Murdo Girl…Lessons from animals

I picked another topic from Uncle Chuck’s book, Wisdom well said. I ran across …lessons we learn from animals. But first, a little more background.

When he retired, Charles Francis decided to make good use of his library of stories and quotes. He started an Internet business he called ‘The Idea Bank.’ People purchased a membership and could go into the site, pick a subject, and get stories and quotes to add interest to their speech or article. Many speech writers enjoyed the convenience of Uncle Chuck’s well organized, unique, and large volume of information. To say he was well-read is a vast understatement.

The three Francis brothers…from left, Bill, John, and Chuck. Their father died when his sons were 10 (John), 7 (Bill), and 2 (Chuck).

I like this poem about accomplishment, author unknown.

There once was an oyster whose story I’ll tell, Who found that sand got under his shell;

Just one little grain, but it gave him much pain, For oysters have feelings although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate the working of fate, Which had led him to such a deplorable state?

Did he curse out the government, call for an election? No. As he lay on the shelf, he said to himself,

“If I cannot remove it, I’ll improve it.” So the years rolled by as the years always do,

And he came to the ultimate destiny – stew. But this small grain of sand which had bothered him so,

Was a beautiful pearl, all richly aglow. Now this poem has a moral – for isn’t it grand

What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand. What couldn’t we do if we’d only begin With all of the things that get under our skin.

Teamwork and ego…

The sin (and danger) of excessive pride (or an excessive ego) is admirably demonstrated in this simple fable:

A frog asked two geese to take him south with them. At first they resisted; they couldn’t see how it could be done. Finally, the frog suggested that the two geese hold a stick in their beaks and he would hold onto it with his mouth.

So off the unlikely threesome went, flying southward over the countryside. It was really quite a sight. People looked up and expressed great admiration at this demonstration of creative teamwork.

Someone said, “It’s wonderful! Who was so clever to discover such a fine way to travel?”

Whereupon the frog opened his mouth and said, “It was I,” as he plummeted to the earth.

I’m adding these pictures of two pages of topics. The first one of you to mention a topic in their comment will get some suggestions from the book in the next blog. You can make the photos larger by tapping with your finger.

Murdo Girl… MHS fifty years ago? How about eighty?

Take a look back fifty+ years. What do you remember?

It’s nineteen sixty-seven and it’s early in September.

An American lunar lander, landed on the moon.


You were waiting at MHS, for the whistle to blow at noon.


The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour was released in the UK.

 Otis Redding recorded, “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay.”

We heard the best new movie was, “Guess who’s coming to dinner.”

It took two more years for Murdo to get the academy award winner.

Linda Kerns at Mack’s Cafe. She is still as beautiful as ever.

You could go to Mack’s cafe and buy a pop for just a dime.

 South Dakota voted yes… to daylight savings time.

In May of 1968… you made plans for a celebration.

You were ready to go and spread your wings…right after graduation.

I’m delivering a message… from Marilyn Kinsley Strait,

To the Murdo High School graduates of 1968.

(information below)

Come and join the gathering, and talk about old times.

I just have one more thing to add. (I’m running out of rhymes.)

If you’ll take a moment to stop and think,

You’ll see it’s quite a coinkydink.

Since ’68 you’ve come so far,

 68…is now how old you are.

(My mother, Loretta, graduated 80 years ago. You might recognize the names of others in her class.)


Below you’ll see the info, so be sure and save the date.

Call or email Marilyn or Cheryl. Don’t wait til it’s too late.


MHS Class of 1968  (Others are welcome to stop by)

A get-together is being planned to mark 50 years since our high school graduation.

A buffet evening meal will take place at the Buffalo Lounge and Restaurant Party Room on Saturday evening, August 18, 2018.

Meet us at the Buffalo

We need to have a RSVP from you by June 29th so meal plans can be made.  Please let us know how many will be in your party.

The buffet will be $12 per person.  Ice tea and ice water will be provided with the meal.

Alcoholic beverages may be ordered from the bar.

Social Hour 5:30 to 6:30

Meal 6:30 to ?????

Cheryl (Hoard) McMillan 669-2674

Marilyn (Kinsley) Strait 669-2808

25301 Little White River Road, White River, SD 57579  Also on Face Book

We are making an effort to contact all the graduates, but please pass this on to other classmates.

RSVP  by June 29th


_________Will attend       ________Will not attend

Number attending buffet meal:_________________________________________



Below is a list of all the people in my family who have graduated from MHS/JCHS. The years range from 1926 to 2011. Jeff Sanderson’s wife, Irma Bork Sanderson, also graduated from MHS. Vava Bowers (Robert), and Margaret Anderson Francis (John), taught in Murdo, but were not MHS graduates.

