Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Keep Me in Stitches

One of my absolute favorite things in the world is quilts. Don’t you love them?

When my father-in-law remarried after G-Man’s mother died, his wife and her sister were into making quilts. It didn’t take her long to figure out how much I liked them, so she made one for Baby Boy.

 Isn’t this adorable? I love it. It was kind of big to wrap Buggy in, so I hung it on the wall.

I love that they took the time to finish it with Prairie Points.

I like old quilts even more than new ones. This one belonged to my Grandmother. She gave it to me when I lived in Pryor Creek.

One of my boys got a virus not long after I got it, and nothing made him feel better except wrapping up in this quilt. It really is kind of like a hug from home. You know?

Grandmother told me her mother (Grandma Mitchell) made it for her when she was first married in about 1922. How cool is that?

 This is a crazy quilt my mom used to pad some furniture because nobody wanted the quilt. My Grandma Reeves’s mother-in-law made it and gave it to her  when she was a newly wed.

Same quilt, just turned to another part. It’s not a cozy comfortable quilt. Not like a hug from home, but I love it.

To be VERY honest, I don’t remember where I got this one. I believe one of my sisters who loves me a ton gave it to me. Lots of people would rather not have a quilt that’s tied instead of quilted, but I love them.

ALL!

I’ve even made a few small pieces. A pink baby quilt I made for my baby girl, who turned out not to be a girl, so it became a wall hanging. I’m not sure where it is right now, but it had heart squares–all different kinds of heart squares. (I’ve never made an appliqued quilt. I like piecing them.)

I made this star square. It started out to be a toilet seat cover, but I couldn’t quite figure that out, so I changed it to a wall hanging.

This is a sailboat. Can you tell? I made it, too. 🙂

And I saw a picture of this one in a book, and I wanted it. So I figured out how and made it, too.

Yes, they’re all wall hangings. A baby quilt is the biggest thing I’ve ever made. But the ones I made are hand quilted by moi. Impressed? LOL.

One of my two absolute all time favorites is this one. Grandma Reeves’s sister and mother made for her when she married Granddad. It’s a double wedding ring quilt.

Grandma and Granddad were married about 64 years. The quilt is old and stained and faded and has a hole worn in it because she said with all her kids (seven of them) she had to use everything in the house to keep them warm.

This beautiful quilt hangs above my bed.

For inspiration.

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Meet the G’dad

I have something really cute to show you. Wanna see?

This is my mom’s dad when he was a teenager. Isn’t he adorable? (I think he looks like Nephew Phillip.)

I love the chain going from under the tie to his shirt pocket. Makes me think he had a new pocket watch and couldn’t wait to put on his suit to wear it. He could have put it in his pant pocket, but then it wouldn’t show in the picture. 🙂

Granddad was in World War I, and just before he left for San Antonio, where he was stationed, he married Grandma. This is their wedding photo, taken in 1917.

Granddad was in his early twenties here. Are you loving his hairdo? I’m sure it disappeared as soon as he got in the army. 😉

This is the way I remember him looking. Some of my favorite things I remember about Granddad–

When I was little, he had a cool pickup (I remember it being a granite blue color) that went a-OOO-gah! If I remember right, it burned up in a well fire. 😦

Granddad loved to fish and take his grandkids fishing.

He nearly always wore a hat. Not a ball cap. A really cool hat.

Granddad’s hat–a fedora?

I’m not sure what it’s called, but I love it. (It hangs on my wall.) Granddad must have, too. He used it for shade, a fan, a swatter, and when in a pinch, he used it for an ashtray.

At one time or another, Granddad had a chicken farm near Tahlequah years ago, he worked in the oilfield, and more often than not, he farmed. (Often while working another job.) During the Great Depression, he went to another state and worked to support his family of seven (!) children.

