Murdo Girl…Taking some time out

It’s late…11:45 p.m. to be exact. I want to write a blog, but I don’t know if I should stay up any later. What do you think? I would have started earlier, but we went to a birthday dinner for our daughter, Heidi. It was an important birthday, too. A real big one. I don’t recall her age, but she looks great. She belongs to our two grown grandchildren, Mike and Nikki who belong to our three great grandchildren…Skyler, Ryan and Griffin, who was not present nor did he bring his parents tonight.

Our grandsons, Seamus and Hudson, brought their parents…our daughter, Heather, and her husband, Scott.

What could be better than dinner at a great Mexican restaurant, followed by Neapolitan cake, and fun with the grandkids?

Heidi is my hero.

“Yay,” Ryan says. “Here comes the cake. Mommy and Daddy, Nikki and Justin, look so cute!”

Happy Birthday, Heidi!! We love you!! 

“Every party’s got a pooper that’s what we invited you for….party pooper!”

“Goodnight, Brad”…”Skyler, you better take Papa home.”


It’s been so rainy and dreary and it doesn’t look like that is going to turn around in the near future. We needed rain. We now have enough. Not much can happen to further the tiny house project as long as it continues to rain, even though I have dubbed it the “Tiny Ark.”

I shouldn’t complain. I have plenty of things to keep me busy. I have never had a problem entertaining myself. I can always look at funny pictures.28056348_420115181775811_5608009109442485369_n

I could think about my favorite childhood memories. I still have some old pictures to sort through…



If your crown has become askew

Maybe you should think about what you do!

Until you learn to play fair…

You’ll spend some time in the TIME OUT CHAIR!

I remember the day well. I became angry when my cousin, Andrea came over to help Mom clean the basement. I wanted her to play with me, instead. I mistakenly hit her across the shins with my baton. It didn’t end well for little MG.


Well, enough reminiscing. It’s time for me to hightail it to bed. I have to get up early tomorrow and walk the dogs in the rain. They’re going to hate it.



Murdo Girl…Do the crown rap

The following is a never before told story….followed by a first run rapūü§Ē

Lav and I were commenting back and forth on yesterday’s blog about crowns and hats. As far as I’m concerned, Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth made it possible for all persons of royalty to, on occassion, replace the pomp and circumstance of a bejeweled crown with the class and dignity of the perfectly styled hat. Queen E is no less the Queen in the exquisite hat designed for whatever “duty calls” appearance, she graces with her magistracy… then she is in the full regalia she dons for the occassions requiring more elegance and perhaps regal distinction from her beloved commoners.

Anyway, I have crowns and what I call crown-hats. I have never before told you the back story to my royal connections. You know my mother was the Queen of Highway 16 when she was eighteen. She didn’t wear a crown. She wore a crown-hat. Her Palace was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. She looked the part of royalty through and through.

My story is more of a Cinderella story. It all began when I was seven. Kitty Reynolds, who was the most sought after seamstress in Murdo, called my mother with some exciting news. Her granddaughter, Judy, was getting married in Vernal, Utah and I was chosen to be the flower girl. Kitty was going to immediately fit me with a beautiful yellow gown and we were going to buy me some white patent leather shoes. Best of all, Kitty was going to make me a beautiful hat. One fitting for a beautiful southern belle. It was to be my first crown-hat.

It really pains me to tell you about the ugly twist this story took. Something came up and Mom and I weren’t going to be able to make it. I was appropriately devastated. I don’t think I have ever fully recovered. Well, not quite, but you will have to agree it’s not from lack of trying. The only thing that stopped the tears, was Mom told me I could wear my white patent leather shoes anytime I wanted to. I put them on and ran across Tuffy Gilbert’s yard and across Main Street to Sandra Meyer’s house. (I was so besott, I doubt I had the presence of mind to look both ways.) I proceeded to show my shoes off to Sandra’s whole family. I wasn’t able to come forth with the knowledge that I was not going to be the princess at the wedding. I just couldn’t stop Sandra’s family, which happened to include my 2nd grade teacher, who was also Sandra’s mother, from saying how they couldn’t wait to see the wedding pictures of me dropping flowers from my basket as the light flashed brilliantly off the shiny leather of my shoes.

