Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


I’m Named After Basketball Shoes

I promised my friend, Larry Lawrence, I’d tell how I was named after a pair of basketball shoes. Okay, Larry, this one’s for you.


My mother’s name was Mary Sue, but when she was in school, everyone called her Sue. Grandma didn’t like it, but there you go.

Now, my mama was a very pretty little girl.

And according to people in the know, she was even prettier when she got older.

I’m not sure how old she is here, but she’s a teenager.

When she was in school, she played basketball. In those days, basketball shoes were made out of canvas. Not leather. And apparently the thing in The Ford school at that time was to write your name on your shoes.

Always being ahead of the others, Mama wrote her name and my daddy’s name on her shoes. (This was before they were married and, of course, before I was born.)

Then one day, they were playing an out of town team. (I imagine a tournament when several teams were there, but I’m not sure.)

Anyway, when she wasn’t playing, Mom left her basketball shoes sitting somewhere, and went to talk to her someday husband. A boy who’d noticed her good looks saw her shoes, picked them up and carried them to her.

“Are these your shoes?” he asked, flirting with her according to my dad.

“Yeah, they are.” Mama glanced at them and nodded.

“Betcha I can guess your name.” Even though my dad was right there, the boy kept flirting.

“You can?”

“Yeah.” He pointed at what was written on her shoe. “I betcha it’s Sue Carol.”

“Nope.” In my mind, Mama glanced at Daddy, giving him a sweet smile as she answered. “But that’s what I’m going to name my first daughter.”

She did.

And they lived happily ever after.



♥ ♥ ♥ WOW ♥ ♥ ♥

Did you ever have an, “Oh, wow.”

“Oh, Wow!”

“OH, WOW!” Day?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. All day long.

We’re at beautiful Post Oak Lodge near Tulsa. The place is beautiful. The grounds are beautiful. The weather is beautiful.

If you could buy a day for a wedding, yesterday would have been the high dollar, top of the line, all you could ever ask for variety.

My man took a walk with me in the morning.

We admired the view.

We surveyed the fire pit.

Discovered surprises

in the grass.

Huffed my way back up the hill to pop in on my now DIL and take a gander at her gorgeous dress.

Like a couple of kids, we watched as they unloaded flowers.

And at every turn, every time we saw something new and different and beautiful, I had this explosion inside my heart that came out, “Wow.”

Remember that song from Oliver!?

Who will buy this wonderful morning
Such a sky you never did see
Who will tie it up with a ribbon
And put it in a box for me

So I could see it at my leisure
Whenever things go wrong
And keep it as a treasure
To last my whole life long

Who will buy this wonderful feeling
I’m so high I swear I could fly
Me oh my, I don’t want to lose it
So what am I to do
to keep this sky so blue
There must be someone who will buy

It was just that kind of day.

Or this kind of day–

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 118:24; 27-29 NAS

Then it was time for the wedding. DIL #3 responded as sweetly as #1 and #2 and carried Mama’s Bible along with her bouquet down the aisle.

I’ll tell you about this Spess family tradition another time, but let me say, it’s a legacy I wouldn’t let go of for anything.

When the nuptial were over and the kiss kissed, we ate and we danced and we sang. My son’s new in-laws and their family and friends are wonderful people who I just like the stuffings out of.

Together, we celebrated the new couple and life.

There was a contest during the reception. G-Man and I stay in until nearly the last.

They asked anyone who’d been married two hours but not more than five years to go onto the dance floor. That sent two of my kiddos and their wives onto the floor. Those married five years but not more than ten went onto the floor next, which sent my other son and his wife out there. Then ten years but not more than fifteen. The floor grew more and more crowded until every married couple in the place was on the floor.

Finally, it came down to DIL’s parents, G-Man and me, my cousin and his wife.

DIL’s parents lost to us.

But we lost to my cousin and his wife.

Wow, again. My man and I have been blessed with more years together than nearly everyone in that crowded room.

Later one of the young men I met just that night asked me our secret for a long marriage. I could have told him keeping a sense of humor. Or spending time together. Or even communication. But I didn’t.

I told him stubbornness is my secret. My man and I are both too stubborn to let go of the love, the joy and the memories we have together.

Know what he said?


  • Oh, Wow! (


Happy Ever After

This is from Facebook. I know. You probably guessed that, even if you didn’t see it. I think it’s perfect for today. Because today my third son, Brad, is getting married.

Brad and I share one thing for sure. We both love the rain. And this week, his wedding week, it rained nearly every day.

I think it’s God telling him, “HAPPY WEDDING!”

“I approve!”


On Wednesday, God sent a double rainbow–

The main one to remind us He won’t destroy the entire earth with a flood, and the second (Can you see it? It’s faint, but there, right below my fingershadow in the upper righthand corner) to wish Brad and Nicole a HAPPY EVER AFTER!

And He kept it there for a long time. He wanted to be sure we saw it.

The bows were even there when I drove home.

All the way home.

Sometimes, it looked as if the rainbow ended on the hood of my car. How cool is that?

Sharing a blessing–

For Brad and Nicole–

God bless you and keep you,
God smile on you and gift you,
God look you full in the face and make you prosper. Num 6:24-26 Message.

I love you.


A Ring Thing

This started out to be a post called We Nailed It.

Warning: What you’re about to see maybe disturbing. Look at your own risk.

The foot in the blue sandal is a human foot on a live person. The odd color (paleness) caused by a lack of sunshine. People with this malady can be mistaken for walking snowmen. Do not let this happen to you.

