Murdo Girl…Concrete boots

W paced the floor of the gingerbread house that had recently become the hangout for W Spade ET AL. (The new detective agency in town.) Occasionally his right foot dragged across the floor a little. He didn’t seem to notice.


Friday: Hey W what’s with your right foot? It drags like Chester’s did on Gunsmoke.”

W: It’s these gummed-up shoes. Detectives do a lot of walking which makes it pretty likely that said detective would pick up some gum.

W continues:

To use detective terms,, I’m really puzzled about MG and Lav. It’s not like them to disappear without asking for smackaroos. They hate folding the motel towels, but they sure do love folding money. I hope they’re not getting mixed up in the Yikes case. Hey Friday, it’s Tuesday. Isn’t the Tracer starting today? I need him to do some tracing.

Friday: He said he’d be right over after he picks up his last paycheck at the warehouse. Uh there’s something you should know about Tracer before he gets here. (Friday looks like she swallowed a canary, whatever that means.)

Friday continues.:

He’s highly and I mean highly allergic to stale cigars. You won’t be able to chew on them when he’s around.

W didn’t have time to react to the life changing news because the phone started ringing. He tried to take a step forward, but only the top part of his body moved. His gumshoes were firmly attached to the floor. Friday quickly handed W the phone just as he fell into the desk chair which unfortunately began to spin. The phone cord wrapped around his neck and caused his voice to sound like he’d been sucking out of a balloon filled with helium.


The person on the other end was obviously in a hurry. “I’m the guy who tripped over the dead guy recently. I’ve been a little surprised that a big detective guy like you hasn’t been kinda curious to know who the perp is. Hey…you sound like you’re from Draper.

W: Are you from Presho? You sure do sound like it. I was about to start snooping around but my ET AL is missing.

Guy from Presho: Say your ET AL wouldn’t happen to be two goofy girls walking around in cement boots would they? If so, I saw them blindfolded and being pushed around by my brother. They were at the North Dam.

W: Mind if I ask you a question? W takes a notepad out of his pocket and a pen from behind his ear. Was the dead guy also from Presho?

Guy from Presho and possible perp…I don’t know. I never heard him talk.

W: Well it never hurts to ask, he says as he puts his pen and pad away.

The AL part of ET AL before she got her surprise

W Spade ET AL was on a real tough case. There were Presho guys all over the place. Who was good and who was bad? I heard the dead guy was a real fine lad?

MG and Lav were held captive by the brother. It didn’t appear the brothers liked each other. What’s their deal ET AL wanted to know. He was headed for the water with them in tow.

Berf hid in the shadows and calmly waited. He could see that ET AL were ill-fated. If they were thrown in the water with their concrete boots. Berf would pull them out by their graying roots.

Back at the house W nursed his neck and hoped his client would give him a check.

All of of a sudden out of the blue. He heard a cough and a loud “ACHEW! Then the guy stumbled and said, “YiiiiKES!

W: You must be Tracer


Will someone find the dead guy soon if you know what I mean?

Will Tracer be able to trace phone calls since W sort of messed up the phone cord?”

Why are the Cross Brothers so mad at W ET AL?

You will find the answers to these and other questions in the next episode.

Murdo Girl…W. Spade Et Al

Having taken to the idea of being a private eye, William now referred to himself as W. Spade. He has also recruited his daughter, MG and his niece, Lav, to be his Sherlocks. They do all the legwork…and the paperwork. The three of them still squeeze into the El Camino, but Berferd has to ride in the back. The life of a gumshoe, is not an easy one.

El Camino for Et Al to ride in.

After solving the now famous Click case, W. Spade Et Al has become a household name. Everyone in town wants their mysteries and crimes solved by W, his daughter, MG, and his niece, Lav. Luckily, once she completed the fundraising for the new swimming pool, Friday Click decided to stay on as the call screener.

