Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


The Land That Made Me, Me

This came to me in an email from my walking buddy. Most people have probably seen it, but it’s so delightful I wanted EVERYONE to have a chance.


Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.
We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since.

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me,

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me
, Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me,
We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me,

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me,

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me,

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me,

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me,

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea

Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me, Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me,

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

THANK YOU, Carollea!!!


‘Sgiving Twice

I think I mentioned we were doing the turkey thing on Thursday AND Friday. We did. And we did our best to get rid of all the food before it could turn into leftovers. 😉

Why is it everything tastes better on Thanksgiving?

Anyway, we went to Dad’s on Thursday, where we ate in the garage. We really aren’t that bad (most of us are very nearly house broken) but we usually eat out there when we’re at his house. The fact that there was thirty or forty of us and his kitchen area is fairly small and the dining area even smaller might have something to do with it.

We visited with relatives, in-laws and outlaws and people we only see every year or so on Thanksgiving. Talk about a great time! The kids were a delight. The adults fun and entertaining.

About the time we finished eating, Sister Cindy and her husband came. (Sister Cin had to work, but she made it to the garage as soon as possible.)  😉

Someone told a joke on Thanksgiving.

A waitress walked up to a man in a restaurant. He looked at her name tag and grinned. “Debbie, huh? Cute,” he said. “What’s the other one’s name?”

That’s the punch line. The end of the joke. My sweet nephew, a senior in high school answered, “Susan.”

I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would name their shoulders.

Late in the day, our niece and her husband came and brought their two. None of us can stay away from the sweet babies.

Isn’t she adorable?

They didn’t stay nearly long enough, but at least we got to spend a little time with them.

Only one of my kiddos and his wife were able to make it for garage dining, so the next day, I got up and started baking and cooking for the other two boys and their women.


Grandma Reeves Blue Ribbon Hot Rolls.

Sadly, these wouldn’t have won a ribbon. Even when they were straight out of the oven, when I tested one to see if it would poison us (it didn’t) it didn’t taste the same as Grandma’s did back in the day.

I’m not sure if it’s the yeast (Grandma used cake) or the locality (Grandma lived at Park Hill, near Tahlequah) or maybe the hands (Grandma made them for every get together) but they just weren’t quite right. Definitely, they needed more salt.

I wonder where I can buy cake yeast?

This is my dining room table. It’s not in the garage because our garage is full of cars and tools and silly stuff like that. It looks kind of empty in this picture, but when the food was ready, it got full really fast.

 I have a few turkeys that I set around at Thanksgiving to remind me of Mama. No, she wasn’t a turkey. (You really didn’t think that, did you?) She had a bunch of turkeys she set around to celebrate the season.

In the picture above, I tried to make mine look like a real flock of goblers, but the best I could do was a drill team.

I consider this one the mama turkey because she’s the biggest. And white. But I think it’s really a tom.

We had a great time

(Meleagris gallopavo subsp. intermedia) Wild t...

both days. And in case you’re wondering, Dad has the CLEANEST garage I’ve seen since we ate one year in Brother Jeffrey’s garage.

Garage dining–a Spess Family tradition. 🙂

Hope your Thanksgiving was as much fun as ours!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thess. 3:12


First Christmases

A Christmas tree in the United States.

I’m not talking about the FIRST first Christmas. I’m talking about my first Christmases.

When I was a kid, Santa came on Christmas morning, and didn’t wrap the presents. So when we got out of bed, our presents were out there!

In G-Man’s family, on the other hand, Santa came on Christmas Eve, and wrapped his presents.

This was when we lived in Bartlesville in a tiny little house. It’s a real Christmas tree–CEDAR.

 Here’s G-Man, wearing his gift from me. (He had a 750 Gold Wing and I wanted him to stay warm while he rode it.) He bought me that rocking chair behind him. It’s still in my living room. 🙂 I don’t know where his insulated coveralls are. LOL.

When we had kids, we had to compromise. Santa came on Christmas morning, but he wrapped his gifts.

