Murdo Girl…Do I know you?

It’s only  been a few days since I was walking through a car lot looking for the car I had rented to take me to the hotel down the street. I was already irritated, because I could have easily walked there in less than five minutes. Someone else would have had to grab my light, carefully packed nylon duffel bag, but we could have easily made it… that is, if I hadn’t dropped my overstuffed purse with the zipper that won’t quite zip, and hadn’t tripped two very nice ladies and a the  guy who was walking too closely behind them.

Have you ever seen the domino effect in action? It doesn’t look quite as cool getting up as it does going down. It took me five minutes to explain that it wasn’t the guy’s fault that the light turned  and we only had six more seconds to get across the street.


I hate that moment of decision when the blinking light says,” You don’t have time to make it, lady….5,4,3,2. The cars are turning into your lane now and your moment of decisiveness has passed. People that need to be someplace are fuming.


I returned the truck the next day. The gas tank was empty and one of the, “Objects may be closer than they appear,” signs was stuck onto one of the tire rims. It only took me seven minutes to get back to the car lot. The traffic was rather light. One set of keys is missing, but they have insurance for all of that, right?

I’m sort of glad I rented that truck. All of my luggage fit just fine and the truck matched the only traffic light that counts.



Murdo Girl

I ‘ve been putting this off for awhile. I’ve even changed my mind a time or two. It’s very hard for me to remain serious for very long and doubly difficult for me to write seriously. I know there is some mental deficiency tied to it, but I don’t know what treatments work and what are a waste of time and money. I’ve decided I’ll just have to live with it. And so will everyone else.

Along with a seriousness deficiency, I struggle with talking over. If you’re saying something and a thought goes through my head that relates to what you’re saying, out it comes right over you. Even if I realize I’m doing it, I can’t stop. You say something, I but in. You finally forget what you were talking about and the conversation begins to get all weird.

I have two things going for me. I’m never jealous. You can have more money, nicer things, whatever. I do admire, but I don’t feel jealous

Murdo Girl…Rhubarb Ann

Grandma and Grandpa Sanderson’s house had a small front room, a long dining room with a buckled linoleum floor. Grandma and Grandpa’s room was off that room. There was a bathroom off the kitchen, Billy’s room, which was also off the kitchen, a washroom behind the kitchen, and a back door that faced the crawdad pond. I remember sitting on the steps outside the back door and to my right there were several rhubarb plants. I tried to eat one once and it was the sourest thing I ever put in my mouth. The only other thing I remember about Grandma’s rhubarb was seeing it simmer at the back of the stove in a big pot of water. Grandma always had either plums or rhubarb simmering on the back of the stove. I remember eating it once in a while, but not in the quantities Grandma kept it stocked. Now that I think about it, Grandma was either extremely constipated, or she just really liked stewed fruit.

I don’t remember rhubarb pie being served. Grandma usually made cherry pie. I don’t remember eating much of anything made with rhubarb, yet to this day, I love it all… Jam, cobbler, pie, cake, coffee cake, syrup, or anything else made from rhubarb.I have recently become acquainted with rhubarb shakes, and they are something to wrap your lips around and enjoy every slow- churned bite.My cousin, Lav and I discovered them in the summer of 2016 at a little diner across from the Harold Thune Auditorium. Now we will never be able to go back to any other flavor. We are lost to the uniqueness of rhubarb.We talked everyone we were slightly acquainted with into buying us a Rhubarb Shake at the diner. We didn’t even stop to consider that other local establishments might offer them. We went directly to the source of our first head freeze each time we had the opportunity. I have never seen a Rhubarb Shake since… except the following summer when I convinced Teresa Palmer to buy me one.

I honestly think that Murdo could become known as the home of the Rhubarb Shake. People are less enamored now with the hot beef sandwiches and cherry pie you can get at Wall Drug. The summers are hot, and cooler fare is needed. You could keep overhead way down if you leave the cherry off the top, which ruins the flavor anyway…And best of all!!! You can bring back the Frosty Freeze. Every ice cream place in town gets a cut as long as they keep the standards up. Just think of it.

Murdo, South Dakota….The home of the Rhubarb Shake. Dare I suggest a sign out west of town?

We’ll have fly-ins and carnivals, Rhubarb Rodeos an of course…

A Rhubarb Queen

Or Thirty


(I will later write the Murdo Girl stories in book format, but they won’t be published on the blog. Several Murdoites would like to have them published together. You’re all the best!)

Anyway…It’s (almost) time for a new generation of idea people and I think there’s a future in Rhubarb…does the diner have a juke box?

Saw Rubarb Ann. Thought I’d take a stand..Bababababran..Betty Sue wouldn’t do…you get it!!

Murdo Girl…Coming soon..It’s time

Why do I care?

