Murdo Girl…As the world turns

I wrote this a few days ago before our world took a sudden turn. Kip suffered a heart attack early yesterday morning. He is now recovering nicely after having surgery to put two stents in.

We are so blessed to have an amazing support group consisting of family and dear friends who continue to reinforce our belief that God is good all the time. We love you all and truly appreciate your prayers.

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My pets were feeling a little left out

DOLLIE LEE

I’m a cat whose at her best when she’s allowed to get her rest.

I’ve never even seen a mouse. They serve gourmet food in this house.

I only move when nature calls or when I cough on cat hair balls.

I know that might sound gross to you, but that’s just what cats do.

I have a large litter box

Lately, I’ve been so tired I haven’t felt at all inspired.

I usually do what I choose, but now I’ve got the COVID blues.

LILIE DALE

Here I am in my usual spot I have to share, though I’d rather not.

I just moved into this place, and I really hate sharing my space.

There are some super good offsets. My humans really love their pets.

We go for walks but I say sheesh! I have to wear a stupid leash.

I have a yard where I can play and I get bones three times a day.

I don’t hang out with the cat. She likes to use her paw to bat.

She’s only hit me once or twice but that cat isn’t very nice.

Would you please give her this news. I also have the COVID blues.

PATTI RUTH AND SAMMIE SUE

Ready to go RVing

We little Cockers don’t get upset unless they take us to the vet.

We’ve been here longer than both of them. We think they cause too much mayhem.

We try our best to social distance, and wear mutt masks per the scientist’s insistence.

Smart dogs usually come in twos. They don’t catch the COVID blues.

Murdo Girl…Grandpa John

Two days later, Mark along with Arf and Annie headed for the mountains where they would search for Clark’s grandpa. It would take them at least two days to get there depending on how far up the mountain the cabin was and the condition of the road.

Mark had been Brad’s only hired hand for the past ten years and he was happy to do this favor for Brad and his family. He also knew that Arf and Annie would be a big help if the crude map Harvey had drawn turned out to be hard to follow.

Mark had no idea what the topography would be like, so he had a saddle horse riding in the trailer that had sleeping quarters where they could bed down for the night. They could park below the mountain and he would ride the horse to the cabin. Arf and Annie shouldn’t have a problem walking the distance if it was like Harvey had drawn it on the map.

They got to the little town at the foot of the mountain on the afternoon of the second day. Mark bought a few supplies before finding a place to park the truck and trailer.

It was a beautiful fall day. The air was crisp and full of the scent of pine. By the time they got all set up in their makeshift camping site it was starting to get dark. Mark cleared out an area and built a small campfire. After eating, he treated Arf and Annie to some tunes he played on his harmonica.

The plan was to get up at dawn the next day and head up the mountain.

“Well, Arf and Annie, let’s say a prayer that we find Clark’s Grandpa John and he’s happy to see us. I’ve got to remember to call Clark, Butch. I agree with Miss Bessie. He looks more like a Clark than a Butch.”

The next morning Mark, Arf, and Annie got an early start. Mark was feeling fairly certain they were on the right road. They would have to keep a close eye out for the little cabin Harvey had described.

John rose at the usual time and ate his breakfast of fruit and oatmeal. It was a beautiful morning so he decided that after finishing his coffee, he would go fishing in the little stream about a mile away from the cabin.

He had been fishing about an hour when the clouds began to gather. He packed up his gear and headed for the cabin, but the rain came pouring down before he made it very far. In his rush to get back, he stepped on some slippery rocks. His feet flew out from under him and he came down hard on a boulder with a jagged edge. Poor John was lying on the side of the little walking path, bleeding and unconscious. Unfortunately, his old dog, Biff, had stayed at the cabin preferring to nap on the rug inside the door.

Murdo Girl…Clark

The last thing Clark felt like doing was to start school. His tutor said he was ready scholastically which was good, but he wasn’t at all sure about the social side of high school. He had never been one to get involved in school activities. In fact, he thought of himself as a loner. He felt anxiety at school and home had not been a happy place for him, either. The only thing that gave him solace was playing the guitar his grandpa had given him.

