Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Favorite Thing *Grins*

Some of my favorite Tigers–Nephews Phillip and Eric. (Sister Cindy’s pictures.)

I live in a house divided. *grins*

One of my very favorite things is when C-Town BEATS HOMINY! 🙂

I know, you’re probably saying, “How long has it been since you were actually IN high school, Susan?”

Well . . . more years than I have fingers and toes to count on. But they’re still Hominy, and we’re still C-Town. And the rivalry has gone on for 90 years.

That’s ninety!

In case you’re wondering, the answer is no, I don’t remember the first few years. I can’t even tell you which town has won the most times.

I can tell you about the year Whoville–aka Hominy– (a nod to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss) beat C-Town 72-12. (OUCH.) I won’t be satisfied and stop paying attention until we return the favor. 😉

Why is my house divided? G-Man is from Whoville, so every year one of us gets *grins* on the other for the entire next day–or year, as the case may be.

Last night, I got *grins*–C-Town 48-Whoville 28!!!

GO TIGERS!  (Got a Buck.)

My thanks to Niece Hope for texting me scores and updates last night. You’re the best.


Cricket Town

Louis L'Amour

Louis L’Amour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Louis L’Amour used to be my favorite writer. For a time in my life, his books were all I read. In those books, he had a saying he used several times. It was something like, “Don’t kill that cricket. His friends will come and eat your socks.”

Guess what? Someone must have killed a cricket in C-Town.

Yesterday, I went with one of my nieces to watch her little sister play softball. (I’m so glad we have school sports for girls these days!)

On the way to the softball field, my niece told me they were having a problem with crickets at school.

And, she said, if anyone started to kill one of the little bugs, her best friend would rescue it and shoo it out of the school.

So I quoted Louis. “She must know if you kill a cricket, his friends will come and eat your socks.”

“But I don’t wear socks, Aunt Susan.”

The girl reminds me of her mama. A lot. LOL. She went on to tell me how many crickets they’re seeing at school. Took me back to when C-Town had a real cricket infestation.

I don’t know why we had so many of the critters living and loving in our town, but they were here by the billions.

Mom owned the dress shop back then, and I worked there. It was in this building, in the front of the main floor. When I’d get to work every morning, the long wall you see would be black with crickets. The sidewalks were covered with crickets. The streets were covered with . . . well, you get the point.

And when I unlocked the door and walked into the shop each morning, I heard the unmistakable crunch of bugs smashing under foot, because the carpet was covered with crickets. Dead crickets, mostly, since we had a bug control guy spray the store each month. The first thing I did was grab the vacuum and sweep up all the little black carcasses.

Even little dead crickets start to smell after a few days, so we kept emptying the sweeper bag every day or two to keep the odor down. One morning, I noticed that dead cricket smell. Gag! I emptied the vacuum bag and took the bag outside along with the trash. The odor was still there.

I hoped I was the only one who could smell it. None of my customers mentioned it, but when my help came in that afternoon, she didn’t hesitate. “It stinks in here. We need to change that sweeper bag.”

“I did change it, and it’s outside. I don’t know what that is.”

The hunt was on. We checked under racks, behind the jewelry counter, under the check out stand and in the office. Nothing. Then she had a spark of genius.

The building we were in was an old bank building. The entryway had two doors to pass through, which was supposed to keep the wind from blowing directly into the main room. (I guess that was so the bank’s stacks of money wouldn’t blow all over before they got it in the vault.)

When the building was built, they made a little indention in the floor in that entry with a scrape-the-mud-off-your-feet-here grate in it. Beneath that grate was a graveyard of dead crickets, sending their perfume into the shop. We got them out of there, fast! Thank goodness, the crickets moved on not too much later.

And now, some of them are back and hunting down my nieces so they can eat their socks. 😉

And the ball game? I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but when I left it was 5-0. We won.

Looks just like me, doesn’t she?


Loving the Weekend

How was your weekend?


First, it rained. Lovely, wonderful, glorious, beautiful rain. And not just a little drizzle. We had 2 2/10 inches in our rain gauge. One of the women I go to church with said she got 1.61 inches. When I commented on how precise she was, she said she had a digital rain gauge. (I want one!)

We celebrated #1 DIL’s birthday yesterday. I have to tell you, my kiddos are the best when it comes to picking wives, and #1 did a bang up job. His wife has great relatives that I just enjoy the heck out of.