I have lived this story once, written it twice and I’ve told it at least a thousand times, so pay close attention, because this is the last time you’re going to hear it from me.

And if I may offer you a word of caution, don’t read anyone else’s version. It will only confuse you, and this one is true. I hope I’ve covered it all, because time is flying by faster than a simple story told by a person who talks so fast, you‘ll be inclined to believe him or her when maybe you shouldn’t.

Now where was I? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any to start.

The first question anyone who writes a story about their hometown should ask themselves is, “Why do I care?” That question is more difficult to answer than you might imagine.

I care because I have vivid, first hand, memories that include sounds, smells, laughter, tears, brightness, darkness, hurt feelings, happiness, loneliness, anger, excitement, thrills and a whole lot of challenges as I experienced my growing up years in my home town.. One emotion I cannot recall with much more than a passing thought, is boredom.

I care that the legacies of both sets of my grandparents live on. I care that the choices I made and the interests I pursued there, for better or worse, formed the person I am now. I care that I was influenced by a whole town full of people who probably didn’t know how much they really did affect my life and maybe if given the choice, wouldn’t have wanted to.

Do you remember this lady?


This is just a warm up for my next book. I am going to attempt to put all of my Murdo memories together and write my story. Wish me luck!

I can only attest to my life there, with maybe a little bit of gossip added in for flavor. Is it okay if I include sworn statements of immediate relatives? I might have overheard a few things that are almost steeped in fact. How about we just figure it out as we go along. I won’t get so far afield that you won’t recognize the place.

There is nothing fake about popcorn!


Who is having the most fun?

I can’t wait to get started. If you would like to send me some stories, I would love to plagiarize them. If I misspelled anything, look it up in the dictionary or just move on to the brilliance that is sure to follow.

One more thing…and this is very critical. If I do this, I expect a certain diner in a certain hometown will have a MCFRS. with extra whipped cream. Lav can share it with me. She loves them too. How about a sign outside of town. Hometown of the 300 pound Murdo Girl. She’s the queen of the rhubarb shake.

Murdo Girl…Bring Jean

Tonail means to nail, like to nail a pitcher to the wall. Just because a wird is not spelled like yew mite be accustomed to seeing it, does not mean it doesn’t have pacific meaning. I don’t intend to bemuse the subject any deeper, but try to understand when I tell you I like my words underlined in red.


I have a request to make. I need someone to locate Jean Robinson and bring her over to my house. Can you do it tomorrow? It’s very important that I see her. I’ve had fewer requests for visitors as of late, so I have decided to take matters into my own hands. If Jean can’t come over, then she will go to the bottom of the list and it might be a couple of days before she once again makes her way back to the top. Does that sound mean?

I will make this short and sweet and wait patiently for a reply. I realize emergencies are often in the eyes of the beholder. That’s me…That’s Jean and I don’t care who brings her. I haven’t had a good day, so don’t push my kind nature and forgivingness.


Murdo Girl…knows everything

You will very seldom hear me admit it, but sometimes my brother is right. He says that when you get older, it gets increasingly important to live near your doctors. Yes, doctors as in more than one.

They specialize in certain areas of your body, now. When you call for an appointment because your big toe is out of joint, they ask if it’s above or below the joint that in any way touches the tonail. I have yet to figure out how doctors decide how they determine where their expertise lies. Someone must have to draw the short straw. There are so many things that can go wrong with the body, that someone has to work on the yuckier parts. I almost lost it while watching a doctor remove my son’s earwax.

(Ugly potbellied pigs live in the same rocks as beautiful flowers.) Beauty and beasts live together.

But, I guess on average, we live reasonably long and healthy lives…even if our moms used talcum powder on us and fed us red jelly beans, we somehow survived.

What to do, what to do? Sitting too close to the television, which I think just makes you blind, and eating bacon, are hard to give up.

I hate to blame Mom for everything, but every ailment must be someone’s fault. She let me drink coffee when I was only five.

As for me, I can’t protect myself from wive’s tales or today’s scientific findings. It will make me crazy and hard to live with. So here is my plan.

I’ll hug my friends, let my family know how much I love them every chance I get. Pray for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness. Give love and reject hate, seek out that person who looks like they need a kind word or a smile, and hope they don’t really need a shot of baking soda in a glass of water. I’m no doctor, but my friend Pat, swears this cures everything.

I hope I can remain true to the commitments I just expressed, in writing, without making it all a part of a deal with God. (If you do that, then it negates everything.)

I’m sixty-seven and I want to remember there is nothing more important than trust and one more thing.

Do not expect money to bring you happiness… It won’t! There is never enough. Never!! But you can sing a song with Murdo.

Will I remember to live this life I know will bring me the joy I yearn for? I have relationships to mend and I need strength from the place all strength comes from.

