Murdo Girl…A town called Trickledown

I moved away from the town I grew up in years ago, but sometimes I reflect on what my life was like there and wonder if I should have stayed.

It seems that everybody wants to know where everyone else grew up. When I tell people I was born and raised in a town called Trickledown, they want to know how in the world the founders came up with a name like that!

I’ve heard a few stories, but the one that people repeat the most, is the one I usually tell folks. First, I’ll give you a little history of how the town came to be.

I’m a third generation Trickledowner, so my accounting will be somewhat subjective. Facts will be intermingled with folklore. I’ve also been gone for twenty years.

For a couple of decades, the place was nothing more than a wide spot in the road where people came to sell or trade whatever they had been able to grow on their land during the reasonably warm spring and summer months. They called it truck farming and it was the only thing that kept families going while they put together a temporary sod house, accumulated some livestock, and figured out how they were going to keep everything including themselves alive through the bitter cold days that would begin shortly after fall arrived.


Trickledown wasn’t like most other places people traveled great distances to homestead. Other parts of the country saw the leaves on the trees turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow in the fall. The leaves that were unlucky enough to be on a tree around what would be known as Trickledown, turned brown and blew away in a day or two. It was as if they knew it didn’t make sense to stick around and become nothing but frozen fodder trapped between cold, lifeless, tundra and hardened banks of snow.

The farmers and ranchers who settled in the area were those who were late to the game. The sign outside of town said, “Many passed through, but nobody stayed.”

Many of the families who dreamed of owning their own land didn’t stick around after experiencing their first winter. The ones who made it through the second, were tough, hardheaded, tenacious and extremely committed. I will include the women, children, cattle, horses, dogs and any other living thing in the category of, do’r die’rs.

Even so, it wasn’t long before a certain hierarchy formed. Five or six ranchers, who with their families, had stuck it out the full five years, which was the requirement to own the land they homesteaded, began to meet on a regular basis; ostensibly to plan the future of the little settlement.

One of the first buildings to go up was the school house. It was a small, square, structure. The unique feature was the second story. The idea wasn’t to make room for overcrowding, but to provide a small teacher’s quarters. They all figured it would take some added incentive to get a good teacher to live in Trickledown.

Both the school room and the quarters had a wood burning stove. If the pull-down ladder was down, and the hatch was open, the rising warm air from the schoolroom in addition to the stove going upstairs, would keep the quarters pretty warm. In the beginning, before a teacher was found, the ruling ranchers were very comfortable while holding their meetings up there.

20190405_2115468956784815027647843.jpg The building was perched on the side of a lonely hill so it also served as a lookout for any bad weather coming in… and a few other things. It was a widely known secret that more than a few hands of poker were dealt up there. Along with the cards, an occasional jug of moonshine, obtained by trading some of those valuable vegetables, was passed around. The men swore they were only thinking of the possible need to escape quickly when they put in a door to the outside leading to a small platform. Instead of stairs, they put a pole with places to put one’s feet and hands while climbing quickly down to safety. Coincidentally, the outhouse was only a few feet away from the pole.


Not wanting to have all the fruits of their labor thrown down the gullets of their men, a few of the local rancher’s wives had a meeting of their own, and devised a plot to kill their husband’s buzz.


It seems one of the plants that flourished in the gardens, but didn’t sell or trade very well, acted as a potent physic, (an old fashioned term for laxative). It was remarkably easy for the ladies to intercept the vile moonshine and add their own contribution to the mix. Soon, sliding down the pole, using the outhouse, and then climbing back up, interfered with the hierarchy conducting any business, such as naming the town. On the plus side, they were outside more than inside enjoying the comfort of the two-stove schoolhouse. Consequently, in addition to being cold they were worn out.

It must have been somewhat satisfying, yet difficult not to snicker, when those ladies watched their starving men gulp down a good meal, knowing it would be trickling down soon and they would be back out in the cold.

