Murdo Girl…Watching Grandpa Jim


Photograph by Dianna Kenobbie Diehm

This is my favorite picture of the old country church

It didn’t look much better in it’s day.

It was a real good place for those who came to search

For their Higher Power and to pray

We sang Amazing Grace and It is well with my soul

In the Garden was my Grandma’s favorite hymn

We saw babies being baptized and had widows to console

But mostly I liked watching Grandpa Jim


When they passed the communion wafers he was whittling

Grandma elbowed him really good in his side

He threw his offering in with the wafers. It was piddling.

I think that second elbow hurt his pride

Those quarters in the wafer plate made a lot of noise

Grandpa didn’t get a wafer for his wine.

I know whittling on a stick is something he enjoys

Grandma thinks a knife in church is out of line


Once she took his stick away and he fell sound asleep

Soon everyone in church could hear him snore

The elbow in his side went in pretty deep

Grandpa yelled “Judas Priest!” and he was done for

You might think our bell and steeple are too large

or the church it sits on top of is too wide

Grandpa rings the bell now. He’s happily in charge

Because Grandma and her elbow stay inside


Murdo Girl…Cam and the Queen

We haven’t done Queen E. “Describe the picture” in a while. She is such a delightful lady. I hope she lives forever…Don’t you?

Oh my, Cam lick faster!…You look like Little Bo Peep!

Queen E. is such a fun loving Queen…

She likes to catch raindrops with her tongue.

But only if she’s dressed for it…

We’re racing to the Brexit…I’m winning…

Crying doesn’t mean you’re tired…

Yawning means you’re tired…

I’m not sleeping. I’m resting my eyes zzzzzzzz…

Would someone please get cousin Jimmy a pair of knickers?…the crazy old bloke left out and forgot his…

I saw these drapes in the window, and I said, “Mammy! Make me look like Scarlett O’Hara.”

I love you, Philip. But you’re no Rhett Butler…

“Hide me…here comes Cam…and she’s wearing the commode again…Take me back to Tara…

Why am I laughing? Atlanta’s burning…

MG…I must have this cape!

Murdo Girl…Angels of friendship

I know the truth of their existence.

Ethereal or heavenly.

I try to offer no resistance

When their message speaks to me.


Be they visible or transparent

Each one is unique.

Yet some qualities are inherent.

Some are boisterous some are meek.


They help me know what I am missing.

Help me find the things I seek.

Is there something I’ve been dismissing?

Do I listen when Angels speak?

My body can betray me.

My thoughts can go astray.

Is this the way it must be?

A total chasm of disarray?

What can I do to find the strength

To make it through the darkest hours?

My Angels go to any length

To bring sweetness to what life sours.


Be thankful for your Angels

Never look past those who care

They will bring you to a place

Where you no longer feel despair.


The first Angel is the Angel of Celebration, given to me by my sister-in-law and friend, Karlyce Newkirk.

The second Angel is an Angel signing love. She was given to me by my friend, Sherri Miller.

I received the third Angel, yesterday. My friend, Dianna Diehm had her made for me. She is the Angel of Friendship. Dianna also made the card which has a message inside that I will always treasure.

I will indeed be reminded to treasure my Angels, always. We all have them. We all need them. Nothing is more comforting than to be surrounded by beautiful and giving, Angels of friendship, love, and celebration.

Murdo Girl…You get what you pay for

I’m starting to lose patience with the guy I hired to remodel my she-shed. Nothing has happened since I first got the idea several months ago to make a she-shed out of the shed in our backyard. The guy can’t work on it when it’s raining, sunny, hot, cold, or any day of the week that ends in Y. I think he might be stringing me along.


So what do I do? I thought about doing it myself. How hard can it be to seal up the area between the roof and the walls? I bet I could do it with some really thick caulking stuff. My next step would be to find some re-purposed wood, cut it to the right lengths, and nail it to the studs on the inside walls. The guy down the street has an old rickety fence I could offer to tear down for the wood and there’s a chainsaw around here someplace.

I’d really like to have big windows in the front on either side of the double doors. I could go to Lowes and buy a couple of windows, bring them home, measure them, measure the walls so I could saw holes the right size, and use some of that Gorilla Glue to hold them in. I might even put some cute little shutters on the windows. I think I’ll paint the concrete floor a blue-grey color. The shingles all look good, but I have to paint the outside. I’m thinking of painting it plaid.