One memory stands out in my mind. Once Sister Debbie and I stayed a week with G & G at their farm near Tahlequah. Granddad was working in his garden while Debbie and I climbed a tree. I was getting pretty brave, and had my feet higher than my head when the small branches I held onto snapped. I landed on Deb (she still claims she saved my life) and we both tipped, about to topple out of that tree, several feet to the ground.

Granddad saw us falling, dropped his hoe and raced across the garden to catch us both. I was impressed a guy that old could run so fast.

I remember going to church with him on that trip, too, and hearing him sing. Seems like he might have led the singing, too. (Maybe that’s where Brother Jeffrey got that talent!) And we fished in the Illinois River.

Do you have happy memories of your granddad (or mine) you can share?


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☺Mama’s Birthday☺

What were you doing eighty-one years ago today? 😉 Okay, you probably weren’t a glimmer yet.

Eighty-one years ago, my grandma was having a baby. A beautiful baby with black hair and big eyes. Many years later, that baby became my mama. 🙂

She’ll probably smack me when I get to heaven for telling her age. She used to say, “A woman who’ll tell her age will tell anything.” (She also told me, “If you don’t start lying about your age, I’ll have to stop lying about mine. LOL.)

This is Mama.

And this–

Mama at about 14 or 15–(Holding Cousin Liz.)

And this is Mama, all grown up. Or maybe it’s her senior picture. I’m not sure. 🙂 But that was pretty close to grown up. She got married three or four months later.

When I was a kid, once a month Mama went to Birthday Club. I’ve never known exactly what it was about, but several women here in C-Town would go out and eat. The women whose birthday month it was got a gift.

I hated that night. Not because Dad took care of us (Grandmother, next door, was always available to help) but because it was a part of Mama’s life I couldn’t be part of, too. (Aren’t kids weird?)

By the time I was an adult, the women were celebrating Birthday Club at individuals’ swimming pools around town. I never was a part of it, even though other women my age were, because by that time I loved it that Mom had something that was hers alone.

Funny how we change, isn’t it?

Today is Mama’s birthday, and a different Birthday Club will be celebrating. The BC at work goes out once a month, and for July, we’re celebrating today. We’re supposed to be telling Mendy and Rick HBD, but in my heart (and many of the people who’ll be there–Jeffrey, Amy, Kyle, Laura, Hope, Faith, Mallory and with luck, Deb) we’re celebrating Mama.

We’re having Mexican Food–Mom’s favorite. 🙂

And we’ll have a great time!

Happy birthday, Mama. We love you!


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Granddad Ray & a Vaca

There’s a blog about vacations called Bucket List Publications. The author is an adorable young woman who travels all over, photographing the world and having grand adventures.

I’m willing to bet she didn’t have a granddad like mine.

The sibs and I grew up living next door to our paternal grandparents. If you ever wondered what it would be like to have two sets of parents, ask me sometime.

Granddad Ray taught his children and grandchildren a great work ethic, and he did that by LOVING his work. He had many jobs in his life (butcher, PA, grocery store merchant, rancher, farmer and You-Name-It-He-Done-It-In-The-Patch) and from what I’ve been able to tell, he loved the guts out of every one of them.

What he didn’t love–honestly didn’t understand–were vacations. It wasn’t that he thought something bad might happen when he was gone. He didn’t even worry that someone would steal what he thought was his.

Granddad just loved working so much, he wanted to be there. He thought everyone should. He didn’t understand why anyone ever wanted a break from it. Of course, that didn’t stop his sons from taking vacations. 🙂

Because my fam lived next door, if we took a vacation, we usually invited G & G to go with us. Often, Grandmother would go. Usually, Granddad did not, but once in a while . . .

One year, Granddad went to Branson with us. I’m not sure why, because we hadn’t been there long when he threatened to take his car (the one I was driving to college, and had driven directly there to meet them) and go home.

Another time, just after we got to Colorado, he wanted to head home.

Grandmother, on the other hand, loved going and happily stayed without complaint. She was a real trooper. Of course, she might have taken after her father.