In the end, It was the rancher’s wives who came up with the town’s name. Trickledown had a ring to it, and it would be a constant reminder of the real value of a vegetable.

Murdo Girl…Inside my Grandma’s trunk

When I was just a little girl, the stories I most loved to hear, were found inside my grandma’s trunk, filled with things from yesteryear.

I saw her in a picture. Not one hair was out of place. She wore a prim and proper dress made of satin, adorned in lace.

Mary Tyrrell Sanderson

“Why aren’t you smiling, Grandma?” I asked her once again.

“My photograph was seldom taken. They were like portraits way back then. People struck a serious pose, stood tall, and calmly waited. A startling “poof” and blinding flash confirmed their likeness was created.”

(Mary standing in front her father in the buggy and her mother standing behind the wheel. Taken at the Tyrrell Farm.)

She reached inside the trunk and found an album bound in leather. Oh, the stories Grandma told when we looked at it together.

Time was captured in that book. Long ago came back to life, as Grandma told the story of becoming Grandpa’s wife.

“How did you and Grandpa meet?” Grandma knew I’d never tire, of the story beginning in the church, where she was singing in the choir.

Oxford Mills Methodist Episcopal Church where Grandma sang in the choir

Grandpa came with a lady friend, but Grandma caught his eye. He did some work on her father’s farm and came to know her by and by.

Maynard Evan Sanderson

They were married May eighteenth. Nineteen eleven was the year. They moved from Iowa to South Dakota. No other family would be near.

Two daughters and two sons were born… a new home they began to seek. They bought land and a log cabin in a pretty place called Horse Creek.

Horse Creek for a picnic many years later

The young Sanderson family before daughter Elna was born

They worked hard to make a living two more daughters soon arrived. Grandma said without their children’s help, they wouldn’t have survived.

Inside that big old trunk that had followed Grandma’s life, was a treasure trove of stories of happy times and times of strife.

When we finally closed the trunk, Grandma’s eyes began to shine. She said, “I could not be prouder of those six kids of mine.’

I heard a little cough. I turned around in time to see… Grandpa smile and wink at Grandma who was as pleased as she could be.

Murdo Girl…Visions

Have you ever heard of a vision board? I’m watching a movie and there’s an interesting story going on. There is a woman in the movie who is at a place in her life where she has reached the pinnacle of happiness.

Meanwhile, her friend is having trouble figuring out what her happiness would look like, and therefore, can’t make it happen.

The woman lets her in on a little secret.

“The “vision board.”

If you drew or painted your personal vision of happiness, what would it look like? If you’re like me and can’t draw or paint, you could cut out pictures and paste them on a poster board.

I don’t think you are ever too old to have a vision board. Things that create your vision of happiness probably change over time. In fact, the older you are, the more important a vision board might be. Just going through the exercise will probably help you see where you’re spending your time and energy.

Would the result surprise you? Would your vision of happiness have too many or too few dreams represented.

I already know I’m going to have to pare down some. I’ll need to prioritize about fifty things I really want to do. I’ve been told by professionals that I go off on too many tangents. I can never quite wrap up all the things I start.

Wow!..I’m already having visions of what I want on my board.

Yes!…I’m going to create my own vision board. I’ll ponder it until tomorrow afternoon and then I’ll make one. Are my dreams worthy? Are they realistic and achievable? (I’ll leave singing off.)

I’m not lying Pinocchio!

What do I need to do to make my dreams come true?

I have a lot to think about. I’ll show you my masterpiece when its completed. We might all be surprised. That is if I finish it!

Too bad I got sidetracked and didn’t watch the rest of the movie. Does anyone know how it ended?

Murdo Girl…The paper caper

I’m on my way over to Pearl’s. I got up really early because I needed to check something out. Let me explain.