Kip said he needs to dig a drainage trench around the outside. Is that kind of like a moat? How hard can that be? We have shovels. I’ll just do it before I put the yard in. Lowes has artificial turf that looks a lot like real grass.

I think I’ll put some of those floating shelves up on the inside and some planter boxes under the windows.

All I’ll have left to do is buy a little desk, a couple of chairs, and a good used round rug. I don’t think I’ll even need curtains. I should be able to do it all for around $2000 dollars.

Don’t worry. I’m not quite finished…I think I’ll make a copy of this and put it where Kip, the remodel guy, will accidentally see it.


Photo might be subject to copyright, but I doubt it.

Murdo Girl…Language barrier

She saw herself as brave. Some thought she was a prude.

She called herself progressive, while others called her rude.

“You’re a small town girl,” they said. “Your world needs to expand.”

“You need to lighten up. Is your head stuck in the sand?

We speak a different language and use words people will hear.

The masses never listen. You must speak loud, my dear.”

“And also while you’re at it, your perceptions must adjust.

To get you in the groove, losing filters is a must.

Tell everybody’s secrets in person, book, or call.”

“And never act offended…by crude language most of all.

It won’t be all that difficult. You’ll soon be up to speed.

Society will help you grow that tough, abrasive seed.”

She said, “Now wait a minute. I really can’t agree.

I won’t apologize for my small town naivety.”

“I’m really not that different. There are few words I won’t say.

The one that makes me cringe begins with F and ends with K.”

They lol’d and said, “Do you think we’re all that deaf?”

“We heard you say it once, though it was under your breath.”

Murdo Girl…Living the dream, 51, The nightmare is over

Edith Morris hadn’t been able to sleep. She was anxious to get out of that dreadful hospital. Her once beautiful face was now scarred and ugly. As always, Annette had ruined everything.


All Edith had wanted was to get to know her grandchildren. She had to know if they remembered anything about the day their mother, Jennifer, accidentally fell into the fire. She couldn’t live another minute with the fear that she might possibly be blamed for Jennifer’s death. The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced those girls could never be trusted to leave it all alone. 

Even now, she wondered where they were. She knew they had been brought to the hospital. She was in the police car with them. Annette had refused to discuss them with her, but that was okay. Edith didn’t say much to anyone, anyway. She decided to bide her time until Annette took her home tomorrow. She had hired a full-time nurse to take care of her. She would find a way to take care of those girls. 

Around seven p.m. Edith asked for a sedative. A strong one. She was sound asleep within a few minutes.


 “I took a warm pie from the restaurant and wrapped it in a tea towel. It must have been about 7:30. If anyone saw me go into the room, I would say I was taking a gift for her and Annette. When I got there, I saw that she was sleeping soundly. I wrapped the towel around her face and held it there until I thought she must be dead. I was crying so hard, I had to take the towel and wipe my eyes. I ran out. I couldn’t believe what I had done.”


“I went to her room around 8:00 o’clock. I thought about everyone she had hurt. I felt responsible in some way for letting her continue to destroy everyone around her, especially Annette. Edith was sleeping soundly. It would be easy to put an end to her miserable life. I pulled the pillow out from under her head and put it over her face. I held it there for a while, but then I heard someone in the hall, so I left. The pillow fell to the floor. I had to hurry, so I didn’t pick it up. I looked back and saw a young girl go into the room.”

Annette and Jack had come into the kitchen to see what was going on.

“It must have been Vanessa going into the room,” Annette said. “She wouldn’t have known you. I got there shortly after and Vanessa was there talking to Mother, but she was sleeping. She was trying to tell Mother she remembered that it was her that pushed her mother, Jennifer, into the fire. We noticed the pillow on the floor, so we picked it up and put it under her head. A nurse came in to check on her, so we left.”

“I have a question, Pop.”

“What is it, Sugar?”

“Did you lie to me when you said you went to Mother’s room at 9:30? You said you went there to make sure she wouldn’t go home, but when you got there, she was already dead.”

