Murdo Girl…Seize the day

The virus is raging, it’s Friday the 13th, and we’re all wondering how to approach Thanksgiving and Christmas. Today I will pray that God’s promise of a rainbow after the devastating storm is something we will soon experience.

One day at a time….we try to do the right things. We practice compassion and try to bring some joy to each day we have been given. Some days it’s easy. Some days life overwhelms us.


Yesterday, I learned how to make and bake focaccia bread using a convection oven. I’ve been baking in one for the last two years. It’s all I have in the, not so tiny, tiny home.

I guess I forgot to take a picture of the Kalamata olives and Thyme leaves I put on top. I forgot to take a picture of the finished product or one of me scarfing up several big pieces dipped in extra, extra, virgin olive oil.

Since my only real success thus far has been peanut butter cookies, unbeknownst to me, Kip purchased a “how to use a convection oven,” cookbook. The focaccia bread was made from a recipe in the book and we deemed it a success. Absent of more photos, you’ll just have to trust me. (Food Network…here I don’t come.)

You already know that I’ve been spending time making decorations out of my books, and I agreed to be the person in charge of keeping track of membership, collecting dues and entering information on excel spreadsheets, for the local Literary Club. When I was asked to do this, I actually thought about it for a while and still said, yes. I’m not a good detail person. I’m more “big picture” wired.

I got myself involved in a secret sister’s gift exchange, which is actually kind of fun, and try to keep up with family and friends as much as possible.

As you can see, I stay busy. I only sleep four hours a night, and most days I need more waking time. I’m also not the best at prioritizing or organization. It’s important to know our own strengths and weaknesses, right?

Well, it’s time for Kip and I to walk the dogs, though I don’t think a fifteen minute stroll will walk off all that focaccia bread.

I don’t have time to proof read this, so I will close my eyes and push send.

Go out there and seize the day!

Murdo Girl… The women who served

Just One Pretty Flower

by Mary Francis McNinch

“Put a flower on my grave.” That’s all she asked of me.

“Just one pretty flower that I’ll be sure to see.”

“She never had a chance,” they said. “She won’t make it through the night.

She might have won some battles, but she’ll lose this final fight.”

I tried to say I love you as I stood beside her bed.

She smiled her biggest smile, and this is what she said.

“You know I’ll never leave you, right? It’s really not that far.

Look through all the darkness. Give my name to one bright star.”

“It never did make sense,” they’ll say. “She had little ones to rear.”

“Nothing much that she could do. I know that’s what you’ll hear.”

 I said, “What you did mattered,” and she held my trembling hand.

She saw her Country struggle and she had to take a stand.

There are those who disagree. It’s their right to think that way.

They might not survive tomorrow, but they’ll live free today.

“Tell the kids I love them. Show them my picture now and then.

Tell them where I’m going, but don’t tell them where I’ve been.

I hope the evil can be stopped and we keep our flag unfurled

I gave you all my love,” she said. “My life, I gave the world.”

The last time she closed her eyes, I knew what she would see

Whatever love looks like those who fought to keep us free.

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“Put a flower on my grave,” that’s all she asked of me.

“Just one pretty flower, that I’ll be sure to see.”

I have posted this poem a couple of times and it might be more for Memorial Day, but I originally wrote it to honor the women who have served our country…

Murdo Girl…Crafty

My “creations” once created laughter.

I’m now a talented crafter.

(In a moment I’ll give you a little preview.)

I decided to pursue other interests.

I learn how to do things on Pintrest.

(They have videos that walk me through what to do.)

I have a little confession.

I took an online singing lesson.

(I failed Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do.)

In the world I live in,

talent is God given.

(I think there is something God wants me to know.)

Writing is my passion.

I’m still waiting to cash in.

(I discovered a way as you will soon see.)

If my books are humdrum,

there is no income.

(I craftily turn them into things Christmassy.)

My name is Crafty.

This house is so drafty.

(I’m made from a glove instead of a book.)

When MG made me,

She performed rhinoplasty.

(She forgot that a carrot is part of my look.)

Good thing I have a lot of EXTRA books.

Murdo Girl…Can we go now?

I really want to go somewhere for a month or more.

I want to drive through little towns I’ve never seen before.

Let’s roll out the motor home and really make it shine.

Pack up all the things we need and leave the rest behind.

We’ll take the dogs and cat. They love to come along.

We’ll walk around those little towns pretending we belong.

When we’ve seen all there is to see we’ll hit the road again.

We won’t know where we’re going. We’ll love where we have been.

Those little burgs are waiting, for us to visit them.