Every morning when Pearl the dog and I go out for a walk, we stop and pick up Aunt Grace’s newspaper. I trained Pearl to pick it up and carry it up the stairs. She takes it right to Aunt Grace’s door and waits for me to knock before she drops it. We don’t wait for Aunt Grace to come to the door, but we always knock. That dog is really proud to help out like that. I think it helps her esteem.

Well, twice now, when Pearl left to go to the Busy Nest, she nearly killed herself tripping over a big pile of newspapers in front of the door that faces Main Street. The second time, Pearl was so upset, she limped right down the street to the newspaper office and proceeded to tell them how incompetent their newspaper boy was. The editor person called the poor kid in so they could get to the bottom of Pearl’s complaint.

Pearl told us that boy swore he had thrown those papers directly onto the doorsteps of their rightful owners. Pearl told him the rightful owners must have thrown them back at him, because how else would they have all wound up on her doorstep?

The newspaper lady called everyone who lived close to Main Street and asked them if they got their paper that morning. They all said, no. Then Mr. Mann said he saw a dog run off with his. Of course, I was thinking like you are right now…that it was Pearl the dog. But Pearl never goes anyplace without me. She can’t get in and out by herself. I decided to watch the paperboy from a distance this morning. That’s why I got up so early. I was hoping to catch the culprit.

Just like he said, that kid threw the paper right up on the porch of every house on that street. I had to admire his good arm and profound accuracy. I remained in hiding and waited. Before long, here came Pearl the dog. I gasped. She ran up to the first door, grabbed the paper and took off running. She ran back and forth until she had picked up every newspaper on that street. When she got the last one, I stayed far enough behind her so she couldn’t see me, and I followed her.

I watched as she put that last paper on the pile in front of the door. Then she turned and sat there facing the street. It was only a minute or two later that I saw Berford, the motel lady’s dog, stroll on up to Pearl, who jumped up on the doo and managed to turn the doorknob with her paw. Then she backed up just enough for the door to open a crack. It was enough for Berferd to get his nose in far enough so Pearl could squeeze back inside. I watched as the door shut, after which Berferd grabbed one of the papers and ran off.

I’d bet money that motel lady was in her car someplace waiting for Berferd to bring her the stolen news. She knows everything going on in town before it hits the paper, anyway.


I’m here…Pearl is where she always is. Lying in front of Pearl the human’s door, waiting for me to take her for a walk. She probably wonders why I didn’t come from the back like I always do. That’s where my favorite dog and I come and go, and that’s where the paperboy throws our paper. Where nobody can bother it…ha ha!

Hardly anyone in Murdo locks their doors. The doors to the rooms above Sanderson’s Store don’t even have a lock.

I decided to give myself some time to think.

“I’ll grab your leash, girl, and we’ll go for a long walk and talk about this. Maybe If you stop running with Berferd and stealing papers, I won’t have to tell Pearl.

Berferd – top picture, Pearl the dog – bottom

“It’s easy for you to get out isn’t it, Pearl? All you’ve gotta do is jump up on the door, turn the knob and push. It’s getting back in that you need help with. How am I going to unlearn you all of that? I will have to accomplish the impossible, that’s how!

We’re just lucky Pearl the human isn’t an early riser. Are you listening to me Pearl?”



“Hi Pearl, hi Grace, I’m here! Are you?”

Murdo Girl…Repeat of Pearl, Grace, and Ellie…The corn heist

Pearl owns The Busy Nest, where she sells her popular Elixerfixer. Grace writes an advice column with the help of twelve-year-old Ellie.  Pearl calls her Essie. We refer to her as Ellie/Essie, whose other responsibility is to care for Pearl the dog, who belongs to Pearl the human. Pearl named her dog after herself. She figured as long as she could remember her own name, she could remember that of her dog, and if the day comes when she forgets either, it’s time for them to part ways.

Ellie/Essie is walking to Sanderson’s store. Pearl, Pearl the dog, and Grace live in the apartments above the store.


