Murdo Girl…What a workout

I wish I was a dancing dragon. Don’t you think it looks like fun?

This one has some really cool moves, though I’m sure he weighs a ton.

I wish I was a Yoga Bear. I would do the mountain pose. Did yoga moves make this bear stronger? Will he really scare his foes?

I wish I was a hopping rabbit. I would hop a country mile.

This one looks like a Beasterhop. When he hops by people smile.

Instead I’m just a lazy lion. Though I’m not in shape, I’m cute. I just lounge around all day in my lazy lion suit.

Murdo Girl…To be or not to be scared

I remember having a terrible nose bleed one night when I was about seven or eight. It was a bad one that just wouldn’t stop. Mom called all of her friends who each had a different remedy. One said to pinch my nose. That didn’t do anything but make me feel like I was choking to death, which made me even more distressed.

After trying several methods, something finally appeared to be working. Mom put a couple of pillows under my head to raise it up and put an ice bag on the back of my neck. By this time I was pretty much freaking out. I hated the sight of blood; especially my own. There was a need to keep my mind off of myself as we waited for the bleeding to slow down and eventually stop for good.

I was older than this…I don’t have many Dad and me pictures…

We told lots of stories in our family, but we didn’t have a lot of books around. Dad finally found Gulliver’s Travels and began to read it to me.

This is a picture of Gulliver similar to the one Dad showed me when he was reading the book.

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In book one, which is the one we had, when the ship Gulliver is traveling on is destroyed in a storm, Gulliver ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he awakes to find that he has been captured by Lilliputians, very small people — approximately six inches in height. Gulliver is treated with compassion and concern. In turn, he helps them solve some of their problems, especially their conflict with their enemy, Blefuscu, an island across the bay from them. Gulliver falls from favor, however, because he refuses to support the Emperor’s desire to enslave the Blefuscudians and because he “makes water” to put out a palace fire. Gulliver flees to Blefuscu, where he converts a large warship and sets sail from Blefuscu… eventually to be rescued at sea by an English merchant ship and returned to his home in England.

That night was the only time I read or had Gulliver’s Travels read to me. I remember wondering who was the most afraid. The big guy tied up by all the little people or the little people wondering if the big guy was going to get loose and hurt them.

I know Dad wasn’t purposefully trying to scare me, but the other story he often referred to was the “real” Jack in the Beanstalk story, which was an old English fable first published in 1711.


Dad would go around the house and in his deepest voice say the words to the song from Jack the Giant Killer.

I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he alive or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

Violence was so much more acceptable when I was a kid. Even most of the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes are violent. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and couldn’t be put back together. Old Mother Hubbard never did find her poor dog a bone. Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey and along came a spider and sat down beside her and scared Miss Muffet away. Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

My Mother Goose book was tattered and torn.

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I guess the difference is we weren’t told we should be traumatized back then…


Murdo Girl…And the winners are…

I’m really worried about Joe Namath. He just recently found out that he wasn’t using all of his Medicare benefits. Someone told him to call the Medicare hotline, so he did. Lo and behold, he had no idea that Medicare would actually send someone to drive him to his medical appointments and he could also get help around the house. When I see Joe on television talking about this, I can tell he’s greatly relieved.

I’ve also seen Tom Selleck on television selling reverse equity mortgages. I’m sure he has one. He must be so relieved he doesn’t have to pay the money back until he moves out of his house…or dies. I wonder what he did with all the cash he pulled out. I believe he said he payed off bills. Cops don’t make that much money you know, and he has a big family.

I can sort of understand Matthew McConaughey doing an ad for Lincoln Aviator. He gets to use his mesmerizing voice and look cool. I really like the one where he’s staring down the bull. He probably gets paid a lot for that one.

Well, Kip and I have both been feeling sickly today. I’m feeling a little better, which is good since I have my big drawing tonight. I hope I can stay up until 8:00 o’clock. I think I’ll wait and publish this blog after I draw the names. So far, I’ll be giving away five books.


Barbara Spahlinger

Jean Penticoff

Nancy Authier

Jean Robinson

Kerri Venard

Please send me an email ( Let me know which book you want and where to send it!

I hope you enjoy your pick. Thank you all for participating.

Author page link below:

Murdo Girl…Other directions

I’m having a drawing!