Mom (Loretta Sanderson) was in the Murdo Pep band (kneeling on the right)
  1. Bowers, Margarete, 1926
  2. Bowers, Robert, 1929
  3. Bowers, William (Bev), 1933
  4. Francis, William, 1937
  5. Francis, John, 1934
  6. Francis, Charles, 1942
  7. Francis, William, Billy, 1962
  8. Francis, Mary, 1970
  9. Sanderson, Wayne, 1930
  10. Sanderson, Ella, 1933
  11. Sanderson, Jeff, 1933
  12. Sanderson, Helen, 1935
  13. Sanderson, Loretta, 1938
  14. Sanderson, Elna, 1944
  15. Sanderson, Terry, 1959
  16. Sanderson, Jeff H., 1965
  17. Sanderson, Mark, 1970
  18. Sanderson, Rhon, 1986
  19. Sanderson, Len, 1987
  20. Miller, Andrea, 1967
  21. Miller, Stephanie, 1971
  22. Miller, Greg, 1973
  23. Miller, Renee, 2003
  24. Miller, Jordon, 2007
  25. Miller, Matthew, 2011








Murdo Girl…Tapestry

Woven threads of color,

A beauty to behold;

Each thread a chapter of a life.

The tapestry unfolds.

There within the richness,

Are tears of golden hue;

While silver threads of laughter,

Are gently woven through.

Hanging there in splendor for all the world to see;

The beauty of a life well spent, in richest tapestry.


As part of our journey into the world of minimalist living, we have been planning a family day to go through things Kip and I no longer need or have room for in our tiny home. We felt our family should be given the chance to take a look inside the boxes and keep anything that was meaningful to them.

Today was just the beginning of the process. We realized rather quickly that this couldn’t be done in one day. As it was, it took a few of us some time to get with the program and deal with all of the mementos and photographs that represent our individual and collective ties to the past.

It was an amazing day to witness and be a part of. I will write a blog about the fun, funny, and awesome moments of discovery, tomorrow, but tonight, I want to share some photos from one album that has been hidden in a box stored in the attics of the different homes we have lived in over the years. It’s full of photographs from the 1940’s. Someone else’s memories.

My Grandma, Mary Sanderson, with her daughter, Ella, in California. Grandma traveled from South Dakota to California by herself. She was hoping to get there before her son, Jeff shipped out. She didn’t make it in time and my mother told me she wouldn’t look at the ocean the whole time she was there because it took her Jeff away. Jeff is on the right in the second picture. I don’t know who the other two men are, or the baby. They are standing in front of a fountain, which may have been in California or wherever they were stationed.

From the left in the bottom picture is my dad’s brother, John, and his wife Margaret. I don’t recognize the tall man. Standing to the right of him, is Ella Sanderson, Bill Francis, and my mother, Loretta. I don’t know the blond lady next to Dad in the second picture with Ella, Mom, and Margaret.

Grandma Sanderson with her oldest grandson, Terry. It says April, 1942 on the bottom. This must have been taken in Murdo. Grandpa, (M.E.) Sanderson is in the second photo. It looks like he is in the Black Hills. I’m not sure when he purchased his cabin there. 

wp-image-97107957jpg.jpgThis picture of Bob Haverberg was in the album. He married my mother’s sister, Helen Sanderson. I was struck by how much his son, (my cousin, Bobby), looks like him.

I loved looking at pictures of my family when they were just beginning their adult years. I wish I had asked more questions about their lives back then. Wartime was full of uncertainties. These young South Dakota men and women went places that I’ve never been. They met new people, some of which became lifelong friends. I remember Mom talking about someone she called, Skeeterbumpererguypalschmidt. I’m not kidding. She and her husband lived in Merced, California. They kept up with each other for quite a few years.

This probably isn’t of too much interest to my blog readers who aren’t like me. I love looking at old pictures no matter who is in them.

In this case, I know how the tapestry of most of the lives of the people pictured above unfolded. There were silver threads of joy, and tears of golden hue…each of us has our own unique tapestry. Some are more golden, and some have more silver threads.

Looking through this album, I saw moments in time captured…just waiting for me to see them.

I’m going to show you a few priceless pictures that were taken today…Yes… that long lost teddy bear was Kip’s childhood friend. Hudson fell in love with him.

