What about a kitten? I can’t believe this ranch doesn’t have any cats.”

Annie: I had been taking a little nap by Brad’s chair when I heard them talking about cats. I decided I’d rather go watch squirrels out the window.

Brad looked down to where Annie had been sleeping. “Where did Annie go? She was just right here.”

“I think she misses Arf,” Jamie said. “Those two are best buds.”

All is calm and all is bright at the Humboldt ranch. At least for the moment…

Murdo Girl…Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming and I need a good disguise. I’m going to a party and I want to win the prize.

I spent all day shopping. I’m running out of time. My look went from ridiculous to sublime.

I tried on every wig in every store in town. Should I be a queen or should I be a clown?

Should I be a blond, a redhead or brunette? Dress as a rag muffin or as part of the jet set?

I just heard on the news… there will be no trick or treating. There won’t be clever costumes…or candy to be eating.

Let’s plan a virtual party. Are you up to the task? We’ll dress up in our costumes, but we won’t need a mask.

If that idea doesn’t fly, I’ll have to entertain myself. I’ll take down the video that’s been sitting on a shelf.

I’ll make a costume with two heads right before your eyes. When I’m finished dressing up. I’ll give myself first prize.

Halloween 2017