Each town is different from the last. We find them on a whim.

I know that we can’t leave right now. I’ll stay here if I must.

I’ll try to count my blessings and suppress the wanderlust.

We have amazing friends here and for that I’m really thankful.

But let’s clean the RV anyway and gas? Let’s get a tankfull.

Murdo Girl…Listening up

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

It was just a whisper, but not easy to ignore.

I stood there quietly, not knowing what to do.

I saw no one there to speak, and no one to speak to.

The words were softly spoken, I could barely hear.

If the voice was going to whisper, it should whisper in my ear.

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

I said, “You must come closer if you want to tell me more.”

I’ll raise my voice,” it said. “And come as close as you’ll allow.”

“Is this about the past?” I asked. “Or about the here and now?”

“There is something you should know,” I heard. “And it has to come from me.”

“Who are you?” I said loudly. ” In this darkness I can’t see.”

Today I heard a voice. It was one I’d heard before.

It made me squirm a little. I couldn’t listen anymore.

“You don’t have to see to hear. You don’t need your sense of smell.

Don’t you recognize my voice? It’s one you know quite well.”

Whatever do you want from me?” I asked impatiently.

“Ask that question of yourself and answer honestly.”

“I want to live in gratitude, for all that I’ve been given.

I want to be responsible for this body that I live in.

I want to think of others who have challenges to face.

I want to see the light in the very darkest place.”

I heard a voice today. It was one I’d heard before.

It said I must begin…by pushing down so I can soar.

Poem was inspired by the above “crown quote” that my friend, Karen Lindquist sent to me today…

Karen and me a few years ago.

Inspirational photographs by my friend, Dianna Diehm…(Used without her permission.)

Murdo Girl…VOTE!

Grab your hat. Grab your coat. If you haven’t already, get out and vote.

Once you have voted for your selection, you have earned the right to discuss the election.

If you stay home and don’t vote your choice, you have lost your chance to give voice.

The day is yours. It’s the American way. The only chance to have your say.

Don’t listen to any inference that your vote can’t make a difference.

The will of the people will soon be known. The seeds of our future will then be sown.

Remember, if later you wish to emote, you can’t say a word if you didn’t vote!

Murdo Girl…First Day (repost)

I took a picture of a picture at a church garage sale. This is the story it told me.

An Apple for my Teacher

It was time to go to school. I was trying hard to hurry. I couldn’t find my shoes and I began to worry.

Mommy didn’t understand how nervous I was feeling. She said to look under my bed instead of on the ceiling.


I ate all of my oatmeal. I knew I shouldn’t waste it. I held my nose and swallowed so I wouldn’t have to taste it.

I didn’t have to brush my teeth like I usually do. The oatmeal was so soft, I didn’t use my teeth to chew.

Mommy helped me comb my hair. I’m not sposed to wear a cap. I don’t know how to button, and I just learned how to snap.

I think I’m almost ready now to get into the car. Mommy said my school isn’t very far.

I hope I like my teacher, and I hope that she likes me. I’m really going to try to be as good as I can be.

I’m bringing her an apple. It’s juicy, big and red. I just hope she doesn’t want a pineapple instead.

I guess that I’m a big boy now. That’s what people say, when little boys go off to school…

Today is my first day.


Grandson, Hudson is turning five

Murdo Girl…A Busy Nest Dilemma

Well, I’m on my way to Pearl the human’s to get Pearl the dog. My routine hasn’t changed much even though things at Pearl the human’s store have changed big time. You should have been here to see it all go down.

Pearl’s Elixerfixer has been selling like hotcakes. Pearl even bought a new pink car, so we don’t have to drive the clunky old Jeep anymore.


We have to go to Pierre two or three times a week for the Elixafixer ingredients. Red Owl can hardly keep up with us. I think they look at us sideways when we go in there, but Pearl says they don’t. She wouldn’t know anyway because she always wears her huge sunglasses. She says she has to be incog neat oh, which means hard to identify.

wp-1517711790089.jpg I think Pearl mainly likes the Red Owl Store because she loves red and she sort of looks like an owl. I’m not being mean…She just does.

We’ve been making so much money at Pearl’s Busy Nest that we’ve been able to make a lot of improvements. Grace still gets letters from people who want her to help them solve their problems, and she does her best to help them out. It’s only backfired a couple of times. Once was because she didn’t run it by me first. You see, I recognize everyone’s problems because I know everybody in town and I notice things. There aren’t very many people in Murdo who have problems that I don’t know about. They all think Grace has got extra sensories, but it’s just me operating in the background. Grace thinks she’s just a few columns away from being approached by The Murdo Coyote to put her column in the paper. I know she must be itching to make money like Pearl does with her Elixerfixer. I’m at Sanderson’s Store now, so I’m going to run upstairs and get Pearl the dog. It’s Saturday, so Pearl’s Busy Nest will be super busy.