Granddad Mitchell operated a filling station when my dad was a kid. Dad’s the youngest in his fam, and Uncle Frank is #1. When UF graduated high school, WWII was just underway, and his girlfriend had moved to California. (I’m guessing it had to do with her father and war work, but I don’t know for sure.)

UF missed her and wanted drive out to visit, so Granddad suggested Grandmother, Aunt Phyllis and Dad should go along, too.  As they were on their way out of town, they stopped to fill up at Granddad Mitchell’s gas station.

“Come and go with us,” Grandmother quipped as her dad filled up their car.

“I’ll be right back,” he answered.

Ten minutes later, they headed west. Grandmother, Frank, Phyllis, Dad and Granddad Mitchell.

First time I heard that story, I was more than a little surprised. Who can decide and get ready to go on a vaca in just ten minutes? What about having enough clothes? Planning which way and where to stay?

And what about money? Even though someone had already planned and was carrying enough money to pay for gas, etc. on the trip, Granddad would be an extra mouth to feed, and an extra bed to rent. They didn’t have credit cards back then. What did they do?

Dad said Granddad took a ten dollar bill along. I know things cost much less right after the depression, but three meals a day, all they way to California and back for $10? That’s some budgeting.

And what about the station? Who took care of it?

Grandma Mitchell, of course.

I asked Dad if Grandma M got upset with Granddad for taking off like that.

He said Grandma was never upset with Granddad.

“I never saw her mad at him. She was a hard worker, always busy with one thing or another, and she never complained. Anything Granddad wanted to do was ‘jake’ with her.”

On the way out there, they had breakfast in a small town in New Mexico. Aunt Phyllis ordered a hamburger for breakfast, surprising Dad and the rest of the vacationers.

When they were in the car later, Phyllis swore the burger tasted so bad, it had to have been horse meat.

He never did figure out how she knew what horse meat tasted like.

Our family vacas aren’t even close to the ones Lesley has on her Bucket List, but with relatives like mine, we go at them from a whole different angle. 😉


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Shopping Fleas

Running late this morning, but I have a great excuse. I was out with the dry cattle last night. (Grandmother’s saying. It means I was out late.)

I was busy taking beautiful pictures for you. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Sister Debbie, my shopping guru, her beautiful daughter, Mel, and her sweet baby girl.

 This is a baby that you’d dance for, just to see her smile.

 After work yesterday, the four of us drove to a town that’s not too far away to a flea market sale. I’ll give you a hint about where it is. It’s the home of Oklahoma Spess University.

We walked in the gate and here’s the first thing I saw.

Just like the windows in an adorable potting shed I coveted recently.

I thought, “I want those! I could build that potting shed in my yard.” Okay, I couldn’t really build a potting shed, but I’d have them for someone else to use. 🙂

Deb came up behind me. “I’ve always wanted a pair of those to go beside my patio door.”

But we’d just walked in the gate, so we moved on.

 So many cute ideas.

So many “I wants!”

I even wanted something for my friend. Wish I’d bought it. 😦

And this!

 Just like one Sister Debbie and I had when we were small.

The hardest part was checking out with our fantastic buys.

Isn’t this an adorable jacket?

 “Giddy Up or Go Home”.

Loved this jacket. But I complimented the woman (a bunch) and she didn’t offer to sell it, which I would have if I’d had them for sale.

So I decided to wrestle her for it. Warning: Never try to wrestle a woman for an adorable jacket. They’ll kick your hiney.

Surveying all the fun.

And so, as the sun set in the west, we loaded up and headed for home.

Actually, the loading up is the funny part. I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow.

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Lemons to . . . ?

You know the old question, What do you do when life hands you lemons? Make lemonade, of course!

I’ve heard several other answers.

  • Serve mine with a twist.
  • Stuff them in your, uh, ladies’ underwear and save money on padding.
  • Sell them on eBay.
  • Trade them in for ones that get better gas mileage. (I like that one!)
  • Make a helmet for your kitty.

Okay, this guy used a lime, but you get the idea.

