Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Meet the G’dad

I have something really cute to show you. Wanna see?

This is my mom’s dad when he was a teenager. Isn’t he adorable? (I think he looks like Nephew Phillip.)

I love the chain going from under the tie to his shirt pocket. Makes me think he had a new pocket watch and couldn’t wait to put on his suit to wear it. He could have put it in his pant pocket, but then it wouldn’t show in the picture. 🙂

Granddad was in World War I, and just before he left for San Antonio, where he was stationed, he married Grandma. This is their wedding photo, taken in 1917.

Granddad was in his early twenties here. Are you loving his hairdo? I’m sure it disappeared as soon as he got in the army. 😉

This is the way I remember him looking. Some of my favorite things I remember about Granddad–

When I was little, he had a cool pickup (I remember it being a granite blue color) that went a-OOO-gah! If I remember right, it burned up in a well fire. 😦

Granddad loved to fish and take his grandkids fishing.

He nearly always wore a hat. Not a ball cap. A really cool hat.

Granddad’s hat–a fedora?

I’m not sure what it’s called, but I love it. (It hangs on my wall.) Granddad must have, too. He used it for shade, a fan, a swatter, and when in a pinch, he used it for an ashtray.

At one time or another, Granddad had a chicken farm near Tahlequah years ago, he worked in the oilfield, and more often than not, he farmed. (Often while working another job.) During the Great Depression, he went to another state and worked to support his family of seven (!) children.

One memory stands out in my mind. Once Sister Debbie and I stayed a week with G & G at their farm near Tahlequah. Granddad was working in his garden while Debbie and I climbed a tree. I was getting pretty brave, and had my feet higher than my head when the small branches I held onto snapped. I landed on Deb (she still claims she saved my life) and we both tipped, about to topple out of that tree, several feet to the ground.

Granddad saw us falling, dropped his hoe and raced across the garden to catch us both. I was impressed a guy that old could run so fast.

I remember going to church with him on that trip, too, and hearing him sing. Seems like he might have led the singing, too. (Maybe that’s where Brother Jeffrey got that talent!) And we fished in the Illinois River.

Do you have happy memories of your granddad (or mine) you can share?

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Loving the Weekend

How was your weekend?

Mine was FANTASTIC!

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?


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Hitler AND Attila in MY Garden?

It rained here this weekend, and cooled down enough for me to take a stroll through my back yard. Know what I noticed?

Things have gone wild!

Mainly weeds. (Grass that grows in my garden=weeds.)

Remember the vine trying to take over the world?

Attila the Vine? I’d planned to move him (or at least part of him) but with the weather as dry as it was, I thought I’d wait until fall. Instead, I wound him around a pyramid thingy he grows on.

There are so many layers now, I may never find the pyramid thingy again.

This is the best part of my garden. (The wildest, at least.)

The green pile on the left that looks like Cousin It on St. Paddy’s Day (Cousin It–Adams Family. Remember?) is Attila the Vine. In the back is a castor bean plant. Yes, they’re supposed to be poison, but I haven’t seen any little animals dropping over in my garden.

I planted it to keep moles and gophers out of my yard. And it worked . . . kinda. I’ve seen only one mole run since I started planting castors. It started in the middle of my yard and headed (can you guess?) STRAIGHT for the plant.

Of course, it might have been a mole who strolled up to the plant, saw it was a poison bean, dove into the earth and drilled away. (I’m remembering a cartoon from my childhood as I write with a gopher working under a garden, pulling veggies from the roof of his run. Anybody remember that?)

Now meet Hitler.

Hitler is a gang of watermelons. They, too, are trying to take over the world.

See the thing hanging on the fence to the right of the bean, next to a star?

There you go. You can tell what it is now, right? It’s a watermelon. Anybody else grow watermelons on their fence?

These watermelon plants are volunteers. I planted them last year, and they came back.

(Isn’t winter supposed to kill off things like watermelons and pumpkins? Wait. Did we have a winter last year?)

Anyway, this gang has reached out to all parts of the garden and they’re even growing over Cousin It. (I pull them off, they crawl back on. What’s up with that?)

This guy was stuck in the back by that star, but I pulled it out,

which MIGHT have been a mistake. I’m not sure how much longer the vine can hold it there. (I wonder if a sling would help? Anyone who’s just over a carpal tunnel surgery want to donate?)

I have a few melons growing on the ground, too.

They’re also growing down the wall at the back of my garden into someone else’s yard. Yes, there are melons down there, and I can’t get to them. One even split open. *sigh*

Anybody know how to tell when a watermelon is ripe?