It’s Sunday and we’re taking the day off. I’m on my way over to see Pearl and Grace, but I really want to see Pearl the dog. I felt real sorry for her yesterday when we were trespassing in that cornfield. Even though I don’t especially want to relive it, I guess I better tell you what happened.

Pearl the human drove that pink Cadillac right into a wide spot in the cornfield. Then she opened the trunk and pulled out three big old gunny sacks she’d brought to put the corn in. She told Grace to keep an eye out while we picked some corn. Pearl the dog came with Pearl and me. We were headed back to the car with the last gunny sack full of corn when Grace yelled, “Hit the Ground!! A Pick-up is coming! A pick-up is coming! Hit the ground!”


Well, I hit the ground flat-out, Pearl the human just stood there, and Pearl the dog did something she almost never does. She started barking her head off. Grace, who has never in her life driven a car, started the engine up, and put the car in gear. She turned a wheelie right in the middle of that wide spot in the cornfield.


When she got up along side of us, she hit the brakes and yelled at us to get in the car. Pearl, who realized she didn’t have a leg to stand on, rode shotgun and I jump in the back. We had lost track of Pearl the dog. We couldn’t hear her barking anymore, either. Grace gunned it, and headed for the highway.


Fear struck me to the core. The pick-up had seen us, and was heading our way. Grace suddenly realized she was driving and stomped on the brakes. The car died and there we were…sitting ducks. I still didn’t know where Pearl the dog was.

The pick-up pulled up beside us and a guy got out. Pearl got out of our car, and Grace started crying.

“Can I help you ladies with something?” The pick-up guy asked.

“Why thank you,” Pearl replied. “We’re fine. Is this your cornfield?”

“Yes, Mam, this is my cornfield…nice Cadillac. Did you have a flat tire? I see you’ve got your trunk up.”

Pearl’s expression didn’t change one bit. “No, young man, we didn’t have a flat. I was trying to teach my friend here how to drive. “Essie,” Pearl said. “Please close that trunk. I guess I didn’t slam it down hard enough when I put my walker back in there. I take my walker with me everywhere I go. I have vertigo. You’re spinning as we speak…That’s why I’m teaching Grace how to drive.”

The pick-up guy looked confused. I got out of the car and shut the trunk with all that corn in it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Pearl the dog come out of the cornfield. She had our gunny sack by her teeth and was dragging it over to Pearl the human. It was almost full of ears of corn. I felt like the biggest heel.

“Why, there you are, Pearl,” Pearl said. “Where on earth did you get that dirty old gunny sack? Drop it right now, Pearl, and get into the car!”

Poor Pearl the dog. She thought she was doing a good thing by hauling the corn back to the car. Anyway, we both got in the car. The only one not in the car was Pearl, and she was staring down the pick-up guy, who finally said something.

“You ladies have a safe trip back to wherever you came from,” he said. “And enjoy the corn.” With that, he got back into his pick-up and left.

After he was out of sight, Pearl told Grace to get into the backseat with Pearl the dog. Then she walked over to the gunny sack full of corn and drug it over to the trunk. That scrawny old woman lifted that heavy old sack and managed to get it into the trunk.

Pretty soon, we had made our way back to the road. Grace wasn’t crying anymore, but she was sniffling quite a bit. “Well,” she said. “He did tell us to enjoy the corn.”

“Yes,” Pearl said. “He surely did. Now…what should we do next week, Dear Grace?”

Pearl waving good-bye to the pick-up guy. She loves her pink Cadillac Low-rider.


Well, I’m not there yet, but I almost am. Anyway, that’s what happened.


“Hi Pearl. I’m here are you and Grace?”

Pearl the dog came running. Her tail was wagging a mile a minute. I heard Pearl call out from the living room. “We’re in here, Essie. Please bring us some coffee.”

When Pearl the dog and I went for our walk, we made a pact not to eat one bite of that five-finger discount, corn. We really mean it, too!