Guess what happened next? The event that was so bittersweet it was just about too much for the (dying for a crown-hat) kid that was me, to take! Mom decided we could go after all. Do you want to hear the kicker? My best friend Lois Lillibridge had already been told she was to be the royal flower girl and Kitty had turned my gown into Lois Lillibridge’s gown. I went to Vernal, Utah with Kitty and Mom and Lois and her mom and her sister, Cheryl. I wore my white shoes with everything. I never took them off. I didn’t act out either. I showed what I was made of. I didn’t shed a tear as I watched Lois in my gown walk regally down the isle at the coronation…I mean wedding.

I think that is why Kitty did what she did. When we got back to Murdo, Kitty made me…yes me…the most beautiful red gown I had ever seen.

And the rest is history.

Queen Elizabeth symbolically looking at me. My cousin, Mark, to right of me, was the parade manager. He designed and made my first tinfoil crown.

Let it be known that I have a picture of all of us in Vernal for the wedding.

**I’m in my RV without full access to all of my pictures. I think I have it in one of my stories, but I won’t take the time to hunt for it now. 

As most of you know, my mom and Lav’s mom were sisters and extremely close friends, which is why Lav and I are cousins and extremely close friends. Lav fills in for Queen Elizabeth when she can’t get across the pond to some of my more pressing functions. I consider Lav, my sometimes co-queen. You are welcome, Lav, aka, Valerie.

Lav has written and performed another of her famous rockin raps.

Lav and I with Gus at a recent gathering of Murdo Elites

You knocked it out of the ballpark again, Lav.

Patti helped me with my second tinfoil crown for the 2016 reunion parade

Murdo Girl…Put on your crown-hat baby

I was quite fascinated by the collection of hats Lady Jules posted to my Facebook page today. Murdo Girl has often referred to crowns and hats as crown-hats. Below are a few photos of hats or pictures with someone in them wearing a hat, or a neck-brace, or in some cases, a crown…unless the photo is of a cat. All of the photos in this lengthy display were at one time or another featured in a Murdo Girl blog. How many of you can remember them all? Some of them go way back.

(No pun intended Sherri…I was going to use this lovely crown-hat picture of¬† you as my featured image, but I couldn’t get the happy birthday off the picture.)


I just realized I didn’t go far enough back to get my mother’s beautiful crown-hat pictures. So many crown-hats, but so little time.

In Case you missed this fabulous display LJ posted….See below

Murdo Girl…Sick in bed

I thought I should take a few minutes and let you know why I have been missing in action for the past several days. I haven’t had the energy to pick up my cell phone, let alone type on a keyboard. I haven’t been able to say more than a couple of words without being thrown into a fit of coughing. I don’t know what hit me, but Friday night, it hit me hard.

My faithful friends and guardians.

Thankfully, my doctor has office hours on Saturdays. I was able to get in and get started on Tamiflu, an antibiotic, and a decongestant. I tested negative for flu, but I was told it sometimes doesn’t show positive in the early stages. I also think my friend, Pat is right. The harsh chemicals I was using to clean, aggravated everything.

I feel much better today, so I’m going over to the small house and help Kip finish up. Calcium, Lime, and Rust are safe from me today. Formula 409 will work just fine.

I am so thankful we were able to move into our cozy motor home. The dogs and I got caught up on a lot of sleep. The cat took some pretty long cat naps too.

I’m under there somewhere.

I’m also very thankful the nice couple who bought our house have been understanding. Today should so it!

No more running on fumes.

Murdo Girl…Just don’t call her “fastidious.”

Today is moving out day. We just rented our third storage unit and we still haven’t loaded up the work benches and tools in the garage…and the riding lawn mower… and the other mower in the shed… and the outdoor grill.

