Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Mannford Burning

My heart hurts this morning for the fire victims here in northeast Oklahoma.

Larry Lawrence photos.

These pictures were taken about seven miles northwest of Mannford, Oklahoma.

Larry Lawrence photo.

Seven miles, and the flames were that visible. That’s just plain scary. From my house, the flames made a bright orange glow in the sky.

KRMG’s Russell Mills

This picture is from Highway 51, looking south into Mannford. That’s the water tower with the purple pirate painted on it.

KRMG’s Russell Mills

This is from Highway 51, looking south again.

KRMG Photo

This picture was taken eight hours ago. The fire was still burning.

Larry Lawrence Photo

The area fire departments are all out, fighting the blaze, and so is the National Guard in their helicopters.

Larry Lawrence Photo

I don’t know how much water a helicopter can carry, but it must feel huge when they’re lifting it. When looking down on the flames and the huge burning area, does it feel like very much?

Does the water’s weight, hanging below like that, make the craft hard to handle? Unweldy? Dangerous?

But what isn’t dangerous when fighting wild fire?

I’m praying for the people in those helicopters as well as the fire fighters on the ground. And I’m praying for the people whose homes and property are being destroyed by the fires.

Please join me.


Trailing Molly

Did you ever notice that when you’re late for one thing, it knocks everything out of kilter?

I got up late yesterday, so I didn’t finish that day’s Beth homework. Today I finished yesterday’s and was determined to do today’s. I did, too! But that made me late for my blog. Sorry. I’m here, though. 🙂

One little bit of Beth news–

From Beth’s blog:

Hey, you guys! On our introductory (and impromptu!) live stream last week, I told you that I thought we might focus on prayer during our next one. The beginning of a new year is a great time to get strengthened and encouraged in our prayer lives! If you’re like me, you could always use some cheering on in that vital spiritual discipline. It’s fairly safe to say that, in day-to-day practical living, we are only as strong in our walk as we are in our prayers. A healthy prayer life is essential to abiding in Christ. I also love to hear the approaches others are finding effective. So, what do you say we hit this topic tomorrow??? (God willing, thank you, Book of James)

For all who are able, hop on this link tomorrow from 10:30 – 11:00 AM Central Standard Time and let’s talk about prayer.

If that link doesn’t work, you can pop over to and click the link on her page. I think it’ll be a very interesting chat. Hope to see you there!

Did it snow at your house last night? It did ours. I didn’t get a picture, but a friend of mine on FB did.

Thanks for the picture loan, Larry Lawrence! It’s gorgeous!!!

I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but my hip doc told me to walk 30 minutes every day. To be very honest, I don’t get that done. I try to make it at least 3 days a week with my walking buddy, Carollea.

We’re both going to our church’s Beth Moore Bible study, so that’s knocking out one night of walking. She helps with the dinners at church on Wednesday nights, so we aren’t able to make it up that night.

Yesterday, my man called and offered to bring the Queen of the Castle (aka: our dog, Molly) and walk with me. I jumped at the chance!

By the time I got off work, the beautiful afternoon temperature (60 degrees) had dropped. A lot. And the wind was blowing straight out of the north. (Bringing that snow!)

I layered my jacket over a hoodie and he did the same. We took off with me holding the leash.

We walked a while with the wind at our backs on the tarmac that covers what once-upon-a-time was a railroad track. There’s lots of chat mixed with tarmac in the path, so it’s a little rough. Anyway, we walked a ways and Miss M had to make a pit stop.

It wasn’t long before she was limping. I was, too. 🙂

I just kept getting colder and colder, and finally we headed back for the car.

Molly’s limp kept getting worse. We pulled her off the path, onto the dirt next to it, thinking it would be easier on her tender little tootsies. Wrong. She still limped.

I picked her little hiney up and carried her. She was trembling a lot. She was either really cold or faking it so she wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to the car.

Just like a kid.

After a few moments, I handed her over to Gary. (I think she’s gained some weight at Christmas, too.)

A few moments later, he passed her back to me.

I doubt we’ll be taking her back to the trail any time soon.

By the time we got home, I was pooped. (Molly’s limp as well as her shivering had disappeared. “Limp? What limp?”) I came in, crashed in my chair and turned on “Seabiscuit”. After a few moments I noticed a nagging in my tummy.

Why is it I get hungry every day at that time? 😦 Anyway, I didn’t feel like cooking. Then #2 son called and told me it was snowing. That made me hungry for Grandmother’s Chili.

