Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Time Out

I had a surprise time out with my little friend yesterday.

My cousin had a phone call from a government agency, so I ran outside to get him. He’d taken our buddy out and was letting him play in the back of his pickup. Like the nice person I am (clears throat) I agreed to stay and play while Cousin Rick talked on the phone.

The ice cream truck had come buy, and Rick had ponied up–so I also was put in charge of an ice cream cone, with chocolate cookie crumbles and a dry napkin.

Deegers picked up the few tools in the back of the truck and told me their names as well as which ones were heavy. We wore cabled wire like a necklace and he let me hold a big stick–for a moment or two. Then he wanted to go see the “horse”.

Don’t forget, I’m still holding a melting ice cream cone. Every now and then, he’d take a little sip. (Usually when I wanted to throw it away.)

So we walked across the street

to the front of the Merchant’s Hotel, which is owned by a very nice lady. She has some things decorating the sidewalk in front of her building. Our favorite is a little concrete donkey, which my buddy calls Horse. He’s just the right height for Deegan to get on, all by himself. He holds on to the tall ears and acts like he’s riding him.

Behind the donkey is a concrete cart full of silk flowers. Deegan wanted me to let him ride in the cart, and even went so far as to take out one of the fifty or sixty flowers. (He put it back when instructed.)

Then we walked down the sidewalk while he named other items out there. “Shovel. Baby. Deer. Frog.” And because I knew what they were, I could understand him! 🙂

There’s a garden gnome on a low window sill, and he calls something I can’t understand. I’ll bet Rick knows, though.

He calls me Woo-Woo. Most of the kids (and some of the secretaries) call me Su-Su, so he’s close.

He says hat very clearly. LOL.

I told Granddaddy (Deegan says that fairly clearly) that we need to buy him a real horse, and I was hoping for a cart, too.

Dad answered, “What he needs is a pita-patay.”

Somehow, I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing.



Games We Played

English: Youths playing the Red Rover game.

English: Youths playing the Red Rover game. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember the days when the gang of kids in your neighborhood played outside together all summer long? We had so much fun, running, laughing and screaming our heads off until the sun went down and our parents flashed the porch light. (Time to go in.)

I found a button on the floor at work yesterday, so I went from room to room. When I got to the M & M office (Mallory and Mendy) I said,

Button, button–who’s got the button?

I got a strange–Do what?–look from M#1.

“Didn’t you play Button, Button when you were a kid?” I asked.

“I’ve never heard of it. How did you play?”

Surprise. “How about Drop the handkerchief?”


“I’ll bet you never played Good Egg, Rotten Egg either.” I’ve never heard of anyone who played Good Egg except the crew at Bible School in Old Ford one year before we moved to C-Town. (I don’t remember the Bible School lessons, treats or crafts but I loved the games!)

After I demonstrated the position for Good Egg, Rotten Egg (squatting with your hands clasped under your hiney and elbows used for handles) and explained that two larger kids picked you up by your elbows/handles and swung you (if your hands slip loose, you’re a rotten egg) she recognized it.

Different name, same game. And even young M#2 played it on the trampoline.

Since I had work to do, I didn’t ask if they’d played Farmer In the Dell. Besides, it wasn’t my favorite game.

My absolute favorite gaggle of kids game was Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Susan come over.”

(Does anyone know what a Red Rover is?)

Remember how we played it? The other side tried to pick the littlest, weakest kid because they shouldn’t be able to break through the wall of hands-holding kids.

I loved that game, because I was tougher than I looked. I liked being a surprise. 🙂

Tag was always fun for a while as was Hide and Seek. But another one of my favorites was The Ghost Don’t Pop. (Ignore the grammar–we were kids.)

Friend, next-door-neighbor and Monopoly player extraordinaire Susie Lunsford introduced us to that game. You couldn’t play until almost dark because, after all, it was a ghost game. And everyone knows ghosts don’t come out during the day.

A base was chosen, one person was it, and the rest scattered but had to hide in a specified area. (In one person’s yard and around their house.)

After “It” counted to a hundred while all the “ghosts” hid, she started walking around the house, always keeping an eye open for lurking “ghosts.”

Using a scary voice–“It’s one o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop. Two o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop. Three o’clock and . . . “

At “Twelve o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop,” all the ghosts popped and ran for base. “It” ran for base, too. I’m not sure how anyone was the winner or how somebody became “It”, but it sure was fun!

I don’t remember my kids playing a lot of big group games when they were little. Oh, they played Duck, Duck, Goose as preschoolers as well as Tag and Hide and Seek, but once they outgrew those games, organized sports such as T-Ball and Soccer are the only ones I remember.

So I have three questions for you today.

  1. Did you play gaggle-of-kids games when you were young?
  2. What was your favorite?
  3. How did The Ghost Don’t Pop end? (Susie Lunsford, are you there???)

Leave a comment

Get the Roar

The first time I Roared was a long, long time ago. I was in college, and the drama group went to the Branson area to see the play, “Shepherd of the Hills.” If you haven’t seen it when you were visiting Branson, check it out. It’s great.

But before we got to the play, we stopped near Cassville, Missouri, at Roaring River State Park.

I love fishing, so when I found myself at a fish hatchery, I was in heaven. We didn’t stay long enough for me to wet a line, but I promised myself I’d go back someday.

I did. 🙂

The next time I went, I was MWOC. (Married Without Chrildren.)

We stopped by on our way someplace else. When we pulled up, they were moving the fish. They graduate by size from one pool to another.

The graduation ceremony was in a pickup. No kidding. They lined a pickup bed with a tarp, filled it with water, caught a bunch of fingerlings in a net and tossed them up and over, right into the bed of that truck.

