Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Thanksgiving Smiles

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Were you grateful yesterday? I was so thankful, I nearly exploded to prove it!

Oh, my stars. The food the Shay/Spess family can cook! YUM. And it’s not just the women who have talent in the kitchen. Our guys are super handy at the stove/oven/sterno/campfire, whatever!

I remembered this morning that we forgot to sing our Thanksgiving songs. G-Man’s answer? “I don’t know any.”

My answer? “Pfffft. You do, too. What about, Over the River and Through the Woods? What about, We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing? What about, A Turkey Sat on a Backyard Fence?

He tuned up, and we sang our way through the rest of breakfast.

Not! (LOL.)

Smile 1:

So, Thanksgiving memories? My favorites are the ones when Mom and the Grands were alive. Those ladies could cook! They were so good, they put Rachel Ray and Paula Deen in the shade. Grandmother made a Pineapple Chiffon pie that made your tongue lap your brains out. (I thought I’d posted that recipe. Sorry.) Grandma made hot rolls to die for. Here’s her recipe.

Everything Mama made was delicious! (And I have the ongoing weight problem to prove it.) Many years on Turkey Day, all Mama’s side of the family would come for dinner. She had six brothers and sisters and they all had at least one or two kids, so it made for a full house!

Sometimes Grandmother would have the Spess side at her house while Mama had the Reeves side, and since they lived next door to each other, that made for a huge crew! We had a ton of fun with all those cousins coming and going.

I know churches that don’t have as many members as I have close family. By close family I mean brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. What a crew.

One memorable Thanksgiving, a cousin’s son even tried to walk on Mom’s pool cover. (That kid still can’t walk on water. LOL!)

Smile 2:

I don’t know about Mr. T here, but I was certainly stuffed yesterday afternoon.

So you won’t be disappointed, I’ll share Grandmother’s Pineapple Chiffon Pie recipe here:

1 1/2 C milk

2 T flour

3/4 C drained crushed pineapple

3/4 C sugar

2 eggs, separated.

Put milk on to heat. Mix sugar and flour. To the hot milk, stir in sugar mixture. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Boil until real thick (7-8 minutes.)

Remove from heat and add drained pineapple. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into baked pie crust.

Refrigerate until cool. Before serving, top with HOMEMADE whipped cream. (Not Cool Whip.) (I added that last part, but it makes a big difference.)

If you make this pie, let me know how it turns out. It was always one of my favorites. 🙂


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☺Mama’s Birthday☺

What were you doing eighty-one years ago today? 😉 Okay, you probably weren’t a glimmer yet.

Eighty-one years ago, my grandma was having a baby. A beautiful baby with black hair and big eyes. Many years later, that baby became my mama. 🙂

She’ll probably smack me when I get to heaven for telling her age. She used to say, “A woman who’ll tell her age will tell anything.” (She also told me, “If you don’t start lying about your age, I’ll have to stop lying about mine. LOL.)

This is Mama.

And this–

Mama at about 14 or 15–(Holding Cousin Liz.)

And this is Mama, all grown up. Or maybe it’s her senior picture. I’m not sure. 🙂 But that was pretty close to grown up. She got married three or four months later.

When I was a kid, once a month Mama went to Birthday Club. I’ve never known exactly what it was about, but several women here in C-Town would go out and eat. The women whose birthday month it was got a gift.

I hated that night. Not because Dad took care of us (Grandmother, next door, was always available to help) but because it was a part of Mama’s life I couldn’t be part of, too. (Aren’t kids weird?)

By the time I was an adult, the women were celebrating Birthday Club at individuals’ swimming pools around town. I never was a part of it, even though other women my age were, because by that time I loved it that Mom had something that was hers alone.

Funny how we change, isn’t it?

Today is Mama’s birthday, and a different Birthday Club will be celebrating. The BC at work goes out once a month, and for July, we’re celebrating today. We’re supposed to be telling Mendy and Rick HBD, but in my heart (and many of the people who’ll be there–Jeffrey, Amy, Kyle, Laura, Hope, Faith, Mallory and with luck, Deb) we’re celebrating Mama.

We’re having Mexican Food–Mom’s favorite. 🙂

And we’ll have a great time!

Happy birthday, Mama. We love you!


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Bullet Dodgers

I told you the story about finding my baby bunnies the other day. Remember? They are just so cute. Adorable, in fact. I checked on them several times the day I found them.

The next day I was out with my leaf rake, moving the hedgerow of dead grass I’d removed from my gardens (I kinda fell down on the grass removal job in the record-setting heat last summer) when I heard a weird bird call. Kind of, “Eee. Eee. Eee.”

I didn’t pay much attention, but glanced over that way to see what kind of bird it was. No bird that I could see, but I noticed a collar of some kind around part of the bunny nest.

I didn’t have my glasses on, but it really looked like a collar. Who’d put something like that around a bunny nest? I looked closer.

A black rubber collar with rust on it. Ack! That was no collar. That was a snake. AND HE WAS EATING MY BABY BUNNIES!

G-Man had gone to work, so I whacked that snake with the only thing I had at hand–My leaf rake.

Snakes don’t like being whacked, even on the back with a light leaf rake. Just one smack, and that bad boy came up out of the hole, head first, then the rest of his nine foot long body.

I might be exaggerating a little (probably closer to five feet, since if it was a rat snake, they rarely get longer than that) but he looked nine feet long when he started toward me! I squealed and started to run for the patio when I remembered the baby bunnies.