Murdo Girl…Queenology

The need for Queenology can’t be overstated

I don’t know if you know this, but Queens aren’t regulated

You don’t have to pass a test or prove qualifications


No license is required, to be the Queen of Queen ruled nations

You can soak up all the glamour and not do a lick of work.

Folks bow to your feet, hoping for a Queenie perk.


But being a Queen ain’t as easy as you’d think

Queenology tells us, it can truly stink

You must wear a crown, or a hat most every minute

And that formal dress? They want to see you in it.


No jeans or tennis shoes and you won’t be eating steak.

You really can’t afford it. No money will you make.

If you eat all that good bad stuff, you soon will realize,

You won’t fit where you used to. Sunroofs are just one size


Yes Queens are pretty special. I’m sure you’ve seen a few,



Long live the Queen…and she is… believe you me.

But you’ll get tired of waving, and sick of drinking tea.


When you’re little you’re a princess, looking for a prince.

When you get a little older, he just might make you wince


Go ahead and be a Queen, now that you know it can be done

But if it really was that easy… wouldn’t all old broads be one?



Murdo Girl…Small town smarts and a message to the MHS class of 68

I think Mom and my aunt were two of the cleverest people who ever lived. They were never without a plan. They were never caught flat-footed. I never, ever, saw them unable to meet a situation that called for a plan, without one.



Let’s use the telephone as an example. Back when I was growing up, if the phone rang, you answered it. There was no way of knowing who was going to be on the other end. It could be an important call that you wouldn’t want to miss. If it was juicy news, and you didn’t answer, the caller would just go on to the next person on the grapevine. There was no such thing as voicemail, either. If you missed an important call, you could only hope the party would call back. But then there were those “other” calls. The ones you would rather have missed. The ones from the PTA asking you to bake cookies, or the ones from the ladies who could talk for hours and not tell you one iota of interesting news. These are the calls that gave birth to the plans.

My aunt always answered the phone with a pitiful voice… (cough)…hello…(cough). If the caller was someone she wasn’t in the mood to spend time conversing with, she could say she wasn’t feeling well, and would weakly ask if they could call back another time. If it was someone she wanted to hear from, my aunt recovered quickly.

I’ve told you about Mom’s trick. She would hang up when she was in the middle of a sentence. She said no one would ever believe she hung up on herself. They’ll think they got disconnected. If the party called right back, the line would be…busy. It’s hard to believe anybody would ever call them, isn’t it?

I remember Mom’s excitement one day when she read Erma Bombeck’s plan for dealing with unexpected visitors. Don’t worry about getting caught with a dirty house, she advised. You should invite them right in. All you have to do is put some get well cards all over and people will think you’ve been too sick to clean. It’s funny…I don’t remember my mother ever being “for real” sick. I would be afraid all of that pretending would tempt fate. I would fake being sick and then really get sick.

Image result for get well cards

Mom came up with some good plans, but she was always willing to learn from others like Erma Bombeck or Ann Landers.

You’ve gotta love small towns. I’ll always love my hometown.

Speaking of Murdo, I got a message from Marilyn Kinsley Strait. The class of 1968 is gathering contact information for a potential get together. You can send information and updates to (Marilyn).

It’s been fifty years since you spent your last day as classmates and I really hope you have a well attended reunion.



I was looking at the only MHS annual I have. It belonged to Connie Jackson and was given to me by her brother, Eddie. He discovered I spent most of my high school years trying to be “Connie like” and knew how much I would treasure having a little piece of her history. It’s the 1967 annual which was the year all of you were Juniors. (My small town smarts in action.) Some of the comments you classmates wrote inside are priceless.



I hope you give yourself the gift of going back and sharing memories of those high school years. Please pass the information on to anyone who might not read Murdo Girl. There can’t be that many.

A few youngsters from the class of 70


Songs from 1968 to get you feeling nostalgic…

Happy 50th!


Murdo Girl…Water We Doing?

When they said they were going to put in our water and sewer this week, they didn’t mean today. Just thought I would let you know. They did come by sometime this afternoon and put in two more little flags in preparation. We must have seven or eight flags now, marking the spot where they will sooner or later be digging. Shoot, I’d go dig it out with a spoon if it would speed things up.

It’s okay…we have more to do than we can say grace over, and we’re so much slower than we used to be… and we tire easily. We are moving things in and making plans to be rid of those things that will no longer have a place in our lives, though still in our hearts. Oh come on! It’s just stuff!

