Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


3 Comments

I Confess!

Ever heard confession is good for the soul? I’m not sure if I believe that or not, but I’m going to give it a smack.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Next week is Holy Week. Passover starts Friday, which is also Good Friday. A week from Palm Sunday is Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter. A very spiritual time in the life of Christians.

Here’s my confession–Even with angels singing all around us this time of year, I’m going to tell you about my love for the Three Stooges. 🙂

(That’s right. Today I’m as deep as a mud puddle.)

What’s not to like about the Stooges? Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard. Moe and Curly were brothers. And they were funny! My friends and I loved watching them after school. They made 190 short films, each one stupider than the one before. Gotta love a group who’ll act like that to entertain kids. (And adults who are kids at heart. My man laughs out loud when he watches them!)

When the shows stopped having Curly in them and started having Shemp, my friends and I were really sad. But one of our moms told us Curly had been dead a long time and we were watching reruns.

After Curly died, Shemp Howard (also his brother) took over. Shemp died next (that must have been a hard-on-the-actor job) so they hired Joe Besser who was replaced by Joe DeRita. Emil Sitka was the last man to take the third man spot.

With the Stooges, most people either love them or hate them. There’s not much gray area when it comes to slapstick fun. They made a show once where Moe played Hitler (I’ll Never Heil Again) and another where they were Civil War spies. So funny!

My favorite Stooges show has always been the one about the haunted suit of armor. The guy in the armor had peeked at Lady Godiva when she rode buck naked on a buckskin through town, even though everyone had been ordered not to look. As punishment, his spirit was sentenced to live in that suit of armor for 300 years. (I don’t remember how many years, but that sounds right.)

In the end, Lady Godiva rides up, the suit of armor hops onto the horse behind her and they ride into the sunset. And no. She’s not carrying a can opener. 😉

Do you hate ’em or love ’em? If you love ’em, what’s your fav?

Advertisements


1 Comment

☺ My Real Birthday ☺

Yesterday was my birthday. My Christian birthday. For most of my life, I didn’t remember the date of our baptism, so since it was one year on Easter, I celebrated every Easter, no matter what the date was.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ran over to the church on a weekday and asked the secretary if she could find it.

She did. It read, “Mrs. Gary Shay, baptised March 29, 19–.

“Who wrote that?” I asked, feeling a little irritated. I’ve never understood being called Mrs. G-Man when my name’s Susan, and I don’t mind explaining. “That’s not my name, and it sure wasn’t my name when I accepted Christ!”

Naturally, the secretary had an explanation so sweet that I shrugged and let her shove me out the door. (Joking. I went to high school with this sweet woman, and she never gives anyone the bum’s rush.)

Isn’t it funny, though, that seven words tell what happened all those years ago? It doesn’t really. It might help if you looked at the line right above mine. It said, “Carol Spess, baptised March 29, 19–.

Same day, same year.

I was seven years old, Daddy was twenty-eight. He’d gone to church some while growing up, but he’d never accepted Christ as his Savior.

When my parents married, Mama was a CHRISTIAN. She had a heart for the Lord that shined so bright, to be around her you nearly needed sunglasses. Make that SONglasses. 😉

Naturally, she took her kids to Sunday School and church and Vacation Bible School and every other time the doors were open. After we moved to C-Town, Daddy started going to church with us all the time.

When we hadn’t been here very long, Roy and Gloria Blizzard, the young new First Christian preacher and his wife, moved in down the street. They got to be really good friends with my folks. They spent time together, laughed together, and often ate together.

I think Dad saw the light of Christ in Mama and Roy and Gloria and the other people in our church, and wanted that for himself.

On that Resurrection Sunday (a loooong time ago) I wanted to be baptised. I wanted Christ to live in me, and I wanted Daddy to be baptised, too. But when I looked up at him that morning, he was hanging on to the pew in front of him, real tight. I wasn’t sure what to do.

So I pushed him. 🙂 He still remembers trying to make up his mind that morning, one way or the other, and hanging tight to that wooden pew, when I gave him a few strong nudges.

You might wonder how an seven-year-old girl could know enough about God to make a decision like that. After all, I hadn’t seen much of life and nothing of the world. I hadn’t had problems I wanted Him to help me through, and I sure didn’t possess a lot of Biblical knowledge.

But I’d seen Jesus. I talked with Him and LOVED Him, and wanted Him to live in me for all my life.