Thank the Lord for the grandson of some friends. He has a strong, young, back and helped Kip move all the big stuff from the inside of the small house.

We sold a lot of furniture! How did we end up with so much to move? Don’t we know what we’re doing? Please don’t answer that. The important thing now, is I’m cleaning. 

The first room to be cleaned was my photographing fashion studio. This is my good-bye.

I used to be a fastidious housekeeper, but my kids and Kip don’t remember all of my Cinderella years. 

This is the spare bedroom-slash-office where many of my stories were written. I loved this room. Remember the mirror that hung right here.on the wall? Iooks so bare now.

The moment I realized my family couldn’t recall my selfless gift to them, I stopped being fastidious, which means fast and idiot. It’s not something one should strive to emulate.

I scrubbed every inch of my former photographic studio and do you know what Kip is going to say?

“Did you use CLR?”

To Kip, CLR is the housecleaning answer no matter what the question is. When he says that…here is how I respond. 

I hold up my bottle of CLR and say, “I can’t believe it took this much CLR to get rid of all the calcium, lime and rust in this house. I need to get some more…bye.”

Nobody with an ounce of sense lets a willing worker leave the premises. They might take a side trip and then you have to decide if they were on the clock. 

That is a no brainer. You cannot clean effectively without CLR. Travel time is reimbursed.

So how do three storage units transfer to one tiny ark?

Could it be the tiny ark will sit next to a recreational vehicle with it’s own port? It might even have an attached garage.

It’s okay, Kip…it’s progress not perfection, right? I see a lot of CLR in your future. I’ll go to the store and get you some.

This is inside Recreational Resort Cottage’s factory. We sealed the deal yesterday and they took us back to the factory to see the progress of the model we saw on Monday.

They said our new home will be ready the middle of March.

Our siding will be horizontal. It’s hardy board which is easy to maintain and equals brick in the eyes of insurance companies.

Another great friend spent the day at our house transfering everything on Kip’s pc to his new laptop, and then deleted everything from the pc. It’s an all day task, but a laptop is tinier than a pc and therefore a must for tiny home dwellers.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling meaner than a junkyard dog. I was feeling overwhelmed and unsure of our decision to embrace this plan. Later, I joined some friends for a fun lunch and suddenly nothing was such a big deal.

Life is better than good! It’s great!!

Murdo girl…Get the App

I’m on my way to Pearl’s house to pick up Pearl the dog and take her to The Busy Nest. I think it’s going to be super busy today. Pearl finally perfected her formula for the Elixerfixer supplement. It’s made with the juice of important apples from Kennebec. Personally, I think Pearl got important apples from Kennebec to irk the Murdo druggist. He got sideways with her and that was that! She told him she was about to pay him a rather large stipend for the apples from the crab apple trees in his backyard. She changed her mind when he was snooty to her.

Pearl rubbed more salt in the druggist’s wound. She made it a big deal that the very best crab apples were used in her Elixerfixer supplement called “Get the App,” and she had to go clear to Kennebec to get them. She put a big ol’ sign on Kennebec’s water tower and outside of town. She put an ad in the newspaper too. Pearl is plastered everywhere…


Ad in Thursday’s Murdo Coyote:

Get the App and you Kengobak …made with just the right amount of apple juice from apples imported from Kennebec and Pearl’s special formula. Put the you back in youthful. Get the App today. Sold at fine stores everywhere in Murdo.

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


“Hi Pearl, Hi Grace, we’re here, are you?”

I couldn’t believe it. I was met with silence. Pearl the dog whined. All I could hear was the ticking of the clock on the wall. I walked into the main part of the Nest and it was dark. No lights, no Pearl, and no Grace. What surprised me the most, was there weren’t any people in line to “Get the App.” The Busy Nest was an empty nest.

All of the red bottles in the shape of an apple were sitting on the counter waiting for people who wanted to put you back in youthful. Pearl was charging $2.99 plus tax, Maybe that was too rich for Murdo’s blood.

