Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Missing Barbara


This is such a Small Town World.

I have an effervescent red-headed friend named Barbara Smith. I met Barbara right after I moved to T-Town with my cousin many years ago.

One day after a hard day at school, we walked across the parking lot going to our little one bedroom apartment and coming toward us was a woman with bright red hair and a friendly smile.

She introduced herself and said she was from that Small Town World to the North.  I never was very good at the don’t-speak-to-strangers thing Mama tried to teach me. Barbara and I hit it right off. 🙂

Turned out, Barbara was a friend I just hadn’t met.

She was so good to me. And smart. And more than happy to share her knowledge about a world where I was new and untried. And glad to help.

One night, my cousin and I had only one key to our apartment. (For some reason, we’d lost one.) Anyway, we both had dates and since she planned to get in about 9:00 and I usually got in about 11:00 or midnight, I let her take the key.

When I got back, the door was locked so I knocked–several times. Long story short, I was locked out. (My cousin slept so soundly, she put that statue of the sleeping angel to shame.)

I had a choice of sleeping on the sidewalk or turning to Barbara. Guess which one I chose. LOL.

I knocked on Barbara’s sliding glass door, and without a word of complaint, she got out of bed and unlocked her door. She was more than happy to to loan me a couch to sleep on that night.

Now here’s another STW thing–I met and married G-Man, and being from the same Small Town World, Barbara not only knew and liked him (I said she was smart!) her brother had gone to school with him. Not only in Hominy but also in college.

Several years later, G-Man’s brother married Barbara’s niece. I was so glad! And thrilled because it meant we’d get to stay in contact with her.

I loved knowing Barbara. We never lived together or had daily contact, but she was always a friend.

For a long time, we even had the same hairdresser and stayed in touch through her. 🙂

Now Barbara is in Jesus’s arms, heart to heart with Him. I’ll miss her bright and friendly smile and the look in her eyes that always said, “I like you.”

“I know where the bodies are buried . . . and I’m not saying a word.”

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

7 thoughts on “Missing Barbara

  1. Friendships like this are rare and should be cherished! I had a friend like this but we had a falling out…..You reminded me how very much I miss the closeness we used to share. Very nice blog Susan! Peace Jaz 🙂

    • You’re exactly right, Jaz. True friendships are a gift from God! I’m so sorry you had a falling out with your friend. I’ve been through something much like that with a different friend, and it broke my heart.
      Keep your ex-friend in your prayers. The friendship might never be mended, but for some reason, praying for that person’s happiness somehow heals the pain. At least it has for me.

      • Susan, I will keep her in my omi mani padme om….as always….I have friends that just stick to me….she’s one and I miss her.It’s sad that we are so far apart

  2. I knew Barbara too! Her sister Laurel (Lolly) was a good friend of mine in school. I graduated with Lolly. I also played with her nieces near her mom’s house.

    • The service was really a celebration, Terri. Harvey (Bill) told a little about Barbara’s life growing up and one of her nephews sang and played the guitar. I had no idea that family was so talented. 🙂

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