Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Today, I’m Praying

It’s nearly February, and we haven’t had winter yet.

Weird, I know, but it’s not the first time. Every few years we have a really mild winter, then we get punished for it. Mother Nature gets us back by sending us lots more tics and other nasty critters.

And the next winter we get heavier than usual ice storms and snow falls.

I know the weird weather cycles have happened several times in my life, but the year my middle son was born really stands out in my memory. I remember going to a friend’s house for our Philomathic Study Club meeting.

The group was made up of women of all ages from mid-twenties to one hundred years old. (At least they seemed that old at the time.)

On that beautiful winter day, I took my three month old son and walked the few steps to the friend’s house. And as luck would have it, I was privileged to sit next to one of my favorite (also one of the oldest) members.

We talked about how beautiful the weather was when she said, “That’s what scares me.”

“A beautiful winter scares you?” I was surprised. “Why?”

Her sweet, quavery voice took on a steely tone. “The weather was just like this when everyone died of the influenza, back in the 1920’s.”

“Do you think the weather made them sick?” (Wouldn’t that be an odd superstition?)

She laughed softly. “No. But with the weather this pretty, everyone wants to get out and about. They go to church, visit with each other in their yards, go shopping and to social events. Even those who’re getting sick and don’t recognize it want to get out, and those poor folks share their germs without ever realizing they have.”

I keep remembering that conversation because right now, the hospital in T-Town is full of babies, sick with RSV.

Writer and nurse Jackie Kramer talks often this time of year about dealing with choking babies. When my niece had to put her baby in the hospital last week, I grabbed the phone and called Jackie.

Not only is she a great writer, nurse and friend, she’s also very good at calming Nervous Nellys. Who knew being a calming influence was a prerequisite for a peds nurse? (Answer: Me!)

Me: What does RSV stand for?

Jackie: Respiratory Syncytial Virus. You know what respiratory and virus mean.

Me: What’s Syncytial mean?

Jackie: Who knows? The point is, it’s a sick baby, and the hospital is the best place to take care of them.

She kept talking, telling me how the treatment would make our baby (she’s my great-niece, so I claim her) feel better and breathe easier.

Jackie: It’ll be much harder on Mama than it is on Baby.

Me: Mama and Grandmommy. My sister is there with her, and probably as upset as the mama is.

Jackie: (chuckle) They usually are.

I haven’t been to the hospital because they requested no visitors (RSV is one of the reasons I don’t go around new babies for a few months if I can help it) but I’m so thankful for the nurses who work overtime, saving those babies’ lives. And calming silly great-aunts who call to find out why.

(Ooh, I kind of like being a GREAT aunt. Sounds like I’m good at something.)

Preacher Dave said in church yesterday that we have between 7 and 10 kids who are in the hospital right now, so I wonder if it’s not like the spread of the influenza in the ’20’s. From newborn breathing problems to RSV to back surgery to bacterial spinal meningitis, our kids are being hard hit.

Today, I’m praying for the kiddos, nurses and docs and thanking Him for giving us all three. Who are you praying for?


♪♫ Happy Birthday to You ♪♫

Happy birthday, Debbie!

My sweet sister and first friend. Faithful Christian and prayer warrior; Mary AND Martha, all in one.

You’re what every parent wants in a daughter. Perfect and pretty, a mommy wannabe and wonderful mother. Cheerleader. Homemaker. Decorator.

A pal to be kids with and a friend to be pals with. You grew into a woman who’s just as beautiful as her reflection–an uncommon happening in a girl who grew up as pretty and talented as you.

Remember the games we played? Was that one called, “A date for Barbie?” We always wanted to “win” Ken and not have to go to the prom with Pointdexter. 🙂

Playing Jacks?

Remember the tent we built that summer in the back yard using a  bed spread thrown over the clothes line? And the silly straw hats Grandma gave us that we wore all summer long?

Remember riding bikes with Marsha H, swimming every day at the pool and helping take care of the little kids?

Remember when we had the measles and how mad Mama was because we walked in the rain from the movies to Mrs. Shriner’s for Piano Club just before we got sick and made ourselves even sicker? 

Remember the book Mama read us while we had the measles because the measles were supposed to make your eyes weak? (Tom Sawyer.) And the school bell we rang when we needed her?

Remember how I broke my nose?

How about when you were so sick that time so I stayed home from Mom and Dad’s Sunday School party with you and someone suddenly banged on the window and beat on the rain spout and just about gave us a heart attack?

Angie, Tiny, Pupstar, Monster Dog?     

Chi-Chi, Sparky, Susie-Q and Black Diamond?

May 20, 1991.

Luke 1:30–But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

I know without a doubt you’ll hear those words–“You have found favor with God.”

And when you do, you’ll answer–

Luke 1:46–And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6: 24-26.    

Happy birthday, little sister!