But I forgot to take pictures of all the fun we had.

So I started to take a few this morning to share. You know, Show-And-Tell?

I snapped my toes.

And I snapped my fingers.

And that’s when I noticed what I really wanted to blog about.

The rings I wear. I sleep in them, swim in them, do everything I do in them. (Except get manicures. I take them off for that.)

The larger one is the one my man put on my finger during our wedding. He has one just like it, just a few sizes bigger.

The smaller one was my mama’s. Daddy gave it to her during their wedding. She was eighteen years old. He was nineteen.

 I’ll have worn it for twenty-one years on May 20 this year.

I don’t wear her ring as a protest against drunk driving. And I don’t wear it because its gold or old.

 I wear it to remind me of a couple of kids who got married and started raising a family two years later. Who named their first daughter after a pair of basketball shoes.

Who loved each other so much, worked together so well and had such a perfect marriage, all of their children have turned themselves inside out to emulate it.

I look at her ring and remember the first year we lived in Pryor Creek. Brad’s birthday party was going to flop, and on short notice, Mama gathered up the C-Town grandchildren and an armload of gifts and rushed to be there in time to cheer after he blew out his candles.

I remember the first year I was married and she dreamed I ran away from home. In her dream, she took my man to live with her and Dad.

I remember Mother’s Day weekend twenty-one years ago. I took the kids home to be with her, and she stopped everything to fish with my boys and the rest of the C-Town grandkids.

I look at her ring, and I remember the mother-in-law, the grandmommy, the friend, wife and mother I want to be.

  Mama won’t be at Brad’s wedding, but her spirit will be there in each of her children. And her grandchildren. And her great-grandchildren.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:28-31 NIV


Watching Over Us

I love this picture!

This was taken on Omega’s birthday. She’s smiling for my picture, but what I love is the way Dad is watching over her. It makes my heart warm and reminds me of the way God watches over His children. Loving us. Guiding us. Teaching us.

Because of him, the fact that God is our Father and He loves the stuffings out of us makes so much sense.

I took several good pictures that day.

We were celebrating February birthdays that day at the local Mexican restaurant. This is the obligatory birthday picture.

My walking buddy also had a birthday in February.

As everyone knows, if you put on a sombrero on your birthday, you’ll have good luck throughout the year! Or is that a spanking?

Hatman had to try a sombrero on, too.

Maybe he knew about the luck thing. Looks like it’s weighing him down, doesn’t it?

  Who, me?

But of all the pictures I took that day, this has to be my favorite.

It might be the best picture I’ve taken. Ever.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV

2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a] Ephesias 6:2-3 NIV.

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Molly Our Dolly

Have you met Molly?

She’s the Queen of the Castle in these parts.

Molly doesn’t mind posing, as long as I’m quick with my pic.

When I adopted her from PAWS several years ago, she was a rescue dog. We know nothing of her background, but we love her dearly. She is such a sweetie. When we come home from work, she’s so excited she climbs on top of the furniture so we’ll pet her. First. Before we do anything else.

She loves everyone except other dogs. And any animal on TV. From buffalo to hedge hogs, if she sees one on the screen, she chases it. She’ll even stand on the arm of our love seat, so she can be on the same level as the intruding animals.

Molly doesn’t understand she is a dog. She complains a lot in the evenings when we don’t give her some of the food we’re eating.

I’m afraid she’ll be terribly insulted this weekend when she finds out she’s not invited to her brother’s wedding. She pouted for weeks after #2’s wedding last summer. “Why couldn’t I go? Aren’t I part of the family?”

Poor thing.

Of course, the fact that she gets carsick and usually pukes all over the place makes it hard for her to go anywhere.

If I’m not quick with my pic, forget it!

 She’s outta there!

But still, she feels it’s the principal of the thing. After all, she’s known the boys longer than their women have.


I’m Leafing

I love springtime, almost as much as I love fall.

And I love my jasmine!

And I love gardens, and gardening! As long as it’s not too hot or cold or wet or dry. Guess you could call me a fair weather gardener. I just call me the WWG.  (World’s Worst Gardner.)

My favorite gardening is when I don’t do anything, and things just bloom. Like Jazzy–my jasmine who grows on the fence at the back of my garden.

Question: Do you name the plants in your garden? Is the fact that I do a sign that I’m . . .  Never mind. I don’t want to know.

Now, combine my enjoyment for gardens with my enjoyment of photography, which I’m not that good at either, but I enjoy the guts out of it.

Yesterday, I took my camera into the yard. I took Jazzy’s portrait, then noticed the leaves on one of my Japanese Maples in the first garden I built after moving here were looking good.

Don’t you love the way the light shines through?

I have a thing about leaves. I love to sit under a tree and just watch the leaves move in the breeze. They relax me as they whisper, rustle, play and some even predict the weather. (Deciduous trees’ leaves often turn upside down before a rain.)

I’ve been told that when I was an infant, I loved for Mama to put my carriage under a tree. I’d babble to the leaves as if they were talking with me.

I have a theory about babies and guardian angels.

BTW: Leaves aren’t easy to photograph on a breezy day. For some reason, they just won’t hold still. And living here on the lake, it’s a rare day that’s not breezy. So your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to pretend these pictures are well focused. This communication will self-destruct . . .  (TV Show/Movie title?)

Or maybe I’ll make-believe I wanted them this way so you could see the energy.