Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.



Ever wonder if you confuse God?

Yesterday, C-Town had a big hoop-la. Big one. Sirens sounded up and down the street. People were evacuated from their homes.

What’s going on?

Naturally, Terminally Curious reared her little head, so Omega and I went to the C-Town American Newspaper to find out what was going on.

Because the sweet woman who runs the office isn’t one to spread unfounded rumors, she couldn’t tell us much . . . until the editor’s mom called. When she wanted to know what was going on, the office lady told what she’d heard (ie: spilled her guts) and, unashamed, we listened.

More rumors filtered in. What’s the first thing you do when you hear about something wild going on around you?

I prayed.

We heard that an ex-husband (or ex-boyfriend or ex-friend, depending on where you heard it) had kicked in a door and was holding a woman and their child hostage. Here’s where I might have confused the Lord. I prayed for this woman and her child and they didn’t even exist!

Since I doubt I’m capable of confusing the Lord, maybe I gave Him a chuckle. “There she goes again, praying for someone who isn’t.”

And I prayed for people who weren’t even involved. We heard a “possible” name about who the guy was (it wasn’t) so I prayed for that guy, his wife and kiddo. I don’t know them (at least he existed and had a wife and child) but I figured God did, and that’s what’s important. Right?

Then my Famous Author BIL came to the office to pick up Omega, and we heard a whole new story. Yup, more prayers for non-existent and non-involved people.

Famous Author BIL

Famous Author BIL

And some our local police were wearing pink t-shirts (for breast cancer awareness. I love our cops!) so I prayed for them when I spotted a pink shirt. At least those prayers were on target! 🙂


So what do you think? When a person (clears throat) prays for someone who doesn’t exist or who isn’t really in the trouble being prayed about, do you think it confuses God or makes Him laugh?

At least no one was injured at all yesterday, and all the police-type people in the area got to put on their armor and get all their toys and practice for the next time a problem like that comes up.

BTW: The really-truly story of what happened was b-o-r-I-n-g. But the afternoon was exciting! 🙂





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In My Small Town World

I might have mentioned I absolutely love my small town. People who speak disparagingly about it will get a fight from me because, I LOVE OUR TOWN! It’s not perfect, but it’s darn close!

So I wondered who first established C-Town. Naturally, I turned to Wikipedia. Here’s what I found.

After the Cherokee Outlet opening, a homesteader by the name of Willis H. Herbert established a town named Herbert by opening a post office on the current townsite of Cleveland on October 28, 1893.

Most people from these parts know about the town of Herbert. And we’re all VERY glad they changed the name!

The Post Office department subsequently withdrew the approval of the Herbert post office. The post office was then moved 100 feet, and reestablished under the name C-Town, named in honor of then President Grover Cleveland on April 19, 1894.

By 1900, the town’s population was 211. Before the discovery of oil in the area, the town served as a trade center between the local farmers and the Osage Tribe who lived on the reservation was on the other side of the Arkansas river.

In 1904, a railroad line owned by the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (later known as Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway or Katy) from Oklahoma City reached Cleveland and crossed the Arkansas River into Osage County.

On May 27, 1904, the first oil well was spudded near the community, and it caused an influx of oil workers and other people. At the time of statehood in 1907, Cleveland had 1,441 residents.

I thought the next part was very interesting. It’s “Notable people from C-Town.”

  • David Bivin – author
  • Lincoln Ferguson – President of Beta Upsilon Chi
  • Tony Perkins – president of the Family Research Council and a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives graduated from Cleveland High School in 1981.
  • 1952 Heisman trophy winner Billy Vessels was born in Cleveland in 1931.

All the men mentioned are wonderful people, but there’s a couple of names missing, and I’m not sure how to get them added.

One is Gulf War hero, Craig Berryman.

This is from Fox 23:

 Gulf War POW Recalls Torture by Iraqis

Marine Maj. Craig Berryman can’t shake the memory  of his 37 days as an Iraqi prisoner of war.

The Cleveland, Okla., native says a day hasn’t  passed in the last 12 years that he hasn’t thought of how Iraqi soldiers  tortured, kicked and starved him in 1991.

Iraqi guards broke Berryman’s left leg, beat him  repeatedly and threatened him with shooting and mutilation. A lighted cigarette  was twisted into an open wound on his neck, and his requests for medical  attention were ignored.

He lost 25 pounds in 37 days and caught a case of  dysentery that lasted two years and is likely to cause him digestive tract  problems the rest of his life.


The other person I’d like to see listed there is U. S. Army Specialist Ashley Jones, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan. Her injuries included the amputation of one foot.

And of course, I’d like to see some people listed who we’ll never see there, because they kept their good deeds to themselves.