My Granddad Ray was one of those guys who knew about turning lemons into lemonade. He was born in 1900, along with a twin sister, in this cabin.

 The cabin was built on the place my great-grandfather got in the opening of the Cherokee Strip. I believe Great-granddad Spess staked a different place, then traded a man for this one. That was seven years before Granddad Ray was born.

Granddad grew up on that land. When he married, he and Grandmother built a house there and had two children. They moved to town by the time they had their last child.

My dad was born in 1930, the last of Granddad and Grandmother’s four children–all six years old and under! (Oy!) 1930 was practically the beginning of The Great Depression, but Granddad figured several ways to turn the lemons of a depression into lemonade.

He raised and butchered his own animals and raised much of their own food on the Farm. (I have a hunch he was a pretty fair trader, too!) He sold insurance and got into the oil business.

When I was a kid, we always called the land where Granddad was born The Farm. (Original, right? LOL) The Farm is in the Basin, near Old Ford.

As kids, we loved to go there. Sparky, the horse Dad bought when he was twelve, lived there as well as two families of cousins. When we were there, we could fish in the best catfish pond in the world, and if we were very, very lucky, Granddad would pick a watermelon and we’d get to eat it, warm and sweet, straight out of the garden.

The soil near the river was really sandy, and while it might not be the best for raising some crops (kind of hard to keep watered) Granddad found it was a great place to plant watermelons.

About the only thing on The Farm I never liked was Bull Neddles. Know what that is?

This is from Plant of the Week on Facebook:

The entire plant is covered in glass-like hairs that when touched break off into the skin and act as hypodermic needles releasing a toxin that causes an intense burning sensation.  The stinging hairs can penetrate even the heaviest clothing such as jeans.  Depending on sensitivity of ones skin the affected area can remain red and swollen for a number of days after initial contact.

If you ever got too near one, you’d remember. Just brush against a bull neddle and your legs start itching and stinging enough to make you cry for a long time.

As kids, we wore shorts all summer long except when we went to The Farm. If we forgot and wore them and got caught by a bull neddle, we didn’t forget again for a long time.

But Granddad knew something about Bull Neddles that us kids didn’t know. It was good for food! Not the stinging neddles, but the seed pod.

Inside the seed capsule that bears a coat of armour more formidable than steel waits a delicious nut. (from Plant of the Week on FB again.)

I remember one year when Granddad brought home a bucket full of those seed pods. When he told us what they were, us kids gave that bucket a wide berth. We imagined that, even after they were off the plant, they’d cause itching like our on legs when we got too close in the summer.

I don’t know if anyone except Granddad ever ate those nuts he picked. LOL.

Granddad even knew how to find fruit in an old orchard that had gone wild, and how to turn the gritty pears he picked in that orchard into honey. Pear honey. 🙂

One more thing I know? When Granddad got lemons, he made lemonade but he added fresh orange juice to it and lots of sugar, so it wasn’t so tart.


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Three F’s

For as long as I can remember, Grandmother and Granddad had their family over for Christmas Eve. We’d eat homemade candy, desserts and goodies and open the gift the G’s had for us. Then we’d watch while they open our gifts.

After they were gone, that tradition had to change. It was decided that we’d combine the office Christmas party and the family party. Since much of the family is part of the business, that makes a lot of sense.

This year, we got together again. And, no surprise, we had a great time. (At least I did.)

 This is the pair who does all the planning and worrying, and they send out the invitations. (And we haven’t been disappointed yet!)

The food is always DELICIOUS. (And we’ve been a bunch of places over the years.)

And this was to keep us from starving BEFORE we got our steaks. (Talk about yum!)

 We get to visit with people we love and don’t get to see often enough. And we get to wear our Christmas sweaters. There’s never enough Christmas sweater time.

Everybody who possibly can makes it a point to be there.

Young , , ,

And not quite as young. (Except at heart.)

We have fun

Fun!

 FUN!

Food, Fun and Family. What could be better than that?