More work for Mom. 😦

Our first Christmas with children was when we lived out at Silver Creek Ranch. I ran the dress shop (Four Seasons) and G-Man did what he does when he’s not in a pharmacy. Our tree was a REAL Christmas tree, which means it was a CEDAR. It was small enough to put on top of a card table in the kitchen, so #1 couldn’t reach it. And I bought all unbreakable ornaments in case he did reach it, nothing would break.

Somewhere I have a picture of him trying to reach the tree. 🙂 Of course.

This is Matt’s first Christmas, and Danny’s 4th. I’m not sure if Danny didn’t like to get his hair cut or if I didn’t like wrestling him into the barber chair, but he looks like a little hippie boy here.

A couple of years later, we had another first Christmas.

As you can see, Baby Bradley is disgusted, Middle boy Matt is kind of uncertain, but Big Boy Danny is a happy camper with his mouth full of candy. My kids always knew when they were around the “real” Santa because he knew them by name.

Amazing what a true saint can do! And this Santa was a true saint.

After all the boy’s first Christmases, we had the other kind of first Christmas. First Christmases with wives.

And they’ve come in order. Danny and his wife, China, first.

This year, we’ll have Matt and his wife, Nikki.

Next year, it’ll be Bradley and his wife, Nicole.

At least I have everyone’s stockings ready to fill.


‘Tis The What?

  • Thanksgiving’s over.
  • Black Friday’s finished, too.
  • It’s very nearly December.

That means this is, gulp, THE season. I’m not sure about you, but when they start counting the days until Christmas, I get a big knot in my stomach.

It might be an ulcer. Is there any such thing as a Seasonal Ulcer? If there is, I have one. (Maybe it’s the first one in medical history, but I’m pretty sure . . . )

Anyway (I know, back on topic!) it’s now the C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s season. So I thought I’d change my blog to a Christmasy look. *Sigh* Blog designers aren’t really into Christmas designs.

The one I picked is called Rust Grunge. LOL! Not a great holiday name. 🙂

I like being able to change the header picture, which is why I didn’t go with the only true Christmas design I found for WordPress. I’m doing good to be able to change the picture on top, so there’s no way I could design (or even redesign) one.

When I thought about what picture I’d like to use in the header, I wanted something that would make me think of a true Christmas. The first Christmas.

The picture I’d really like to put up there, I can only see in my mind’s eye. I want a picture of Mary holding Baby Jesus, and those are plentiful, but I want a picture of the way she really looked. Naturally, I went to the web.

I found this one.

 And this one.

This one’s not too bad.

I even found this. (It’s supposed to look like Baby Jesus. Go figure.)

But I didn’t find the one I wanted. One where the wonder Mary must have felt showed in her face. Imagine, knowing that God had put the Saviour of the World inside you for your body to nourish.

Can you even begin to imagine how she felt, knowing the One who would be our redeemer was at her breast? Each time she fed him, each time she changed his diaper (did they have diapers?) she knew she was touching the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

I think she must have lived in a state of awe.

Several years ago, Sister Debbie sang with two other women a song that was Mary talking about Baby Jesus. I not sure about the song or the tune. The third member of the trio was a girl about the age of Mary when Jesus was born.

Although this girl was much prettier than Mary probably was, her coloring was close to what Mary’s would have been. (Beautiful skin tone, dark hair and eyes.) The words of that song sounded like what I would have been thinking if I were Mary.

I think the song might have been Breath of Heaven.

Of course, I cried.

When I think of celebrating Christmas in the light of that song, my Seasonal Ulcer lets up just a little.

BTW: I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet–the main reason for my SU. Maybe I’ll make it easy on myself and skip this year. 🙂


Dog Has Kittens for Lunch

I love this video, especially the last part. Is it nature that makes animals (and most humans) love babies? Or God?

I had a professor once who said, “Humans have no instincts.” He acted as if it were a fact, not just his opinion.