Murdo Girl…Destressing

It seems that people nowadays are really quite obsessed, with naming what they’re feeling and the word they use is, stressed.

I hear them say, “I’m stressed and I can’t take it anymore.” If that’s the way you’re feeling, its not something to ignore.

The word stressed, means under pressure and too much will make you break. It can be caused by work…or the money you don’t make.

When stress piles on too quickly, it will make your health go South. It steals away your smile and then you get down-in-the-mouth.

The only way I’ve found to shoo that stress away is to take a little time and play away the day.

Laughter is good medicine. It has no side effects. It doesn’t cost you money and it causes no regrets.

So send your stress a packing, though it may not leave forever, it will be a nice vacation and you’ll feel a whole lot better.

(Good things happen to those who create…

Bunnies out of a paper plate.)

Murdo Girl…Beaster Mom puts on her big girl shoes.

There was a Beaster Mom who lived in a shoe. She had so many Beaster Bunnies she didn’t know what to do.

Their shoe was so small, they were always stepping on each other, which wore out the shoe AND the Beaster Mother.

She paced back and forth. What steps could she take?

Should she get a mobile shoe and take the kids to the lake?

She paced back and forth until she wore a big hole… in the sock rug…(Bless that shoe’s sole.)

She lived on a shoestring, but she needed a break.

She hoped stepping up wouldn’t be a mistake.

Thinking outside the shoe box she finally gave in and knew right away her plan was a shoe-win.

She rented an old travel shoe and a 4 foot tent…packed up her bunnies and off they all went.

They had fun in the sun, ate carrots they roasted, and discovered that Peeps tasted good toasted.

Beaster Mom watched the fun and enjoyed her boot rest. Her bunnies said, “Mom, you’re the absolute Bootiest!!”

Murdo Girl…Ryan goes shopping

I like to ride in a cart and shop…

While I’m looking for the Beasterhop.

He rides a bicycle to his garden…

The one he works so very hard in.

I wonder what his garden grows…

He says he reaps just what he sows.

He has a basket on his bike.

I hope he picks the things I like.

Will he be here? Can we fill our cart?

Will Mommy know where we should start?

What’s in his basket? Will he stock it…

With candy kisses made from chocolate!


There is a place called Beastertown. A place where beasterhops are found.

Where beaster bunnies go to church and school, and learn about the golden rule.

Treat your friends and others too, how you would like them to treat you...

Murdo Girl…SOW syndrome

This blog post is dedicated to my friends and family who live in one of the state’s that has been hit with insurmountable snow and below zero temperatures for month after month.

This is in no way meant to minimize the devastation that has and will continue to affect all of you. I will continue to send prayers your way…

This following teaching moment is for those who can use a few minutes of relief from tension.

As you know, I always like to be of help, so I have developed a little presentation to aid in getting you out of the white funk syndrome I call SOW, (Sick of Winter). Follow these steps and you’ll be smiling again in no time.

# 1, Stop eating all that comfort food or I’ll have to develop another kind of SOW presentation.

#2, Stand in front of a mirror and clap your hands 3 times while at the same time saying, “Ha, Ha, Ha.”

#3, Repeat #2 three times.

#4, Now, clap 5 times while chanting, “Ha, Ha, Hahaha.) Are you still with me? Okay, let me do a demo.

As you have just learned, you do the same thing with Hohoho…if you wish to advance to a higher level, use Hehehe and repeat 10 times.

Now for the cool down…or should I say SOW down?

The tune comes from a song by the pacemakers…no pun intended.

Don’t let the snow catch you cryin.

In July your friend in Texas will be fryin.

Don’t blame yourself if you’ve got sow.

You have a way to fight it now.

Hahaha and hohoho…

Until you’ve seen the last of snow.

No don’t let the snow catch you cryin….

The cat loves SOW downs

I have to get the clothes out of the dryer now!