Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Happy Father’s Day!

I hit the jackpot when it came to parents. I know, I’m bragging, and I’m sorry about that. But it’s true. God gave me top-of-the-line, never-been-beat, parents to die for.

No. Kidding.

Dad with his six kids on his 80th birthday.

I didn’t do anything to get such great parents, of course. But I’m Number One in the kid department, and I’m just thrilled I wasn’t such a bad kid they didn’t want more.

Mom and Dad the summer before they married. (Dad was 19.) The baby is my cousin Lindy. (Thanks to Aunt Wilma for sharing this picture.)

This is Dad today with his great-grandson, Andrew. (That’s Faith texting in the background.)

I love working for my dad. (I might have mentioned that before.) Love learning from him and watching him get excited over the work he does. He says he’s never worked a day in his life. He LOVES what he does. (Great attitude, huh?)

 Celebrating one of his birthdays. Isn’t he a hoot?

He’s just as nice as he looks, too.

Dad about to walk me down the aisle.

I saved this picture until last because I can never look at it without my heart melting just a bit. It takes me back to that exact moment. He looked at me because the photographer told him to, but then he whispered, “I love you.”

I gave Dad a garden fork for Father’s Day this year. (He’s turned into a gardener extraordinaire in the past several years.) Of course, he dug his potatoes that morning before he came to work (sigh) but at least it won’t be worn out (or rusted out) for next year.

Here are some gifts I’ve received from Dad–

Great advice: “Pay your taxes the way you should. That way you can always sleep at night.”

Best Day: The Easter we were baptised together at the old church in C-Town.

Funny memory (now, anyway): Deb and I talked and played in church. When we got home, Dad spanked us with his old belt. (Probably because it was softer.) I got spanked first. When it was Deb’s turn, she got a couple of whacks and the belt broke.

Punishment over.

Sweet, happy memories: (I can’t choose just one.)

  • Summers at the lake where Dad taught me to ski.
  • When I told my parents I was getting married, Mom said, “If you do, you can’t move home again.” Without missing a beat, Dad snapped back, “Oh, yes she can, too!” (I never did.)
  • The tears in Dad’s eyes when I told him I was going to have my first baby. “Have you told your mom?” When I told him no he said, “Don’t ever let her find out you told me first.”

I didn’t.

If you have a memory you can share of my dad, please do!

Or if you have a memory of your dad you’d like to share, I’d love it!

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Party Pics by Cynthia

Sister Cindy sent me the pictures she took at the Graduates’ party. As you’ll see, she’s a much better photographer than I am. Next get-together, I’m going to follow her around and learn how she does it.

Imagine, not one scowl! 🙂

She could open a business and call it Party Pics by Cynthia. 🙂

These young women (Laura and Ashley–aka Kentucky Woman) are also recent graduates–a teacher and a PA. I love being part of a brilliant family. (That way I can pretend I have some smarts, too.)

  This little guy and his mom are a joy to be with. He keeps everyone laughing, no matter what he does in his diaper. (Then discusses it like the president of the board.)

We nearly always have a couple of non-related friends at our parties.

Aren’t they cute??? (Did Nurse Cindy say,Stick out your tongue?)

Noel knows the Principal principle–at least for middle school.

Office Boss and his mama.

SIL Julie in deep discussion with Andrew.

The long and short of it. Great-granddaddy and Andrew. (Faith has a new phone.)

What are they watching? I. Don’t. Know. (Wish I did.)

A Grad Dad. (The other dad got away.)

Grad party day was also Elsie’s birthday. We sang. 🙂

#5 and #1 of Cindy’s kiddos. Aren’t they adorable?

There you go–almost as if you were at the party, too. Wish you had been. 🙂

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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.



Happy Birthday Amy D!

I first saw her through the glass minutes after she was born, her thick dark hair curling and still damp from her first bath, and her toe stuck in a tiny hole in the pink baby blanket the hospital wrapped her in.

Her big blue eyes were bright and they’ve stayed that way.

This is Amy’s basketball team when she was in 5th grade. She’s #31 and her forever friend, Jonna, is next to her.

This is Amy’s senior picture. Gorgeous, isn’t she?

    This was her birthday last year, just before she did the Mexican Hat Dance!

Favorite Amy memories:

When she was three (or so) she came home from playing with Jonna and got up to the dinner table. “Pass the damn corn.” (Jonna’s big brothers were teaching them new words.)

Mama–“I you’re going to talk like that, you’re never playing with Jonna again.”  

Of course she played with her again the next day.

When she was about five, I gave her a black cat. She named him cotton.

When she was eight or ten, she asked me to take her to see a newly released movie at our drive in. I asked, “Are you sure it’s on out here?”

She answered, “I just saw the commercial on TV and they said it was showing at a theater near me. That’s the nearest one!”

Amy is the Omega to my Alpha. She’s the one most likely to get in trouble with me, who has a huge heart, a faith and love of God that’s amazing to behold.

Love you, Amy. Happy __ birthday and many, many more!