So I nudged Dad and it worked. Daddy and I started up the aisle with Mama right beside us, holding my hand. Funny the things you remember and what you don’t remember. I don’t remember my Easter dress that year or Mom’s or my sisters’. I don’t remember who else was baptised that day, but there were several of us.

I remember Mama’s hand shook, but Daddy’s was rock steady. She’d already accepted Christ, and had been baptised at a young-ish age. Why should she tremble? I wondered.

I don’t remember my voice being childishly high or clear, but it probably was as I made the Good Confession–

“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I want Him as my personal savior.”

Mama went to the dressing area and helped me put on a red robe that was a mile to long, but that didn’t matter because when I waded into the baptistery at the front of the church, it floated and didn’t trip me.

Roy, our preacher, was a tall man with jet black hair who talked with a Texas accent. I don’t remember where he was from, just that sometimes his words sounded double jointed.

He gave me a handkerchief to put over my nose and raised one hand, “Susan Caroll Spess, I baptise you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins so that you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“Buried with Him through baptism into His death, (he lowered me under, so there was water noise in my ears) to rise and walk in the newness of life.”

So wish us both a happy Christian birthday. I’d tell you how old we are, spiritually, but I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count.

And my dad? He grew as a Christian and in a few years became a Deacon. Several years after that, he was made an Elder. Because of his and Mama’s witness, his mother, father, at least two of his siblings and the other five of his children (and others in his life) became Christians.

Then at my son’s wedding this past weekend, Dad prayed before the reception that God would bless the food to our nourishment and, more importantly, Brad and Nicole’s life together.

As he prayed, I got a feeling deep inside that even though my baby was married and would never truly be my baby again, everything was going according to God’s plan.

Thank you with all my heart.

Love you, Pops.

PS: All of the beautiful scripture pictures are from Pearls of Grace on Facebook. Thanks!


Leave a comment

It’s a Trick. (Duh)

A few hours ago, I showed you a video of a man making a pop can reseal and refill itself, and I wondered, How’d he do it?

I believe in miracles, but not by men in hats who are entertaining party guests. So I checked and this is what I found.

(Now you, too, can amaze your guests. Unless they read my blog or Youtube.)

How they did it.

http://youtu.be/xsABNMj-xtA


Leave a comment

Another of Our Wedding Trads

A day or two ago, I told you about the Wedding Bible Tradition our mama started back in 1949.

The other important (in my mind, at least) tradition is one that started after Mama died.

I don’t remember who started it. I just know it wasn’t me. One of my brilliant sisters (I’m thinking Sister Debbie or Sister Cindy or maybe both) wore a piece of Mama’s jewelry to one of our Important Events. (Either a graduation or a wedding or something REALLY important, at least in our lives.)

Anyway, they pointed it out to me and said, “I wanted Mama to be represented.” I loved that idea! So after that, I wore something of Mom’s to every Important Event.

When #1 Son had his surprise wedding (have I told you about that?) I wore one of Mama’s rings. When I told him why I was wearing it, he got tears in his eyes for just a moment. Good tears, but still, tears.

At another Important Event, I told the honoree I’d brought Mama and showed my piece of jewelry. Honoree popped back at me and we went away smiling.

Then my niece who lived next door to me for a while got married. Gorgeous girl. Beautiful wedding. Fabulous time. After her makeup was on, while she was dressing, I dropped into the dressing room to say hi.

While I was there, I did my, “I brought Grandmommy,” thing, expecting a sweet smile.

Instead, I got tears. Not just filled eyes. I got TEARS! streaming down her face. “Why’d you do this to me?”

I scrammed out of there, fast! I could just see me walking into the wedding with a black eye or maybe an Indian sunburn from my sister as punishment for my evilness. (Sorry about that, Kendal.)

Fast forward to Brad’s Big Day. No matter how many tears my niece had shed, I still wanted my sibs to represent Mama by wearing her jewelry. So I texted each of them and asked them to wear at least one piece.

 That’s my hand on the far left. I inherited a ring Mama got once when we were in New York City, and while it’s not one I wear very often, it brings back wonderful memories. (I was seven months pregnant with my first son.)

Amy’s is next. She wears Mom’s spinner ring all the time. Deb has on Mom’s ring, and Cindy (far right) who I’m guessing has forgiven me for making her daughter cry at her wedding has on Mama’s ring, bracelet and a necklace.

Even #4, who wasn’t able to make it to the wedding (although she wanted to be there with all her heart) kept Mama with her that day.

Brother Jeffrey forgot.

