Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


You Know You’re From Okieland

Adapted from Wikipedia's OK county maps by Set...

Adapted from Wikipedia’s OK county maps by Seth Ilys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swiped this from Cheryl Brown’s Facebook page. I went to her FB page to check on her mama, who’s in the hospital. We’re praying for Janyce and we’re trusting God.

Found this and couldn’t help but share. And I had to comment, too, so I put mine in red. 😛
You might be an OKIE if:
1. You can properly pronounce Eufaula, Gotebo, Okemah, and Chickasha .
2. You think that people who complain about the wind in their states are sissies.
3. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel. I know they do that in Kansas. My Wichita BIL went out once and videoed one.
4. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.
5. You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day. Well, duh. Don’t they do that in other states?
6. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade. You know it if you’ve ever worn shorts to drive in!
7. Stores don’t have bags, they have sacks.
8. You see people wear bib overalls at funerals. And weddings. 🙂
9. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent. And they think we have one! G-Man, who grew up ten miles north of me, told me I had an accent when we got married. Got over it, though. 
10. You measure distance in minutes. (“I’m about 5 minutes away.”) They do that in NYC. “Just walk that direction for five minutes.”
11. You refer to the capital of Oklahoma as “The City.”
12. It doesn’t bother you to use an airport named for a man who died in an airplane crash. Your point is???
13. Little smokies are something you serve only for special occasions.
14. You go to the lake because you think it is like going to the ocean. Not sure I get this one. Can anyone help me with it?
15. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit.
16. You know cow-pies are not made of beef.
17. Someone you know has used a football schedule to plan their wedding date. LOL! Yeah, but it was funny then, too.
18. You have known someone who has had one belt buckle bigger than your fist. Doesn’t everyone?
19. A bad traffic jam involves two cars staring each other at a four- way stop, each determined to be the most polite and let the other go first. 😛
20. You know in which state “Miam-uh” is and in which state “Miam-ee” is.
21. You aren’t surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, and bait all in the same store.
22. Your “place at the lake” has wheels under it.
23. A Mercedes Benz is not a status symbol. A Ford F350 4×4 is.
24. You know everything goes better with Ranch. Well, yeah.
25. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply.
26. You actually get these jokes and are “fixin” to send them to your friends. Nope. Share ’em on my blog. 🙂
27. Finally, you are 100% Oklahoman if you have ever heard this conversation:
“You wanna Coke?”
“What kind?”
“Dr. Pepper.”
Actually, I’ve never heard #27. I think that’s a Texas thing. Here we ask, “Want a pop?
“What kind?”
“DIET Dr. Pepper.”


Happy, Happy Birthday, #4!


It seems like just last year I told you the same thing. 🙂 Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?

I have a little test to see if you’re losing your mind from living in that foreign country (Kansas Country.)

  • Who got shut up in the clothes dryer?
  • Who dreamed a witch was cutting off her leg?
  • Who crawled the day she came home from the hospital?
  • Who was the STAR! of her first grade play?
  • Who was number four in a line of girls, so she sparkled plenty to get attention?
  • Who could run faster and jump higher than anyone else, just because Mama wanted her to be a good basketball player?
  • Who took care of her older sister when the mean girls picked on her?
  • Who was Grandmother’s favorite noodle unroller?
  • Who named all her dolls Deara?
  • Who “saved” her oldest sister in life saving?
  • Who is so claustrophobic she nearly couldn’t get baptised?
  • Who was so tender headed, Mama called her Grandma Reeves?
  • Who got lost when she looked in the barrel marked, “For men only”
  • Who loves you the mostest?

Happy birthday, #4. Love you and miss you!!!



I love writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do. 🙂

I figure it stems from all those years of pretend when I was a kid. I never was a big one for games. Although I played, and enjoyed, a lot of them, I could live without them.

But not without “play like”. It just wasn’t in me. If I climbed a tree with a bunch of kids, I was ready to turn that tree into apartments and make up a story about living there. If we played in a car, we were taking a road trip to California. (I still have never been there, although I’d love to go sometime.)

As an adult during lulls in life, I often find myself making up stories–either about the people around me or my destination.

Once when my man and I lived in Punkin Center, we went to eat at a restaurant several miles out of town, nearly to the Kansas border. While we were eating, I noticed a table of three people, a man and two women.

Maybe it was the location of the restaurant (there was nothing else around for miles but farm land) or the different ethnicity of those three, but I had quite a story made up in my head about them. Talk about exciting! (Drug trafficking? International spy ring?)

When we got up to leave one of the women, who was very pretty and slender with her hair cut in the latest style, started shout-whispering my husband’s name. “Gary! Gary!”

Poor guy didn’t hear a thing, but I did. “I think someone is talking to you.”

Turns out, sadly, she was a girl he went to high school with, who’d moved to PC to work at a large oil company. My story for her life was a lot more fun. LOL.

