Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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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.


Cherokee Strip Fever

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

Image via Wikipedia

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.  

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Why the Cross?

I have some very pretty crosses. My first Bible from Grandma and Granddad Reeves when I was eight had a gold cross on the zipper that closed it.

I have a beautiful cross with a gold coin at its center (widow’s mite) that my dad bought when he went to Israel several years ago. I love it!

I even made some purse jewelry one day with crosses hanging from it. (Several fell off. I’m kind of hard on that kind of thing.)

But for some reason, I woke up this morning with question on my mind.

Why the cross?

I’m not asking why Jesus went to the cross. I know why.

No human is perfect. We all sin.

Romans 3:23–For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And no sinful thing or person can be in God’s holy presence.

Romans 6:23 a– For the wages of sin is death

Eternal death. Hell. But Jesus went to the cross and died so that if we accept this gift (freely given) we can live. Eternally. In the presence of God.

Romans 6:23 b (the rest of the verse) But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I don’t understand how the cross became our main Christian icon. To be very honest, the cross was ugly.

 The Passion of the Christ.

This the best depiction I could find that shows what the Cross of Christ really looked like. (Probably.) 

The cross wasn’t just ugly, it was hideous. An instrument of torture. I’ve heard it said that it’s kind of like wearing an electric chair around your neck. (Except an electric chair does the job faster than the cross did.)

From Wikipedia: During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution and Christians were reluctant to use it.

I don’t blame them!

One of the earliest Christian symbols was the Ichthus, or fish symbol.

Remember the meaning behind it?

ichthus = 2) an iconographic symbol for Christ from the initials in the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter (Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour, ιχθύς in Greek); or representing Jesus as a fisher of men.

I wonder why we didn’t just stay with that?  

Of course, the cross is to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice as well as His love.

They’re so pretty, they do remind me of the beauty of His love.

But how in the world did we ever start using a cross? Do you know?

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Oklahoma State University Athletics logo

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Me and football? *snicker* I was a cheerleader, but tht doesn’t mean I knew what was going on out on the field. I’ve been to a few high school games this year because I have two (!) great footballing senior nephews playing.

Sister Debbie has to explain what’s happening. (G-Man does it when we’re home. Or Middle Son.)

Today, Middle Son is in Missouri, watching Oklahoma State beat them. I know OSU is winning, because I can see the score now and then on TV when I look up from my ‘puter. If they didn’t post it, I wouldn’t have any way of knowing.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy going to football games. I love being at the game. The excitement in the air is contageous. The entire stand you sit in is usually pulling together for one side or the other to win.

Talk about an instand Small Town World!!! It’s great.

One year, G-Man, Middle Son, one of the nephews and I went to watch Oklahoma University play Colorado in a Big Twelve Championship Game in Kansas City.

If you ignore the fact that it was FREEZING, and the wind was blowing, and the score was so lop-sided, it was almost boring, we had a fantastic time. 🙂

And we got to do a little shopping while we were at KC, so that’s always fun.

The good thing about watching Oklahoma State University (I call it Oklahoma Spess University because so many kids in my family went there) is they’re winning these days.

And, of course, Pistol Pete. He’s, like, the coolest mascot ever!


Gotta Love It!!!

Imagine my house is a cabin deep in a forest somewhere, and a forest fire is blazing toward me. I have only minutes to snatch a few of my favorite, most cherished things. What would I take?

Along with my Bibles, kids’ baby books, pictures (while we’re imagining, pretend I have a dump truck to load it all in) my laptop, old things handed down to me from G-Man’s family and mine (and it’s a slow moving forest fire) the one thing I couldn’t leave without is this–

This is a cookbook my friend, Marilyn Pappano, gave me a few years ago. One day, she mentioned she was making one for her son for Christmas. I immediately started jumping up and down like a demented bunny rabbit, waving my hands like a traffic cop at the Indy 500 and screaming, “Me, too! Me, too! I want one of those.”

Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite that animated, but I would have been if the situation had required it. 🙂

Marilyn just smiled her sweet smile and remembered. By the time Christmas rolled around, I’d put the cookbook out of my mind (hey, that’s a lot of work!) but Miss M hadn’t. 

Thank you again, M! This is the gift that keeps on giving and never wears out. (The pages are in page protectors so if I get food or oil on them, they can be wiped right off.)  

Marilyn is one of the very best cooks (my fam excluded, of course) I’ve ever known in my life. She’s lived all over the south and collected the absolute b-e-s-t recipes I’ve ever begged for.

Just a taste of her Jambalaya will make your tongue lap your brains out. (That’s a saying my granddad passed down to my dad, who passed it to me. It means it’s good stuff.)  

I’ve already shared at least one of her recipes. Remember Ummm–Babyback Ribs? That’s a Marilyn recipe. (I fixed it just this week. So good!)

This week, I’m sharing a snack with you. Marilyn took these to our Christmas party one year. They’re a great, delicious snack and not (very) unhealthy!

I’m not sure who Regina Hicks is, but the woman knows what tastes good.

Here’s how you do it–

Put the spices and oil in a shaker jar and the pretzels in a container such as a plastic bag or Tupperware container with a tight fitting lid. Pour the spicy oil over the pretzels, close the container and shake it up.

Every 15 minutes for two hours, shake it up again. And, just like magic, the pretzels are ready.

I poured them out on a paper towel covered cookie sheet, but there wasn’t any oil to absorb. The pretzels had soaked up every bit of the oil and spices. And when you eat them, they don’t have an oily taste or touch.

I don’t know where it all goes, but those pretzels are addictive. (I didn’t have cayenne pepper, so I used chipotle pepper and tossed in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.) They were still yummy good, but I think I’ll add more spices next time–or maybe I’ll buy some cayenne and do it right. 😉

 I’m telling you, this is good stuff!