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So Long, Farewell . . .

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Our youth minister, Stony Capehart, who has been here at FC3 (First Christian Church C-Town) for 18 years, is leaving. And I really hate to see him go.

When I first knew him, the boy had long hair–shoulder length, maybe–which I absolutely adored. (Probably a throw-back to my youth when my parents totally disapproved of any guys who had hair past their ears.) Besides, he was the perfect “Jesus” for Easter pagents.

Stony had a ride to die for. (When I was at Ozark, most of the guy’s cars barely ran. LOL!) To be honest, I don’t know cars, but I think it might have been a Camero, and it was old enough that the engine was big and, although I never saw it,  I have a feeling that car could move. And he has a tat from when he rode bulls.  

Each year, Stony took our youth (and half the kids in town) on ski trips in winter and a trip in the summer. Always, always there was a deep spiritual overtone to the trips. (Yes, I’d love to have sponsored, but never did.)

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Stony has acted as more than a youth minister, as least in the last few years. He has wisdom, a sense of humor and a gentle way of passing along what he knows that makes him very easy to talk to. When Preacher Dave (our minister) learned his daughter had a brain tumor a few years ago, Stony stepped up and helped fill the gap while David was gone.

Our HEIC (Head Elder In Charge) Dick, spoke yesterday during the communion service about separation.  When Christians go different ways (when they die or move to a new town) it’s never “Goodbye.” It’s really, “Until we meet again,” because we will be together again. If not here on earth, then most certainly we’ll be together in heaven. At first, we thought he was talking about his wife, who’d been gone a week and had just come back. After the service, when Stony made his, “So long, farewell,” announcement, we learned what Dick the elder meant. 😦

It’s a sad time for the church family at FC3. But family never ends and love never dies. (After all, God is Love, and He can’t die, so in the book of this romance writer at least, Love can’t either.)

We’ll miss you, Capeharts. And if we don’t see you before then, let’s have a Great Big C-Town Party in Heaven!


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Pssst!

A quick PS to yesterday’s blog.

#1 Son assumed (wrongly) the other bombing I was talking about (where people ran, and just kept going) was the 9-1-1 Trade Center bombing.

It. Was. Not! (I promise, it wasn’t.)

The bombing the woman told me about happened several years BEFORE the OKC bombing or 9-1-1.

Sigh. Sorry about that.

:}

 


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Christian Women’s Fiction

Yesterday, I shared part of Make Me Howl. Today, I’m going to share the beginning of my first Christian Women’s Fiction. It’s nearly finished. I hope. 🙂

For now, I’m calling it TEXAS HEARTS, but I’m always open to a better idea. 🙂

Do they still hang horse thieves in Texas?

Buck tensed his muscles in his ready-to-run dance. Jessie stroked his neck and murmured, “Hang on, boy. It’s nearly time.”

Focusing on the ride, she walked Buck into position. The excitement built, adrenalin shot through her muscles like lightning strikes. Tugging her Stetson low so there was no chance of losing it, she leaned into the saddle, took a firm grip on Buck’s reins, inhaled, blew it out long and slow and booted him in the ribs.

He took off in an explosion of energy; she leaned into the run. She concentrated on the first barrel, the cheers of the crowd dimming to near silence. Spectator faces blurred past as they rounded second. Yes! It felt good. This is where she belonged.

Buck ran flat out as they charged the third turn. Heading into the pocket, he dug in, and the world shifted. Dipped. She snatched a breath and held tight to the saddle horn, her heart pounding as he fought for footing. He slid in the loose earth. She gave him his head, praying, by some miracle, he could stay on his feet.

Buck’s back left leg disappeared from under them. Fear tore through her as they dropped, then slammed into the ground. The saddle horn jerked from her grip.

He floundered, trying to get up. She kicked her foot free and tried to shove away from the panicked animal, but she couldn’t move. Her other leg was under him. Stories of riders being killed from similar falls flashed through her mind.

Buck fought his way to his feet, yanking her leg high in the air with her foot through the stirrup and leaving her head on the ground. His shod hooves cut so close, he kicked dirt in her face as he danced with anxiety.

If she could catch her breath, make him hear her, he might calm. But she couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t find words to ease him.

He threw his head back, gathering himself as he looked for a way to escape the nightmare.

Slamming shut her eyes, she wrapped her arms around her head. God! Help me.

“Whoa! It’s all right, fella.”