We took our broken pictures to Michael’s in Mesquite yesterday to be framed. We also took two of Kip’s Grandpa, on his ranch in Big Piney, Wyoming, to be re-framed. Big Piney is always the coldest spot in the nation. We all love these pictures of Grandpa McNinch wearing his holy felt hat and frayed denim shirt. You can see the photos being transported in the shopping cart, but I will take better pictures of the pictures when we pick them all up in two weeks.

We also shopped, yesterday, for short stools to fit around our little kitchen island and tall stools for the high counter. We won’t have a table, but six people can sit comfortably in those two places. Of course, there will still be room for the plate balancers who can sit in the recliners in the living room. (I hate recliners, but if I want to stay married to Kip, I have to tolerate them.) We didn’t buy any high/low stools yesterday, but we did today. They’ll be here Thursday.

So as of right now, we’re still only visitors in our tiny home, but we love the neighborhood and we’re going to love our tiny house, big brown barn, and teeny shed.

Lovely lighting under the cabinets.  I can’t wait to sit by the fire pit and drink my coffee in the mornings. I can even see the lake from my perch on the porch.



Thankfully, we didn’t ruin the “Stick with Me” canvas I got as a housewarming present for Kip when we moved into our previous abode, the small house.

We’ll let you know how the water watch works out tomorrow. Remember the only people with perfect lives are the ones we don’t know very well. ( I just heard that phrase and I like it.)

Murdo Girl…Forward thinker

Tiny home update

We have been on a rollercoaster and we’re frazzled. We got the electricity to the box, today, and were told we had to request a work order for the meter, which would take seven to ten working days. After talking to three people, they came back and put the meter in and the company that provides the electricity turned the lights on.

Next step…water and sewer

We had to wait until the electricity was on to arrange for the sewer and water hook-ups. When I called today, they said the wait time is usually three to six weeks. I couldn’t find the words to respond, and it’s probably a good thing. Others told us different things and the end result is they are going to bless us with water and sewer connections next week. We should be able to live in the place by the end of next week. We will be doing more than whistling while we wait. We have plenty to do.

In the meantime, someone from the county came by and said our driveway was a couple of feet too long. That will be taken care of by the contractor. He’s a good guy.

And another thing…

Last night, I had a table at a two-hour literacy event at the Mabank High School. It was their first time to host a function with the focus on inspiring kids to read more books. They decided to have it this time of year so students will be encouraged to continue to expand their world by reading during summer vacation.

Soo’-tah, from Dakotah’s Story, and Pearl the dog, from Connie’s story, were hits as were the rabbit ears you must wear when you sing the “Beasterhop” song.

I had a great time talking to kids of all ages about my books and I read We Shall See what We Shall See to the little children. Other readers included firemen, policemen, and Martha Washington. There was one other local author there. She and I enjoyed exchanging ideas and talking about the difficulties of putting a book together.There were several community organizations represented and countless books were handed out to all the students. They offered popcorn, pizza, snow cones and giveaways. They had games and drawings for prizes. A good time was had by all! every school should do this and involve the whole community.

Earlier in the day…

“Where is the mini monarchy Cam? Those ladies are laughing at us. I told you not to wear the toilet seat. You look much better in a lampshade.” 

All the above took place after I attended a special birthday party for the four, April birthday girls. It was at Fran’s house. She is so delighted that it appears Kip and I will finally be their new neighbors. I know the wait must feel like an eternity to them. Well, Fran and Scott… we’re almost ready to occupy the tiny home with Kip’s gynormous brown barn behind it, that dwarfs my teeny shed. Don’t become alarmed if you see a few things flying through the air as Kip and I sort out who has to store what in “their” space. You wouldn’t happen to have a little extra room in your garage would you? I guess I can always ask Linda and Leroy if they have some extra attic room.” I just love nice neighbors.


I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Have you ever noticed that most forward thinkers come from small towns and graduated with a small class? I have only talked to a couple of people from small towns whose graduating class was smaller than mine (twenty-seven). One of the people I talked to was my brother. I think he graduated with eleven and he’s a real forward thinker…and a minimalist like me.

Murdo Girl…When honking your horn means “Hi”

When you hear people talking about growing up in a small town, you hear all the cliches, like, “People know what you’ve done, even before you do it.” It’s true. I remember being out later than I should have been on a school night, and when I got to school the next morning, a teacher confronted me. It was a long day. I felt everyone’s eyes on me. They were just waiting for me to doze off in class.