Well, we aren’t there yet, but we almost are.


“Hi, Grace, Hi, Pearl.”We’re here, are you?”


“Lan sakes, Ellie, I thought you would never get here. I have a situation and I desperately need your help! Come over here and I’ll show you.”

It’s not like I’ve never seen Grace in such a state before. It doesn’t take much to get her hands wringing. Her little feet with her little pumps, strapped on with rubber bands, just trot all over the place.

“Here, Ellie,” she said. “Read this.”

Dear Grace,

Thank you for advising me last week. Your plan worked like a charm. I knew I couldn’t get to Sanderson’s in time to get some of that good sweet corn before the Methodist church ladies and their friends got there, so I called the store and told that nice lady who works there that I would like her to reserve two dozen ears for me. I hinted that I was one of the Methodist Church basement cooks…just like you said to.

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Well, I went into the store a few hours later, and got my corn. The nice lady was all a flutter. Apparently, she got a royal chewing out by the basement cooks, because they didn’t have enough corn for the funeral luncheons this week, and the families of the dearly departed would have to be fed Lima beans and who likes Lima beans?


Well, the nice lady at the store asked me why I would call and make her think I was a Methodist. She said she felt fairly certain that I was a Lutheran, and she happened to know the Lutheran’s didn’t have any of their parishioners go to the other side this week.

I told her I was merely taking the advice of “Dear Grace.” I thought I should let you know. The corn was delicious.

What should I do next week, “Dear Grace?”

I was feeling panic well up inside. We were surely going to get a visit from The Sanderson’s Store lady and it would no doubt be unpleasant.

My heart was pumping which made my ears ring. I heard Pearl’s voice above it all.

“Essie!” (Pearl never knows my name.) “You and Grace get Pearl and go get in the car, while I put a note on the door saying we will be closed today. I’ve got to go to Pierre to get more supplies. On the way back, we’ll get a carload of sweet corn.”

“Where are we going to buy sweet corn, Pearl?” I wasn’t following her train of thoughts.

“We’re not going to buy it, Essie. We’re going to pick out a good cornfield and help ourselves. They will never miss it. We’ll sell it for a little bit more than Sanderson’s Store does. That’s the only right thing to do. We won’t affect their business at all. That letter writing snit can buy her corn from us. Let’s get going, girls.”

“But Pearl…Grace looked bewildered. “How is this going to get Dear Grace back in the good graces of Sanderson’s?”

Pearl was flying out the door. “We’ll tell them we are so sorry, we intended no harm. We thought the conniving woman was a Methodist, too. we’ll even give them two dozen of our ears. Now grab my sunglasses and let’s go!”

I can’t believe it…We’re going to steal corn in a pink car.


Are you watching Grace? Hurry Essie and Pearl the dog. It’s getting dark.”

wp-1516912317648.jpgI Like Lima Beans.


Murdo Girl…Pearl gives a lesson on the value of gossip 1 & 2

Part 1

This is Ellie/Essie…

If I swore, I’d say every curse word I know right now. If I threw fits, I would lay down on the floor and kick and scream. I don’t know how that woman could be so mean.

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The old Methodist Church in Murdo, South Dakota. The parsonage is next to it.

You see the Methodist Church had a fundraiser. All of us kids had to work for someone who paid us by the hour. We had to work for eight hours and all the money goes to the youth program. I got hired by mean Mrs. Stone. She made me do things a two hundred pound man could barely do.

I was too fast at my work. That’s what it was. I washed all of her dirty windows inside and out. I pulled the weeds in her garden and worst of all, I had to clean out her refrigerator. Now I’ve got to go take Pearl the dog for a walk if my poor little wobbly stick legs will let me.


“Hi Pearl, I came to take Pearl the dog for a walk.”


Can we go see my frog friend?

“Well ,Essie…you look like you could go bear hunting with a stick. What or who has gotten you so worked up?”

“Working for Mrs. Stone has me all worked up. She never let me rest once except for the fifteen minutes it took me to choke down a minced ham sandwich. When I took the last bite, she smacked her hands and said, up, up, up…time to get back to work! Then she got really mean.”