For every five people who comment on the blog or Facebook, send me an email, text, call, or come over between now and 8:00 o’clock tomorrow evening (11/5/19), I will have a drawing for a free book of your choice. (It must be one I’ve written…one entry per person please. Just your name is fine.) Click on the link below to read a short synopsis of each book.

Another phase of my life, or After the restaurant.


I’ll never forget the day I met her. I had no idea what I was getting into and neither did she. We didn’t talk much that first day or the next. I think she was surprised each time I showed up. I was a little surprised myself. I was not what she was used to, and she was not what I had expected. With all this going for us, we forged ahead. We thought it would never last, but it did. She was one of the most interesting and entertaining people I had ever met.

We grew to understand each other, and with understanding came respect. She was 84 and had lived her life, but it wasn’t over yet. I was 59, which is an awkward age. All the major decisions had been made and I had enjoyed the rewards of some decisions and endured the consequences of others. Life is long and life is short.

We spent our mornings together going through our routine. I fixed her breakfast, which was usually spicy sausage patties, eggs and toast with marmalade. Sometimes I could get her to take a bath before she ate, sometimes after, and sometimes not at all. She loved to give me a hard time and had some pretty compelling arguments like, “Is it cheaper to take a bath or just wash up? I have to watch my water bill you know.”


We made deals like, “If you don’t take a bath today, you have to let me wash your hair tomorrow…deal?” She would have to think about that one, because she never broke a promise. If she made a deal, she followed through.

She spent much of her time fussing over her old dog Rascal and a stray cat she grew attached to. On nice mornings, she would wheel herself out onto the front porch and I would get the folding chair and sit beside her. We watched the hummingbirds drink the nectar from the feeder that hung from the big tree out front. Sometimes she fell asleep in her wheelchair, but other times she told me about her life.


She married young and had 4 children, each 2 years apart. Her husband died of cancer when the youngest child was only a few weeks old. She told me she was surprised when she had the first child because her Mother told her the doctor brought the babies. I can only imagine how tough the next years were for her. She outlived 3 husbands and survived hard times, but there were good times too.

She loved to listen to country music on the radio. Her folks had barn dances when she was growing up and her daddy played the guitar. The music took her back to those days. I love the same kind of music. We would close our eyes and listen as we thought about the memories the songs brought back.

We spent time cleaning and doing laundry. She needed help with things I took for granted. Some things fail us as our bodies age and it’s hard to accept the help we need. I understood, or at least tried to. I could only say, “That’s what I’m here for.”

She loved my chocolate chip cookies. Her favorite cake was strawberry. Her favorite lunch was a Spam sandwich with cheese and mayo. She loved the hot Spam with jalapenos. She taught me how to mix up cornbread without a recipe. You can tell when you have enough milk, eggs, and cornmeal by the batter. You must never stir it too much. We made fried cornmeal mush like my Grandpa Sanderson made, and ate it with butter and syrup.

She had false teeth and glasses, but never wore either. She could hear a pin drop..if she wanted to. She could be feisty and cantankerous, but she was always contrite afterwards. She had a soft heart, but she could get angry. Then.. as she would say, “Look out!”

Her youngest daughter and her family lived across the street. Her daughter was her momma’s angel. She took the responsibility of meeting all her mother’s  needs. She made doctor’s appointments, and took her to them; patiently helping her transfer from the wheelchair to the car. She prepared her suppers, which the family usually ate together. She bought her clothes and groceries, and most importantly… paid attention to her. As mom’s and daughters do, they fussed at each other sometimes. “Don’t drag your left foot Mamma,” I’d hear her daughter say. “You’re going through too much cat food and it’s going to waste.” She was right. Cans of tuna fish were disappearing along with all the cat food. Rascal must have had an iron stomach with all the spicy spam he ate.


I went to see her a few times when, very suddenly, she had to go to the nursing home. It didn’t feel right. Maybe because those four years we spent mornings together ended so abruptly. I don’t remember what we did that last day before she got so sick. She went to the hospital first, then to the nursing home. I went to see her right after she got there. She hadn’t been awake yet. She had been there for rehab several years before, after suffering from the stroke that left her partially paralyzed on her left side.

