Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Party Pics by Cynthia

Sister Cindy sent me the pictures she took at the Graduates’ party. As you’ll see, she’s a much better photographer than I am. Next get-together, I’m going to follow her around and learn how she does it.

Imagine, not one scowl! 🙂

She could open a business and call it Party Pics by Cynthia. 🙂

These young women (Laura and Ashley–aka Kentucky Woman) are also recent graduates–a teacher and a PA. I love being part of a brilliant family. (That way I can pretend I have some smarts, too.)

  This little guy and his mom are a joy to be with. He keeps everyone laughing, no matter what he does in his diaper. (Then discusses it like the president of the board.)

We nearly always have a couple of non-related friends at our parties.

Aren’t they cute??? (Did Nurse Cindy say,Stick out your tongue?)

Noel knows the Principal principle–at least for middle school.

Office Boss and his mama.

SIL Julie in deep discussion with Andrew.

The long and short of it. Great-granddaddy and Andrew. (Faith has a new phone.)

What are they watching? I. Don’t. Know. (Wish I did.)

A Grad Dad. (The other dad got away.)

Grad party day was also Elsie’s birthday. We sang. 🙂

#5 and #1 of Cindy’s kiddos. Aren’t they adorable?

There you go–almost as if you were at the party, too. Wish you had been. 🙂


Blasting the Past

This blog is a rerun from five years ago, and still as true today as it was then. I hope you enjoy! I have a wedding anniversary coming up in a couple of days so it’s a good time for it. 🙂

*  *  *

As a writer, I’ve had to become an observer of life. You know, watch people, ask questions, peek into windows when no one’s looking. It’s all part of my job.

Okay, that’s a lie. I became a writer so I’d have an excuse because I’m incurably curious. (I never bought the cat story. I think someone ran over it and they blamed it on curiousity.)

BUT (and this is the truth) as a romance writer, I’ve had to observe relationships between couples. I need to know what it is that makes them good and what makes them not so good.

It hasn’t been as hard as you might think to find a perfect marriage to observe. I had a front row seat. No, I’m not talking about my marriage, although it’s pretty darn good. I’m talking about my parents’ marriage.

At 18, my mom married my 19 year old father, who was a college student at the time. Two years later, I was born. And their marriage was the closest to perfect I’ve ever seen. My dad gives my mom all the credit.

That’s when I get curious. Where’d my mom learn to be a nearly perfect wife? As the middle of 7 children, her mom didn’t take extra time out to teach her, although she set a great example. (There’s a family legend about Grandma scarring Granddad for life by whacking him across the knuckles with a butcher knife for bugging her one night when she was trying to cook. I don’t know if that’s truth or not.)

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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?


I’m Named After Basketball Shoes

I promised my friend, Larry Lawrence, I’d tell how I was named after a pair of basketball shoes. Okay, Larry, this one’s for you.


My mother’s name was Mary Sue, but when she was in school, everyone called her Sue. Grandma didn’t like it, but there you go.

Now, my mama was a very pretty little girl.

And according to people in the know, she was even prettier when she got older.

I’m not sure how old she is here, but she’s a teenager.

When she was in school, she played basketball. In those days, basketball shoes were made out of canvas. Not leather. And apparently the thing in The Ford school at that time was to write your name on your shoes.

Always being ahead of the others, Mama wrote her name and my daddy’s name on her shoes. (This was before they were married and, of course, before I was born.)

Then one day, they were playing an out of town team. (I imagine a tournament when several teams were there, but I’m not sure.)

Anyway, when she wasn’t playing, Mom left her basketball shoes sitting somewhere, and went to talk to her someday husband. A boy who’d noticed her good looks saw her shoes, picked them up and carried them to her.

“Are these your shoes?” he asked, flirting with her according to my dad.

“Yeah, they are.” Mama glanced at them and nodded.

“Betcha I can guess your name.” Even though my dad was right there, the boy kept flirting.

“You can?”