“Tell me, Essie. I just love to hear gossip. When I had my beauty shop, I’d have a woman on each side of me shooting gossip into my ears. Oh how I miss that. I don’t get to talk to many people now except Grace and she tells me everything twice and comes up way short on the details. Gossiping is an art you know. One of these days I’ll teach you how to get people to spill everything they know, or think they know, and you won’t have to give up a thing. Now, what was the really mean thing she did?”

“When I got ready to leave, Mrs. Stone said I might have to come over again tomorrow. I said to her… no way, Mrs. Stone, that’s not how it works. Then she said she was going to have to deduct an hour’s pay on her check to the church. When I asked her why, she said it was because I didn’t get all the weeds out of her garden, and Mr. Stone would be upset because he would have to do it. It’s not fair Pearl,”

“You have got to get some dirt on that woman, Essie, that’s all there is to it. Now go take Pearl the dog for a walk. When you get back, I’ll give you a couple of quick lessons.”

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Pearl’s Gossip Lesson

Listen closely, Essie, and you will have that mean Mrs. Stone right where you want her. If she has told you something secretive about herself, she won’t cross you ever again. It will be worth it for you to go over there tomorrow. When she says something mean to you, and she will, you say this:

“I sure don’t see why several of the ladies in town aren’t partial to you Mrs. Stone. I think you’re real nice.” Then smile your sweetest smile, just don’t laugh when you see the look on her face.

“Then what do I do, Pearl?”

You say, “Now, show me those weeds in your garden that I missed. I’ve heard from reliable sources that several of your friends think Mr. Stone is henpecked and I wouldn’t want to add fuel to the fire… if you know what I mean.”

“See Essie… it’s nothing you can’t do. You’ll be a natural.”


“Then what do I say Pearl?” I was really starting to get into this gossip lesson.

“Nothing. You won’t have to. She will be so upset she’ll spill the beans on every gossip friend she has. She’ll say things like, I bet I know who said that! It was Ethel, well let me tell you a thing or two about Ethel..bla,bla,bla,bla. Then you have to close the secret transaction.”

“What’s a secret transaction, Pearl?”

You say, “Well, I guess I should get started on those weeds now so poor Mr. Jones doesn’t have to do it. It’s not in my nature to cheat the church either.”

“Do you mean I’m still going to have to pull the weeds, Pearl?

“Not a chance. Mrs. Jones will probably say something like this. Oh no, dear. You sit right here and I will get you a nice cold glass of lemonade and one of the cookies I baked for Mr. Jones. You must call us Charles and Helen…I’ll pull the weeds.

One more thing, Essie. When she tries to get out of you who told you all that gossip, you say…I think we both know who told me those terrible things that you told them. It’s just awful how people spread gossip they hear on the grapevine.

” I can’t wait for you to tell me how it goes tomorrow, Essie. Wasn’t that a great lesson? I should have been a mother. I believe my mothering instincts have gone to waste all these years.

The Beauty Shop is a great place to hear good gossip

Part 2 – Ellie/Essie Executes the plan

Well, I decided I would try out Pearl’s gossip lesson and go back to Mrs. Stones’ house and get some dirt on her. I sure hoped Pearl was right because I sure did not want to pull more weeds.

There was one thing Pearl’s plan didn’t account for.


“Hi, Mrs. Stone…I came back to pull those weeds in your garden; the few little ones that I missed yesterday.

“Well just don’t stand there, Ellie, come in. I don’t have much time to direct you. My bridge club will be here in just a few minutes. Get one of those paper bags in the pantry and fill it with the weeds you pull. Now get to it Ellie. Why are you just standing there with that dumb look on your face?”

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That’s the mean thing, I thought. The bridge club coming over could be a hot potato, but I decided to move forward with Pearl’s plan.

“Are the bridge club ladies the ones that don’t like you very much?”

“What on earth are you talking about, “Ellie? Who told you that?”

“Um…I think we both know who spreads gossip around this town.”


My mom played bridge

Mrs. Stone had a horrified look on her face just like Pearl the human said she would, but she didn’t tell me I didn’t have to pull the weeds, and I really didn’t think she would offer to pull them herself with all those women here. I was going to have to wing it!

The ladies started arriving then so I waited. Mrs. Stone saw me standing there and told me to go do what I came to do.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go pull those weeds, so you won’t make poor Mr. Stone go out there and pull them. Do you have some cold lemonade so I can go out and sit on your bench and drink it? Those cookies sure look good, too.”

“You are one strange child, Ellie.”

