Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Happy Halloween!

Minnie Mouse in Mickey Mouse Works (1999)

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Do you remember Halloween when you were a kid?

We used to wear our costumes to school and have parties to celebrate the fun day.

I tried to think of the earliest Halloween I could. It was when we lived in The Ford, way back in the day. I remember a party we had at my grandparents’ house when we all wore costumes, but I probably only remember that because of the picture of me and all my cousins in costumes. (It had to be a big picture to get all those cousins in.) 

The first one I remember for sure is the one right after we moved to C-Town. Sister Debbie and I were so excited to go trick-or-treating in our new Small Town World. And the best part was, our friends, Janie and Sally, were coming to trick-or-treat with us.

We got dressed and waited for them. It seemed as if they were never going to get there, so Mom let us go next door to trick-or-treat our neighbors, Tom and Jane.

Debbie dressed up as Minnie Mouse, with official (Minnie Mouse ears and everything!) and I dressed up as a witch. (My kids would tell you that was prophetic. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!) We took our t-0r-t bags and trailed up the small hill to the neighbors and rang the bell.

Tom was tall and slender with only a small rim of hair on his head. It seems he always had a funny tale to tell, and even if he wasn’t telling something funny, he had laughter in his voice, just saying hello. And Jane was one of the sweetest women I’d ever met. (Most women were sweet back then, come to think of it.)

They took us inside, took our pictures, talked to us a little, then let us choose something for our treat bags. I don’t really remember the treat. I do remember that they made us glad we rang their doorbell.

We wandered back home to watch out our big picture window while we waited for Janie and Sally. Finally, their car pulled up in front of our house. Then another car pulled up behind them. And another, and another, until a whole line of cars was there.

Mom and Dad’s friends from The Ford had come to C-Town to give them a surprise house-warming. Our new house, which had been empty and lonely just a few days before when we moved in, was filled with warmth and light because the great people from The Ford took their Halloween night to share their love with us.

I don’t remember if there was anything to eat or gifts, but I remember a bunch of people in our house and being very glad that C-Town really wasn’t that far from home at all.

Did you trick-or-treat as a kid? What’s the earliest Halloween you remember?

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Sunday Morning Thoughts

Psalm 24: 1-2 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it; 
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

While my walking buddy and I walked through our Small Town World this week, I used my phone to snap a few pictures of the trees. It never fails to astound me when I see the riot of colors God gives us a the end of a long, l-o-n-g summer. (This one lasted forever!)

Even after all the autumns I’ve lived there (and yes, there have been a lot of them!) I’m still enthralled with the beauty He gives us.

He knows what we need, when we need it, doesn’t He? Aren’t we fortunate to have a Father who loves us so much?

Imagine, if he didn’t really care for us, what kind of world He might have created? We might have had a world without color or scent or sound. We might have had a world (or life) that didn’t change, day after day, year after year until we died of boredom.

But our wonderful God, who has more imagination than I can begin to comprehend, gave us trees that not only shade us in the summer and protect our homes from storms, but that change from color to color to color.

Ever wonder if those changing leaves are an example of what our lives should be? Beautiful new-leaf green when we’re young (ever see a baby who wasn’t beautiful?) strong leaf green during the summer of our lives, then becoming more beautiful reds, oranges, yellows and golds as we prepare to fall from the branch.

Haven’t you known women who became more beautiful as they moved into autumn? We had a teacher in our church family who went to heaven just a year or two ago who became so much more beautiful each year she lived, you couldn’t be around her without smiling.

If she’d been a leaf, she’d have turned a beautiful, brilliant red as she drew near her reward.

By the way, do you know how to keep a leaf from losing its color? How to keep it from turning dead black or brown and shattering to pieces? 

All you have to do is press it between the pages of a Book.

I think you know the Book I’m talking about . . . 🙂

 


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Corn and Lobster Chowder

Lobster

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My man and I have a favorite place to eat when we’re in T-Town. It’s call Kilkenny’s Pub and Grill and it’s on Cherry Street.  G-Man loves their steak, and I always order the corn and lobster chowder.

It’s delicious! And spicy. And delicious. So I decided to try to make it myself.

First I asked if they would give me the recipe. Answer? NO!

All righty, then. I thought about it a while and thought I could start with Ina’s Corn Chowder and go from there. Remember the chowder?

I’d just put in fewer potatoes, less corn, leave out the cheese and add Cayenne Pepper (about a teaspoon or so) and a few dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Oh, and lobster. I’d need about a pound of lobster.