I had no idea what I should do…so I just sat there. Pearl the dog and I waited for what seemed like forever. I was reading a stack of Dear Grace letters when I saw Pearl and Grace come through the door… and then I saw what I knew would probably change my life forever. I felt the youth go right out of my youthful.

So this was Pearl’s niece… twice removed. I would have been happy with once removed as long as it was from here.

wp-1518581035092.jpgPearl the dog whimpered and ran under the table. Pearl and Grace were “Oh, mying” all over the place. Grace ran to get junior a chair. Pearl grabbed her camera and started taking pictures of the strange looking kid.

Pearl finally looked my way. “Essie…I know we’re late, but we had to run to the train depot and fetch my niece. I thought we would be back before it was time to open, but the train was delayed. Please come and introduce yourself, dear.”

I got up and took a few steps in her direction. Pearl the dog stayed under the table.

“My name is Ellie,” I said. “What’s yours?”

The pint-sized Pearl looked me over before she spoke.

“Hm…If your name is Ellie, why did my Aunt Pearl call you, Essie?”

Before I could answer, she said, “My name is Elsie.”


Pearl the dog is a real good judge of character



Murdo Girl…Building the Ark

Billy said he was tired of opening up my blog and seeing more tiny home pictures. He can’t understand taking so long to make a decision. Well, he has a point, but we couldn’t really make the final move until we closed on the small house…which we did today.

We signed the papers at 10:30 and headed for Athens, where our park home will be built. The Riverview is a brand new plan conceived by Adam, one of the guys we’ve been working with at Recreation Resort Cottages in Athens. The first model is in the middle stages of construction. Tyler, who is another nice young man who has been helping us called Kip the other day and said he thought the construction was far enough along for us to get a pretty good idea of the size and layout. We have looked at so many models and floor plans, we pretty much know the ins and outs of the options and what we like and don’t like. I have noticed, that most of you readers have picked out your favorites, too. I think it’s kind of fun to get all confused and change my mind a million times.

Get ready to see the Ark of tiny homes.


It looks massive doesn’t it? One of the reasons it looks so big, is it has an attached 10′ x 17′ covered deck on the front end. We saw enough to know this is the one. It looks spacious because of the open layout and vaulted ceilings. It will look bright and cheerful because it has lots of windows. I will also be made bright and cheerful, because even I can keep 748 sq. ft. clean. It has one bedroom, one bathroom, and a kitchen and living room area separated by a counter long enough to seat four. It also has a movable island that¬†can seat three, be used as extra counter space, or be moved out of the way. There is a large pantry in the kitchen and a good sized linen closet in the bathroom.



Our cabinets will be a little bit different design and there will be beams on the ceiling. The guy on the right is Tyler. He has taken good care of us. He and Adam are very knowledgeable and patient.



We are pleased with our plan and can’t wait to move into the Ark. After setting an appointment to finalize everything on Wednesday,¬†we drove the twenty-five miles home and took some time to make our final decisions on the options and colors we want,


Good-bye factory


We’re looking at some options for our North Carolina tiny home. This one has a darling fireplace.


Everything is coming together. The buyers of the small house gave us a few days to pack up and move into our RV. Kip is still finalizing the plans for¬†the RV port and garage and we still have more to pack. We have to get a second storage unit for the remaining boxes and the furniture we decided to keep. All will be fine if I don’t get picked tomorrow to be on a jury. Yup…I have to show up in beautiful downtown Athens tomorrow at 8:30 for Jury duty.



Murdo Girl…Kitty cat

It’s Sunday, and I’m on my way to Pearl’s house. It feels good to have a day off from school and The Busy Nest. Pearl the human is going to take Grace to be fitted for some new clothes. There’s a southern lady in town that can really sew and Pearl has gotten to be good friends with her. Pearl thinks Grace needs to dress better since she’s writing a column for the Murdo Coyote, now. I don’t really see why. She’s going to have her picture made, but it’s only going to be of her head.

Dear Grace

I haven’t had any new clothes since Mom started working two jobs. It’s because she doesn’t have enough money, or enough time.