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Then a bridge lady spoke up. “Well, Helen Stone, did you get involved in the Methodist Church fundraiser? I heard most of the kids were on the lazy side. They had to be prodded to do anything. It was so good of you to give this girl a chance to do it right. Young lady, you need a few lessons in etiquette. You do not ask for refreshments and you definitely do not take a refreshment break before you have even started your work.”

She’s mean too, I thought. Pearl didn’t account for two ladies being mean to me.

“Mrs. Martin,” I said. “I heard your husband is henpecked.”

It worked again! Mrs. Martin looked horrified; just like Pearl said. All of a sudden, Mrs. Stone took me by the ear and marched me to the door. “You may leave now,” she said. “I would rather pull the weeds myself than deal with the likes of you, young lady.”

I couldn’t wait to tell Pearl the human all about my experience with her gossip lesson. I decided to walk Pearl the dog a little later.


I like now, now is good!

“Hi Pearl, I came right over here to tell you what happened with Mrs. Stone. I said exactly what you told me to say and guess what? I didn’t have to pull one weed. Mrs. Stone said she would do it. There is one thing though…She didn’t offer me a cold glass of lemonade and a cookie.”

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I like cookies

“I knew it,” Pearl said. (I’ve never seen Pearl so excited.)

“I’ll have to think up some more life lessons to teach you, Essie. Living in this world takes know how and if it’s one thing old Pearl has, it’s know how!”

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“Do you know anything about etiquette Pearl? One of the bridge club ladies who was at Mrs. Stones’ house said I could use a few lessons on etiquette.”

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“Boy, Pearl the dog, Pearl the human sure was puffing away on that air cigarette when we left. She just doesn’t seem herself. Where should we go on our walk? How about Mrs. Stones’ house to see if anybody pulled those weeds.’


Okay Ellie, but it’s getting pretty dark. Do you think she’ll give us a cookie?

Murdo Girl…Fame is fleeting

One of my favorite Pearl and Grace stories…

I’m on my way to The Busy Nest. We’ve been really busy since Pearl started putting cornstarch in her Elixerfixer and calling it new and improved. All the women are buying it and losing weight. The cornstarch and hot water thickens in their stomach and makes them feel full. But no one, I mean no one knows the Elixerfixer formula, and they are buying that stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

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

Grace: I’m here, but Pearl had to go on another Red Owl run. We’re down to only four bottles of Elixerfixer and just look at that line-up of women outside the door. There’s likely to be a real dust-up if Pearl doesn’t get back soon and formulate some more. I think I hear her coming in the back way.

Pearl: I’m back! I’ll get busy in the formulation room and you two can open the door and give those ladies a number.


Well, our success was short lived. That very day, Mack’s Cafe had a roast beef and mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, special. That gravy hit all that cornstarch and hot water in the ladie’s stomachs and they all felt like they’d swallowed twenty pounds of concrete. They feared they’d been poisoned by the beef. The real dramatic ones were sure they were knocking on death’s door. Doc Brown was called to the scene and it wasn’t long before the Doc, followed by twelve sick women came marching over to The Busy Nest. We saw them coming and could tell they all had their knickers in a twist.

Pearl pinched her cheeks, put on her lipstick, straightened her shoulders and met them all at the door.

Pearl: Why Doc Brown, what an unexpected pleasure, and my goodness, you brought some ladies with you. Welcome to The Busy Nest.

Grace: Pearl, don’t you recognize these ladies? They were just in here to buy new bottles of Elixerfixer.

Doc Brown: So I’ve been told. It seems all of these ladies took their dose of your famous elixer shortly before eating Mack’s Cafe’s special, consisting of roast beef with mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.

Grace: Do they make their gravy with cornstarch?

Pearl: Grace, dear, would you mind going to get the mail?

Doc: I was looking at the very fine print on the back of the label and it just says it’s made with all natural ingredients. Would you mind telling me what they are?

Pearl: Certainly…I travel many miles to purchase the greatly sought after freshly distilled spring water it contains.

Grace: It’s the kind you put in your steam iron so it won’t clog up.

Pearl: Grace, the mail! I add a very carefully measured amount of extract from the endosperm of corn, li’mon juice from a small producer in Arizona, and mother’s apple cider vinegar. Believe me, it’s a very precise combination.

Grace: Can you believe we can get all that stuff in Pierre at The Red Owl Store?


Well, Doc Brown happened to know that extract from the endosperm of corn was cornstarch and concluded, when followed with hot water, it would swell up in the stomach enough without adding a good amount of gravy to it.

Those ladies were bound up for a week and our new and improved Elixerfixer sat on the shelf and thickened.

I can’t wait to see what Pearl comes up with next. She’s a good idea person.