Poor babies! I just knew he’d go back and make a snack out of them, so I stayed where I was, kind of running in place while I whacked evil snake man again, right on the head. That turned him around. (Thank goodness!)

He ran to the edge of the garden, where he tried to go under the weed barrier fabric. (Imagine trying to work with Mr. Snake crawling around under there. Heebee-geebies anyone?) Since I had a rake with a loooong handle, I pushed him out, and gave him another whack for good measure.

I didn’t kill Mr. Snake. In the back of my mind, I kept hearing my dad tell me he was probably a good snake. (Is there any such thing?) The kind that eat rodents and keep bad snakes chased off the place.

Mr. Snake got away from me. He crawled up into the pyramid-trellis thingy that my over aggressive vine is growing on and hid from me in all that foliage.

Clever snake. I gave the pyramid-trellis thingy wide berth for the rest of the day.

That night it rained. Hard! Do the words, Toad Strangler, mean anything to you? How about Gully Washer? Well, we got a lot of rain!

I wrote on my book yesterday morning before rushing off, but I thought about those babies all day yesterday at work. Did they do okay in the rain storm? Would they have washed out of their hole and been lost, unable to find their way home since their little eyes weren’t even open?

When I got home, I called upstairs to my man, “Have you checked on the babies since you’ve been home?”

“No. Do you think they were able to tread water in that storm last night?” he teased.

“Oh. Don’t even say that.”

I ran out to the garden, and couldn’t find them. At all. They were gone! No hole. No fur. No babies. I was so upset, I couldn’t believe it. Had they been buried alive?

I used my little garden scratcher, hoping mulch had just washed over their nest, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. No babies. 😦

“Gary! Come help me. I can’t find the babies.”

He came out and took the scratcher from me. “Their hole was over this way.”

(Have I mentioned I have a handicap? I’m directionally challenged.)

We He found the babies who, I’m sure, breathed a collective sigh of relief. He moved the mulch and dirt that had washed over their hole and opened it up so Mama bunny could get in and feed them.

I told him I’m sure the Bunny Family would appreciate us so much, they surely wouldn’t eat our garden plants this summer.

“Right.” I think he might have snorted.

To not even have their eyes open yet, the little guys have already dodged two bullets. How cool is that? 🙂


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Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

Two young girls having fun in swimming lessons.

IT’S FRIDAY!!!

Does that phrase make your heart beat just a little faster? It does mine. I love the weekend!

For different people, the week’s end means different things. I have one writer friend who LOVES Mondays, because that means everyone goes back to school/work/whatever and she can get back to her life as she lives it.

Another lives for the weekends, barely making it through the days in between and reliving the weekend happenings as often as possible.

When I was in school, Friday meant beans and jeans day. Most of us loved having brown beans and cornbread at school, but for some reason, the cafeteria only served them on Fridays. (Maybe the gas building properties of the legume.) Being a devote britches girl, wearing a skirt every day was killer, so getting to wear jeans one-day-a-week some years and one day every-other-week others was a joy! So I loved Fridays even then.

Around the Spess house, we spent Saturday getting ready for Sunday morning church. When we were small, we took turns having Mama washed our hair in the kitchen sink. She’d roll it up on brush rollers, then we’d sit under the big old metal hairdryer until we were dry.

Continue reading


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Wedding Trads

The Spess Girls have a couple of traditions when it comes to family weddings.

Most revolve around our mom.

The first one started back in 1949, when Mama married Daddy. After Mama graduated from high school, she moved to Old Ford to live with her brother and his wife. Her parents still lived in Texas. They couldn’t afford to come to the wedding, but they sent her $50. That would be $468.20 today. (I looked it up.)

I’m not sure what Mama did with all that money, but some of it she spent on her wedding dress (bought at Lerner’s in Tulsa) and some of it she spent on a white Bible to carry in her wedding.

It’s not as pristine as it used to be, but remember–

— it’s survived six kids. One evil child even wrote Mama’s name in it.

She should have smacked me for it, but she didn’t.

Anyway, when I got married, Mama wanted me to carry her Bible in my wedding. I wanted a bouquet to throw, but I wanted to carry the Bible, too.

So Mama bought this cover. It hid the yellowing leather and my bouquet could be tied to it. (That’s what the ribbon on top is for.)

So I carried it and my sisters all carried it. (I think.) I’m not sure if Brother Jeffrey or his wife carried it. Mama wasn’t quite as pushy insistant helpful as her daughters are. 🙂 But my boys’ wives all carried Mama’s Bible in their weddings. And they not only liked the idea, they acted as if they were thrilled to have it.

Many of the grandkids have had it in their weddings, but not all. One sister lives outside of C-Town (When most of us moved home, Daddy moved to the Ford, but #4 stayed where she is.) so she might not have thought about it.

And once the Bible went home with the wrong MIL, so we didn’t have it for at least one ceremony. But many of the kids have carried it, too.

My #1 son suggested that we write the names of everyone who carried it in the Bible so we won’t forget the history of it. (I won’t be doing the writing. I promise.)

So that’s our most important wedding trad. I think the sisters tried to start one where they “fixed” the bride’s nightgown just before she left on her honeymoon, but that trad died out. Or maybe it was beaten to death. Anyway, I don’t hear about it anymore.

So, how about it? Do you have a wedding tradition you’ll share?