Since the basement office had been buried, it was necessary for the business to find a new place of business. Luckily, there was another dirty business place for rent. It looked like a gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House / home of W. Et Al
“Oh boy…another showplace…NOT!” Says Berferd

Let’s get right to it…

It’s Monday and Friday is sitting at her desk when the phone rings. It only takes two or three rings now for her to recognize the sound. She usually manages to answer it by the fourth ring, or if her nails aren’t dry, she lets it go to voicemail.

VM: You have reached the offices of W. Spade Et Al. Your call is very important to us (you can hear the distinct sound of someone blowing on their nails.) If someone is holding a gun to your head, hang up and call me back. I’ll answer it this time. If you’re holding a gun to someone else’s head, you have the wrong number. Please hang up and call the cops. Get it? Got it? Good!

Ring, RIng, Ring, Ring

Friday: Hello…you have reached the offices of W Spade Et Al. What can I do ya for?

Caller: I think I just stumbled over a dead body.

Friday: Wow…really? Male or Female? Did you know the body was dead before or after you stumbled? A good way to check to see if they’re really dead is to hold a mirror up to their nose. If it fogs over, they’re still alive. Hold on…W wants to talk to you.

W: This is only Friday’s second Monday. She’s still got a lot to learn about detective phone etiquette. So who’s the poor stiff?

Caller: YiiiiKES! Click

W: I think said caller just hung up on said me. Did you put a tracer on the call, Friday?

Friday: Say what? Oh yeah…remember? Tracer won’t be here until tomorrow. He had to give two weeks notice at the warehouse. It sounds like W. Et Al has a real murder case this time. Sounds like the dead guy is as dead as your cigar.

W: The vic can’t have been dead that long. I think I’ll go drag Main and see if there’s someone running around town yelling, “YiiiKES!” You get ahold of MG and LAV. Tell them to meet me at Mack’s Cafe and I’ll buy them a cinnamon roll.

What W doesn’t know is that MG and Lav are being held captive by a guy from Presho, a town about thirty miles east. They aren’t in Presho, but that’s where the captivator is from. His name is Chris Cross.

Lav: MG do you have any idea where we are? It’s really dark in here.

MG: No, but I think it might be close to the North Dam. There’s a golf course nearby and I heard someone yell. “Fore.”

Lav: Who do you think captivated us and why?

MG: I don’t know, but he sounds like he has a Presho accent. I’ve come up with two clues and you haven’t come up with anything concrete, Lav.

Lav..The Al in Et Al

Lav: Why are you always so Cross, MG. Besides, I have too come up with something concrete. Did you know we’re standing in wet concrete right now?

Both: “YiiiiKes!”

W Spade Et Al got themselves in a jam. This case takes place at the Murdo North Dam. MG and Lav are in a fix. Instead of gum on their shoes, they’re stuck in concrete mix.

W. drove the El Camino uptown, to see if MG and Lav were anywhere around. The guy who called said he tripped on someone dead. Before he hung up, “Yiiiikes” was all he said. His Presho accent was real distinct. It was enough to put Berferd hot on his scent.

Was the “Yikes” guy guilty or was he the victim? Were the girl’s new shoes meant for them to swim in? Would W Et Al and Berferd crack the case? Or would they stumble over the dead guy and fall flat on their face?

To solve the mystery you need to know there is more than one guy here from Presho. If one’s name is Chris and he has a brother, what do you think is the name of the other?

Who is the stumbler?

Who is the captivator?

Who is the dead guy?

And what is the why?

To Be Continued…

Murdo Girl…What blog?

I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog to write. I’ve been easily distracted by everything in sight.

When I try to focus, my mind goes everywhere. Then I feel disjointed which causes me despair.

When I feel despair, I can’t sleep at night…and then all the next day, it’s sleep I have to fight.

Fighting steels my energy which causes sugar cravings. The cost of all the junk I eat puts a big dent in my savings.

So now I have no money and my teeth will soon be rotten. If I don’t cheer up soon, my blog will be forgotten.

I offer you this poem as I strive to stop the cycle. Today I’ve sworn off sugar. I won’t even have a bite full.

I’ll need a touch of magic to keep my mind in focus. I’ll do my best to concentrate and you say “hocus pocus.”