The morning of the first day of school, he rose early and dressed in the new clothes that Jamie had purchased for him. He packed his new backpack with the school supplies they had picked out together from a list his tutor had given him, and went downstairs to the kitchen.

“Good morning, Clark,” Miss Bessie said. “You have plenty of time to eat a good breakfast before you head for school. Brad is going with you isn’t he?”

“Yeah, I guess he needs to be there to complete the registration forms. I’m really not that hungry Miss Bessie. I’ll just have a glass of milk and some toast.”

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“Listen honey,” Miss Bessie said. “It’s okay to be a little nervous. It would be surprising if you weren’t, but don’t let it take over and consume you. You are very capable and talented. You have everything it takes to do well in school and in life. You must know how much we all love you and we’re here pulling for you.”

Clark smiled and nodded his head.

“Thank you for the pep talk Miss Bessie. It’s just what I needed. Can I have some bacon and eggs with the toast and milk?”

“Well, you sure seem cheerful this morning,” Brad said as he walked into the kitchen and headed for the coffee pot. “We should probably leave in about forty-five minutes. I can’t tell you how excited I am for you to have this experience.”

Jamie and little Jake walked in right behind Brad. Jake handed Clark a picture he had drawn. 

“It’s our family,” he said. “Will you be my big brother?” 

“Of course,” Clark said. “I would really like that. This is a cool picture, little dude.”

“We’re going to try to make some progress today towards finding someone who sounds to me like  might be a good grandfather,” Jamie said. “In addition to my father and mother who are your grandparents, too, of course.”

Clark missed his mamma and his siblings at home, but he knew it was better for all concerned that he was away from there. He just hoped his grandfather could be found.

“Are you ready to go?” Brad asked. “We don’t want to be late. This is a very important day. Do you have his lunch ready Bessie? He didn’t get to finish his breakfast.”

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John got back to the cabin a little later than usual. In addition to shopping and getting the mail, he had stopped by the bank. He hadn’t been feeling well recently and he had made a doctor’s appointment, but he got up feeling like himself that morning so he cancelled it.

It was getting pretty dark by the time he got his groceries put away and fed his old dog, Biff.

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“I’m hungry tonight, Biff. I think I’ll fix a couple of these pork chops and a baked potato. I might even accidentally drop a piece or two of one of these chops into your mouth. How would that be?”

Biff’s mouth started to water at the thought of having even a tiny bite of a pork chop…his personal favorite.

When he had finished his meal, John made his after supper cup of coffee and got out his guitar. Every time he played, he thought about his grandson, Butch, and wondered if he was enjoying the guitar he had made for him.

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Annie: I wish we could help find Clark’s grandpa. 

Arf: All we know is that he lives in a cabin in the woods far away from here. It’s too bad we can’t find a moving van going that way. They go really far, really fast.

Annie: What to do, what to do…

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Arf: I’m getting tired of looking at squirrels through this squirrel window. I think I’ll go see if Katie is in her room.

Annie: Wait a minute. I think I hear Brad and Jamie coming.

“Were you able to find out anything about the whereabouts of Clark’s grandpa?” Brad asked Jamie.

“I discovered the general location of the cabin he owns,” Jamie said. “It’s in a pretty remote area about six hundred miles from here. I just don’t see how we can make that trip. We have little Jake to think about and Clark is just starting school and needs our support.”

“No, we can’t go,” Brad said. “But maybe Mark can. “He can take Arf and Annie with him. I’ll ask him about it in the morning. I wanted to ask you about something else. Has Barbie said anything to you about her plans?”

“Not really, but she doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to leave. I see that as being a good thing. It might be nice to have your sister around for a while.”

 

Murdo Girl…Miracles

This isn’t an Arf and Annie Story. I can’t think, tonight. Maybe the reason I can’t think is because my head is really exposed.

What is so hard to understand about, “Just a trim, please.” Maybe hairdressers who only get $15.00 for a haircut, (including the tip), cut your hair the same way they cut everyone else’s no matter what you tell them.

A bad haircut doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to. I’ve even been known to go to a high school reunion with an exposed head. Besides, I have dozens of hats. At the moment, I’m wearing my Mickey Mouse cap.

If you look real closely, you can see some hair sticking out. There is a little hair on top, too.