Her parents, sibs, and the woman she made my Shirt Tail Relative are all people who just tickle the soup out of me. We didn’t get to see her fam this weekend, but I did have a little time to play with her pupper.

Yesterday, Queen Sophia had on a designer mini-skirt. DIL told me the name of the designer (something to do with Guns and Roses) but I don’t remember the name. It’s funny, but this sweet doggie has a better wardrobe than I do! LOL.

#1 son charcoaled yummy burgers for us. DIL prepared wonderful dips which, while they were actually purchased at Sam’s she tested to find the best ones and put in beautiful bowls. They were delicious! We finished with a cake from Merritt’s Bakery.

Ooooh, yum!

We said goodbye to Stony-the-super-youth-minister and his family yesterday. That was a heart breaker, I can tell you. As I mentioned before, he’s been here for 18 years and he’ll be sorely missed. The church was full of people who didn’t want to miss his last sunday with us.

As a going away gift, the church gave Stony and Dana an interest-bearing account to be used anyway they want, but which (hopefully) can be used someday as a down payment on their first house. And a Past Preach came to say goodbye, too, although the YM will actually be living closer to where the Past Preach is living now. I loved the few moments I had with Sherry, the PP’s beautiful and talented wife! Sadly, I didn’t get to speak to her DIL who was part of #1’s wedding.

The rest of my weekend, I spent taking an online knitting class at Craftsy called, KNITS THAT FIT. I’d have named it Fit Your Knits, since that’s what we’re learning to do, but they didn’t ask me. (Go figure.)

Here’s why I took the class–I tried on my Shalom Sweater that I knitted last year. (Might have been the year before.) And I found that I must have had someone else in mind when I made it. Someone like, oh, I don’t know, the Jolly Green Giant, maybe?  😦

   You can find the pattern here.

That’s what it’s supposed to look like. Because I didn’t swatch, didn’t check the sizes and did the equivilant of putting on a blindfold and throwing a dart (sizewise) I ended up with a sweater that would fit the Hulk.

It hasn’t been blocked yet, so it will look better, but it’s still huge. And since I absolutely refuse to unravel it and start all over, I might just add buttons and turn it into a double-breasted robe. 🙂

Anyway, I’m taking the Craftsy class to keep that from happening again. I hope! LOL. Now if I can just get brave enough to actually write down my measurements. *sigh*

Tell me, how did you spend your weekend?


Favorite Things

You might have noticed something different here in Small Town World.

I’m trying to keep my blogging to three days a week (or there abouts.)

Why? you ask. 🙂

Because I was spending all my writing time blogging, and I really need to write my stories, you know?

Every now and then, I’m going to have (if I remember) a favorites day, and tell you about something I really, really like.

I don’t think I’ll go so far as to call it Favorites Friday. Knowing my past history, it would turn out to be Favorites Friday or Whatever Day I Feel Like It.

Why? you ask. (Boy, you have a lot of questions today.)

A long time ago (I think I was in high school, maybe) I decided that I wanted to be a glass-half-full kind of person. You know, the ones who wake up happy in the morning and see the good side to things that happen–if there is a good side. 😉

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t always attained that goal. I can gripe with the best of them. And yeah, some days griping, whining and complaining is my favorite thing, but I try to keep it to a minimum. And I don’t think I’ll share it here.

I know some people are irritated by the Mary Poppins of this world. They want to smack the smile right off her face, and break Maria Von Trapp’s guitar. But I doubt if they stop by STW much anyway. 🙂 Besides, I loved Mary Poppins and adored The Sound of Music.

Today (since I’ve spent so much time yammering about stuff) my favorite thing is HAPPY ENDINGS. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? To be happy?

When I accidently watch a movie that doesn’t have a good ending, I hate it. I promise myself to never watch that movie again.

Happily Ever Afters are the reason I love to read (and write) romance novels, because no matter what terrible hardships and conflicts the hero and heroine encounter, they always have a happy ending. I put the book away thinking they lived together to a ripe old age.

And when they died, they went to heaven with their loved one by their side, and that’s the happiest ending of all. 🙂






Scorpion Stories

Scorpion anatomy: 1 = Prosoma; 2 = Mesosoma ; ...

Scorpion anatomy: 1 = Prosoma; 2 = Mesosoma ; 3 = Metasoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I think Oklahoma is the best place in the world to live. I really do! It’s a wonderful state, full of friendly and very (!) interesting people.

