Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Snow Time

Are your fingers crossed?

Mine are!

Why? I just saw the weather forecast for tomorrow and we have a 70% chance of getting a wintery mix. WOOHOO! I’m really hoping the storm’s path will shift and drop a foot or two of snow on Okie Land.

Did I hear you groan? Stop it! We need snow.


Lots of snow.


Tons and tons of snow!!!snowed in bird house


  • Cold weather kills off bugs and creepy crawlies that live in our world.

But that’s not the only reason I want it.

  • We badly need moisture. (Keystone Lake is looking like Keystone Mud Puddle.)

dad's-lake-viewOkay, in some places it’s starting to look like a mud puddle.

But the real reason I want to get snow? Lots of snow. Tons and tons of snow? Enough snow to say I was snowed in?

Because if I were snowed in, I’d have time. (Snow time is so much more fun than regular time, isn’t it?)

Time to write without watching the clock.

Time to snit when I run out of words in my head. 🙂

Time to sit in front of the fireplace and snuggle with my honey.

Time to sit in front of the fireplace and read!

And I’d eat a ton of popcorn. 🙂

As long as we don’t lose power, I could stand it for oh, I don’t know. Three or four days even!

What would you do if you had time?





Birthday (sigh)

I might have mentioned I had a birthday this past week.

Really, Susan? How old were you?

So old–

  • I remember when the Beatles sang sweet songs like, I Want to Hold Your Hand, P.S. I Love You, and Love Me Do.
  • I remember when boys quit wearing flat tops and burr haircuts and switched to combing their hair forward and letting it grow longer like Moe on the Three Stooges. (Now I see burr haircuts, but we call it a Buzz cut.)
  • I remember the first time I saw a computer on a movie. It filled a huge room.
  • I remember when Alan Shepard first shot into space.
  • I remember the building my church was in before the one it’s in now. But not the one before that.
  • I remember when they started building Keystone Lake.
  • I remember buying vinyl records. (Not many, but I bought a couple.)
  • I remember having fun with other kids without TV or video games.
  • I remember watching Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

  • I remember when Saturday morning TV was Fury  and The Lone Ranger and Flicka. 

  • I remember watching a short-lived TV show called Annie Oakley–my first save-herself-and-others-heroine. (Also known as a KA heroine.)

Yeah, I’ll bet you remember when the Mayflower got here.

No. It didn’t land in Oklahoma, and I’ve only lived in this great state.

But I remember when–

  • it was cool to ride a bike to school and the bike racks were crowded with them.
  • kids were taught to “do unto others.”
  • if a kid flunked or caused a problem, it was the kid who was in trouble, not the teacher.
  • nearly every child was taught respect.

So was everything just honey and light back in the olden days? Or do you just have a faulty memory?

Everything wasn’t honey and light, although it was a lot of fun.

I remember–

  • People used to smoke anywhere they wanted–even on airplanes and in movies. (Inside the church building was off-limits, but that was about it.) TV and movies were filled with sophisticated people who nearly always had a cigarette.
  • I remember barely being about to sound out the words over a drinking fountain in a store in Tulsa that said, “White People Only.”
  • I remember three little girls being murdered at a Girl Scout Camp.

But rather than dwell on the sad things, here’s what I enjoyed.

  • Friends.
  • Bubble gum blowing contests.
  • Carnivals.
  • Going to the lake with family and friends.
  • When homes didn’t have air conditioning.
  • Camping out.
  • Swimming in C-Town’s round pool.
  • School.
  • Vacations.
  • Cousins.
  • Passing notes in church. And in school.
  • When girls had straight hair and bangs in their eyes.
  •  Trying to get my hair straight.This is not me.

(Orange juice cans, gigantic rollers, using my head as a giant roller, and yes, even an iron and ironing board.)

  • Forever Friends (siblings and parents included.)

Okay, come on. Tell us. How old are you? 

Sure. I’m 183 years and one day. I’m in pretty good shape to be that old, aren’t I? 🙂

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Gone to C-Town

When I was a little kid, my parents decided to move from the ‘Ford to C-Town. The move was all of about twenty miles and I honestly don’t know why they decided to move. Maybe it was because they knew Keystone Lake would be created in a few years and the ‘Ford would have to move anyway.

So one Father’s Day, Mom dropped Dad off at the lot they’d purchased in C-Town so he could dig the footing for our new house. Then Mom took Sister Debbie and me to visit her aunt and uncle outside of town. (And to keep us out of Dad’s way.)

I’m not sure who poured the foundation, but the Smith Brothers in Pawnee were the carpenters. Dad did some of the work himself like the wiring, and he and Mom did the painting.

I don’t remember a whole lot about it, but I remember the cases of Nehi Grape Pop Mom bought for us to drink. (Daddy liked it, too!) And cans of Redwood Rez they used to stain the outside of the house. (The empty cans were just the right size to be potties for two little girls, too. LOL!)

When we’d leave C-Town and head for the Ford, we drove on a road that rose and dipped to cross the bridge and reminded me of a small roller coaster.