When I was a freshman in high school, I went to the prom with a guy who was a sophomore and had just started driving. He was allowed to drive the family car for the occasion, but a problem developed. We were both inexperienced daters and he didn’t have the courage to tell me he was supposed to be home with the car at a certain time. I wasn’t smart enough to know when I should ask him to take me home.

When I finally walked into my  house at 3:00 a.m., my dad, who never worried much about my activities, was fit to be tied. I was highly offended that he might think I had gone someplace I shouldn’t have. After all, in a small town, there are very few places you shouldn’t be.

Dad finally went to bed when I told him my date said we put fifty miles on his dad’s car. To make matters worse, his dad was my typing teacher. I still can’t type very well. He never helped me learn how to find the numbers without looking and I was afraid to ask.

You’re probably thinking I wasn’t brave. Well, I wasn’t, but I was adventuresome. I made it all the way to Texas didn’t I?

Living in a small town, is like being part of a big family. Everyone knows you, and you know them. The people who move into town are usually preachers or teachers, so they don’t really add any mystery to the fabric of the town.

Everyone knew everybody else’s dog, too. None of the dogs had to eat real dog food, and in Murdo, they didn’t have to stay in their own yards. When my dog, Penny, had puppies, my cousin told me the father was another cousin’s dog who had been visiting from Pennsylvania. I’m pretty sure I have this right. I know my cousin, Valerie, will correct me if I have the details wrong. Her dog’s name was Midnight. He was smart and Uncle Al taught him all kinds of tricks. Midnight deflowered Penny, left town and never looked back.

My cousins, the Millers, had Scamp. He was afraid of fireworks. One time he somehow got inside one of our motel rooms without anyone seeing him. In the middle of the night, after the firecrackers stopped and he felt safe, he came out from under the bed and scared the devil out of the poor tourists.

How did I get off onto dog stories? Mom told us about her friends, Dan and Harriet, telling her about their little puppy. Harriet adored him, but sadly, one of them backed over him in the driveway. Harriet said, “At least it didn’t hurt him.” (Meaning he died instantly, therefore, he felt no pain.) Dan said, “What do you mean it didn’t hurt him? It killed him!”

I’m a huge dog lover. Maybe it’s only funny if you hear Mom tell it, and it’s years later.

There is so much to tell about growing up in a small town. Even years later, you feel a sense of belonging somewhere, whether you’ve moved on or not. When I first left Murdo, I actually wondered what certain people were doing every day. It seemed strange that their lives went on just like before even though I wasn’t there to be a part of it all.

I love this poster… It’s so true!

I have made some good friends, through this blog, who are from small towns and they get it. We all have fun looking back.

 Yes, looking back to a time when there were no tiny homes. At least not on purpose.

Murdo Girl…Putting Murdo back together

I found out they tore down the old Jones County State Bank, today. Do you know what that means? Murdo has temporarily lost another iconic building. Before we know it, the fifties and sixties will be nothing but history. I have personally been waging a war against changing Murdo.

The Brick House gang has already reprised the old Murdo High School and the elementary school buildings. Fern’s Cafe and Mack’s Cafe have both reopened. Joy Payne’s dress shop, the Murdo Show house, and Gambles are purring along. Beckwith’s Jewelry Store is next to Joy Payne’s. Mr. Beckwith is good at fixing watches and his kids are good at music.

The Post Office is back where it should be, and Thune Hardware is next to the drug store. The dry cleaners, on the other side of Mowell’s Drug Store, is still a much needed business in Murdo. There’s a locker for people to take their meat if they don’t have a freezer at home, and the Buffalo Bar is across the street from the locker. The Gem Hotel, the Murdo Hotel and the Laundromat are all uptown, too.

Super Value still has the Frosty Freeze attached to it, and we have five or six full service gas stations. In addition to Mack’s and Fern’s, you can eat at Highway 16 Cafe and the Teepee. It’s pretty new.

Most importantly, Sanderson’s Store is just as it always was…Aunt Tet lives upstairs and the Leckeys are living in the apartment across the hall. Doc Bork is our dentist and Doc Murphy makes house calls. Uncle Jerry builds all the new houses and Dad has a plumbing and heating business.

Graham Motor Lodge is under construction and they’re going to have a swimming pool. Mom runs our little motel called the Chalet which is across the highway from Grahams. The Gonzales, Boysens, Wheelers, Iversons (The Red Top), and Laura Hayden all have motels, too. (I might have spelled some of those names wrong.)

There are a couple of beauty shops in Murdo and Kitty Reynolds sews for more than a few families. People buy their cars from the Ford Garage and the Pioneer Auto Museum is almost as well known as Wall Drug.

