Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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The Ultimate Artist!

One red leaf in the middle of the green leaves. Love it!

How long has it been since you’ve done something just for fun? Last weekend, G-Man and I did just that. We took the Talimena Drive. Even though it rained, even though it was chilly and wet and far from perfect, it’s one of those weekends I’ll never forget!

We went to McAlester and spent the night Friday, then drove on to Talihina Saturday morning, where they were having their 25th Fall Foliage Festival. We had a great time!

Then we left on the Talimena National Scenic Byway. All I could think on that drive is how lucky we are to have a loving God. He could have given us a world in shades of gray, but he gave us all this. He could have made only one tree or one type of plant to make oxygen, yet He excelled in variety.

Are we blessed or what?!?

Most of theses pictures were taken on that drive.

If you think about going, be sure to clean your windshield FIRST! And if there’s rain in the forecast, use Rain-X.

We found beautiful places along the drive that I never knew existed. We followed motorcycles (poor guys) that looked like tricycles with really long bars in the middle. Chopper Tricycles? I’m not sure what they were, but they were cool! (And great colors!)

But the most amazing part was the color God put on the trees. He is the ultimate artist! The colors are bright and beautiful without being garish.

I may have to blow a few of these up to frame for my walls. God, the ultimate artist!

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Sit Down and Stay Clean

When I was growing up, Mom, like most of my friends’ moms, stayed home. But she wasn’t a sleep in and take it easy woman. Every morning she was up (usually first) cooking breakfast for us.

I could gain weight just imagining those breakfasts.

Biscuits and gravy was my favorite, but depending on what was in the larder (or what we’d recently butchered) we had eggs (usually fried) pancakes, waffles, squaw bread, bacon, sausage, pork chops and fresh side (uncured bacon.)

But Sunday mornings were a little bit crazy in the Spess house. To start with, Mama slept late–8:00. Okay, that’s not very late to most people, but for Mom, it was. That was the one day of the week when she didn’t cook breakfast.

Sunday mornings we had cereal and Sara Lee Coffee Cake (I’m hungry now just thinking about it) because Sunday mornings she had to get her kids ready for church. Brother Jeffrey wasn’t difficult to get ready since his hair was always fairly short. At least it never got much past his ears. 🙂

By the time Deb and I were old enough to pretty much get ourselves ready, we had three younger sibs who were very close in age and we all had long hair. So on Saturday, Mom washed our hair in the kitchen sink, rolled it up and we sat under the dryer while she did the next sister’s hair.

Do I need to mention we had a lot of rollers? (aka-curlers) A whole big drawer full! Half the time we couldn’t find enough picks (kept the rollers from unrolling) but curlers we had.

So Sunday morning, we’d eat our cereal, get dressed, and then Mom would do our hair. I remember when she had a baby once and was in the hospital over Sunday. When she fixed my hair the next Sunday, she mentioned that my part had been crooked the week before. (Someone ratted me out for having less than perfect hair!)

Once we were ready she’d say, “Sit down and stay clean until we’re ready to go.”

As we got older, we started doing our own hair. And choosing our own clothes–but it always something special that we saved for dress up. When we were ready, Mom still checked us out to make sure we looked okay before we headed out the door.

I have a feeling if she were here today, she’d look me over, probably tell me to put on a dress, then tell me to sit down and stay clean until we’re ready to go.

Boy, I’d like to have Mama pass me a slice of Sara Lee right now.


This Aging Biz

I got this in an email from Cathy, one of my “forever friends”. (A forever friend is a friend I’ve known since before my memory began and loved forever!) BTW: This kind of friendship as it is much too rare!
Please send back. ( I did ) It’s neat.  Don’t delete this one, you’ll laugh when you see the return message.  In case you’re wondering, there is no return message. There’s never a return message, so I knew there wouldn’t be one this time. But I like what it says. This isn’t the original Maxine cartoon that came in the email. I couldn’t get that one to transfer, so I thought I’d send an early V Day greeting instead. 
 I would never trade my amazing friends, my  wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.  As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of  myself. I’ve become my own friend.. I don’t chide myself for eating  that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but  looks so avanté garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be  messy, to be extravagant. 

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before  they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish  to weep over a lost love … I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with  abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful.  But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I  eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not  break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken  hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will  never know the joy of being imperfect.


I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have  my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever  etched into deep grooves on my face.
 So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. 

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about  what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore.

I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I  like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it). 

From Susan: If I hadn’t lived this long, I wouldn’t have seen so many of God’s miracles that have happened right before my eyes such as the life of my sister Amy and the birth of her two precious daughters. And I would have missed having God’s voice become a familiar echo in my heart.


Forward this to at least 7 people and see what happens on your screen . You will laugh your head off!!!!!!!!!! Like I said at the beginning, nothing ever happens when you forward one of these things. So make a comment instead. You might not see what happens on this side of the screen, but you’ll most likely win a grin!