I was standing by her bed when two young aids came into the room. They asked me if I knew anything about her. They were told by nurses who had been there when she was in rehab, that she might swear at them and try to kick them. That made me smile. “She might,” I said. “I hope she does.”





Murdo Girl…The entrepeneour

I don’t think I’ve ever told you about the time I owned an Italian restaurant. It was in the West End, which was a popular tourist spot near downtown Dallas. I still have nightmares about it. The name of the place was Spiatza which isn’t even a word in Italian or English, or for that matter, any other language.

We bought Spiatza in March and things went along pretty smoothly for a while. It really was a cute little place that was part of an old converted warehouse. We were open for lunch and dinner and were closed by 9:00 o’clock. It didn’t really matter that I knew nothing about restaurants, ordering, or keeping the books. I couldn’t cook anything on the menu and I didn’t even like Italian food.


My son had worked for the previous owner, so he shouldered part of the responsibility and a few months later, my daughter came from California to help out, too. We employed around fifteen young people in their early twenties.

We had two older deliverymen whose names were Bill and Wayne. Wayne was known as Dubois, pronounced (Dubwa). He drove a car from “Rent a Wreck.” When it broke down, he just went and rented another wreck . Deliveries were good because a lot of the buildings downtown were being converted into condos and apartments for the young people who were called yuppies back then.


I have a lot of pictures of the dining area, but they’re packed out in the garage somewhere.

I eventually learned how to do the books. I kept seeing an invoice marked Kroger run. I made the comment that I had never written a check to Kroger. The employees told me they went to Albertsons now when we ran out of something we needed in a hurry, but they were used to calling it the Kroger run and the name stuck.

kroger run

I had imagined myself dressing up every evening and greeting each of the diners. “How is everything?” I would ask. “Have you tried our new dish?”

There are so many stories I could tell. Dubois could make chicken and dumplings out of pizza dough. It tasted like heaven to all of us who’d had our fill of pizza and chicken Alfredo. We also traded food with Dick’s Last Resort and Joe’s Crab Shack. Our main chef, who was the only one who knew the recipe for our wonderful pizza dough, left one day and never came back. We worked for days until we got a combination of ingredients for a recipe we thought would work. The only thing we knew for sure was that it had honey in it.

The September after we bought Spiatza, 911 occurred. There would be no more tourists in the West End of Dallas for months if not years. People didn’t fly unless they had to, and very few took vacations. There was a Joe’s Crab Shack next to us and the Market Place was across the little brick courtyard. It had several tourist type things. The Fudgery, an arcade, and several unique little shops were there. The main attraction was Planet Hollywood. It closed almost immediately.

Instead of dressing up, I never got out of my jeans. I cleaned before we opened and when we closed. We stayed open late so all of the servers at the other places could come and hang out at our place and spend all of the tips they had earned.

This was not my kind of thing. (Although, I did have fun participating in the Taste of Dallas a couple of times.) My brother Billy knew it was killing me. He looked for and finally found a broker that was willing to try and sell it. It was a miracle we got out of it without going bankrupt. It was also a good thing that Kip kept his day job. He was already commuting 80 miles one way every day.

Oh well, what’s that they say? Oh, yeah… God takes care of fools and children.

Murdo Girl…Grandpa Sanderson…A week in his life

You’ve got to read this…I call it a week in the life of M.E. Sanderson. He was 78 years old when he wrote this letter to his daughter, Helen and her family. Believe it or not I had to condense it…a lot! 

November 20, 1964 

Dear Helen, Bob, Boys, and Girls, 

It really turned cold here last night, so will take time out to fill you folks in on some of my activities since I last wrote you. Grandma may have told you some of what I’ve been up to but I will start with my Elk hunt in Custer State Park. There are over 17,000 acres of really rough timber, rocks, and canyons out there and I hunted with 20 other men and one woman from all over the state. It was a drawing for 80 permits, and there were 366 applications so I was lucky. I took the camper and drove to the cabin on Sept. 14th and drove to the park on the 15th where we were filled in on how the hunt was supposed to go. I bunked with a nice young man from Mission Hill. 