And guess what! It worked. Amazingly enough, it tasted as good (or better) than Kilkenny’s. Mine had more lobster, but like I told my man, if they used as much lobster as I did, they’d have to charge way more for a cup of it.

I might even try it sometime with shrimp. It’s easier to get in my Small Town World.


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Trick or Treat!

Finally!

I’m ready for Halloween with a whole week to spare!

Can you believe it? I’m ahead of the game . . . for me, anyway.

Yes, the shoe fits! (Bwa-ha-ha-ha!)

A little light to scare the pupper in the night.

And watch this. (I don’t know if it’ll work or not.)

It didn’t. 😦

When you touch the pumpkin head above, he says, “Happy Halloween! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” I love it. If I knew how, I’d make it my phone’s ring tone. But since I’m doing good to be able to post this blog, I doubt I’ll get ‘er done.

A friend gave me these a few years ago. I’m not sure where she found all the treasures she shared with me, but I still enjoy them so much.

This guy sits on the table between my man and me. Isn’t it cute? I bought it right after my breakable Halloween candy dish fell to its death. (For some reason, that table gets a little crowded–most of the time.)

Now maybe we can save some for the kids! 🙂 I’ll probably have to make another trip to the store for more, though. I don’t know where it’s all going. Maybe Molly is sneaking candy when we aren’t looking.


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Wowed Wednesday

Old Ruby Tuesday logo and slogan

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Wowed Wednesday–Rain!

G-Man and I ate in T-Town at Ruby Tuesday the other night. As we waited for our food, we noticed a beautiful light show going on to the east.

“Do you think we’ll get rain?” I had all my fingers crossed. And my toes.

“There’s only a twenty percent chance.”

We happened to be seated in the restaurant between two very interesting groups.

One had fifty people (yep, 5-0!) in it. A wedding that had come to town. Several of the men had tattooed sleeves and one had the greatest beard. It was just on his chin, kind of skinny, hung about six or eight inches  and every 1/2 inch or so had a rubberband holding it together.

The other group (of only ten or so) was at the horse show going on at the Fair Grounds. One had a National Champion jacket. Another was kind of young and just a little bit loud and proud of the job she’d done.

Very entertaining! 🙂

So between the pictures being taken on one side (wedding) and the brags being shouted on the other, we had quite a night.

It started raining about the time our food came. (Steak for my man, Louisiana Fried Shrimp–soooo good!–for me.) First the windows got wet, then the thunder and lightning started overhead and the wind started blowing.

The delicious garlic-cheddar biscuits had us half full already, but we dug right in. Then the lights flashed. Ack!

We didn’t want to be caught without electricity in a restaurant full of people, so we paid up and took off. When we got to the door, we could see the rain coming down hard and thick and fast. Kind of like a generous waterfall during a wet spring.

My man told me to stay put and went for the car. While I waited, one of the wait staff came up behind me. “Is it scary out there?”

I laughed. How could rain scare someone? Maybe it had been so long since we’d seen it, she didn’t know what was happening. “It’s only rain. The lightning is what’s scary and it’s pretty much past us.”

She looked relieved when another girl came up. “I hope the rain doesn’t hurt.”

That one stumped me. Maybe she thinking about acid rain. “Hurt?”

“You know. Sometimes it comes down so hard, when it hits you it hurts.”

Wow. I don’t know where she was from, but I’ve been in hundreds of rainstorms over the years and I’ve never had a raindrop hurt unless it was sleet and I was riding a motorcycle wearing a helmet without a face shield.

I did my best to make her feel better. “It’s not hailing, so I don’t think there’ll be much pain involved.”

“I hope not.” She still looked worried so I decided to change the subject. A little.

“I’ve just been saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ for every bit of rain we’re getting. We really need it. ”

“Uh-huh,” was her only answer, so I stopped trying.

G-Man pulled up about then, and I opened the door. No pain, but the rain fell so fast, I nearly drowned. The water was top-of-my-shoes deep on the sidewalk, so I took a deep breath and ran. I didn’t have to swim, but I thought I might have to.

On the way home, we passed two dead cars, flooded out by high water. Who knew it could rain so fast that the dry ground couldn’t soak it up fast enough?

 I just wish it had gone on and on. 🙂

I hear the people at Oktoberfest had even more fun.


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Broken Hearts and Stones

Can you read it?