As much as I like to write, I like reading even better!

I love books–the ones made of paper AND the digital ones. I get so excited when a new book by an author I enjoy comes out.

And one of those authors is Marilyn Pappano, who writes for Harlequin. Her most recent book was called, “Copper Lake Secrets” and with me it’s a big hit!

   From Amazon

Marilyn has a writing style that’s unique. Her words flow as smooth as honey, and while she’s pouring visions into your head, she smacks you with emotions that will make you laugh out loud, cry real tears or want to punch the guy in the book. Hard!

Unlike some authors, Marilyn doesn’t start this hero and heroine out disliking each other. The conflict in the story comes from within the character (like real life!) and, for most of the book, seems insurmountable.

There is a ghost in the book, but I view it as a tool Marilyn uses to give her book an interesting twist.

If you haven’t read “Secrets” order it now. It’s a fantastic read from a wonderful author and a darn nice lady.

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Twister Tales

Aftermath of the Tornado that hit Pryor Creek ...

Image via Wikipedia

The rash of earthquakes and the tornado (or two) Okie-Land had a few weeks ago brought comments from people in other states. “I’d rather deal with an earthquake than a tornado.”

Really? At least, in a tornado if you have warning, there are places you can go where you’re safe.

Of course, we don’t like them.  We’d give all our twisters to a sister state, if she’d take them. (Hey, Kansas? How about you?)

But until Big K steps up to take the killer twirls from us, we’re stuck with them.

Tornadoes and their warnings are dark shadows in most Okies’ memories. One of my first was the night of the circus that the Williams family went to with our fam. You can read about it here.

Another time, the warning siren woke us in the middle of the night. Mom sort of panicked, which gave at least one of my sisters a real fear of storms. Even thunder storms give her the jitters.

(I kind of enjoy them as long as I’m not driving.)

The spring after my middle son was born, we lived in a house about a mile west of C-Town. Because north-east Oklahoma has a high water table, and that makes it hard to have a cellar or basement that doesn’t have a foot or two of water in it, I’ve never owned a hidey-hole. That spring, I was sorry I didn’t have one.

It seems that every week, I got a phone call from one of my sibs, telling me the siren was blowing. The entryway of my house, where the stairway was, had several large windows on both sides. I didn’t want to navigate those stairs with glass crashing all around and a five-year-old as well as an infant in tow, so we’d sleep in the family room, right next to the under-the-stairs closet. (We figured it was the safest place in the house.)

A tornado cut a swath next to highway 412 near C-Town once. It started somewhere to the west of where I live right now, and plowed a path through the trees and houses built around the lake.

One family, who’d all built houses near each other, had a cellar they shared. While the twister damaged their homes, they were snug and safe underground–until a car got rolled on top of their cellar and the gasoline inside it drain into the cellar with them.

They were lucky enough that nothing sparked and set off the fumes.

Just about every house on the block where I live now was damaged or destroyed by that same tornado. When things cleared, my mom and dad loaded up their car with things people might be able to use and drove to the lake to help their neighbors clean up and dig out.

Like the good Samaritan, we learn being able to give is much more blessed than needing to receive, don’t we?

So what do Okies do when a tornado heads our way? Most of us go for cover and prayer. Emphasis on prayer.


Header Know How

I’ve been playing with headers this morning. (That picture at the top.) Playing is the operative word here. Mostly I stumble and fumble until I get something that isn’t too awful. LOL.

I’ve had several up there today. A pair of toy flamingos, a herd of cattle, an old house. Right now these yellow buildings are winning. They’re all pictures I took while in Kansas last week.

One started out looking like this–

The header was just the buildings.

Not a lot of difference.

But this–

Well, I can’t get it to crop to show you here, so I’ll make it the header and show you. I know there are lots of people who can do this and make it look fantastic. Maybe one of them will teach me how one of these days. 🙂



Project Lydia

I got my “real” computer back last night. Wow, it’s like coming home to get my fingers back on this keyboard. Nice!

We met #1 son and DIL for dinner last night so we could get it back. While we were there, I gave DIL a little gift I bought her in Kansas. It’s a long necklace, made in African women.

You know, it really is a Small Town World, and the women who make these things are our neighbors in this SMT!

I bought my goodies from the woman in the middle of this picture. She’s a missionary to Uganda, and very interesting! (There were lots of vendors at the festival, but this is the only one I bought from.)

You can read all about it at The woman was nice, sincere and had a lot of love for the women she works with.

The women hand make jewelry, dolls, small bags woven from food packages (like Doritos and Lays) and banana leaf baskets to sell so they can support themselves.

 I bought necklaces

and a basket.

The necklace can also be worn like a multi-strand bracelet.

And the best part? They’re made from recycled paper. Magazines, mostly, I think. And they have six layers of varnish on them.