Saturday, I decided to color my hair a deep auburn color. It colored my 1.5 inch gray roots a bright orangie copper. It didn’t change the hue of the rest of my hair at all. I did get the added bonus of an orange scalp. The $15.00 hairdresser said that because my roots were…sort of light (gray), I would have to color it twice to get the shade I was going for. I haven’t decided yet if I will do that or buy the cheaper stuff and go back to the “brown all over” look. I suppose my scalp will still be orange.

You have to wear a mask here when you get a haircut. My sides never turn out the same, but even though they’re different, I like them both so I won’t mess with them.

Does anyone know what time skunks come out at night? I’m in my cottage and there is a wooded area behind me. Twice now, I have been surprised by a skunk running on the other side of the fence. Everyone tells me that they are afraid of me, and will try to get away, but if I surprise them, and I’m too close, they will spray. I guess this is their season. Does anyone know how long a skunk’s season lasts? It’s almost eight o’clock and it’s going to be dark soon so I’m going to finish writing this in the big little house….

The next morning…

Good morning! I made yogurt last night in my Emeril Lagasse air fryer/pressure cooker instead of finishing my blog.

I don’t have much time this morning because we’re leaving later to take a very good friend to Tyler. She has a detached retina and for those of you familiar with them, you know it’s a very big deal. Say a prayer for Pat that the surgery and the ten days she has to stay pretty immobile, goes well.

Have a great morning. I hope tomorrow we’ll see if Brad along with Arf and Annie, are able to make any headway as they try to locate Clark’s grandpa….

***I decided to post this poem I wrote a couple of days ago.

Miracles shouldn’t be fleeting.

I got that miracle I needed

The joy I felt blew me away

Onto the next day I proceeded

Then all that gratitude went away

I stubbed my toe and it depressed me

It hurt more than I can say

That injured toe really stressed me

My gratitude turned into dismay

Then I got a lucky break

My toe healed in just one day

It had been a piece of cake

The joy I felt blew me away

Onto the next day I proceeded

Then all that gratitude went away

There was one thing more I needed

Or my happiness wouldn’t stay…

I couldn’t get my hair to curl

And it ruined my whole day

My mind was really in a whirl

I was in a state of disarray

Then a friend came to my rescue

She fixed my hair a different way

It was the very, very best do

The joy I felt blew me away

Onto the next day I proceeded

Then all my gratitude went away

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I should always be grateful

I’ve been blessed beyond belief

I have no reason to be hateful

I will spread love instead of grief

Murdo Girl…Looking for answers

If you asked John what day it was, he probably couldn’t tell you. His routine was the same one day as it was the next. He rose early and went to bed late. He ate three times a day, and drank a cup of coffee after each meal. After breakfast, he tended his garden, after lunch, he worked on his carvings or fished. After dinner, he played his guitar and sang the songs he had played and sang from the time he was a child until now. If the right words and tune came to him, he wrote them down and added the good ones to his repertoire.

He stayed busy, but he couldn’t fill his days enough to keep from being lonely.

John couldn’t understand what he had done in his life to deserve the indifference his son and his family had shown him. He thought he had a friend in Harvey, but apparently Harvey had not agreed. He had left in the middle of the night without so much as leaving a note.

It was time to get ready to go down the mountain to the small town below where, every two weeks, he shopped and did whatever else he needed to do.

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Arf and Annie had finally shown Steve where they put the keys to the old pickup that Harvey drove. They hadn’t been able to carry everything they had hauled down from the bedroom so they hid them under the front door mat.

Right before the Sheriff handcuffed Harvey to take him down to the police station, he gave the partially carved piece of wood to Clark.

“Give this to your grandpa,” he said. “Tell him I was making him a comfort cross.”

“Why did you stay, Mr. Samuels?” Clark asked. “After the kids were taken from you, why didn’t you just leave?”

“I didn’t know where to go. To be honest, my heart really wasn’t into getting a ransom for those precious kids. It’s just that being a criminal is the only thing I’ve ever known. Can you believe that? Once a criminal always a criminal I guess….come on Sheriff, I’m ready to go. I’m a tired old man and I need a bed…any bed, even if it’s in a jail cell.”

Arf: No one ever asked Mr. Harvey human why he came here to the house that Steve owned a long time ago. I seems kind of weird to me.