We hunted 2 days before I saw an Elk, but the group got four the first day. About 8:00 a.m. on the 18th I got a fine big bull. We weren’t allowed to shoot cows. I left him in a locker/cooler overnight, and then went to the cabin where I had left the camper as the Methodist Minister and I had permits to hunt antelope at Buffalo on the 26th of September. He met me at the cabin and Friday morning we drove to Buffalo where Dallas Brost and his wife Judy (Iverson) live. We set up the camper in their back yard. Judy insisted we have supper with them. 

Dallas set us up for a fine hunt about twenty miles away, but after supper it started to rain and a real SD wind came up. When we went out to bed down in the camper it was leaking and it was sure jumping around in that wind. We crawled in bed with some small canvases over us and tried to stay there for fear the camper would blow away. We stayed until 4 a.m. and it got so bad, we decided to get out before it blew us out of the country.  

When things calmed down, we got the camper down and headed for Murdo. The next day after church, I took off for the park where I had the permit for an antelope. The next morning, we took off with the guide at 8:00 a.m. got my antelope and was back to the camp headquarters by noon. 

I met brother, Sandy from Mount Vernon, Iowa at the cabin on October 5th. We went back to Wyoming and camped out at a big ranch 4 miles from anywhere. Sandy is a good cook, so we lived high. It froze the water solid in the wash basin one night, but we had good sleeping bags and lots of clothes.

On the 3rd day, I climbed a hill, shot a buck, dressed him out, drug him down the hill, put some short logs under his hind quarters, and put him in some evergreens for shade.  

I started to walk the mile down the road to where I thought the jeep was parked, but had never been there before so I got lost and had to climb that mountain again in the dark and take my track back the way I came. I saw two fence posts that I remembered and I sure was glad. Sandy shot his gun off and I did too and we found each other. We had a hard time finding that buck the next day.

Slim and I took the boat out Tuesday and fished at Big Bend and came back with 9 fish. 

We had Elk, Venison, Antelope, Duck, Pheasant, Grouse and fish in the freezer. Two weeks later, we went to Chamberlain where I had a permit and was lucky enough to get two Canadian Geese, so I have one in the freezer, now. I’m staying in today for the first time in a long time as it’s still below zero. Mother and I went to Prairie Creek a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn of Junior Cresseys’ cabin where he has a picnic table. The road the road is much better now.

The young doctor in Kadoka has done wonders for Mother. I hurt my back and went right to Midland the next morning where I took a good soak in the hot mineral water and have been feeling fine ever since. 

Slim and I trapped a lot of minnows the last few days and have them in a small tank, so we are ready to fish when the weather is fine. 

Mother has dinner ready so will close for now. 




Murdo Girl…The class of 1963

I spent a lot of time today looking through old yearbooks. It brought back all those good old days when we had better outlooks. I don’t mean to imply we had no cross to bear, but when we looked around; there wasn’t such despair.

I finally took a longer look at 1963. There I saw some pictures that really tickled me. My brother got his diploma in 1962. I graduated eight years later, but I knew who was who.

I laughed hard and loud when I saw the pic below. Whose Idea was it to wear those; do you know? The faded P.E. outfits that lasted a hundred years. You all look, um… cute. But do I see some tears?


Mrs. Kurht coached basketball. I heard she was really tough. I heard she wrote the school song, and she really knew her stuff.

She MC’d the first “All School Reunions.” She worked hard and was well respected, but she made you wear those P.E. suits, no matter how much you objected.

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I came across this photograph and two cousins stared back at me. This proves that Murdo really was the home of Valerie. Cousin Andrea is in this picture, too. I can name the other kids… without a single clue.


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We the students of Murdo High, feel that character is built through the three C’s of education: Confidence, Co-operation, and Competition. (It doesn’t rhyme, but it was in the annual and I like it.)


A Graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells all the students dressed in identical caps and gowns that Individuality is the key to success.


Murdo Girl…The olden days

Well, I can’t sleep and I can’t snack because I have to fast for blood work tomorrow. I guess I’ll write a blog.

Billy took Gus to have a colonoscopy and an endoscopy today. Everything turned out fine and they went to In and Out Burger for lunch afterwards. That brings you up to date on any family health issues.

I will say I’m a little concerned about Billy. He woke up yesterday morning and his first thought was he had forgotten about taking Gus for his colonoscopy. He called him in a panic and Gus told him it was today.