It gave a whole new meaning to flying fish. 🙂

They drove to another cement pond, opened the tailgate and let them out.

I was amazed by the process. When they finished, we walked along the trails and found out way into a cave the river went into. You could see huge rainbow trout deep in the water.

No fishing allowed in that area.

Then several years later when we were MWC, we went again. This time we rented a cabin and stayed a couple of days. Nothing fancy, just a safe, clean place to stay.

The hatchery released fish early in the morning, and fishermen lined the river banks, trying to catch them.

Because our littlest boys were only about two and four, Gary, Danny and I did most of the fishing. Well, Gary and Danny did. I couldn’t get much fishing in because I couldn’t pay attention to my line and my kiddos.

And my kiddos were way more important to me than catching fish.

Matt, Gary and in the striped shorts, Danny.

Fishing probably isn’t the best vaca plan if you have fairly small kids, unless they’re like I was when I was little.

Grandma said she’d fix me a pole with just a weight and no hook when I was that small, and I’d sit and fish for hours. Made her feel guilty. 😉

Anyway, the little boys played way more than they fished. The weeds and wildflowers were about waist high on them, but they plowed right through and had a great time.

The only other people I remember fishing that day were Amish. I could tell by their dress and lack of buttons.  A very cute teenaged Amish girl with a man I figured was her new husband, because she flirted like nothing I’d seen in a religious girl. I figured they were on their honeymoon.

We didn’t catch any fish. No one near us caught a fish. In fact, I’ve never seen a fish caught there.

Why? I’m not sure. Maybe trout don’t bite on the days when I’m there. Or maybe the hatchery feeds those babies just before they release them.

Or maybe the trout are so smart, they’re making tracks for Kansas and don’t have time to stop for a nibble.

We caught something else that day, though. The world’s smallest ticks. Smaller than seed ticks. Smaller than flakes of pepper. So small, you couldn’t grab them with a pair of tweezers. They only way to get them off was by scraping with your fingernail.

And you know a tick’s favorite place to bite? Your tenderest parts.

Please, don’t visit Roaring River if you need to catch enough fish to feed you for the winter. Probably won’t happen.

Only go there if you want a laid back, easy time away from home. The area is beautiful. Hiking trails plentiful. There’s even a swimming area, although we didn’t use it.

You can see more pictures on their website. Some of these pictures came from there.

The one of my fam is mine. 🙂


V Day Flunkee

I have a horrible confession to make. I’m flunking Valentine’s Day this year.

What does a woman who’s been married a loooong time and who’s a romance writer blog about for Valentine’s Day? Probably not what you’d think. 🙂

I glanced around to see what some of my favorite blogs were talking about today. (Yes, I was hoping to rip someone off get an idea.)

One talked about making cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing. Warning she doessn’t give a recipe (maybe it’s a mix). She did show us how pretty they are and make me hungry. 😦

Since I have a wedding next month for which I’m trying to lose a few pounds, thanks, but no thanks.

I went to another one with a whole bunch of Big Name romance authors. No joy there.

A guest writes about the great time he had, going to the Sundance Film Festival. Sadly, he didn’t even mention SEEING Robert Redford. 😦  😦

Why bother? (I asked him if he got to chat with Bob while he was there. I’ll let you know if he answers me.)

And then I went to a blog with even more Big Name romance writers. Big Name romance writer, Sabrina Jeffries, is talking about When It Sucks to be a Romance Writer.

Funny, I’ve never known a romance writer who’s all that romantic. I’ve found that most of them are too busy writing to remember what day it is.

I’m not even a very good VD mom.

  • I don’t have any cards from when my kids were small to show you, although I’m sure I’ve saved some in a box somewhere.
  • I haven’t mailed my kids cards this year. (I think I sent them cards last year with Starbucks gift cards in them.)
  • I probably won’t call them and tell them happy VD. And I doubt if they’ll call me.

Not my kids’.

 I did buy some heart shaped chocolate candies for my man, but I put them in a jar with a lock down top to slow me down from eating them. (I should put a sign on them, “Remember the wedding.” Or set a mouse trap inside.)

I’ll think of something wonderful for dinner tonight. I’m sure I will. And G-Man will smile and act as if he likes what I cook . . . but how many ways can you cook chicken breasts? And after awhile, salad is just . . . salad.

I think I’ll give him that bowl of heart shaped Cheerios for breakfast they show in the commercial. Or is it a heart shaped bowl of Cheerios?  Oh, well.

I did find a really cool card online to show you.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

What are you doing to celebrate? Warning: Any ideas you have might be ripped off borrowed.


#1’s Mom

Wichita, Kansas Skyline during the winter snow

Image via Wikipedia

Is this a baby to melt your heart or what? (I’m talking about the one on the right, ladies. Get your heads right!!!)

He’s just a cutie patootie! And he’s #4’s #1 (grandchild.)

                                    This is Nicole, #1’s mom. (I have a Nicole and a Nikki who are about to join our family, but this is #4’s DIL.) Isn’t she adorable? It’s no wonder #1 is so cute!!! (Yes, his pop might have had something to do with his gorgeous looks. Maybe. 😉  )

She works with #4, who God didn’t give any daughters, either. This one looks enough like #4 to actually be her daughter. (Or her sister.) 


                                              Lisa and her #1 grandson–>


Even though Nicolehails from the big city of Wichita, she tucked right into our family like she’d been part of the group forever.

And no, she’s not a model, but she’s pretty enough to be one. She just a beautiful girl my nephew was smart enough to marry when he had the chance. That makes him a pretty smart guy if you ask me.

Hey, Wichita Girlie! C-Town loves y’all!