Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Happy birthday, Little Lulu

Do you remember the cartoon, Little Lulu? I’m not talking about her today.

Today is my sister Cindy’s birthday. Her nickname is Lulu.

cindySome of my favorite Lulu memories–

  • I made her a (paper) birthday cake on the day she was born with one candle on it. I even put the sticker I earned that day on the back, and sent it to her while she was still at the hospital. (She must not have liked it much because she didn’t bring it home.)
  • bow-tie-cindy
  • She told one of the teachers most of us had for second grade that an upcoming sibling was “different.” (She was right, too! We’re all different!) 😉
  • Cindy and Deegan

Baby Deegan and his Grandmommy

  • When she was nine years old, Omega was born. Mom said she rarely had to get up for middle-of-the-night feedings, because Cindy got there with a warmed bottle first. (Cindy is a great mom! We learned from the best.)


Not quite all of Lulu’s Crew. (Two babies missing.)

  • People get Cindy and Debbie mixed up a lot. Debbie always wanted to be twins.


  • People get Debbie and me mixed up once in a while. Triplets? (Dreaming here. Sigh.)
  • hope, kyla, faith, eric and deb
  • Cindy has five (count ’em. F-I-V-E!!!) children.  Only two of these are them. 🙂


Here’s a couple more and one from above. (Clean up well, don’t they?)

  • Another favorite memory . . . when I was pregnant with #1 Son, G-Man was on 24 hour call so Lulu attended Lamaze classes with me. Not exactly fun, but sweet.


Saturdays when we were kids was when Mama rolled our hair for Sunday.

  • When I had #1 and no one could (or would) figure out how to help me breast feed him, I told Lulu that when she became a nurse to never let a mama go home without helping her figure it out. Today she’s a certified Lactation Consultant–or something like that. Anyway, her job is to help mamas figure out how to breast feed their babies before they go home. She minds well, doesn’t she? 🙂


Lulu at her oldest daughter’s wedding. Beautiful, isn’t she?

So . . . why do we call her Lulu? I’ll let you guess. (If you know the answer, make up a better one and post it here.) 😛




Happy Birthday, Rozena!

My forever friend, Cathy, was in town this weekend for her mother’s birthday. I was so thrilled, because that meant I got to spend a little bit of time with her, too.

I wanted to share my first memory of Cathy. I remember going to their house once and riding their horse. I think her name was Roxanne. She was a very gentle horse.

But the reason I remember that day was that even though we were fairly young, and both Cathy and her sister, Linda, took turns riding with me, they both insisted that I stay in the saddle the entire time. They’d take turns riding “in the rumble seat” as my dad used to call it, but insisted I stay on the entire time.

Even though we couldn’t have been more than five or six at most, I was amazed by their unselfishness. No one had to tell them to do it, at least while I was there, and no one had to stand by to make sure they did.

I’m not sure how they became so unselfish at such a young age, but both of these girls grew into women who still make each person they meet feel as if they’re genuinely glad to see them.

This is Cathy, chatting with one of her relatives. Isn’t she beautiful? My camera didn’t come close to picking up her beautiful hair color.

When I was little, I saw a girl who’d bleached her hair to get it that color, and Cathy has it naturally. She wore her hair in braids until we went into junior high. Maybe this color is the reward for her diligence. 🙂

This is Rozena on the left (happy birthday!) Linda in the middle, and Cathy on the right.

They lived several miles out of town, and didn’t come to town everyday in the summer like most kids. Instead, they learned things like knitting, crocheting and embroidery. By the time we were in high school, Cathy had a hope chest to envy! I have a feeling her sister did, too.

Makes me wonder if she still has anything that she made during those years. I’ll have to ask her sometime.

Like most people, many of Rozena’s friends wishing her happy birthday are also relatives. Here she has her arm around her brother. Happily, being from the same Small Town World, I know some of those relatives and friends, although we didn’t grow up in the same church.

BTW: I loved the outfit Cathy’s mom had on. To be 85 years old, hat woman knows how to dress!!!

Cathy married right after she graduated from college with a degree in education. She lived in the south, then moved to Colorado and taught in Denver for a while. Sometime during all that, she got more education and had a couple of children.