“I didn’t lie. I wasn’t sure if she was dead, so I went back. She was most certainly deceased when I got there at 9:30. I thought that I had killed her until you told me a nurse confirmed she was still alive at 8:30. Now I realize it was Stella that wrote the note in her chart that said she was just sleeping.”


“I was cooking at Paul’s cafe when I decided I had to do something to stop Edith. I went to the hospital and when I got there, I found the nurse’s locker room where I was able to find some scrubs that fit. I also put a cap on. When the girls left, I took the pillow out from under Edith’s head and covered her face. She didn’t move, so I assumed she was dead. I took her chart and wrote down the blood pressure numbers that were close to the ones on the previous line. I said she was sleeping and didn’t want to wake her, and then I left. Vanessa and Annette had only seen me a couple of times and they didn’t appear to recognize me in my get-up.”

“What time was that?” The detective asked.

“It must have been around 8:30. That’s what I wrote on the chart.”

“Was the pillow still on her face when you left?”

“No, I placed it back under her head.”

“And you couldn’t tell if she was still breathing?”

“I was too nervous to think about it I guess. She looked dead to me, and she didn’t move a muscle when I put the pillow under her head.”

The detective was wearing his hat out pushing it back and forth on his head.

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “Miss Sandy brought a pie and tried to kill Mrs. Morris at 7:30. Paul Morris tried to kill her at 8:00…then, Miss Stella, who dressed up like a nurse, got there at 8:30 and attempted to kill Mrs. Morris. Lastly, Mr. Morris came back at 9:30 in case he had to finish what he had started at 8:30.”

“Now, let me look here. The coroner’s report stated the time of death was between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Looks like even though she was smothered three times within a couple of hours, she remained alive unless Mr. Morris is not being truthful when he said she was dead at 9:30 and in fact, he finished her off.”


“How did you determine that she was…most certainly dead, Mr. Morris?”

“This time, I checked her pulse.”

“Did you notify anyone in the hospital that Mrs. Morris was deceased?”

“No. I figured I had killed her when I was there earlier, and at the time, I wasn’t anxious for anyone to know it was me.  Since it was never proven, I didn’t let myself believe that she had killed Jennifer, but I knew what she did to Jennifer’s daughters. I had left Annette with her and she made her feel like she was unloved and worthless. She brainwashed her own daughter until she believed kidnapping Vanessa and Alice was the right thing to do. You see, I killed Edith to assuage my own guilt. I was ultimately responsible for all of it. I will gladly turn myself in for the death of Edith Morris.” 

“What none of you knew was that Mrs. Morris was never going home. Upon release from the hospital, she was going to be charged with her crimes. She was to be held in a State Hospital until she was well enough to stand trial.”

“I’ll need you all to come down to the station and put your statements in writing.”


 Annette stayed in Danfield. Paul, Sandy, and Stella were all out on bail. Their attorney felt their cases were weak and would eventually be dismissed. It turned out that Mrs. Morris had been so heavily sedated that her time of death couldn’t be accurately determined. Any one of the pillows and tea towels could have done the job.

Stella told Kat she had boarded Trixie and Spirit. Were they ever happy to see her and she was happy to see them. It was wonderful to get back to her daily runs on the beach with Spirit. She and Jack were becoming good friends and they made the commitment to each other that there would be no more undercover work. Hopefully, Stella would be home soon. Alice was improving daily and would be released from the hospital in a few days. Kat watched over Vanessa while Jack spent time in Boston with his youngest daughter.

Kat looked around at her beautiful home on the Cape. “Do you suppose we can finally live the dream?” Kat asked Spirit and Trixie. It was a beautiful day and she was enjoying her coffee while looking out her kitchen window at the beach. “Today we will,” she said. “Today we will live the dream.






Murdo Girl…Living the dream, 50, Someone confesses

“What do you suppose that was all about? Jack was getting frustrated. He had to get his daughter, Vanessa, who was being discharged from the hospital in a few hours. He needed to take her home. His younger daughter, Alice would be in the hospital in Boston for a few more weeks.

“I don’t know,” Kat said as she got up from the table, “but I’m about to find out.”

“I’ll go with you.” The detective got up to join her. “Everyone else stay here.”

Kat was about to enter the cafe’s kitchen when she heard Paul say, “I think it’s time to tell the detective everything.”