On our way to the Ford where we still lived, we drove along the river road. I always knew we were almost there when I saw the big rock at the edge of the river. Daddy still calls it the Jesus Saves rock, because someone painted Jesus Saves on it some time.

I remember it as the horse rock. Same reason. <g>

The house we lived in with G & G was great. It had a bedroom right on the other side of the living room. The dining room opened off the living room, too, as well as a hallway that led to two more bedrooms and Dad’s office at the top of a very steep flight of stairs.

The first bedroom had a window that actually slid up to open into the hallway, because it had been part of another house (or maybe the entire house.) It was added to that house sometime before I came along.

If I remember right, the house was either three or four buildings put together. 🙂 It might have been noticeable to someone else, but as a kid, it was just lots of fun. I remember the washer being in the bathroom along with a huge claw foot bathtub. (Wouldn’t I love to have that today!)

And the bed Mama, Daddy, Debbie and I slept in was really a pair of twin beds pushed together. (Debbie made it a habit of falling down in the crack.)

My favorite thing to do on a rainy day (when I couldn’t run in the pasture and get cockle burrs tangled in my hair) was to sit on the porch swing on the big front porch. I could swing it really high as long as Grandmother didn’t come outside. Sometimes that swing went to the moon with me on it, and other times it went to far away lands, such as California and Kentucky.

On Saturday night, the cousins, aunts and uncles all came to Grandmother’s to watch Gun Smoke on TV. (Only G & G had a TV back then.) I remember sitting in the dark, the light from that little screen the only thing in the room to see by. The kids sat on the floor while the parents carried chairs from the dining room to sit on after the couch and wingback chairs were full.

Were families closer then? Maybe. A couple of years after we moved to C-Town, G & G built a house next door to us and lived there until they died.

Now only one son lives in the ‘Ford. Many of the cousins live in C-Town. Of course, the cousins are all grown up and have kids and grandkids (many of them, anyway) of their own.

The river road is gone, I think. At least the river is gone. It became Keystone lake back in the ’60’s. And if the Jesus Saves rock is still in one piece, I imagine it’s gone under a ton of mud.

The original ‘Ford is gone, but the wonderful people and their hardy spirits are still very present in the people who lived and loved in that great place.

I’m really not sure trading the town for a fifty-year-lake was a good bargain.


Land-Run Celebrations

I have several faded memories of parades in the Ford. Once I rode on the First Christian Church float (in a big wagon with all the other Sunday School kids, if I remember right) while my cousin rode her cute little kiddie car. (I wonder if her legs hurt from pedalling when it was over?) And another time I rode with my cousin, Randall, on his horse, Randy. Both parades were to celebrate The Rodeo! We loved those rodeos!

When my family moved to C-Town, there wasn’t a rodeo, so no rodeo parade. Instead, C-Town celebrated the opening of the Cherokee Outlet on September 16th of each year. (Or maybe it was the closest Saturday to that date.)

Over six millions acres had been up for grabs that day in 1893.

I’m sure there were people around when I was a kid who’d made the run, but I didn’t know any.

Doesn’t the land run look like it was exciting?

 We’ve all seen the movies, watched the experience through the TV screen. But imagine actually being there for that adrenalin rush. Whoa!

Photographer William S. Prettyman learned that the opening of the Cherokee Strip was going to be the biggest land run of all, so he built a tower at the edge of the run, put three cameras there with three photographers. He took the above picture himself, then ran to get in the race.

I read several accounts of people trying to sign up to be part of the run. Hot, dusty, discouraging days with water costing a nickel a drink and standing in line from can’t see to can’t see and still not getting a certificate to run must have been disheartening. And even when they’d signed up, they weren’t guaranteed to get land.

The people were strong hearted gamblers, for sure!

Back when I was a kid and we had a celebration, but we DIDN’T have a landrun. Not even a pretend one. (Maybe the memories were still too fresh.) Instead we had a parade.

This picture must have been taken at a parade before we moved to C-Town. I don’t remember them calling it Old Settlers Day, but I do remember the Otasco Store and drug store being there.

And I remember Bayouth’s being next door to Ben Franklin. 🙂

We had street dances to celebrate the opening, beard growing contests (for men only) and free (!) delicious (!!) barbecue sandwiches!!! (I remember standing in line for those. YUM! Wonder if they came from Dari Diner?)

Sometimes we had a pet and bicycle parade. I wanted to take our toy Manchester Terrier, Tiny, in the parade one year, but she wouldn’t walk on a leash. I didn’t think it would look very good to drag this little five-pound black dog for six blocks on the end of a chain, so I decided to carry her in a baby’s bath tub.

When I was in the garage finding the tub, I noticed a box of crocheted baby clothes someone had given Mom, so I dressed Tiny in a frilly little pink jacket and bonnet.

That stubborn little mongrel won Best Dressed Pet (could have been ONLY dressed pet) and I won a dollar!

For a while after Keystone Lake was built, C-Town stopped having Pioneer Day and started have Jolly Roger Day. After several years, though, we reverted to PD. A much better way to celebrate our heritage.

Besides, I got tired of walking around in an eye patch and saying, “Arrrrrr!” 😉