They all moved out to the western part of Colorado and Cathy started teaching in the college there.

I’m going to tell you about our wondful Small World. I wasn’t there and I might get the particulars wrong, but bear with me.

One day at the beginning of a semester, Cathy introduced herself to one of her new classes. “My name is Mrs. Barkley, and this class is —-. I’m from Cleveland, Oklahoma . . . ”

A pretty blond girl, whose mother was secretary for the math department so she already knew Cathy, spoke up. “Are you really from Cleveland, Oklahoma?”

I imagine Cathy chuckled. “Yes. It’s near Tulsa.”

“Do you know any Spesses in Cleveland?” the blonde persisted.

“I sure do. Growing up, my best friend was Susan Spess.” Cathy answered. “Do you know them?”

“Yeah, I do. Susan’s my first cousin.”

I have to tell you–when I count my blessings, Cathy is one of the people I thank God for putting in my life. She’s a forever friend, a gift from God and a joy forever.

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Par-ty! Par-ty! Par-ty!

We had a party for Dad, Monday at work. Everyone in the office usually cooks lunch for him, but this time I wanted to invite the rest of the crew. All the guys who work in different parts of the business.

So I talked the other girls into it. They took care of signing everyone up for dishes. I talked MS and Nephew into loaning us their gas grills to do the cooking on.

We decided to borrow tables from the church. We all signed a card.

Trouble was, everything had to be taken care of that morning. Gas grills brought in. Hamburger patties made. Tables and chairs hauled over. Veggies bought and sliced up for the burgers.

So I woke up at ten minutes till four with my internal alarm sounding like a fire bell. I piled out of bed, ran down the stairs and turned eleven pounds of ground chuck into 1/3 pound patties. 🙂

By 8:30 I was headed to town in my borrowed pickup.

Thankfully, I had a ton of help. Preacher Dave and his side kick brought over table and chairs with a little help from Nephew and one of the guys in the office. Then Nephew and Office Guy brought in a grill.

We figured on around fifty and hoped we wouldn’t have half that many. LOL. I decided to count once between turning burgers and catching them on fire (thankfully, Brother Jeffrey was there to get me through the trauma and teach me to cook for a crew that size.)

Here’s how the counting went.

Me: “One, two, three–”

Omega: “Susan?”

Me: “–fifteen, sixteen, seventeen–”

Omega: “Susan?”

Me: “–twenty one, twenty two, twenty–“

Omega: “SUSAN?”

Me: “–thirty three, thirty four, th–”

Omega: “SUS-SAN!!!”

Me: “–irty five–what?”

Omega: “Do we have any paper towels?” That’s not really what she asked, but it was about that important. *wink*

After that, I think I caught MS’s grill on fire and the counting stopped.

We had a great time anyway. The cake (I didn’t take a camera, but Carollea did. I’m hoping she’ll share her pics since I shared my batteries.) was a full sheet, half chocolate, half white with a cherry filling. Happy Birthday Carol was written on it along with this picture

The picture was blown up to 8 1/2 x 11 and printed on sugar paper. (I thought they used rice paper, but the bakery told me I was wrong.)

Up in the corner, I had them write, “Love you, Sparky.” Except the cake decorator didn’t know there’s a comma after you and before Sparky, so it looked as if Dad’s nickname was Sparky. It wasn’t. That was his horse’s name.

So after we ate a ton of great food–burgers, chips, dips, baked beans, mac and cheese, pasta salad, etc. we ate cake.

Now I’m going to have to give out an award.


The award goes to . . . DIL2. She brought what she called Crack Dip, named that for good reason. It made you want to eat until you popped. (I nearly did.)

Here’s how you make it.

16 oz sour cream
one cup shredded cheddar cheese
one package powdered ranch dressing mix
one package bacon bits (the soft kind in the bag, not the jar.)

Mix and let sit for 24 hours before serving with crackers or chips. (Or on a spoon or the tip of your finger. It’s that good!)

DIL2 also brought a cheese cake, chocolate chip dessert thing so good, she’s probably destined to bring it to every family function until the end of the world.

Just saying. 🙂

Anyway, a great time was had by all. And Dad didn’t really mind celebrating his birthday (too much. )

If Carollea can download the pictures, I’ll share them with you.