“Yeah.” He pointed at what was written on her shoe. “I betcha it’s Sue Carol.”

“Nope.” In my mind, Mama glanced at Daddy, giving him a sweet smile as she answered. “But that’s what I’m going to name my first daughter.”

She did.

And they lived happily ever after.


♥ ♥ ♥ WOW ♥ ♥ ♥

Did you ever have an, “Oh, wow.”

“Oh, Wow!”

“OH, WOW!” Day?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. All day long.

We’re at beautiful Post Oak Lodge near Tulsa. The place is beautiful. The grounds are beautiful. The weather is beautiful.

If you could buy a day for a wedding, yesterday would have been the high dollar, top of the line, all you could ever ask for variety.

My man took a walk with me in the morning.

We admired the view.

We surveyed the fire pit.

Discovered surprises

in the grass.

Huffed my way back up the hill to pop in on my now DIL and take a gander at her gorgeous dress.

Like a couple of kids, we watched as they unloaded flowers.

And at every turn, every time we saw something new and different and beautiful, I had this explosion inside my heart that came out, “Wow.”

Remember that song from Oliver!?

Who will buy this wonderful morning
Such a sky you never did see
Who will tie it up with a ribbon
And put it in a box for me

So I could see it at my leisure
Whenever things go wrong
And keep it as a treasure
To last my whole life long

Who will buy this wonderful feeling
I’m so high I swear I could fly
Me oh my, I don’t want to lose it
So what am I to do
to keep this sky so blue
There must be someone who will buy

It was just that kind of day.

Or this kind of day–

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 118:24; 27-29 NAS

Then it was time for the wedding. DIL #3 responded as sweetly as #1 and #2 and carried Mama’s Bible along with her bouquet down the aisle.

I’ll tell you about this Spess family tradition another time, but let me say, it’s a legacy I wouldn’t let go of for anything.

When the nuptial were over and the kiss kissed, we ate and we danced and we sang. My son’s new in-laws and their family and friends are wonderful people who I just like the stuffings out of.

Together, we celebrated the new couple and life.

There was a contest during the reception. G-Man and I stay in until nearly the last.

They asked anyone who’d been married two hours but not more than five years to go onto the dance floor. That sent two of my kiddos and their wives onto the floor. Those married five years but not more than ten went onto the floor next, which sent my other son and his wife out there. Then ten years but not more than fifteen. The floor grew more and more crowded until every married couple in the place was on the floor.

Finally, it came down to DIL’s parents, G-Man and me, my cousin and his wife.

DIL’s parents lost to us.

But we lost to my cousin and his wife.

Wow, again. My man and I have been blessed with more years together than nearly everyone in that crowded room.

Later one of the young men I met just that night asked me our secret for a long marriage. I could have told him keeping a sense of humor. Or spending time together. Or even communication. But I didn’t.

I told him stubbornness is my secret. My man and I are both too stubborn to let go of the love, the joy and the memories we have together.

Know what he said?


  • Oh, Wow! (


Happy Ever After

This is from Facebook. I know. You probably guessed that, even if you didn’t see it. I think it’s perfect for today. Because today my third son, Brad, is getting married.

Brad and I share one thing for sure. We both love the rain. And this week, his wedding week, it rained nearly every day.

I think it’s God telling him, “HAPPY WEDDING!”

“I approve!”


On Wednesday, God sent a double rainbow–

The main one to remind us He won’t destroy the entire earth with a flood, and the second (Can you see it? It’s faint, but there, right below my fingershadow in the upper righthand corner) to wish Brad and Nicole a HAPPY EVER AFTER!

And He kept it there for a long time. He wanted to be sure we saw it.

The bows were even there when I drove home.

All the way home.

Sometimes, it looked as if the rainbow ended on the hood of my car. How cool is that?

Sharing a blessing–

For Brad and Nicole–

God bless you and keep you,
God smile on you and gift you,
God look you full in the face and make you prosper. Num 6:24-26 Message.

I love you.