Annie: I guess it could be just a coincidence. He was kind of confused. Remember, he said he didn’t even know whose house this was? Here comes Steve. He’s probably ready to go. I can’t wait to get back to the ranch. I’m hungry.

Arf: Me too. Where is Clark?

Annie: He’s driving Harvey’s truck to the police station. The policeman is going to bring him back here to pick up the truck he drove from the ranch and Steve is going to take us home.

Arf: Why do always know everything?

Annie: Because I’m a good listener. It’s just who I am.

When they all got back home, the place was a hub of excitement. Arf and Annie got their food plus a really big good bone. After that, they went to Brad’s office to sit by the squirrel window. They weren’t alone for long. First Brad came in and then Clark.

“It’s been a big day for you, hasn’t it son?” Are you doing okay?”

“My head is spinning. All I can think about is trying to find my grandpa. Harvey is right. My daddy is the meanest man in the world. I have to wonder what made him that way.”

Brad was thinking about something Steve had mentioned when he was talking about Harvey at dinner.

“Do you know your dad’s brother and sister? I heard Steve say your dad told Harvey their names are Kathy and Jim. It sounded like your grandpa told Harvey your dad was very jealous of them. Who knows? Maybe that has something to do with it.”

“I’ve never heard of Kathy or Jim,” Clark said.

Brad got up and walked around to sit on the edge of his desk.

“I’ll start looking for your grandpa, tomorrow. You should go and try to get some sleep. You’re supposed to start school tomorrow. I know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but you really can’t put it off any longer.”

“Yes sir,” Clark said. “As long as I know you’ll be looking for my grandpa, I will go to that school and do the best that I can do.”

When Clark left to go up to his room, Annie went too and took her usual spot by his bed. It was good to be home.

“Arf,” Brad said. “Why don’t you go sneak into Katie’s room. She’s probably sleeping, but when she wakes up, I’m sure she will expect to see you there beside her bed.”

Arf: When I went into Katie’s room, both Dina and Steve were there. That’s one good thing about being a dog. You can just walk into places and no one stops talking because they don’t think you can understand what’s going on. My Katie was sound asleep so I just laid down in my usual spot and closed my eyes and listened.

“It was very strange being in that house,” Steve said. “It really hasn’t changed that much since we lived there.”

“I loved that house,” Dina said. “It was wonderful to see it again that day I stopped by and the man who lived there let me have a look around.”

“Dina, I have an idea that I hope you will think about. What if we tried to find the owners? The house is vacant so maybe they would consider selling it. It’s close to the ranch, which would make it easy for you to come and help Jamie’s mother continue to recover from her stroke and Katie could be near Arf and everyone else she loves here.”

“I don’t have to think about it,” Dina said. “I think that is a wonderful idea.”

Murdo Girl…Mr. Samuels


Clark waited for the old man to answer his question. Could it be possible that his grandpa was still alive?

“Your father lied to you.”

The old man looked at the young boy who had been needlessly hurt by his mentally abusive father.

“He was very much alive when I left him a month ago. I hate to think about how devastated he must have been when he realized I had run out on him. Here was a man who found me living in a tent in the woods and took me in. I had taken a careless risk and lost everything and he helped me get back on my feet.”

The Sheriff interrupted their conversation. He read the old man his rights and then placed him under arrest for kidnapping.

“Don’t go yet Sheriff,” Clark begged. “I have to know where my grandpa is. I have to find him. Steve please help me.”

“You’ve read him his rights Sheriff,” Steve said. “If Mr. Samuels is willing to talk with Clark, then what’s the harm?”

“I’ll give you five minutes,” the Sheriff said reluctantly.

Arf: When he was reading him his rights, the Sheriff found out the old man’s name is Harvey Samuels.

I could tell that Clark was really struggling with everything.  Annie was upstairs doing something. I decided to go get her because she’s closer to Clark than I am.

When I got upstairs, I could see that Annie was sniffing around for something.

Annie: I thought about something when Clark was reading the letter. Remember when the old man was still dressed like a grandma and we watched him while he was sitting in the rocker on the front porch? He was carving something out of a piece of wood. I just want to see what it was.