The man’s soothing voice calmed her. Removing her arms, she was able to see a cowboy with dark red hair take his life in his hands. No! Getting in front of a panicked horse is suicide. She struggled to form the words, but he stepped in front of Buck and grabbed the bridle. “You’re all right, boy. Shhhh.”

Buck quivered all over, but the stranger in the black hat released one hand to stroke his neck.

Cowboys who’d been watching from the nearby arena fence surrounded her, released her foot from the stirrup and helped her to her stand. Weak as water, she stiffened her knees so she could walk.

She had to see about Buck. What would she do if she’d seriously injured him? Had she stolen him just to have to put him down?

Quelling the sobs gathering inside her, she dragged in a rough breath and stumbled to the man at Buck’s head. “Is he okay?”

He kept stroking Buck’s neck, the fabric of his crisply starched shirt sleeve pleating rather than wrinkling like hers. “He’s skittish as a green-broke colt. Can you take his head?”

With a nod, she threaded her fingers through the bridle. The man moved to Buck’s side, the fringe on his chaps swinging with each step. He ran his hands down each of Buck’s legs. “I think he’s all right.”

Her frozen insides started to melt at his words. As she blew out her pent up breath, a knife jabbed her in the ribs. The fall must have been harder than she realized. She slid her fingers over the hurt. No blood. That was a good thing.

The man took his gaze from Buck for the first time to glance at her with eyes as green as tree leaves. “You all right?”

The inspiration came when G-Man and I went to the Jim Shoulders Rodeo in Tulsa a few years ago. They had cameras and a big screen showing closeups of all the action in the arena.

Even when one girl’s horse went down with her on the third barrel, we saw it all. Almost as soon as they were down, they were surrounded by fence sitting cowboys, who quickly got her and her horse on their feet.

So that’s the beginning of my first nearly finished Christian Women’s Fiction. Thoughts?


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Warning: Attack Bird on Duty

You’ve reached the home of Susan, G-Man, Molly and Kenny, the attack bird.

That’s what my answering machine should probably say. (It really doesn’t.)  Or maybe it should be  stronger–

You’ve reached the Shays. Warning–we have the world’s meanest bird.

Do they have warning signs for birds, like they do for dogs?

Attack bird on duty. Enter at your own risk!

This is Kenny. He LOOKS like a mild-mannered, unassuming cockatiel, doesn’t he? Don’t be fooled. He’s not!

 He’s mean. If you get too close, he’ll raise his wings and hiss at you. Then he’ll squawk and rush at you, teeth beak bared and ready to bite off a chunk.

We didn’t make him mean. He came to us, by way of our son who was doing some work on a woman’s computer. She said Danny could have the bird, but having too many critters in his house already, #1 passed him on to his dad.

His name was Penny when we got him. Penny? PENNY?

Anyone can tell he’s a male. He’s cheeks are bright and beautiful, much too pretty to be a girl bird. And I understand female birds lay eggs, whether there’s a male bird around or not. So G-Man changed his name to Kenny, after Kenny on South Park. Why?

Kenny McCormick

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You never saw SP Kenny’s entire face, he mumbled so you couldn’t understand him and he died every week. We figured that was perfect for this bird.

The original owner had kids who’d poked at and teased the poor bird until he had to learn to protect himself.

While I don’t call Kenny a pet (you really should be able to pat your pet, right?) we’ve been good to him. We give him delicious food, treats and we even found a way to keep his water clean. (At first, he thought the water bowl was a toilet bowl. We went through several watering systems before we found one he couldn’t foul.)

We buy him toys, and if there’s any way, he’ll eat them. Once we got him a swingset, and he chewed on the pieces until it fell apart and collapsed to the floor of his cage. He’s eaten through several perches.

And one time when Molly got hold of him, we pulled him from the jaws of death and rushed him, wet and sagging, back into his cage where he shivered for a day or two. Before long, though, he got his spirit back.

He’s smart, though. Even with the ceiling fan on, he’s never flown into it and never gone out the door, when I’ve left it open.

And he has a few good points.

He’s a great alarm. When G-man leaves the bedroom to come down for breakfast, Kenny starts squawking. (I imagine he’s yelling, “Pop! Pop!” in bird talk.)

And he’s a great whistler. He barks, meows and has a does a wolf whistle. 🙂 Danny can get him to show off any time he wants, and I figure that’s because he’s the rescuer. G-Man and I are just his caretakers.

Well, G-Man is.

I don’t like having that sharp beak snapping at me.