I’ve missed you…

My friend, Pat found a pair of Pearl’s glasses. I wonder where Pearl is?

Murdo Girl…What do you think this is..your birthday?

One of the many Grandpa Sanderson stories I loved to hear Mom tell was about the times the kids would ask if they could buy something special or do something out of the ordinary.

Grandpa would always ask,”What do you think this is, your birthday?”

Mom said she and her siblings couldn’t wait until it really was their birthday and they could say, “YES! It is my birthday!” I’m sure Grandpa enjoyed getting caught in his little game.

Today is my very special cousin, Valerie’s birthday. Her Murdo Girl moniker is, Lav. She is the best sport I know and a beautiful new Grammy.

“Hey Lavish! What do you think this is your birthday?”

Love from MG

Murdo Girl…Don’t forget

I talked to Gus today. He wanted to know where his flyswatter is. Now that I think about it, I remember it looked like it had already killed a few too many flies. Not that I have sympathy for flies. They are about the most annoying bugs around.

I didn’t admit that I probably threw it away or even try to blame it on Billy. I mean how much does a flyswatter cost? You can get them at the Dollar Store. And then I felt bad because, right now, he has to depend on friends to take him to the store. It will be a huge effort for him to replace that flyswatter. Meanwhile, he said he has a huge fly buzzing around the house. Billy is going to see him on Friday. I’ll call and tell him to add a flyswatter to the things he needs to pick up. Gus can’t find his fingernail files either. I must have thrown them out. How could I be so cruel? One trip to the dollar store should do it…a flyswatter and Emory boards.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. After all, I did remember where I put the prunes and nuts. Gus, if you’re reading this, the nuts and prunes are in the drawer inside the cabinet marked crisp bread. I forgot to change the label. Do you see those little glass vases on the counter by the spice rack? They belong to the nice lady who has been bringing fresh flowers and goodies. You should probably return them to her so she can reuse them…and remember to get your mail every day.

I’m sure happy that Billy will be there on Friday. I hope you two remember to call me. I’ll put that on my list. 1) Billy and Gus will call. If it’s not on my list, I might forget.

You know what they say. “Out of sight. Out of mind.”

“I understand,” says Rylie.

Murdo Girl…Wow!

I wish there was a simple way to describe the last three plus weeks. I’m sure many of you will scratch your head and wonder if this is a true story. It can be validated by my brother, Billy and our Step-Father, Gus. Just remember as you read this, Gus is 90, Billy is 77, and I’m 69. The good news is we all found that we’re made of pretty good stuff.

Between the three of us, we can usually remember the important things…like where our list is hidden. Except for Gus, who has recently had open-heart surgery, we can lift heavy objects and still walk the next day. We have learned how to pile garbage sacks on a wheel chair and, with the aid of a flashlight, find the dumpster in the middle of the night. We’ve learned how to discard items belonging to someone who never throws anything away…and for the most part get away with it.

I’m from Texas, my brother is from Los Angeles, and Gus lives in Ontario, California.

It all started several weeks ago when I decided that Billy and I should try to gather all of the paperwork needed to help Gus file for a VA pension. At the same time, Gus was scheduled to have his chest opened up to replace a valve. Sounds easy enough. Billy put about 4,000 miles on his car transporting Gus to his regular doctor’s appointments and taking forms to said doctors to complete and sign. Be advised…you make an average of 5 trips and 10 phone calls to get one form.

I flew almost as many miles as Billy drove.
By the time I got to Ontario for Gus' surgery, which didn't happen then, there was frustration in the air. You can smell frustration, you know. BTW Gus didn't have surgery until about two weeks later because his COVID test, which was part of his preop came back positive. That was a real shock to us as he had COVID last February and later had the vaccination. It was even more of a shock to the group of Gus' friends who were sitting with us in the bakery when he got the phone call. I came back to Texas and stayed the 10 days that Gus was in quarantine. I flew back to Ontario the day before he was scheduled to try it again. He sailed through the surgery and they released him 5 days later. His ribs are literally wired together. (My brother missed two vacations, and was picked to serve on a jury the week Gus came home. Kip and I got two new rescue dogs. We found one on the day I came home the first time and the other the day I came home the 2nd time.
Rylie on the left and Nellie on the right.