Arf: I began to look around, too. We had to hurry because we knew when the Sheriff took him in, he would probably take his possessions, too.

I remembered the bag he had brought with him from his pickup and I finally found it peeking out from under the bed. Dogs can’t open buckles or zippers by themselves, but Annie and I decided to give it a try. It took us a while, but we finally got it and we weren’t disappointed. The wood carving and the tools Harvey was using were in there.

Annie: Can you tell what it is? It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before.

Arf: Maybe he was just getting started. Should we take it downstairs and show it to him?

Annie: I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. We’ll get into trouble for dragging stuff out of his bag. You know how much I hate to be called a bad dog.

Arf: It doesn’t bother me. They always get over it. I’ll take it.

When Arf and Annie were going down the stairs, the policeman who came with the Sheriff was on his way up to get Harvey’s things. The Sheriff was standing next to Mr. Samuels, while Steve and Clark talked with him. He told them he had lived with his grandpa for six months and tried to explain where the cabin was.

Arf took the piece of wood and dropped it in front of Mr. Samuels who reached down to pick it up.

“I never finished this,” he said. “I was making it for your grandpa. He taught me how to work with wood. He probably wouldn’t want anything from me, anyway. He poured his heart out to me about his family and I was going to use the information for my own gain.”

“What was it going to be?” Clark asked.

“It’s called a comfort cross. You hold it in the palm of your hand.”

“Let’s go,” the Sheriff said. “Time’s up!”

The policeman came running down the stairs. “I can’t find the keys to his truck.”

Arf: You tell him where they are.

Annie: No you tell him.

 

Murdo Girl…True character is revealed

The old man’s expression didn’t change as he watched Steve hand Clark the envelope Arf and Annie had found hidden at the bottom of the toolbox.

“Did you read it, Steve?” Clark asked.

“Yes…I did.”

Clark looked at the man sitting across from him and wondered why he sat there, void of expression. Was this man his grandpa? If he was, he had changed. His grandpa would have never kidnapped two little kids, but on the other hand, he would have banished himself to the hills if he thought it would have meant his grandson would no longer be punished for loving his grandpa.

If this man wasn’t his grandpa, then who was he? Clark opened the envelope and pulled out a folded sheet of paper and began to read. When he finished he placed the paper back into the envelope and handed it back to Steve.

“We better call the Sheriff,” Clark said. He looked at the old man who sat there still saying nothing.

“I’ll drive down to the neighbor’s and call the Sheriff’s office,” Steve said. “Arf and Annie will stay here with you. I’ll only be gone a few minutes.”

“You’re an imposter,” Clark said to the old man. “You took Katie and Jake because you intended to extort money. That was a ransom letter.”

The old man just looked at Clark.

“I have a question to ask you. How do you know so much about my family?”

With the help of a cane, the old man rose to his feet. Arf also stood. He was prepared for whatever he might need to do.

“I would like to change out of this bathrobe,” the old man said. “I’ll explain everything when the police get here.”

Steve had just come back…

“Arf, you and Annie go upstairs with this man and let him get dressed.” Steve hoped the Sheriff would be there soon. “Are you okay Clark?” He asked…

“I don’t know. I guess in a way, I was hoping he was my grandpa.”

By the time the Sheriff and a police officer got there, the man had dressed and Arf had led him back downstairs.

“Is it okay if we stay while you question him?” Clark asked.

“I’m sorry, son, but we’ll be taking him down to the station.”

“If you don’t mind, I would like to say a few words to this young man before we leave,” the old man said.

The Sheriff nodded.

“Your grandfather helped me when I had nowhere to go. I lived in the cabin with him for six months. That’s when I learned all about him and you. He told me all about your family situation. I betrayed a good man and I deeply regret it.”

Clark was in tears, but there was something else he had to know.

“Please tell me, sir. Is my grandpa still alive? Did my daddy tell me the truth or did he lie to me?”

(I’ve been a little under the weather for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to let too much time go by without at least adding a short one to further the story.)

Murdo Girl…Yes or no?

Clark wasn’t sure the old man was his grandpa. He really wanted him to be but he looked a lot older and thinner than the last time he saw him, and it had only been six years. It seemed so much longer.