 Here’s what it says: Nanie. Dau of WH and Lizzie Clements. Died Nov. 8, 1896. AGE 5 yrs 7 mos. REST IN PEACE.

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Here’s another one.

I doubt if you can read this one. The picture is a bird (dove?) with something in its mouth.

Probably still can’t read it. Right?

How about now?

Still a little hard, isn’t it? Here’s what it says: Maxine Robertson. Born and Died Jan. 3, 1901.

Imagine both sets of parents’ aching  hearts? I know lots of babies and small children died around the turn of that century, but it couldn’t make losing them any easier.

Here’s something that for me is almost as sad–both tombstones are broken. You can see in the first one, it’s been lying on the ground for so long there’s grass growing between the stone and the base. 

The one belonging to Baby Maxine, who was born and died on the same day, is lying flat on top of the base.

I don’t know who is responsible for upkeep of tombstones, especially old ones. What if there’s not any family left to take care of them? What do we do? Just leave them lying on the ground?

Or maybe I could mix up a little concrete and take it with me the next time Carollea and I walk around the cemetery.


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Cherokee Strip Fever

Oklahoma's heritage as a pioneer state is depi...

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I’m really enjoying Zola’s book. It’s easy to tell she was a teacher. She does a great job of teaching me. 🙂

I really didn’t know how Tulsa got its name until this book. 

Once Charity got all wound up on how Tulsa Town was named. Bill had heard it called many names. Some spoke of it as ‘cow town’ by the river. But she had gone back to De Soto’s 1540 age quoting the Spanish explorer as saying the settlement was named ‘Talisa’, a fair city located in the northern Creek country, east of the Mississippi River, with buildings and cultiated fields. The Tul or Tal syllable means town and “ahassee”, meant old, thus Old Home Town. Other Creeks spelled the word Tallasi, Tulsa or Tulsii.

Who knew Tulsa what a Creek word? (Hands?)

And she tells several reasons men wore bandannas.

“He said a blue or red bandanna was as essential to the cowboy, miner, frontiersman or homesteader as his large sombrero.

“The bandanna is used to protect the back of his neck from the sun. Tied across the face below the nose it becomes a dust mask, or an oujtlaw’s protection from identity. It becomes a bandage in case of accident, a sling for broken arm; a blind for skittery horses, a strainer for drinking muddy water, and a towel. It can be used for signaling, a dish drier, for tying calf legs while branding; even for hanging horse thieves. He spoke jovial-like.”

 I love the way Zola writes. She talks about the evening after Thanksgiving and is so descriptive, it’s almost like being there. And since my dad lives close to where the Bellis’s homestead was, it’s easy for me to imagine.

Twilight came to the dense wooded area. Evening shadows spread over the bottoms. The velvet canopy of sky was studded with stars. The couple distinguished the bold evening star, the Seven Little Sisters, the Dipper, the North Star and the heavy sprinkled Milky Way extending from horizon to horizon.

Eventually, the harvest moon shed its golden glow for the happy family’s return.

The figures, sitting in the spring seat, formed a silhouette in loving embrace. God knew what He was about when He made a woman to walk beside her husband and be a helpmate. The two Bellis brothers could honestly vouch for this!

The Cherokee Strip and other areas of Oklahoma owe much to the Pioneer Woman. Rightfully, a statue has been erected in behalf of their enduring hardships.

Note: The Ponca City Pioneer Woman statue was donated by EW Marland, Ponca City oilman who later became governor. He commissioned the statue at an estimated cost of $250,000.00.

The cost included $10,000.00 paid to each of 12 sculptors, who submitted models in competition for the final selection. The winning entry by Bryant Baker of New York was dedicated on April 22, 1930, the 41st anniversary of the opening of Oklahoma settlement.

A crowd of 40,000 came to Ponca City for the dedication broadcast nationwide on radio. President Herbert Hoover opened the ceremony with a speech from Washington, DC. Will Rogers, Oklahoma native son, spoke at the dedication site.

My man and I lived in Punkin Center during the first years we were married. We bought our first home there. One of the first things I did when we got there was visit the Pioneer Woman museum. (Not to be confused with The Pioneer Woman blogger. LOL) 

The statue is in a beautiful park, but I can’t imagine 40,000 people crowding into it. Of course, back in 1930 they might not have had the streets, highways and businesses that arae there now.

I can’t ask my dad about it. He wasn’t born until September of that year.