Such as the woman I heard about who took a family groceries, just when they were desperate.

And the man who won a drawing for several hundred dollars and passed the winnings along to a family in need.

And the folks who secretly gave Christmas Jars so someone else could have a happy Christmas.

If you have another moment, try googling Christmas Jars. You’ll find a link to Jason Wright’s website and probably a link to Amazon and B & N so you can buy the book. But you’ll also find stories about people who received Christmas Jars from someone who knew about living in a Small Town World.

Did you hear any Christmas Jar stories? If you did, could you share them with me? I’d love to learn more about C-Town’s history, too.

  • W-o-w!!! (

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Alley Cattin’

I lost Omega yesterday.

It wasn’t a permanent loss. Just one of those things she does.

The office kiddo was cranking loud (wish I was better at ignoring his crying, but it grabs me by the heart!) so I volunteered to take him for a walk with him in the stroller.

Omega decided to come along. We stopped to say hello to people along the way. (Hey, we’re in C-Town. Gotta say hi to your neighbors.) Then we strolled into Miss Patti’s to see if she had anything new we could ooh and aah over.

Instead, we saw our cousin’s beautiful daughter, Erica, and a friend from Omega’s high school days. We stopped to talk for just a moment. (I thought, anyway.) I’m always amazed at what kids I knew when they were too small to speak plainly are doing.

And while we talked, the other woman put a cigarette in her mouth and took a puff. Since smoking in public is illegal in most places in Oklahoma, I was shocked too see her blowing smoke.

I looked closer and saw the “cigarette” was really a plastic thing like kids played with when I was small. (I know. That’s a weird “toy”, but they really had them back in the day as well as candy ones with red tips that came in a little pack, too.)

So the woman took a puff and blew out what looked like smoke.

“How does it make smoke?” I asked, amazed.

“It’s water vapor,” Omega answered for her.

Now I’m more than amazed. I’m downright shocked. How does my non-smoking sister (none of the sibs or our parents ever had that unfortunate habit) know so much about cigarettes, fake or otherwise?

“I saw a commercial.”

The friend explained she was trying to stop smoking and using the plastic cigarette as a crutch to get where she’s going. (Good for her!) I asked how long she’d been smoking and she answered she started after high school.

That’s what triggered Amy’s loss. She launched into a meandering story about when she and her best bud had talked the friend’s mom into going with them to drag main before they could drive without a licensed person. To make the other kids think they were cool and driving alone, they got the mom to lie down in the backseat and even covered her with a blanket.

Knowing the story would last a while, I left. (Sorry. I’ve heard it and I know all the side tales that happen along the way.) I decided to take Little Bit and do a little Alley Catting. We have some great alleys in C-Town. And some not so great ones. 🙂

This is the back of the building I’d just left.

Don’t you love seeing the backs of the old buildings? The fronts get updated fairly often, but a lot of the time, the backs stay the same. So we get to see what it really look like in the beginning.

 This isn’t very clear, but see the brick arch over the door and beautiful rock work? Doesn’t it make you want to know what the buildings looked like when they were new?

It’s one of those buildings in the middle of the block on the right side of the picture. (Were the awnings really necessary?)

 Here’s the back of the 2nd building in that pic above. The stairs on the left lead to an apartment space. There’s no inside entrance to that apartment, apparently because the main floor was always a retail outlet. And if that looks like a coke case on the landing on the right, it is. Chained down and not for sale. I checked.

I think I’m going to have to go back and take a closeup. They don’t charge for pictures. 🙂

BTW: Omega finally showed up back at work. It took an hour or two, but she had a great time, chatting with friends.



#1’s Mom

Wichita, Kansas Skyline during the winter snow

Image via Wikipedia

Is this a baby to melt your heart or what? (I’m talking about the one on the right, ladies. Get your heads right!!!)

He’s just a cutie patootie! And he’s #4’s #1 (grandchild.)

                                    This is Nicole, #1’s mom. (I have a Nicole and a Nikki who are about to join our family, but this is #4’s DIL.) Isn’t she adorable? It’s no wonder #1 is so cute!!! (Yes, his pop might have had something to do with his gorgeous looks. Maybe. 😉  )

She works with #4, who God didn’t give any daughters, either. This one looks enough like #4 to actually be her daughter. (Or her sister.) 


                                              Lisa and her #1 grandson–>


Even though Nicolehails from the big city of Wichita, she tucked right into our family like she’d been part of the group forever.

And no, she’s not a model, but she’s pretty enough to be one. She just a beautiful girl my nephew was smart enough to marry when he had the chance. That makes him a pretty smart guy if you ask me.

Hey, Wichita Girlie! C-Town loves y’all!