Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Fried Chicken 4th

It’s nearly Independence Day, already! They’re even doing 4th of July weather reports, so we know it’ll be here in a matter of days. How’d that happen?

That means it’s time to buy a few chickens and haul out the cast iron skillets. Why? you ask. Because, in the Shay household, 4th of July means FRIED CHICKEN!

mom's chicken pan

(Hooray!!!)

I put flour, salt, pepper and a little garlic powder in a bag (paper or plastic) and shake my chicken up in it (a few pieces at a time) then fry the pieces in canola oil. With the heat on about medium, I cook the chicken with a lid on for a few minutes on each side, then take the lid off and turn the heat up a little to give the chicken a good color and great crunch. I’m not the best chicken fryer in the world (can’t be, since I only practice my magic one time a year) but nobody complains while they’re chowing down. LOL.

I’m not sure when it started, but sometime in the distant past, I started frying chicken one day a year. Only on the 4th of July. One of the first Fried Chicken Fourths I remember, the kids were all fairly small. (grade school/middle school age.) I fried up a few chickens and we loaded up and went to Oklahoma City. We found Thunderbird Park, which had old military equipment (tanks, jeeps, helicopters, planes) for the kids to play on, and some picnic tables, and had our lunch.

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There was a military museum nearby, the 45th Infantry Museum, and since our family never saw a museum we didn’t love–at least that’s what our kids thought– we had to check it out!

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Since G-Man’s dad was in WWII, our boys had a great time.

okc imagesYW0MT0Z9This is not a picture of Gary’s dad. LOL.

Finally, after our fried chicken and a stroll through history lesson, we all went to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden.

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Since we had three little boys in tow, you can probably guess how much time we spent in the Botanical Gardens. LOL. But we had a great time at the zoo. Especially when we found the Tiger Cage. (C-Town and Pryor Creek Tigers! Yay!!!)

oklahoma-city-zoo

I have some great memories tangled up with our fried chicken. Times when Mom and Dad came up for chicken, and afterward we parked on the Salina Bridge to see the fireworks, and times when we took our Party Barge out on the lake for tubing and chicken. I’m SO looking forward to grandchildren and the fun time we’ll have with them eating my fried chicken on the 4th! (And possibly any time they want it.)

Loving the Fried Chicken 4th!

Do you have any traditions you practice on the 4th that you can share? We might want to add them to our chicken. 😀

 

 

 

 


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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.)

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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.

cindy-sis

  • 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. 🙂

lulu-kids

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.

lulu

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? 🙂

bride's-mama

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.) 😛

 

 


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Paper Cutout Kiddos

3-boys.jpg

Hey, did you know I’m a mom? I have three sons. And all of them have made it to adulthood! 🙂

I learned most of what I know about parenting from my mom and her friends. Without knowing I was learning, of course. My parents were both really young when they first created their family. They got married when they were 18 and 19.

mom, dad and lindy

I was born two years later, so they were 20 and 21.

mom, dad and me

One day, I heard my mom say, “The first child should be made out of paper so you could throw them away.”

My mom wanted to throw me away?

Okay, that might not be everything she said, but it’s what I heard. My feelings were h-u-r-t. Mama didn’t like me. She wanted to put me in the dumpster. Waaaah!

Many years later I had kids of my own, and finally understood what she meant. She wished she’d had a disposable kid to make her mistakes on so she didn’t have to make them on her own kids. (I understand that now because I felt the same way.)

happy boys

I’m the mom who spanked the bed one time when she was supposed to give her son a spanking because I just didn’t have the heart to whip him. (Then I told him to cry.)

I’m the mom who told her son to cry LOUD the time she got pulled over by the highway patrol for speeding. (He didn’t, and I got a ticket.)

gotta feed the baby

And when my oldest son misbehaved in preschool, he strolled to the youth minister’s office (supposed to be like the principal’s office) crawled up in a chair and said, “So, what should we talk about?”

I didn’t make my kids take naps. (Send the nap police!)

My kids didn’t have bedtimes until they started school.

And when my cousin and his wife stayed with us for a few weeks, one son (2 or 3 years old at the time) stayed right up with every conversation. “So, what should we talk about now?”

