Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


More Wedding and a Few Pics

You’d think by this time of my life (and we are NOT going to talk about what time it is!) I wouldn’t be so likely to stress out.I mean, after all, I should know what I am. What I will and won’t do. Apparently, I’m still learning.

When I think back to the weeks before our wonderful wedding, I’m kind of surprised I wasn’t worse.

We just had a few problems. Probably nothing like other people have, but it was more than I’ve had to handle in a long time.


  1. Pinky Prob. I messed up my little finger on my right hand several weeks before the nuptials and, while that had no direct effect on the ceremony, it had an effect on me! You’d just be surprised how much you use that pinky–everything from opening or closing screw-on type closures to putting on eyeliner and a ton of things in between.
  2. Inventory. (At Prairie Supply.) The wedding boy manages our supply store and decided to change things up a bit over there, starting with a very detailed inventory to enter into the computer. But that put a lot more work on my baby boy, which stressed him (he worked a lot of late hours!) and in turned stressed me. Oy.
  3. The rehearsal dinner. I could have had it catered. I even looked into it, but what I found available in C-Town conflicted with the reception dinner. (Which was YUM! 🙂 ) I could have picked up the food in T Town and driven it back before the rehearsal, but I still would have had to warm it and set it up and, and, and . . . !
  4. What I’d wear. How to wear my hair. And how I looked. And how I’d look in pictures. I know that sounds really self-absorbed, but I just didn’t want to be an embarrassment. I didn’t want Matt to show the pictures to his kids someday and say, “Yeah, those days Mama looked pretty much like a wild woman. “
  5. Wedding boy was hit with a kidney stone and had to have it removed 3 days before the wedding. It was worse than the doc expected and more painful than anyone expected and still hurting the day of the wedding.
  6. The air conditioner in the Fellowship Hall quit working while we were trying to get the rehearsal dinner ready. It was hot.
  7. The air conditioner in the Fellowship Hall puddled in the middle of the Fellowship Hall while we were getting ready for the rehearsal dinner. (Thank goodness Sister Debbie knew where the mop and bucket were kept!)

I shouldn’t have stressed. Here’s why–

These pictures were taken by my #1 DIL. Great job, China! Thanks for sharing.

This is a pic of the boys, waiting on the bride. Little Bit took a tumble at the end of the wedding and rolled right off the stage.

Preacher Dave about to get down to business.

They danced. (sniff)

She tossed the bouquet.

Doesn’t she have a great smile?

And they did the garter thing. 😉

And my siblings were there with me. (Two sisters in wheel chairs!) All of them. Even the sister who couldn’t be on site.

Thank you, God, for giving us family. I don’t know how I’d survive without them.


I’ve Got the Fever

I’m reading a new book. Actually, it’s not a new book. It was published in 1976, and the inside cover looks as if it sold for $14.95.

I paid nearly twice that, and so far it’s worth every penny!

To be honest, I’ve scanned it before. I didn’t own it and wanted to get it back to the owner. But this one is mine, so I’m going to take my time and squeeze every drop of goodness out of it.

“Cherokee Strip Fever” by Zola Sample.

From the jacket flap:

Young, terrified but resolute, Charity Bellis, with three small children, leaves the security of her Iowa home in March 1895 to join her husband in Indian Territory in their search for a new homestead. The long train trip ends at “Tulsey Town,” where a hectic night is spent in a clapboard hotel. The next day, Charity and the children arrive a the inland village of Sinnett, which they reach only after a near disastrous fording of the flood-swollen Arkansas River aboard the only conveyance available, a mail hack.

I’m at the part where they’re going on the mail wagon with Jim Sinnett. We haven’t forded the river yet (I’m on page 35. This is my downstairs book so I don’t have a lot of time to read it) but already I’ve read about several very exciting things.

The town of Sinnett, which was just down the road from C-Town on the Cimarron River (I think) was named for that mailman. The Dalton Boys’ cave is near Sinnett.

I wonder if I haven’t seen pictures and heard something about it on the Spit and Whittle site on Facebook. 😉

I learned from Zola (who was a teacher, you know) that the town of Chouteau, just south of Pryor Creek where the Shay crew used to live, was named for Jean Pierre Chouteau. In 1796, he established a fur trade industry that stretched across the entire state. He even got 3000 Osage Indians to move their permanent villages from west of St. Louis in 1802 to this post. (I met more Cherokee Indians than Osage when we lived there, so they must have moved on.)

Jean Pierre brought a paradise tree from France–the first tree ever planted in Oklahoma. It grew to be a historical marker at the home of Col. A. P. Chouteau, and I’ve never heard of it before this book.

I thought I hated history when I was in school. Having to memorize dates made me crazy! Still would if someone tried to make me do it. But I love knowing about the people who lived and loved back then. I enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations they suffered and learning how they made it through.

Because they did. They did everything that had to be done and still found time to be good friends and good neighbors.