Will you help me?

(Go ahead and hug on that flag Queen E. You know you want to.)

Murdo Girl…The tail is always at the end

I came across this bit of wisdom, today, and it spoke to me. Now I hope it speaks to you! At the end...

I walked along a bubbling brook. The warm sun felt so nice.

I sat upon a nearby rock. The water felt like ice.

I took my shoes and socks off and stuck my toes in the cold stream.

“You’ll catch your death.” I heard someone say. Not sounding one bit mean.

I felt the slippery slimy moss and knew better than to stand,

Until I found a muddy hole where I could jump and safely land.

I saw a fish swim by. He knew I meant no harm.

I had no fishing pole or pail

of minnows on my arm.

Soon the sun was setting and I knew that I must leave.

We can never know if we’ll be back, but this I must believe.

I can go anywhere I want to, but I can’t go everywhere.

I can do what you can do. Not as good, but I don’t care.

I can sing and dance and juggle balls… all at the same time.

If you try to say I can’t, you’re still a friend of mine.

I can tell stories that aren’t funny and train a dog to sit.

If you can’t keep up with all I do it’s not okay to quit.

I can make hiccups go away by drinking water upside down,

I’ve shown others how to do it and only two of them have drowned.

I can make an eggless, milkless , butterless, cake. My mother taught me how. I think she learned to make it when they had to sell their cow. They ate the eggs for breakfast and the butter wouldn’t churn. Someone hid the sugar so there’d be something left to burn.

Now here’s a piece of wisdom that I’ll only say one time.

As life goes on, sometimes you’ll run into a great big hill to climb.

If there’s a hill to climb, don’t wait for it to shrink.

Hills don’t get smaller no matter what you think…

(You have to climb it!

Don’t wait! Get started!)

Murdo Girl…From me to you

It was just a few months ago that Kip and I were on our way back from a trip of a lifetime. We had been on an eight week RV trip with the sole purpose of seeing the fall colors as they changed before our very eyes. We thought we had gotten away too late, but we couldn’t have timed it better. The only thing that could have added to the spectacular scenery and sites we saw, not to mention time spent with good friends, would have been just a few more days here or a couple of more weeks there. We always hate to see our trips come to an end, but it’s always good to catch up with friends and family at home, too.

These pictures were taken at the end of our trip that took us into parts of twenty-one states. We traveled at our own pace and took the time to spend with friends and relatives who showed us some beautiful places.

This was our fourth long trip, lasting around two months. We’ve also taken several long weekends with friends or just the two of us and our more than willing travelling menagerie.. We drive a 38′ 2002 class A motor home and tow my 2015 jeep…both have logged a lot of miles.

It’s a wonderful way to see the history and the beauty of our country. We’ve spent much more time with family and friends than we otherwise would have.

We arrived back in Mabank, TX in time for our Church’s Lord’s Acre Celebration and of course Thanksgiving and Christmas. My Dad, Gus, from California was here and stayed to help us welcome in the New Year.

In January, my Doctor convinced me to catch up on some tests I had gotten behind on, so she scheduled a colonoscopy and a mammogram. Both tests revealed cancer and I have now had a partial colectomy of the ascending colon and most recently, a bilateral mastectomy. The latter was just a week ago, so I’m still in the throws of healing from that one.

I’m going to be fine. I have a wonderful supportive group of family, extended family, and friends who have amazed me with their unfailing offers to help with anything we might need. I have never in my life experienced such truly loving, generosity and straight from the heart to God’s ears, earnest, prayers from our wonderful Pastor Dan and a church family who cares for the needs of everyone.

God gave me a husband who has shown his strength, patience, unending love and support. Our four children and their families have been pretty amazing, too. Most of you know our daughter Heidi has not hesitated to make sure I have received the absolute best of care at UTSW where she has been employed for eighteen years. My Daughter-in-law, Amy, has sent me daily motivational devotionals. and she’s also a nurse which helps to keep me informed.

Our Daughter, Heather, spent most of the night with me trying to keep me comfortable the night of the surgery after Kip and our friend, Pat finally went home after a long, long, day. I have been so loved and cared for.

My other daughter-in-law, April has spent the last three years fighting her own battle with cancer. Thanks be to God, she is currently cancer free.

Food, cards, boxes of goodies, flowers, special prayer blankets with unique appliques lovingly sewn on them, have all been made with loving hands.

I have not done one single thing to deserve any of these gifts of love, but I have learned that is the kind of love that beats inside the hearts of true and joyful believers.

I wish I could find better words. I wish you could see inside my heart, because then you would know how you have each touched it in such a personal way.

I love you all so much and I will strive to be a witness to God’s love that I have seen so bright and beautifully.

All is well, all is well, with my soul…