Well, I’m not there yet, but I almost am.


“Hi, Pearl, Hi Pearl the dog, I’m here, are you?”

“Goodness, is it that time already? Come in, Essie. I was just having a cup of coffee. Would you like something to eat? Have you had breakfast? I think there are several saucers of leftovers in the ice box if you’re hungry.”

“Do any of the saucers have cherry pie in them, Pearl?”

“I believe so, Essie. Take Pearl outside and then you can help yourself. I’ll go knock on Grace’s door and see if she’s almost ready to go to Cat’s house.

“Pearl…are you smoking an air cigarette? You haven’t smoked the air for quite a while. Are you feeling nervous about those wayward women moving in? I’m kind of nervous about it, and I think Pearl the dog is too. She’s not acting right if you ask me.”

“What? Oh, never mind all that, Essie. They aren’t going to be moving in here. Those plans fell through. It seems we don’t see eye to eye on what wayward means.”

“Does it mean smoking and drinking, Pearl? I happen to know those women smoke and drink. The three who were at The Busy Nest are very wayward.¬† Besides, what can you do to get a person to be unwayward? It sounds like a lot of work on your part, Pearl”

“There is no need to discuss this anymore, Essie. We’re moving on. I’m going to get Grace. We’ll wait until you get back from walking Pearl before we go to Cat’s house.”

After Pearl and Grace left, I helped myself to some of the little saucers in Pearl’s ice box. I was going to watch TV after I ate until I remembered all there is to watch on Sunday is preachers preaching. I always worry about saying I don’t like to watch preachers preaching. It’s probably asking for trouble. I try to think like I’m a believer, but I’m not totally sold on the idea. That kind of thinking could very well get me struck by lightning. I decided to go ahead and watch for a little while just to be on the safe side.

Wouldn’t you know it! I fell asleep. When I woke up, I heard Pearl and Grace coming¬† in the kitchen door and the Cat lady was with them. For some reason the Cat lady and her husband both have leg trouble. He has a wooden leg and she has a short one. I went to her house once while she fitted Pearl for a new dress and I saw a wooden leg propped up in the corner. It had a sock and a shoe on it. I wondered where the husband went without his wooden leg. It’s not something you could just go off and forget. What if he did? Would he walk into work and say, “Oh, shoot! I have to go back home. I forgot my other leg.”

Anyway, the Cat lady had Pearl get up on a little step stool in front of a mirror while she pinned paper on her. Pearl called it a pattern and she said Miss Cat would cut the material in the shape of the paper and sew a dress made to fit just her and nobody else. She said there was no finer seamstress than Miss Cat.

I heard Pearl say my name, so I went on into the kitchen.


At the recent reunion, a lady’s name was mentioned and I have found myself thinking about her and the beautiful clothes she sewed for all of her bridge playing friends and¬†other Murdo ladies. Kitty really was an excellent seamstress. I can remember the tiny little pleats in the skirts she sewed for me. She made the red taffeta and lace formal I wore in the 4th of July parades and the matching skirts she made Mom and me. I gave Mom’s to the mother of a little friend of mine. Mom discovered what I had done when she saw my friend’s mom walking down the street with the Kitty Reynolds skirt on.

I remember standing on the little stool in her upstairs bedroom as she pinned the brown paper that would take the shape of my next new dress. She worked quickly and skillfully as Mom watched. From my perch, I could see out the window or look into the full-length mirror hanging on the wall.

On one occasion, it seemed that it was taking longer than usual for me to get the new dress. I kept asking Mom when it would be finished. I think she said her go to phrase, “We shall see what we shall see.”

Christmas came, and still no dress. My birthday was just a few days later on New Year’s Eve. I remember Mom handing me the box that held my birthday present. Inside was a short, black, corduroy dress. The underside of the dress was bright orange and there was also a pair of black bloomers in the box. They were just like the ones the cheerleaders wore.

Evie Johnson, who lived across the street from us, had been giving a group of little girls baton lessons in our basement. I was now an official majorette. I got to twirl my baton at a Murdo High School basketball game, and just like the Kitty Reynold’s red formal, I wore that outfit until I was busting out of it’s seams.