The problem with the coming home part was that Billy and I hadn’t finished making our midnight trips to the dumpster so we couldn’t get the house ready for the recovering patient. Gus is an admitted, um… collector and we had to uncollect him.

One important lesson that I would like to pass on. Before you try to move a newly purchased recliner, be aware that with most of them, the back slips off, making it much easier to carry. We moved that sucker to the motel before we discovered that feature. If we hadn’t figured it out, we would have had to take an ax to it in order to get it through the door at Gus’ house.

Billy was 27 and I was 20 when this great guy married our mother, Loretta

Since we weren’t ready, Billy put Gus up in a very nice motel for several days and I stayed at Gus’ house.

Back to the VA project.

We finally got everything together and a Veteran’s Service Officer pronounced it ready to send off to the big guys who make the ultimate determination. Three days ago, we got a letter stating they needed another piece of information. We got it, took it, and handed it to a local VA Service Officer. We read they try to expedite the process if the veteran is over 90. Now we’ll wait and see.

The night before I left, I got to take a break and took the train to Los Angeles. My brother’s wife, Liz, picked me up at Union Station and I spent a lovely evening with Liz and Billy, my niece, Erin, and her boyfriend, Carlos. Liz fixed a wonderful dinner, and we sat at tables on one of the two beautiful decks that were recently completed. As they used to say in the Murdo Coyote, “A good time was had by all.”

Erin Francis, who is extremely talented, charming and beautiful. I wish I had taken more pictures of the patio and the spectacular view…I also missed Liz, Bill, and Carlos

Have a wonderful evening. I can’t sit and type too long. I stiffen up.

Murdo Girl…Evil men’s prey

Time heals all wounds I’ve heard many say. Given some time all the hurt goes away.

Has time not reinforced what we came to believe when our nation wracked with pain had no time to grieve?

Kip at 911 Memorial Museum

Have the images so chilling and all too vivid, remained clear only to those the murderous acts benefited.

I want us to remember what happened and why. A vicious attack on our homeland that we can’t deny.

It seems the further we get from the man-made catastrophe, the more we succumb to borderline apathy.

Me – outside of Freedom Tower where all of the names are engraved.

I’ll hope that each one of us takes a moment of silence today and vows to never again be evil men’s prey.

We cared for burn victims and buried those we lost. Babies born fatherless have suffered the cost.

Fill the day with kindness, love, and remembrance.

911 Museum memorial to the canines

Murdo Girl…Hello Nellie May

In the six plus years I’ve been writing this blog, this has been the longest time between posts. I can’t say exactly why. Maybe I figured we could all use a break. In hindsight, I realize it wasn’t very nice of me not to let my loyal friends know I would be absent for awhile. I didn’t plan it that way. One day just turned into another.

I’ve been spending time with my California family. Gus was supposed to have surgery to replace a heart valve last week, but it got postponed until next week so I came home for a few days. I’ll fly back on Saturday so I can be there in time for his surgery on Monday.

It has been great to spend some quality time with both Gus and my brother, Billy. I could write a book about everything that has happened to us in the last two weeks, but I’ve been asked not to.

We have a new doggie. Her name is Nellie May. We’re all still getting used to each other, but so far so good. She has a sweet disposition with a funny side. I have been a little under the weather for a few days and she has shown a lot of empathy. I think dogs can tell when their humans need attention from them.

I went out for a walk with Nellie this morning so she could teach me how she walks on a leash. I watched training videos last night so I would be prepared, but I didn’t do so well. We’re going out for another try in a few minutes. I sure hope she brings better training treats this time.

Nellie May

We’re also being investigated by the German Short-haired Pointer Rescue group. They were going to speak to our vet today and then call to set up a time to come and interview us and decide if we would be good foster-to-adopt parents.

I don’t know if we’ll need references, but if we do, I think we can probably come up with a few.

