Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Coyotes, II

When I was a baby, Mom’s Uncle Henry gave me a puppy named Mike. I’m not sure who named him Mike (I really was a baby) but he was the best dog ever! One of those pets that you just think about and a smile starts way down deep inside you and doesn’t stop until your mouth stretches in a big old smile. He was the best!

We don’t have many pictures of Mike. (My family didn’t often waste film on dogs) but we have this one, courtesy of my cousins’ mom.

mike's-photoThis is Mike. He didn’t have white on his face, and I’m not sure why this picture looks like he did. It might be snow or maybe it’s the way the light hit his face and that old film.

Anyway, we lived on the farm in the Basin outside of Old Ford when we got him. He lived there with us, and when we moved into town where we lived with Grandmother and Granddad, he stayed at the farm. (The house in town was on the highway, so farm life was much safer.)

Mike did come to town every now and then. Once, when Dad went out and got the tractor to do something at the house, Mike followed him into town. Debbie and I were so excited to see him, even though we’d probably been out to see him just a few days before that.

Anyway, Mike lived on the farm where Uncle Frank and Uncle Paul and their families lived. Both families fed him. It’s a wonder he wasn’t fat, fat, fat, but he was too busy to get fat. Whatever was going on, Mike was in the midst of it.

mikeWilma Spess won an award with this picture.

This is a picture of a picture. I snapped it through the glass to share with you. The red on the coyote is my shirt, reflecting in the glass. (Sorry!)

For some reason, this coyote had been prowling close to Uncle Paul’s house, snacking on UP’s chickens. My uncle decided he needed to do something about it, and took the dogs to go after him.

BTW: So you don’t think too harshly of us, in Okie-Land there used to be a bounty on coyotes.

The coyote has turned on the dogs here, ready to do battle. It’s not a fill-you-with-glee picture, is it? So why did I share it?

Because Wilma took a great picture. (Wish you could see the original.)

Because I wanted you to meet my dog, Mike. 🙂

And because I wanted you to see how gorgeous the coyote is.

coyote    He’s a beauty, isn’t he?

I’ll bet nobody had to make him howl! 🙂



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Wowzer Weekend Pics


Wowzer Weekend

A picture of a birthday cake

How was your weekend? My was fantastic!

I had so much fun, I’m exhausted this morning. Why was it fun?

First, I spent time in my garden. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like having time in the garden when the temperature is less than 100 degrees, you know?

G-Man took me to Red Rock Canyon Grill for my birthday dinner Saturday night. YUMMMMEEEE! The ribeye was fantastic. Wish I’d taken a picture of it, but  . . . 🙂 I really need to learn to cook like that.

Then I spent yesterday with family at a baby shower for niece Kendal. Getting there was a real trip. (Ack!) On our way in, there were walkers EVERYWHERE. And nearly every street we wanted to drive down was blocked with those ugly orange cones. I threated to plow through them a time or two, but a police car usually drove by about that time, which cooled my jets.

We thought it might be the walk for MS or maybe the color run (whatever that is) but from what I can tell from looking on line, it was a training run for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. No one knew yesterday, so I’m just guessing. 😉

734415_10151527438324557_422295830_n The actual run will be in a couple of weeks. In case you’re wondering, I don’t plan to be there to watch or run. Didn’t think so, did you?

Hopefully, I’ll download some pictures from the shower to share with you before Wednesday. It was the bomb!





The Family Rock

Last fall, I shared this picture with you when I was talking about family pictures.


My great-grandmother was much better at commanding the fam to get together for a pic than I am. She succeeded. I didn’t.

This picture still isn’t very good, but I used a photo-editing program to darken it a little, because I wanted you to see what’s behind them.

That’s Twin Rock on Eagle Mountain. (Okay, it’s not really a mountain, but that sounds better than Eagle Hill. Right?)

Twin Rock is a sort of Spess Family icon. We love it.

My dad’s only sister had a picture of her and her cousin snapped there. It was a shot of one of the girl’s head as she’s lying on one rock, and the other girl’s feet, as she’s lying on the other. I THINK they were supposed to look as if the first girl was so tall, she could lie down and curve her body all the way around so her feet stuck out from the other.