I have great memories of Kitty. She had a delightful, southern drawl. She was also a member of the food swap club. Mom made the ham and beans, and Kitty made the crusty cornbread. I can still remember how good it tasted hot out of the cast iron skillet. We put melted butter on it and lots of sweet syrup.





Murdo Girl…Only in Murdo..again

I have written this two and a half times. The first time, ¬†I hit the wrong key and lost everything. The second time, I didn’t like what I had written. It was too much about me, so I changed it. It’s probably still too much about me, but it’s better.
It was a great three days. We combined time with family and reminiscing with old friends. Gus and Billy drove from Los Angeles and Ontario, Bobby Brost flew from Rapid City, Cousin Valerie and her husband, Ken drove twelve hours from San Juan Batista, CA, and I flew in from Dallas. We all came to attend the Mesa, AZ, Jones County Reunion.
Thursday, we saw people I hadn’t seen in years and got to meet some of their spouses. When I flew back to Dallas on Friday, I was still thinking of questions I wished I had asked.
Ken took this picture of Valerie and me having breakfast with Gus, Billy and Bobby Brost.
On Friday morning I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I knew it was going to be a long travel day for me, so I decided to get up and color my roots before I started to pack my bags and get ready to fly home. I was glad I’d thought to bring the coloring kit with me. I knew if I didn’t do something soon, I would look like Whistler’s Mother. I have always wondered why her hair was brown in front, and grey in the back. Maybe it’s symbolic of how we see ourselves. We shouldn’t get caught up in our years. Whistler’s Mother still sees herself as youthful, but she knows there is grey hair growing under her bonnet.
I love reunions, because people come to celebrate the happy memories of growing up. There are bad times too, of course, but people don’t normally air out their grievances at a reunion. It’s fun to talk to people and share memories as well as learn about what’s happening now.
The Jones County get together in Mesa is attended by people of all ages who lived in Jones County at some time in their lives. ¬†My brother, Billy, graduated from Murdo High School in 1962, and many of his high school buddies who winter in Arizona attend every year. The snowbirds from Jones County appear to be growing in number. I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I didn’t want to be intrusive. I asked if I could tag along with Billy, so I thought I should keep a low profile. It must have felt like old times to him.
My how Billy and I have changed.
Below are Patti Dykstra Arnieri and Tom Ingalls…The guys on the right are Bob Brost, Billy Francis, Chris Anderson, and Dwight McCurdy.


Below on the left, is Maysel Penticoff. It was fun visiting with Maysel. She knows a lot about Murdo and the families who lived there way back when… On the right we have Frank Brost, the newest¬†inductee¬†into the South Dakota Basketball¬†Hall of Fame, and Maury Haugland, who was the Superintendent of Schools in Murdo from, ¬†I’m not sure when, through the 1968-69 school year.


Below, on the left, is Karen Haugland Poppe. Karen and Maury’s mother, Doris, and Bill’s mom and mine, Loretta Gustafson, were close friends. (Help me Mrs. Peters…I’m getting into the weeds trying to use the proper grammar and correct punctuation.) Chris Anderson is to the right next to Donny Hullinger. The lady in blue standing by the table is Bonnie and Art Fedderson’s daughter, Rosetta. Seated, wearing yellow, is Gus Gustafson. He belongs to Billy and me. The man next to him is Gary Volmer and the woman pointing her finger is Larry’s wife, Sharon. She is from Presho. The woman in yellow is Marcia Horsely. ¬†Belva Anderson, Chris Anderson’s wife, is standing beside her. Please help me identify those I haven’t named.
My brother, Billy has a group of friends that have remained close through the years. I have always admired these former classmates and teammates for that reason. They are their own band of brothers and it’s very apparent when they’re together, they value the friendships they have nourished. Girls are allowed and so are the spouses.
I think the picture below is really neat. I recognize all but one or two of this exceptional basketball team.