This morning Billy woke up at four and called Gus to tell him he thought he’d better head that way because the fires were getting close to San Bernardino, which is where the hospital is and about an hour away from where Gus lives.

Gus said, “No Bill, the hospital is just a little ways from here. I’m not going to the one in San Bernardino.”

The nurse told Billy to stay with Gus for a couple of hours when he got him home because he would be kind of woozie. While they waited they called me and told me all of this…plus Billy said the nurse told him it was only going to take about 20 minutes so he settled in to wait. And then she said the whole process would be 3 or 4 hours so he left to go have breakfast. Billy and I are alike…waiting is not our thing.

I decided we had better tell stories from the olden days while we were visiting and waiting for Gus to get unwoozie. Old people do much better talking about old times. We remember things better. At least we think we do.

I said, “Billy, who was that little kid who lived in Murdo and had all those enterprising ways of making money? He wasn’t very old, but he had a really deep voice and he always wore striped overalls.”

Billy remembered right away. “Are you talking about Georgie Skinner?” He’s the one who was selling newspapers outside of Cafe 16 for 5 cents. A tourist he approached said, “I just paid a boy down the street 10 cents for a newspaper. How do you make any money?”

Georgie said. “I’m selling yesterday’s newspapers.”

One day Ben Dykstra heard a knock at the door and it was Georgie. He asked if Ben had any work for him to do. Ben asked him how much he charged.

Georgie said he charged 25 cents for a small job and 50 cents for a big job. Ben thought of something Georgie could do.

About 10 minutes later, Georgie knocked on the door. “That’ll be 50 cents,” he said. “That was a big job!”

I don’t know whatever happened to Georgie, but he’s probably a millionaire.

Can anyone of you Murdoites pick out Georgie from the picture I found in one of the annuals Tammy sent me?

I remember all of the kids who had paper routes. Now that was a hard job. They had to roll all of those newspapers every day and throw them up on everyone’s front porch before school. I helped my cousin a few times on the weekends. Sunday was the worst. You had to put all of those inserts inside and those papers were heavy.

Well, it’s now 5 am. I did get about 4 hours sleep, so I’m good to go.

Have a great day. (What day is this anyway?)

Murdo Girl…Pretty spooky

Kip and I wore our long winter underwear in a Halloween parade and contest in Hendersonville, N.C. last year. There… I’ve said it!

We didn’t win, but nevertheless, they posted our picture in the article below. The parade will be delayed this year due to pending threatening weather. I think they just want us to think it’s on a different day so we don’t come.

Whoops…wrong picture

Below, the article is my video demonstrating a great costume. Believe me…wherever you go on Halloween, no one will be duplicating your costume. It’s very unique.

Another good costume is to take two large boxes (you must have two people) and cut a round circle in both boxes. In one box put clothes inside to make it look like a clothes dryer. (Make sure you can see around the clothes. You can draw knobs and other stuff on it to make it look more authentic.

On the other box, take a large sheet of white cardboard and draw suds and tape it inside the cutout circle. That’s the washing machine. Again, make sure that you can see.  Cute idea, huh? FYI the box doesn’t have to cover your whole body.




Murdo Girl…Let’s get started

I guess it’s time. I should start bloggin, so let me reach inside my noggin. I’ll try to find my brain and then, hope that I can write again.



It’s been a while, so I’ll get started. I’ll look for things that I’ve discarded. If I don’t find ideas there, I’ll pull something out of thin air.


Let’s see…What have I done this week? Let’s go inside and take a peek…

I loaded the dishwasher once or twice. When you cook you pay the price. It’s not my favorite thing to do. I like fast food and Kip does, too.

I wash our clothes, but ironing I skip. Wrinkled is in, (so I tell Kip.) Polyester was my favorite. I tried my very best to save it.


Today I pushed the grocery cart, and shopped for food at Wallymart. A bold faced lie I must confess. Kip did it all so I could rest.

Has your week been that much better? Can’t wait to get your  Christmas letter?

I went to yoga class this week. Linda said I’ll soon be sleek. My bones will no longer creek. I’ll go straight from antique to chic.

Tomorrow I’ll be so excited. I’ll be totally delighted. I’ll drag out all my orange and black, my red gown, foil crown, and queen hat.

I’ll prepare for Halloween. Should I be Yram or a Queen?