His grandpa had been his lifeline and he left without saying a word. According to his dad, he went to live up in the hills in a cabin. His grandpa wanted to spend his last years hunting and fishing. Two months later, his dad came home and said he had been up to the cabin to check on the old man and found him deceased. His dad told him he looked like he was sleeping peacefully, but he had gone to the other side.

“Aren’t you going to say anything, Butch?” The old man asked.

“I got nothin to say. I don’t even know if I want to hear what you have to say. Except I’d like to know why you took those poor little kids from their beds in the middle of the night?”

The old man put his head in his hands and Clark could see his shoulders shaking. He and Steve remained silent until he composed himself. Soon he started to talk again.

“Your dad is the meanest man I have ever known. I tried to get you away from him. He didn’t treat anyone in the family like he should have, but he cut you down every chance he got and when you started to grow a little again, he cut you down even closer to the ground. I told him if he hated you so much why didn’t he let you come and live with me. Do you know what he said?”

If Clark knew any of this, he didn’t remember it. He wondered if it was even true.

“He said if he let his old man raise his kid, he would be the laughing stock of the whole town. People would think he had lost control of his family.”

“I couldn’t take watching him do that to you, so I got rid of my house in town and moved into a little cabin in the hills. He told me if I ever came around you again, he would treat you even worse than he had been. He said I was what was causing all the trouble between the two of you.”

Arf: When I went upstairs, I found the picture that I wanted to show Clark, but I was also looking for something else. I wanted to look inside the toolbox. I knew the old man had brought it upstairs, but I couldn’t find it. Pretty soon I heard Annie dragging the coveralls she had buried in the yard up the stairs.

Annie: What are you doing, Arf? You shouldn’t be snooping around in other people’s stuff.

Arf: Oh come on Annie. That’s what dogs do. They snoop around. That old man is downstairs telling Clark a long winded story and I can tell Clark doesn’t remember anything about it. All he knows is that he was really close to his grandpa and he was told he had died. Help me look around. Maybe we can find something…like a clue.

Arf finally found the toolbox clear in the back of the closet. Luckily, it wasn’t locked. Between the two of them he and Annie got it open. They saw all kinds of tools on top, but nothing that you could call a clue. When they pulled on the handle with their teeth, and got the top part out, there was another compartment under it.

Arf: Look…there’s an envelope. Let’s see what’s in it.

Annie: It looks like a letter. We can do a lot of things most dogs can’t but we can’t read.

Arf: You’re right. We’ll just have to give it to Steve. We’ll give the picture to Steve, too and he can decide what to do with it.

Annie: I didn’t dig up the keys I buried. We better go out and uncover them and give them to Steve, too.

They both sneaked down the stairs… Annie with the letter and Arf with the picture. They dug up the keys and put them under the doormat. They would have to get them later. The old man had his back to them so they were able to get the photo and letter to Steve without anyone seeing them.

He briefly looked at them and then got up and went to the kitchen. He came back a short time later. Clark was still talking to the old man.

“Let’s skip to the part where you took our kids,” Steve said.

“Very well,” the old man answered. “You see Butch, I lived alone in that cabin for six long years. I got in touch with your brother and he told me where you were. I came here to get you. I thought you would want to come and live with me, until I saw where you were living. I watched everyone in that mansion for two nights and then I found the disguise and came and got the kids. I told them I was their grandma. I was going to bring them back. I just wanted some company for a while. We were going on a picnic and then it all fell apart. They wanted to go home.”

He looked at his surroundings like it was the first time he had noticed where he was. “I don’t even know who this house belongs to.”

“It must have been really hard for you to live alone like that. How long ago did you lose your wife?” Steve asked.

“I don’t recall the exact year. Do you know when your grandma died, Butch?”

“Two years before you left. I wish I had known why you left. My life might have been different. It was bad enough that my own daddy hated me, but it hurt to know you didn’t think much of me, either. Daddy did have a moment of kindness. He brought your guitar home for me. I learned how to play it, even though he took it away from me everytime he got mad which was often.”

“I blame myself for his bad behavior. His sister, Kathy was always closer to your grandma and Jim was closer to me. That left him with no one.”

“you mean Granny.”

“What?”

“We never called her grandma. She was Granny to all of us.”

Steve thought this would be a good time to give Clark the letter and picture.