And when he started school, he talked with the teachers just like he did his classmates.

I made lots of mistakes, and not only with the first one.

Maybe they all should have been made of paper, but they weren’t. Now they’re adults with beautiful wives, and I’m very proud to be their mom.

rec-boys

I just wonder where they learned to be the men they are.

Must have been from their dad.

gary-and-danny

🙂


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Meet the Reeves Crew

A little over three years ago, I told you that my mom’s side of the family gets together only when someone dies. You can read it here.

I hated it then, and I hate more that it’s still true today. But at least those of us who are left get a chance to see each other. I mentioned my sweet Aunt Sally had died, so three of us Spess Girls and G-Man went to Colorado for the funeral and to be with fam.

On our way to Colorado, #4 texted me.

“Tell Bob-the-Plumber I said hello. I’m sorry I can’t be there.”

So as soon as we got there, I told Uncle Robert, “#4 says hello, Bob-the-Plumber. She’s sorry she couldn’t come.”

Uncle R laughed. “Did she tell you that story?”

“No. You tell me.” I love stories. Did I mention my family is full of storytellers? 🙂 I was in heaven!

“Well, she was at Lake City with her husband and boys, so I took them out to eat one night. We went to a steak house, and while we were there, someone waved and me and said, ‘Hello, Bob the Plumber.’

“#4 popped up and said, ‘That’s not Bob the Plumber. That’s my Uncle Robert!”

I thought I’d share some pictures with y’all. (Uncle Robert was back to saying y’all before we left.)

  Mom’s last remaining siblings, Carol and Robert.

Being with Aunt Carol is like spending time with Mama. She’s a fashion bug, for sure! If she weren’t so tiny, I’d go to her house and shop in her closet.

Uncle Robert is Mama’s baby brother. He grew to be the tallest of all the kids.

The smallest boy and girl in this picture are Robert and Carol. Mom is on the far right.

Everyone’s Favorite–Liz.

Liz is Mom’s oldest sister’s only daughter and youngest child. She was just enough older than Deb, Cousin LaDonna and me for us to idolize. If we played pretend, even when Liz was still a kid, we all wanted to be her!

She’s a woman I still look up to. Today she leads a BSF (a women’s Bible Study) in Houston. She’s even more beautiful now than she was as a kid.

These are the Reeves Women. I can see a little bit of Grandma in each one in this picture.

This picture is almost like the one before, but I wanted you to see LaDonna, standing on the far left. Donna is hard working and full of vinegar! LOL.

She lives near Gunnison on a ranch with her husband, and they have three children who all live close by. Her son works with them on the ranch. Her DIL sells real estate, so I’m to contact her if I decide to buy a cabin up there. (I’d LOVE to spend summers near Gunnison.)

My two sisters, Debbie and Cindy are next to LaDonna, and Julie Ann is on the far right.

  This is Donna’s husband in the cowboy hat. He’s a great guy and fun to be around.

This is Julie Ann. When she talks, if I close my eyes, I can see her mama, Sally. Julie doesn’t have that Texas Twang that Sally had, but she matches her in tone and quality! She has two sons, and is a very busy mama.

Oh, and she got her husband to do most of the cooking while we were there.

  Julie Ann’s husband, Bob. This was the first time I’d met him.

The first thing Bob told me was that he’s a coffee snob. Just my kind of guy! He buys special beans. So do I! He grinds his own beans. So do I! We had a great time together.

He’s interesting as well as interested in everything going on.

Uncle Robert has a time with his name. His father-in-law was Bob. He’s Bob (at least when #4 isn’t around.) His son-in-law is Bob. And the man who preached his wife’s funeral was Bob.

We’ll miss Sally so much. I loved the way she used to talk to me, even though I was part of a gaggle of kids. I was eleven when she and Robert married, so she’s been our aunt for a long time. I’ll miss her a lot.

Aunt Sally left a wonderful legacy, though, through her daughter, Julie Ann. Julie has two sons, Rowland and Walker. Rowland is a young teen, so I don’t have any pictures of him. Walker is still in grade school and is as rambunctious as my own boys were.

And there’s not a shy bone in his make up.

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