When I told Brad about it the night of his wedding, there were no tears. No popping back.

He just gave me a sincere smile and said, “Wow, Mom. That’s really nice.”

Maybe I should have called this blog A Show of Hands. 🙂

Anyone want to share a tradition your family enjoys? Wedding? Christmas? Births of babies? Anything?

I’d love to find a new one to rip off. 🙂


2 Comments

Teachings

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug

Last night, I was out “with the dry cattle,” as Grandmother used to say. So today, I didn’t have a blog ready to go. But my friend saved me.

I’m sharing an email I received from my forever friend (ie: I don’t remember a time before we were friends) Cathy.

I have to tell you a little about her. Cathy is one of those women who excels in everything she does. We started first grade together. When we graduated from high school, I was in the top 10% of our class, she was our valdictorian.

We both took piano lessons while in school, she still plays for her church.

We both started college at the same time. She continued until she was on the faculty at a college in Colorado. One year, she was named as one of the top women in America.

Even with all her accomplishents, she’s still my friend. Gotta love a woman like that!

Forwarded by Cathy–

At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Honor and I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines , Iowa .

I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons – something I have done for over 30 years. During those years I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the
pleasure of having a prodigy, I have taught some very talented students.

However, I have also had my share of what I call ‘musically challenged’ pupils – one such pupil being Robby.

Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s  dream to hear him play the piano, so I took him as a student.

Well, Robby began his piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary piano pieces that I require all my students to learn.  Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him.

At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say ‘My mom’s going to hear me play someday’.  But to me, it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn  ability.

I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.

Then one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming – he was a bad advertisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to the students’ homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify.

He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. ‘Please Miss Honor.  I’ve just got to play’ he insisted. I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital – perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program, just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my ‘curtain closer’.

Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it.  ‘Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other students?’  I thought. ‘Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?’

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart’s Concerto No..21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent!

Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause!  Overcome and in tears, I ran up onstage and put my arms around Robby in joy.  ‘I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?

Through the microphone Robby explained: ‘Well, Miss Honor, remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away this morning. And well, she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.’

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy.

I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy . . . of Robby.  He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn’t know why.

Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April, 1995.

This account makes me wonder, what about us? When faced with a choice, do we act with compassion or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process?

May God Bless you today, tomorrow and always.

If God didn’t have a purpose for us, we wouldn’t be here!

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Leave the rest to God.


3 Comments

Wedding Trads

The Spess Girls have a couple of traditions when it comes to family weddings.

Most revolve around our mom.

The first one started back in 1949, when Mama married Daddy. After Mama graduated from high school, she moved to Old Ford to live with her brother and his wife. Her parents still lived in Texas. They couldn’t afford to come to the wedding, but they sent her $50. That would be $468.20 today. (I looked it up.)

I’m not sure what Mama did with all that money, but some of it she spent on her wedding dress (bought at Lerner’s in Tulsa) and some of it she spent on a white Bible to carry in her wedding.

It’s not as pristine as it used to be, but remember–

— it’s survived six kids. One evil child even wrote Mama’s name in it.

She should have smacked me for it, but she didn’t.

Anyway, when I got married, Mama wanted me to carry her Bible in my wedding. I wanted a bouquet to throw, but I wanted to carry the Bible, too.

So Mama bought this cover. It hid the yellowing leather and my bouquet could be tied to it. (That’s what the ribbon on top is for.)

So I carried it and my sisters all carried it. (I think.) I’m not sure if Brother Jeffrey or his wife carried it. Mama wasn’t quite as pushy insistant helpful as her daughters are. 🙂 But my boys’ wives all carried Mama’s Bible in their weddings. And they not only liked the idea, they acted as if they were thrilled to have it.

Many of the grandkids have had it in their weddings, but not all. One sister lives outside of C-Town (When most of us moved home, Daddy moved to the Ford, but #4 stayed where she is.) so she might not have thought about it.

And once the Bible went home with the wrong MIL, so we didn’t have it for at least one ceremony. But many of the kids have carried it, too.

My #1 son suggested that we write the names of everyone who carried it in the Bible so we won’t forget the history of it. (I won’t be doing the writing. I promise.)

So that’s our most important wedding trad. I think the sisters tried to start one where they “fixed” the bride’s nightgown just before she left on her honeymoon, but that trad died out. Or maybe it was beaten to death. Anyway, I don’t hear about it anymore.

So, how about it? Do you have a wedding tradition you’ll share?