It took me several years of looking at it to figure out what they were doing.

Naturally, since Twin Rock is famous in our family, I’ve been there a few times. Once, I was reading all the names and dates carved into it. Lots of names–most of whom I’m related to.

Then I came to a four letter word. H-E-L-L.

That stopped me. Rock chiseling is a lot of work. Why would someone be so proud of knowing the word, they’d work that hard to share it?

Maybe, I thought, it was a warning. Something like, Beware of hell? So I brushed off lichen and moss, trying to see if there was more to it.

There was.

It said, “Mitchell.” LOL. Yep, a family name.

The carving probably wasn’t as hard as I thought, I realize now, because Twin Rock is made of sandstone. Sandstone is a soft material, which erodes quickly.

Twin Rock isn’t nearly as tall as it was in this picture that was probably taken about 1903 or 1904. In fact, it’s barely taller than my head. But most of the names are still there.

And I’m very glad. I know that they spent quite a bit of time in that very spot where I’m standing when I look at it, a direct connection with family I never met.


Happy April!

HAPPY APRIL and April Fools’ Day!

Have you ever pulled a great AF joke? One that worked? I did. Once. 😉 But it wasn’t on AF Day. It was in August. My April Fool jokes seem to work best when I don’t pull them in April. LOL.

And this time, it was unintentional! (Imagine that.)

It happened the morning after my first book signing. I’d had a fantastic signing. Always do in my Small Town World. The ladies at my library are The Best!

But I thought I’d jazz things up a bit. So I wrote this:


My signing was more outstanding than I would ever have imagined. If I’d know it was going to be so much fun, I’d have sold a book long ago.

As I was getting ready to leave the office to go to the signing there was a commotion at the front of the building. I headed down the hall to see what was happening when everything went crazy.

Several fireman–young, tanned and muscular–lined my way to the door. When I reached the exit, I was handed up to the very top of Cleveland’s bright red ladder truck. (The one Santa rides on every Christmas parade.)

My heart was pounding so, I could barely breathe as someone handed me a glass of champagne. One of the guys rode just behind me to steady me, thank goodness. As shaky as I was, and holding the bubbly drink, I could barely hang on.

Once all the guys stopped fighting over who would get to ride closest to me and who would have to drive, they turned on the lights and siren. We drove down Main Street, and people dashed out of the stores to see what was happening. I gave them my best Miss America smile and wave as we flew past. It was wonderful!

When we arrived at the library, the truck pulled right up to the door. One of the hunkiest firemen, whose name was Sven, I believe, lifted me down and carried me into the main room. Since he only had on suspenders, no shirt, there wasn’t much to hold on to, but somehow I managed to stay upright.

Once I finished my wine, he let my feet touch the ground. My head was swimming so, it took me a moment to get my balance, but Sven didn’t seem to mind holding me a bit longer.

Then all the firemen lined up to buy one of my books. I couldn’t let them pay for them, of course. Not after that wonderful ride. When the last hunk had taken his book, and his kiss, and left the building, I settled in for my first book signing.

 It was a doozy.    


I didn’t think I had to tell anyone that it was a joke for several reasons.

  • Our fire department doesn’t deliver champagne.
  • We had no firemen in C-Town named Sven. (I doubt there’s anyone in C-Town with that name.)
  • The firemen we have ALWAYS wear shirts.
  • Our fire chief at that time was a woman. (‘Nuff said?)
  • I don’t kiss random firemen–or anyone else, for that matter. 🙂

Imagine my surprise when someone believed it. One of my sweet nieces worked at the office, and the next day commented, “I must have left work too early, Susan. I missed the fire truck completely!”

What a sweetheart. I couldn’t help but laugh, even though it was sweet of her to believe anyone would go to that much trouble for a signing for my first book! (Or even my 100th–if I write that many.)

I just wish it had been on April 1st. That would be something to brag about!

What’s the best April Fools’ joke you ever pulled?

PS: Happy Birthday, Ashley!