But who wants to make chili at 7 pm when they’re pooped? About that time, I remembered we’d frozen part of the last batch I made.

Remember that part of the Bible that talks about storing up treasures in Heaven? It’s pretty neat when you have a few stored up for dinner, too.


Three Quick Ones

Cover of "Praying God's Word: Breaking Fr...

Cover via Amazon

Just a quick wave to y’all this morning. Three quick things to share–

First–I started a new Bible study. (Yay!) Yes, it’s a Beth Moore. It might be because she speaks my language, but what she has to say makes sense to me, and it touches my heart. I don’t think she does what she does for any reason except to bring glory to God.

The Bible study is called Praying God’s Word. Anyone out there read it? If you have, let me know how you liked it and what you thought was the best way to do it. In a group? Listening to the recordings?

I finished Believing God a few days ago and thought it was fantastic! I just wish I could keep everything I learned from her at the ready. *sigh*

Second–I worked yesterday at Prairie Supply in that Small Town World to the north. I know in the future when I remember the days we’re spending up there, it’ll be with a big smile on my face. Yesterday it was mostly sweat.

I’ll try to take a few pictures today so I can share a little more with you. I have to tell you, though, the crew working together up there is a great bunch. I had no idea how hard everyone could work and still laugh.

Note to Larry Lawrence–if you need directions so you can deliver some of your delicious bruschetta, call the office. They can forward your call to my cell phone. 😉

And third–IT’S JUNE!!! A brand new month.The sixth month, in fact. When it’s over, our year will be half gone. I’m still having trouble writing 2011. LOL.

Well, celebrate this brand new month by doing something summery. Drink lemonade made from real lemons. Work in your garden. Wear shorts and flip-flops. Smile at someone you don’t know just because your lips still work.

Oh, andd #4? I need my SSMT!


Diamond T

Uncle Frank donated this cool old truck–a Diamond T–to the Mannford Museum. I’ve never seen the truck, but according to Dad, the tires are solid rubber. (Sounds expensive, but you’d never have a flat!) I think the spokes might be wooden.

If my sons are reading this, no, I didn’t drive it when I was a kid. LOL. The subject of this truck came up the other day at lunch.

“The hood ornament disappeared about as soon as it got to the museum and they turned their backs.” Makes me wonder what it looked like.

“We got that truck when we bought that shallow (five-hundred-foot) well from Lee Lunsford. He drilled it with that truck.”

An oil well, only five hundred feet deep? I knew North East Oklahoma was shallow hole country, but five hundred feet???

How’d they drill it with a truck? According to those close to me, “They used it as a power source to run the draw works and the walking beam (part of the drilliing mechanism) on an old cable tool rig.”

This is a picture of a cable tool rig that Marilyn Harvison Conrad posted on Facebook. (Thanks, Marilyn!) You can’t see much about it, but rather than rotating, a cable tool bit beats its way into the ground. And rather than have a string of drill pipe, the tools are on the end of a cable. It takes longer to drill with a cable tool than with a rotary.(In case you’re wondering, 1929 was before my dad was born.) 

The truck was also used to pump the well, so when the family bought the land and  the well, Diamond T came with it. One of those shallow-hole wells is still producing. Pretty good, after all these years!

Dad and Uncle Paul were hoeing corn on the Back Forty, about a half mile away, (as the crow flies) when Lee shot the well.

These are Ruby and Ray Spess’s boys–a few years later. 🙂 Dad, the youngest, is on the left (real men wear pink!) Uncle Paul, the middle boy, is in the middle, and Uncle Frank, who donated the truck, is on the right.  

The younger two brothers were working hard, hacking at those weeds, when all of a sudden, oil flew up into the sky and they heard a loud BOOM! The guys were probably still in their teens, and being normal, I figure they stopped and leaned on their hoes to discuss it. Before much time had passed another BOOM! Whoosh!

Back then, when they shot wells, they didn’t pack the and just let the oil go where it would. We know better than to do that these days, but then no one thought it was important.

See that board in front of the steering wheel? That’s the dash. Now I know why they called it a dash BOARD. Who knew? 🙂

I showed G Man a picture of the old truck (these were taken by Larry Lawrence. Thanks for letting me use them, Larry!) and he said, “Is that the old truck that was on the Back Forty?”

That’s the one.

This story was all new to me. Sometimes I’m amazed by how much I don’t know. Maybe by posting things like this, I can keep them from being lost in time.

Fingers crossed.