“You might want to read this letter that Arf and Annie found before this goes any further.”

(What do you think? Is this man really Clark’s grandpa or someone pretending to be.?)

We know the answer

Murdo Girl…The truth hurts

The house was dark inside, so at first Clark and Steve didn’t see the man on the stairs. He had been halfway down when he heard the back door open, so he stayed where he was and stood holding his back tightly against the wall.

Clark and Steve didn’t see or hear anything, but Arf and Annie did. Arf ran past the man on the stairs and stopped at the top while Annie stayed at the bottom. This human wasn’t going anywhere.

The lights weren’t on, so the old man couldn’t see that Arf and Annie had him trapped on the stairs. He only knew he was not alone in the house.

“What’s happening?” Steve whispered. “We need to find a light switch.”

“Who’s here?” The frightened old man asked. “Please don’t hurt me. I mean no harm.”

Clark couldn’t move. He just stood there, frozen to his spot.

Arf and Annie stayed at their respective posts, growling when the old man tried to move up or down the stairs.

Steve felt around the door for a light switch. He was hoping there was electricity to the house. “That’s right Arf and Annie, keep her right where she is.”

Finally, Steve found a switch and when he flipped the first one, the light above him came on. The stairs were to his right and he was able to see well enough to tell there was a frightened old man wearing a bathrobe standing against the wall about halfway up.

Clark still couldn’t move.

“Clark, Are you okay?” Steve asked. When Clark didn’t answer, he turned back to the old man. “Who are you and where is the woman who took Katie and Jake?

“Why do you call him Clark?” The old man answered in a shaky voice. He’s named after me. His name is Butch.”

Clark walked a few steps toward the man on the stairs. “Who are you?” He asked again.

“I’m your grandpa, son.”

 

“You can’t be.” Clark said. “My grandpa died when I was ten.”

“This is crazy,” Steve said. “I thought we were looking for an old woman who called herself grandma.”

“We’re one and the same,” the old man answered. “I’m the one who took your kids. I can never remember their names.”

“Butch I’m not dead and I never was…except to your dad who happens to be my son. May I come down the stairs. I’m an old man and I need to sit down.”

Steve hesitated. He looked at the pathetic little man in his bathrobe.

“Annie, please go dig up the man’s pants and bring them in. Shake them out first. Let’s find a place to sit down,” Steve said as he lead the way to the living room. “I have a lot of questions for you sir, but first you might tell your grandson how you died and then came back to life.”

Arf went up the stairs. He wanted to get the picture and show Clark…and look for something else…

 

Murdo Girl…Clearing the fog

While preparing to write today’s Arf and Annie story, I realized I had written that Annie had gone back to the ranch and Arf had stayed at the house with the old woman. It was Arf who went back and Annie who stayed. She discovered the old woman was on fact, really a man.

Arf had been exhausted by the time he got back to the ranch. When Grandma Helen called for Steve and Brad, the two dads, they had decided Steve would follow Arf and hope that he took him to find Annie and possibly, the two dogs would know where the woman was.

Annie was doing a great job of detaining the man who had been disguised as a woman. She had dragged his overalls, with the truck keys in the pocket, down the stairs and buried them in the yard.

When Clark went to get Arf with the intention of going back to the house where he had seen his mother’s jam, Grandma Helen told him Steve and Arf had already gone.

“I’m going, too,” Clark told Grandma Helen. “When you see Brad, tell him I took the truck and went back over to the house. I think that’s where Arf and Steve were going.”

Annie: I saw Steve and Arf drive up and ran out to stop them so they wouldn’t wake the man up. (They didn’t know that I had discovered the person was really a man disguised as a woman.)

“There’s Annie,” Steve said. “It looks like she wants us to stop right here.”

When Arf and Steve got out of the truck , Annie showed them where the man had hidden his pickup and where she had buried his overalls and keys.

“I’m really confused,” Steve said. “What do these coveralls have to do with anything? Look, Arf and Annie! Here comes Clark. Run out and see if you can stop him. Someone is obviously inside that house and we don’t want to disturb them, yet.”

Steve, Clark and the two dogs, quietly entered the house through the back door. What they saw next, was confusing to Arf and Steve… and a big shock to Clark.