Of course, I had to take exception to his remark. (I never have been very good at keeping my mouth shut.) As a mother, I knew God put an instinct in me.

I never was a girl who played with dolls. And even as the #1 daughter, I didn’t mother my siblings. (Thank goodness Sister Debbie was there to handle that job.)

But when my babies were born, I adored them. When they were tiny, I couldn’t stand to have them away from me–even across the room. If my sister came, took my baby from my arms and moved to a different couch to hold him, I just naturally followed along, as if there was something that connected me to him.

There was (and still is!) something that ties us together.

Love. 🙂



I know people who insist that everyone use their children’s proper names. Can’t be substituted or shortened, and I’ve never understood that. I’ve always had the feeling that if someone really likes me, they’ll have a nickname for me.

And I nickname those I love.

Maybe that’s because my dad nicknamed me Trudy Fair almost as soon as I was born. That wasn’t the first nickname in our family.

When Dad was a boy, Uncle Jim’s girls called him Joey. He had another acquaintance who called him Hossfly. He never seemed to mind nicknames (can’t blame a man named Carol for adopting other names, can you?)  so his kids never minded either.

Mama was Sue. (Shortened from Mary Sue.) I never heard of another true nickname, but a lot of people called her Liz. (As in Taylor.)

Trudy was about it for me, but Sister Debbie is called Bug. That’s short for Deedlebug, which was derived (I think) from her initials–DD.

As Sister Cindy said in her comment once, she’s Tinny-WooWoo. Sometimes, Speedy Gonzolas.

Sister Lisa is called #4 and Leeka Beth. (Phonetic spelling, guys!) Sometimes, like on the basket ball court or on a track, she was Greased Lightning.

Right away after he was born, #4 named Brother Jeffrey. “Boy!” (After Mama had four girls, even #4 was impressed by the miniature male in our house.) Uncle Frank named Jeffrey Buck, and calls him that to this day.

Amy answers to Amia Pizzaria.

While our family came up with some pretty good names, I think UF (Uncle Frank) has a PHD in nicknaming. He passed out names and never forgets to use them.

To Frank, I’m always Tuthan. (Debbie had trouble with S and he’s mimicking her 2 year old speech.) I always call Frank “Uncle Hank”–the way my oldest son pronounced his name.

My #1 son was dubbed Rooster a long time ago, and Frank’s grandsons are Boston (there’s a story there and I don’t know it) and Snake. (Sorry, there’s another grandson who’s named, but I can’t remember his handle.)

Frank’s son’s fiancee is Chickadee, his granddaughter is Menderella. He calls my #2 son “Matthew P Coletrain.”

In our home, we had a few renames, too. Danny Donkey from my Mom, Mattew (no th sound) Pocket (courtesy of Bradley) and Buggy (The name Matt first called Bradley.)

And even my DILs have been crowned–I call China, Shiny, and Nikki, Nicolette (a character on Big Love.)

And I’m working on the name for our DIL2b.

What do they call you when you’re at home?



It’s Thanksgiving Day (if I set this blog to publish at the right time.) BRING ON THE TURKEY!

Just about everyone loves Thanksgiving, don’t they? All you need for a perfect day are four F’s:

Food, Family, Friends and Fun!

Of course, it’s much more fun if everybody pitches in to help cook and clean up, but you can’t always get what you want.

 I’m not positive everyone will be able to be with their friends and family, but I’m posting these cartoons, hoping to add to your fun.

LOL! I love Snoopy. He says so much without ever speaking at all. (See the bubbles coming from Snoopy? That’s proof he’s not talking.)

This is from my walking buddy, Carollea–

A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says,” I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.

“Pop, what are you talking about?” the son screams. “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like heck they’re getting divorced,” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this,” She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up the phone and turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says,”they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”


Okay, maybe that last one is a little dark. But some people like dark meat. Right?

Which ever you like best, dark meat or white, I hope you and yours have a beautiful, bountiful, boisterous Thanksgiving!