The ladies in town play a lot of bridge, and drink a lot of coffee. They probably gossip more than they should. Nobody likes to miss coffee because they can only talk about the ones who aren’t there. After coffee, Mom and Aunt Elna go home and call each other to gossip about the gossip. It’s a lot to keep up with.

The boys have football, basketball and track and the girls have basketball. There are no home economics classes offered, but the moms who can cook, teach their girls. Makes sense to me. I already know how to make chocolate chip cookies. What else do I need to know?

I love the new Swanson’s fried chicken TV dinners and Mom makes baked potatoes with chicken pot pies. We mush them all together on our plate. It’s very filling and good! She makes roasts and all kinds of other good stuff.

When kids go steady, the girls sit in the middle of the front seat of the boys car, even if the car has bucket seats. They drive around town for hours. I don’t know how they can do that. Gas is 35 cents a gallon. The girls also wear the boy’s class rings and make them fit by sticking wadded up tape under the wide part.

There are lots of little stock dams where guys like Grandpa Sanderson like to fish. You can boat but you can’t swim at the North dam. We swim at the East dam, and fish at the South dam. One time when Billy was going to be late for school, Mom didn’t make him go. We all hate to be late for anything. Anyway, he went fishing at the South dam and someone caught him and called him a truant.

Yup…I’m taking it upon myself to keep Murdo just like it was, so whoever wants to help me is more than welcome. Those guys who tore down the bank can just put it back together again.

Guess I’ll put an ad in the Murdo Coyote.

Murdo Girl…90 years ago

When the M.E. Sanderson family lived on Horse Creek, which is about ten miles south of Murdo, SD, the kids all went to a country school. Mom, who was one of six children often talked about the Osborn kids. They were a family of thirteen offspring, and the kids all attended the same country school.

Mom was only eleven when her family moved closer to town which meant the kids would all go to town school. Mom, of course, made it sound like she was really moving up in the world. She always told the story that one of the Osborn girls said they would miss Helen and Ella, (Mom’s older sisters), but they wouldn’t miss her.wp-1524104921128.jpg

My friend, Dianna, found this picture of the Osborn family in later years. Her Aunt was an Osborn…one of the thirteen kids. It really is a small world.

I haven’t heard a lot of Horse Creek stories, but Aunt Elna, Mom’s younger sister, once told me of a Christmas memory she had. The family had returned from visiting relatives in Iowa just in time for Christmas. Little Elna was given a box and when she opened it, a puppy jumped out and scared her to death. She wanted nothing to do with her new pet, which wasn’t the expected reaction. She was only five when they moved, but she had that one vivid memory of life on Horse Creek.

Mom was never interested in housework or cooking. She left helping Grandma up to the other girls. She preferred the outdoor chores and helping with the livestock. One day she was off by herself riding one of the horses. The horse was startled by something and shied which caused Mom to fall off. Wanting some sympathy for her frightening fall, she tried her best to cry until she got home. It turned out, she wasn’t injured that severely and couldn’t keep the tears flowing, therefore, no one felt sorry for her when she told them of her harrowing experience.


This photo is of the Sanderson and the Thomas families. Mom is the one with the short dark hair. Her sister, Ella is the taller girl standing next to her and Helen is next to Ella. Jeff is in front with his hand over his heart. Grandpa is second from the left in the back row. Grandma is next to him, (big hat), and Wayne is behind Ella and Helen.

Wayne was the oldest of the Sanderson kids. When he was bitten by a rattlesnake and Grandpa cut a slit with his knife and sucked the venom out, I’m sure Mom was impressed. I know I would have been. Now they say that type of emergency treatment isn’t the right thing to do. I bet Wayne would argue that point, as he had no serious after effects.


I think this is Grandma’s parents with Grandpa and Grandma, (holding the baby). I think the baby is Ella and the little boy is Jeff. I don’t know who the woman is standing next to Grandpa.

I’ve been to Horse Creek a few times over the years. I remember the picnic we had there with the Haverberg cousins, from Michigan,and Mark and Jeff H. Sanderson. I was probably about the age Mom was when the family moved. Part of the old log cabin was still standing.


The land is now owned by Dan Height. When my cousin, Greg, told told him Mom had requested she be cremated and her ashes spread around Horse Creek, he graciously allowed us to drive a caravan of 4-wheel drives, off-road, to the site of the old log house. The day was beautiful as was the landscape. I looked at all the relatives spreading Mom’s ashes around, and I could almost hear Mom saying, “So there, Osborn kids!”