¬†I don’t remember much about their football team. Were they good?
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I’m sure there are other high schools where the older girls taught the boys how to dance, while the record players, stacked with forty-fives played songs like, Sincerely, Sugar in the morning, and Why do fools fall in love. ( At the moment, I can’t think of the songs they did the jitterbug and the twist to.)

I listened to discussions about Murdo McKenzie, fishing, hunting, South Dakota politics, old times, Dutch Dyrick, and the stories about how life was simpler, parents didn’t worry so much, and kids had more freedom.


Mick Penticoff said when he was sixteen and had just gotten his driver’s license, he and Billy drove to Grandpa Sanderson’s Nemo cabin and spent the week-end fishing all by themselves.

As I listened to them talk about high school, it sounded to me like they were all a bunch of brainiacs whose teachers tried get them to stay between the lines until they matured enough to make good decisions. I believe the girls were also mostly brainiacs…and probably had more common sense.

Murdo, SD…Back in the day


Everyone talked about the things they did after graduation. Some joined the service, others went to college, and some eventually did both or took another path. It was fun to hear about how they made a living, and the places they had lived.
Let’s see what did those guys talk about? Have you heard the one about the woman who got thrown in jail? Oh wait! I can’t tell that one. So have you heard about the guy whose Grandpa decided he knew why his grandson didn’t have any girlfriends… No? I can’t tell that one either. I can’t tell any of these true stories and I don’t recall what each one said when Billy asked them where they were when they heard the news about President Kennedy being assassinated.
Bobby Brost told me a story I can tell. It was about a day Mom invited him to stay for noon dinner at our house. Mom told Billy to go and get me. He came back without me and when Mom asked where I was, he said,”She’ll be here in a minute. She’s sorting her socks. She is putting the left one in one drawer and the right one in another drawer.”
What’s wrong with that?
Don’t worry…no one can see me.
I’m hiding behind a potted plant at the airport.
 I have to add one more thing about me.
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Before we got to the reunion, I told Billy I really hoped I got to see Maury Haugland. Well, I did see him and I must have been a little flustered because for a second I thought he was someone who doesn’t even live in Arizona, and not only that, I haven’t seen him in forty plus years. I feel bad about that, so if you see Mr. Haugland, please tell him I was glad I got to visit with him for a minute. I’m the girl in the photo of the girl’s basketball team with the number one on her jersey. I’m standing next to coach Haugland. That’s not number one as in really good, so don’t tell him I was the girl who was number one on the girl’s basketball team. Tell him I’m the one he used to blow his whistle at and say, “What are you going to do with the ball over there? Peel it and eat it?”
(I guess since I’m sixty-six, I can probably call him, Maury.)
I want to thank my brother, Billy, for letting me come with him. It was wonderful to spend some quality time with my brother, and with Gus, cousin Val, and Ken there, too, it was also a fun family time.
You sure do have great friends, Billy, and I like all of the spouses a lot too.
Billy went to College in California. He must have been 19 or 20 in this picture

Murdo Girl…Like a snowball rolling downhill

I’m headed to Arizona tomorrow for the Jones County Reunion. I will be seeing a lot of Murdo people who have retired there, and some family members too. I’ll be writing about that for a few days, so I thought I would leave you with one more Pearl, Essie/Ellie. Grace, and Pearl the dog, story.


Well, I’m headed over to Pearl’s house. She asked me to come over early this morning so we could have a meeting to clear the smoke. I hope she gives me time to take Pearl the dog for a little walk first so I don’t sit there and worry about her and get distracted from Pearl’s meeting. I guess I should tell you a little about what’s been going on.

Remember when I said that Grace and I had a plan to get Pearl down off her high horse? Well, it blew up in our faces. We didn’t think it through enough before we implanted it.