We have a tradition of giving our dogs a name that ends in ie along with a middle name. The first name we tried out was Ellie but we both kept calling her Lillie so we tried Cassie, and then a couple of others that didn’t fit. We almost named her Wyn (What’s Your Name) but it didn’t end in ie. We got a dog tag with Nellie May on it so we would be invested in the name and not be tempted to change it again.

We just got back from my walk. I’m doing better on the leash, but those treats just don’t agree with me. I’m going to ask Nellie if I can have some Tums. We all know who the new boss is.

Murdo Girl…I’m here now

We got up at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning so I could catch a 7:00 o’clock flight to Ontario, CA by way of Phoenix. I decided on an early flight because I dislike fighting.

I hear they have regular bar fights on passenger flights now. Mostly because passengers drink too much before boarding and then get upset because they have to wear a mask.

I didn’t get very far with this blog post yesterday.

Brother Billy picked me up at the airport. We needed help getting out of the parking lot and had differing opinions on how to get back to Gus’ house. Gus and Mom moved there 30 yrs ago, and Billy has been there 4 out of 5 days this past week. I guess he was coming at it from a different angle. I don’t know what my excuse was.

Last time we went to the Jone’s County gathering in Mesa, AZ, we stopped at a Dollar Tree store. After leaving, we drove for an hour before passing the same store which was 2 blocks from our destination.

I guess my brother and I are directionally aging poorly. Cousin Lav and Gus were both with us. I don’t know what their excuse was.

We decided we always get where we’re going. We just need to allow more time…lots more time. The cost of gas is killing us.

I wasn’t able to escape the Texas heat , but it’s all good as long as Gus has a successful surgery (Thursday) and a rapid recovery. Say a few prayers please.

We’re going to my favorite bakery this morning to have coffee and pastry with some of Gus’ friends. After that, Gus has insisted we stop by Trader Joe’s to get my favorite cheesecake for later. We’ll be sure to allow plenty of time to get there.

I just noticed there are pictures of Bill and Liz, their kids and grandson, and some pictures of my kids, and grandkids, on the walls. I don’t see any of Kip and me. What’s up with that? My brother has been spending far too much time over here, but I’m here now.

Give Billy an inch and he takes a mile…sometimes in the wrong direction.

Murdo Girl…Hello Dollie

When I lose a family member, friend, or pet, (Lilie and Pattie were all three), the thing that comforts me the most is to understand that they will live in my heart forever. The thought makes it easier to adjust to life without them, and once the pain of loss begins to subside, it is replaced by fond memories, touching, or funny stories, and gratitude. All of which warm my heart. I know what they say is true. “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Many of you know that Kip and I lost our little cocker spaniel, Pattie Ruth and our short haired German pointer, Lilie Dale. We had to have both of them put to sleep on Tuesday. It was unexpected and surreal. I think we are still in shock. Pattie had a stroke and while removing what was thought to be a benign fatty tumor in Lilie, the vet found an aggressive form of cancer that couldn’t be treated.

Kip and I have made a good home for more than a few dogs in our forty years of marriage. We have always tried to let them go when it was time, and we’ve always been there with them to say goodbye. This is the first time two of our much loved friends went to doggie heaven, otherwise known as rainbow bridge, together.

Even though she won’t admit it, Dollie Lee, the cat, misses Lilie and Pattie, too. She is acting very needy. She has always used the doggie door to go in and out at her leisure. Now, she wants us to open the door for her. She meows for treats every hour and craves lap time.

Dollie is stressed…

We have been overwhelmed by all of the kind and loving messages so many of you have shared with us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We only had Lilie Dale for a year and a half, but she was so very special to us. She was the happiest dog we had ever met. Her tale wagged constantly and she danced for her treats. Pattie was Sammie’s sister. We had them both for thirteen years after finding them running the streets of Gun Barrel. Pattie was always a little plump and rather lazy, but she found her voice after Sammie died and she and Lilie became really close.

Now, I head for California on Monday to spend some time with one of my favorite guys in the whole world. Gus is having some surgery next week and Billy and I are going to hang out with him for a couple of weeks while he recuperates…