The detective did not agree.

“I think we need to go down to the station. It’s time we get your statements.”

“That won’t be necessary,” they heard a voice say.

Kat saw the shadow of someone standing near the doorway. “Come out where we can see you,” Kat said. “Who are you?”

“They deserved so much more…”

The figure moved into the light. “I took care of your mother for twenty years. I loved her like a daughter and we both loved Jennifer. We were devastated by her death. When I heard what Edith did to Jennifer’s daughters, her own granddaughters, I had to come. I did what I did for your mother, Kat, for Claire.”

Kat was stunned. She couldn’t believe it was Stella speaking.

Sandy continued where Stella left off. “I was here when Edith pushed her own daughter, Jennifer, into the fire. This little town of Danfield was horrified, but not surprised. It was never proven because there was no one but the little girls to see it and they couldn’t remember. But we all knew. Then Paul left Edith. Later, he came back and bought this cafe. Edith and Annette started spending more time in Brewster. It appeared Annette was doing well and had a successful career. Then she showed up here one night. She was a complete wreck. When she told me her name, I called Paul. I knew he was Annette’s stepfather. He didn’t know how she would react to seeing him, so he stayed away. He asked if I would keep an eye on her. I was so angry that Edith had done such terrible things to her two daughters and those precious granddaughters. I wanted to kill her.”

“I never should have left Annette with her,” Paul said. “I had adopted her. I was the only father she had ever known. I knew she would never leave her mother alone and I couldn’t stay. I had to make Edith’s evil acts stop…forever.”

“Wait…the detective sat down on a stool and pushed his hat back. It was darned hot in that kitchen. “If I’m hearing you all correctly, one of you was responsible for suffocating Edith Morris?”

“You’re right,” Stella said. “One of us killed her, but we don’t know which one.”

Next: The night Edith died

Murdo Girl…Catching up and whodunnit

We’re nearing the end of the Living the dream, whodunnit story, and I have to say I’ve really had fun with it. There is a new chapter a couple of paragraphs down.

I’ve been busy doing nothing since I got home from the Jones County gathering. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do, it’s that I injured myself. You know you’re getting old when you blow a knee just by standing up. It happened Friday shortly after we got home from the airport. I’ve tried to manage the swelling and pain by staying off of it and applying ice and heat.

This morning, I’m able to put a little weight on it. I worry that it’s going to give out on me.

Speaking of doctors, which we weren’t, I go back to UTSW the end of this week and the first of next week for follow-up tests and appointments with the two oncologists I see. I’m also having another colonoscopy. I’m not at all concerned about anything other than the colonoscopy. A lot of new polyps would not be a good thing.

It will be a year on Valentine’s Day since I had my first surgery. In the beginning, I promised to keep you up to date and I continue to emphasize that early detection is the key.

I’ve come to realize that for someone who is not a joiner, I’ve joined a lot of clubs. I’m now a proud member of the local Women’s Club in addition to the Literary Club, and the Book Club. I’m also being encouraged to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It’s probably too much, but I enjoy them.

I’m also working on a storybook of nursery rhymes and photos for a friend’s granddaughter and co-writing a series of children’s Christian stories with another friend. Both have been slow going.

This is beginning to sound like a Christmas letter that no one will read. I guess the raining and the hurting are crushing my creativity.

Here’s a twist for you…

When Kat and Annette left the hospital, they stopped at the Roadside Cafe where they expected to see the detective, Paul, and Jack. Sandy told them the detective was checking on a lead and Jack was going to have lunch at the hospital with Vanessa. They were all supposed to meet back at the cafe at 1:00.

“Shall we just grab a sandwich here,” Kat said. “I’m getting pretty hungry.”

“Me too. For some reason, a cheeseburger sounds good.” Annette hadn’t eaten much in days.

Sandy put the orders in and since there weren’t many customers, she sat down to visit. Gossip that she was, she wanted to hear the latest.

“Where’s Paul?” Annette asked.

“He’s cooking at the moment. The cook who didn’t make it in this morning, called and said she got mixed up and thought she had the day off. She’s supposed to be here at one. I guess since she’s fairly new, Paul let it go.”