We identified the problem. We knew why Pearl was rising above everybody like a hot air balloon. She was getting rich off her Elixerfixer, and everyone in town thought she was the best thing since sliced bread. They didn’t have a clue they were spending their hard-earned money on flat 7up with a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a splash of apple cider. We even went all the way to Pierre to buy supplies so the Murdo people wouldn’t get wind of the ingredients. She could have bought everything right here in town. I can’t even count the times I’ve had to endure driving by that water tower sign of hers. It sure gets your attention.

wp-1517860916773.jpg¬†Here’s what happened.

I was responsible for getting Pearl ready for the next step. One day when Pearl the dog and I got to the Busy Nest, I started the ball rolling and just like that Merle Haggard’s song, it went rolling downhill like a snowball headed for the place that’s on fire.

“Hi Pearl, High Grace, We’re here…are you?”

“Yes of course I’m here,” I heard Pearl yell. “Give Pearl some food and water please, and then come over here. I need you to help me with something. I’m going to have to invest in another water cooler and we’re going to have to find some smaller blue bottles for the Elixerfixer.”

“Why, Pearl? That stuff is about as concentrated as you can get it. I think it’s starting to stink bad. Mrs. Nelson came in the other day to have her bottle filled for the third time and she smelled like vinegar was oozing out of her pores.”

“Nonsense, Essie. No one else has noticed any such thing. I’m an entrepreneur now and I must have good business sense and watch both sides of the ledger.”

“Okay,” I said. “If you say so. You’re the enter manure, not me… Pearl, can I ask you a question? Why don’t you pay any attention to the people you were helping with your light therapy? Alice Crumpet isn’t doing well. She went back to smoking cigars again. Did you know that? And those two church ladies who got removed from being church basement cooks because they sampled too much of the funeral fare? They’re trying to sell baked goods in front of Sanderson’s Store for some kind of fundraiser. They’re done selling all that stuff in an hour, if you know what I mean? I just thought I’d ask.”

Pearl didn’t have an answer ready for that one. She just glared at me for a minute and handed me a bunch of blue bottles to worsh. (That’s how we say wash in Murdo.) I think I kind of got under her skin a little. I was sure hoping Grace was doing her part.

“Where is Grace/” I asked.

“I sent her home to get the Sears Catalog so I could order those smaller blue bottles I was telling you about. She should have been back by now. We have a few minutes before we open the door and let the multitudes in. I’ll be in my office until then.”


“Helloow…Helloow.” Grace was there, and she had Alice Crumpet and the two former church basement cooks with her. “Please sit over here and be comfortable,” she told them. “I’ll get Pearl.”

Grace asked me where Pearl was and when I told her she was in her office she went over and knocked on the door. Part two of the plan was ready to be implanted.

Grace and Pearl stayed in Pearl’s office a little longer than I was comfortable with. When they came out, I knew in my heart, our plan was already doomed.

“Miss Crumpet…Church ladies,” she began. “I feel I have let you down. You were all doing so well as a result of my light therapy sessions. I have become an extremely successful business woman at your expense. Grace tells me your fall to the depths has been so rapid, even a strong dose of Elixerfixer didn’t fix you.”

All three ladies nodded their heads even though I’m sure they had no idea why they were even sitting there. Between you and me I don’t think they were the least bit miserable and unhappy like Pearl thought. Pearl went into her office for a minute and when she came out, she messed everything up.

“Ladies…I know how much you all need my help. I cannot live another minute ignoring my God-given talents. Is it true you all live alone?”

All three women nodded their heads, again. They looked like they were about to make a run for it.

“Well…then it’s settled,” Pearl exclaimed. “I’m going to start a home for wayward women. Grace take these ladies to the little shacks they live in and help them pack their things. They are moving to the rooms above Sanderson’s Store….Now, Essie. Please get these bottles filled, while I go out and calm the crowd. I have such a renewed sense of being that I’m sure will reflect on my countenance. All those whose lives I touch will be made better.

Grace looked at me and I knew what she was thinking, because I was thinking the same thing.

There’s nothing worse than an enter manure, except an enter manure with a home for wayward women.

I just know Pearl the dog isn’t going to like having those women around.

16-Arf and Annie
Yeah!! The wayward women have a wayward dog!!