The baskets are made from banana leaves, right out of the women’s gardens, so there’s almost no overhead. The had all sizes, with the most expensive costing around $40.00. Not a bad deal!

I think I might have to do more shopping online. They really have some great stuff. Practically everything is made from recycled products. (Save the planet.) The prices are right. (Save the wallet.) AND you’re helping other women. (Save a soul.)

Don’t you love it?


Snowing and Blowing

Snow tubers going down a hill.

Image via Wikipedia

When you woke up this morning, did you look out and see a perfect blanket of white covering the world? If you live in north-east Oklahoma or southern Kansas, you could have.

What’s everyone’s first thought when they see that kind of weather? 

Kids usually think: Yaaay! Snow day!!!

Mamas: Oh, no. A snow day.

As a kid, I was lucky enough to have a mother who enjoyed snow as much as I did. We’d play out in it until we were wet all over from throwing it or rolling in it, then we’d run into the house with our teeth chattering and our lips blue. Mom would put dry clothes on us, dry our hair and give us hot chocolate to drink.

About the time we drained the last drop, we’d be warm and raring to go out again. And Mama always put dry clothes on us and let us go back out. She never complained or wished we’d stay inside. And more often than not, she’d find time to go out and play with us sometime during the day.

When I was growing up, we lived in C-Town where Kaw meets D Street. For two or three blocks, our neighborhood teamed with kids. We lived across the street from two boys named Mackey, who could throw really hard snowballs. Next door was the Lunsford Family, whose daughter, Susie, taught us to play Fox and Geese in the snow. She also showed us how to make snow angels. Mom voted down the angels because we got too wet, lying in the now.

Next door to her were the Williams kids. Across the street, the Paulsons and later, the Fergusons. Rommels. Summers. Allens. Bayouths. Lawrences. Hills. Browns. All the families had at least two children, and most three. (They were all pikers compared to Our Family. My folks ended up with six!)

On snow days, all the kids flocked outdoors to play together. We’d divide up and have snowball wars (not a lot of fun if you didn’t get one of the big guys on your team) or we’d build snowmen or go sledding.

After the grown ups wore our runners to nubbins and the highway patrol wouldn’t let us hook our sled behind cars anymore, our parents bought us a “real” sled, which really wasn’t as much fun. But if you want, you can read about that first sled in sleddy memories here.

 As I got older, I didn’t play outside in the snow as much. And the school didn’t give us a snow day if the roads were just a little slick. One of those days, Dad volunteered to drive me to school so he could teach me how to drive in the snow.

We drove around the corner on Kaw and along the curve of C Street, then turned up Cemetery Hill.

Dad’s advice? “Just keep it slow and steady. Don’t jerk the wheel or stomp on the gas. Always pump your brakes, never hit th–”

He stopped in the middle of what he was saying because just about that time, a car coming down the hill toward us turned sideways and starting sliding, taking up both lanes.

Dad pulled to the edge of our lane. And then, because the out-of-control car was heading right for us, he got over more. And then we went in the ditch.

I try to remind Dad about my snow driving lesson at least once a winter. 😉

A few years later when I was in college in Joplin, I got to try out my excellent snowy road driving lessons. The road in front of my dorm had a stop sign, then turned either up or down hill.

Trying to use those excellent lessons, I turned up hill and slowly pushed the gas. I got started, then the car (a ten-year-old 98 Oldsmobile) stopped going altogether. Next thing I knew, I was sliding backward.

I thought I was going down that long hill, so I jammed on the brakes. That did no good, so I yanked on the emergency brake. Absolutely nothing. I kept sliding,  just like a rock.

Thankfully, I ended up back almost where I’d started with my back tires against the curb. As soon as the glide ended, I threw open the door and bailed.  “Hateful car can just stay there until the spring thaw!” I wasn’t crying. I really wasn’t. 😉 

“Want me to move it for you?” one of the guys who lived in the dorm asked.

“Yeah. Or steal it if you want.”

He got inside, started it, put it in gear and without a single slip or slide, calmly drove it to the men’s dorm, where he parked it.

And that’s where it stayed until the spring thaw.

A couple of years after I left Ozark, I married G-Man. When we’d been married a few years, we decided to start our family. The due date for our first son was January 24th. That year we had nearly weekly snow storms.

I worked at my mother’s dress shop then, and felt good enough to keep on working. That last week the snow was so deep, Mom and G-Man both insisted I stay at home. (They might have been afraid I’d have my baby at Four Seasons if I kept working.)

We even stayed with Mom and Dad and my sibs who were still at home because the roads to the house where we lived were awful.

For some reason, when it snowed during my pregnancy, I craved popcorn, popped in oil, with butter.

That wouldn’t be so bad if I’d given it up after #1 was born, but to this day, for me the perfect snow day includes yummy, salty, buttery popcorn.

And if possible a Diet Dr. Pepper.  

Anybody with me on this one?