We have mountains, prairies, rolling hills, deserts, colorful rivers, sparkling cities, and fantastic Small Town Worlds, not to mention a colorful history as well as a brilliant future!

I ♥ Oklahoma!

But . . . there are one or two things about Okie-Land that’s less than perfect. They’re the kind of things (wild fires, searing summertime heat, tornados) that makes some people want to ask God, “What were you thinking?”

One of the things I wish He’d left out of Okie Land is the scorpion. Just whisper the word. Sssssscorpionsssss. Almost makes you hiss, doesn’t it? *shiver*

Sadly, Okie Land has its share of the nasties, but they’re found all over the world except for the Antarctic. (Can you imagine scorpions in Paris? Sounds like a scary movie, doesn’t it?)

My first meet up with a scorp, I was at Grandma Reeves house on the outskirts of C-Town. She  had a big, screened-in front porch.

Now I’d been warned about scorpions, because my cousin, Liz, had already been stung by one. (As I remember the story, it was in Liz’s shoe. Dad remembers it being where she sat down. Both would be painful, but one is a tad more memorable.) Anyway, Mom warned us about them and even talked about what they looked like.

“They’re tan or brown, up to an inch or two long and have a stinger that curls over their backs. If you see one, get away from it and tell an adult!”

So I knew (kind of) what the critter looked like. I remembered that they hurt. A lot. One late afternoon, I was with Grandma on the porch when I noticed something on the screen. It kind of looked like the stinging bug Mama told us about, but it was different.

This one wasn’t brown or tan, it was a greenish color. And the stingy tail didn’t curl up over its back, it curled to one side. And it had a small piece of grass in its mouth–or maybe there was a grass blade stuck in the screen and the scorp had stopped to chew on it.

I wasn’t sure what that thing was, so I thought I’d test it. Smart girl that I was, I touched its tail to see if it would sting me. Because of the way he was situated, I could only touch the curve, not the stingy tip, so the scorp just took a couple of steps. He didn’t hurt me.

Puzzled, I decided to ask. “Grandma? What’s that’s this thing?”

Grandma lowered her paper. When she saw the scorpion, she yelped, jumped out of her chair and beat it so hard with her paper, it went right through the screen. (Strained scorpion. Yum.)

I never saw Grandma move that fast again.

My next experience with a scorpion was many years later when I was pregnant with my first son. We lived out in the country in an old house. G-Man was at work that night and, because the only air conditioner in the house was a window unit in the kitchen, I was sleeping as close to it as I could get–in the living room.

I was watching TV when I glanced up and saw the scorpion. He was on the wall near a pair of layered glass pictures I’d painted in Janyce Brown’s tole painting class. I was home alone, and it was late at night so I couldn’t call anyone to find out how to kill him.

Okay, when I noticed the Okie Scorp, in my mind I saw an Asian Scorp. (Hey, I was pregnant. I get to blame my hormones for all weird thinking.) To me, that was a tough, hard to kill insect with poisonous venom. I couldn’t let it sting me and harm my baby!

I panicked. How do I kill a scorpion? Fly swatter? Not strong enough. A newspaper? Not hard enough, not thick enough. It might run on top of the newspaper or sting me right through it. What’s big, thick and heavy enough to kill a monster bug?

An encyclopedia!

I edged past the devil’s pet, grabbed the thickest book in the ABC line up, and went back to the living room. I balanced that heavy book in my hand and, taking a deep breath, SLAMMED it against the bug on the wall.

Both layered glass pictures hit the floor. I don’t know how long held the encyclopedia against the wall, but it was a long time.

Would he be dead or was he waiting for me to lift the book so he could leap on me? I could just see my husband coming home to find me stung to death or lying on the floor in a scorpion induced coma.

Finally, I screwed up my courage enough to lift the encyclopedia. (But I was prepared to slam it back against the wall if I needed to.) At first I didn’t see him, and my heart jolted. Had I missed? Had he scurried away to hide until he had a better chance to attack me?

I put down the book and picked up one of the fallen pictures. As I slid the wire back onto the hanger, I found Mr. Scorpion.

Imbedded in the wall, he looked like a gun slinger had the draw on him. (Hands up!)

For the rest of the time we lived in that hot little house, I never quite got that bug cleaned out of the wall.

BTW: I know why God had to give O-World a few things that we don’t really like (wild fires, searing summer heat and tornados.) It’s so we’d have a reason to want to go to Heaven. If we didn’t have a few yucky things, we’d already be There. 🙂

Have you ever met a scorpion?