Paul came out with the sandwiches. “Here you go, ladies. Lunch is on the house. Thanks to you, Annette, I’m going to smell like a cheeseburger for the rest of the day”

At one o’clock, Paul was still waiting for the cook, and Jack returned from seeing Vanessa. The detective got there a few minutes later.

“I guess we need to fill you in on what we learned at the hospital,” Kat volunteered. “It seems the nurse who checked on Edith Morris just before she died, was an imposter.”

The detective and Jack looked surprised. Paul got up and cleared the table. Sandy excuse herself and followed Paul into the kitchen.

Forty-five minutes after 1:00, the cook drove up and parked close to the restaurant. The group seated at the table didn’t see her get out of the car and go into the kitchen through the back door.

“I shouldn’t have told you to come in” Paul said. “They’re all here.”

“So are we,” Sandy said. “Everything is as it should be.”

Murdo Girl…Living the dream…48, Vanessa knows something

“Seeing that woman walking her dog really makes me miss Spirit and Trixie,” Kat said. “I should probably give Stella a call and see how they’re all doing.”

“Have you thought about the questions we should ask the hospital staff when we get there?” Annette was getting nervous about interviewing her mother’s nurses and others who possibly witnessed something nefarious or suspicious. Maybe one of them even disliked her enough to harm her…although that seemed a little far fetched.

“Those nurses and other staff members were there the whole time. We were not. It’s worth a shot.”

“You know, Kat. I don’t feel like someone who just lost their mother should feel.”

“She was hateful to you, Annette. I’m happy you’re free of her. People’s lives were destroyed because of Edith Morris.”

When Kat and Annette arrived at the hospital, they first stopped by Vanessa’s room to tell her Jack would be there in the morning to pick her up after she was discharged.

“I am so ready to leave this place,” she said. “I know all of the nurses think I had something to do with Mrs. Morris’, or should I say, dear Grandma’s, death.”

“Why do you think that?” Kat asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe they’re afraid I saw something.”

Kat told Vanessa they were there to talk with the nurses and other staff who were working during the time Mrs. Morris was killed. “Is there anything you can remember that might have been a little out of the ordinary at any time that day or night?”

“There is something that keeps coming back to me,” Vanessa said. “There was a nurse on that night that I had never seen here before and I haven’t seen her since. She looked familiar to me, but I don’t know why.”

The hospital administrator was very helpful. She gathered the employee records and developed a timeline of that night. Then she brought each person in to voluntarily answer some questions.

Kat and Annette had talked to several employees before they finally stumbled onto something.

“I understand you were the nurse assigned to Mrs. Morris until 10:00 p.m., Miss Sims.”

Kat was aware that this nurse would most likely be the one able to remember something.

“Yes…I was…at least most of that time. I had an emergency, (or so I thought), with one of my other patient’s. Another nurse checked Mrs. Morris’ vitals for me.”

“What time did this all happen?” Annette asked. And what was this nurse’s name?”

“It must have been around 8:30. I don’t know who the other nurse was. I pulled Mrs. Morris’ chart and saw that another nurse had noted the vitals and that the patient was resting comfortably.”

“You don’t remember the nurse’s name?”

“No, I assumed it was JoAnne or Susan. They were the only other nurses who were working on this floor.”

“Thank you, Nurse Sims. You’ve been very helpful.” Kat and Annette both knew what their next step would be.

Back in the administrator’s office, they repeated what Nurse Sims had told them.

“I’m not at all happy that Nurse Sims didn’t verify who made the notes. I’ll get the file and take a look. Stay here. This will only take a minute.”

When she returned, she had a puzzled look on her face.

“This is not the signature of any of the nurse’s whom we’ve determined were on duty that night and there was no emergency. We’ll definitely do some further investigating on our end. If we are able to verify who wrote these notes, I will be in touch.”

“Thank you,” Annette said. “We’re grateful for any help you can give us.”

“Certainly…and please accept my condolences.”

“Miss Morris,” they heard someone say. “Your niece asked if you were still here. She would like to see you, again.”

Annette and Kat went back to Vanessa’s room. “I remembered something else about the nurse. The one I haven’t seen since she was in my grandmother’s room that night.”

“What do remember, honey?”

“This might sound funny,” Vanessa said. “But she smelled like hamburgers.”