Back when they had no electricity, no running water, no bathroom and, often, not even an outhouse, these people were happy. Joyful and spirit filled! How in the world did they do it?

I have no idea.

I get cranky if the air conditioner isn’t cool enough. Was the weather cooler back then? Was less expected of people? Was it easier to fit everything in that needed to be done?

I’ll keep reading and let you know if I find out.


Wedding Joy

The wedding was beautiful!

Fun! Joyful, even.

And yes, of course, I cried.

The groom was so handsome! (So were all the groomsmen!!!) The bride was beautiful and very sincere.

The ring bearers were wonderful! (Groomsman Bradley bribed the smaller one with Gummy Bears to keep him closeby, until he fell right off the stage!)

The flowergirls were so cute! One wasn’t sure she was going to go down the aisle, so while we peeked out a window to see a few pictures being taken, I told them how important their job was. “Each petal you drop is a blessing for the bride and groom. It’s important that you drop them all the way to the front so Matt and Nikki will have a happy marriage.”

They did a perfect job. And when they got to the front, the older one sat right down on the steps and made herself at home!

Preacher Dave was wonderful. If I’d been writing his part, I couldn’t have done a better job. He voiced exactly what I knew in my heart. Both sets of parents were asked to take part in helping the new couple form their home–not the house, where they live place. The where-ever-we-are-as-long-as-we’re-together-we-have-a-home place.

We promised.

He told the couple that marriage would teach them a lot about love.

And all the people said, “Dur!” Ü

I’m not being disrespectful to Preacher Dave. I’ve just been married long enough to realize that I had no idea what love was until I lived through a lot of what life had to throw at us.

The fires of this world can either turn the first blush of love to ash or it will change it to a patina that only becomes more beautiful as the years go by.

At the reception I danced with my son. I can’t tell you the name of the song he picked. Whatever it was (and I’m sure I’ll find out one of these days) the parts I heard voiced perfectly my feelings Saturday.

While we danced, I told him he’d been one of the greatest joys of my life. (Along with his two brothers.)

Looking back, I’d only change one thing. I wish I’d asked them to use the verse I asked Preacher Tom to quote in my wedding to G-Man so long ago–

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17

Yes, I know Ruth was speaking to her MIL, Naomi. But I think it was because of Ruth’s love for her deceased husband that she said it. Don’t you know she would have said it to him if she’d been able to?

That’s my prayer for the new Mr. and Mrs. Shay.



Wedding Week Wednesday

I might have I mentioned my son is getting married this week–probably only a few thousand times. In case you’re worried for me, I’m not quite as tense as I was.

I only woke up five times last night. *rolls eyes*

Yesterday was the hardest day yet. Yesterday, I went through pictures for the ones they’ll show at the wedding. It came home, yet again, just how much I miss my babies.

This is the baby who’s getting married. I found a pile of pictures of the boy that he can use, and I haven’t pulled the digital ones off the desk top computer yet. Or the ones from the surprise wedding.

The the best pictures, the ones I’ll never forget, are the ones etched on my heart–taking his first steps, his first day at preschool, the day the delivery girl carried him in from the car with blood streaming down his face and neck from a deep cut in his upper lip.

The night he kissed his first girl, his first piano lesson, the day we bought his sax and each time he played. How could I forget the joy he found when he could finally run the register at the pharmacy?

The look on his face the day I punished him by NOT letting him go to work.

Matt worked for the college while he was in school. At one time he made those phone calls to the alumnus (we all love to get those, don’t we?) and “met” a friend of mine from here in C-Town, and couldn’t wait to call and tell me about it.

I sometimes wonder how long his do-you-wanna-donate phone calls lasted. LOL! The kid has always been a people person. Must have gotten that from my mom.

  Who wouldn’t love that smile?


Countingdown Tension

The wedding is a week from today.

Each time I write week today, it comes out weed. Might be a glitch in my brain. Or maybe it’s countdown tension. Yeah, lazy, laid back me. Tense. Who knew?

Too much to do. Too little energy. LOL. See, I decided to cook the rehearsal dinner. Martha Stewart’s stuffed chicken breasts. Fifty of them. 😉 Thank God for sisters and great friends who give me help and advice.

I’m going to try to do the centerpieces with hydrangeas that Deb and I’ve grown. I love those big clusters of tiny blossoms!

This is from a couple of summers ago, but I have some just like it growing out there. Now if I can keep them from drying up and blowing away before next week, I’ll be a happy mama.

So the dinner is planned, I have the venue (the church!) and I have the best help in the world, which is an answer to prayer! Sister Debbie, who has been there and done that (she’s helped cater more than a few meals and cooks regularly for our entire family, and works in a flower shop) has volunteered to help.

Knowing that, I might even be able to sleep tonight!

Anyway, keep us in your prayers. More than anything, we want God’s blessing on the wedding and the marriage!

I blogged about Matt today at my writers’ group blog. Please come over, check out the photos and (please, please) say hi!