Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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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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Meet the Reeves Crew

A little over three years ago, I told you that my mom’s side of the family gets together only when someone dies. You can read it here.

I hated it then, and I hate more that it’s still true today. But at least those of us who are left get a chance to see each other. I mentioned my sweet Aunt Sally had died, so three of us Spess Girls and G-Man went to Colorado for the funeral and to be with fam.

On our way to Colorado, #4 texted me.

“Tell Bob-the-Plumber I said hello. I’m sorry I can’t be there.”

So as soon as we got there, I told Uncle Robert, “#4 says hello, Bob-the-Plumber. She’s sorry she couldn’t come.”

Uncle R laughed. “Did she tell you that story?”

“No. You tell me.” I love stories. Did I mention my family is full of storytellers? 🙂 I was in heaven!

“Well, she was at Lake City with her husband and boys, so I took them out to eat one night. We went to a steak house, and while we were there, someone waved and me and said, ‘Hello, Bob the Plumber.’

“#4 popped up and said, ‘That’s not Bob the Plumber. That’s my Uncle Robert!”

I thought I’d share some pictures with y’all. (Uncle Robert was back to saying y’all before we left.)

  Mom’s last remaining siblings, Carol and Robert.

Being with Aunt Carol is like spending time with Mama. She’s a fashion bug, for sure! If she weren’t so tiny, I’d go to her house and shop in her closet.

Uncle Robert is Mama’s baby brother. He grew to be the tallest of all the kids.

The smallest boy and girl in this picture are Robert and Carol. Mom is on the far right.

Everyone’s Favorite–Liz.

Liz is Mom’s oldest sister’s only daughter and youngest child. She was just enough older than Deb, Cousin LaDonna and me for us to idolize. If we played pretend, even when Liz was still a kid, we all wanted to be her!

She’s a woman I still look up to. Today she leads a BSF (a women’s Bible Study) in Houston. She’s even more beautiful now than she was as a kid.

These are the Reeves Women. I can see a little bit of Grandma in each one in this picture.

This picture is almost like the one before, but I wanted you to see LaDonna, standing on the far left. Donna is hard working and full of vinegar! LOL.

She lives near Gunnison on a ranch with her husband, and they have three children who all live close by. Her son works with them on the ranch. Her DIL sells real estate, so I’m to contact her if I decide to buy a cabin up there. (I’d LOVE to spend summers near Gunnison.)

My two sisters, Debbie and Cindy are next to LaDonna, and Julie Ann is on the far right.

  This is Donna’s husband in the cowboy hat. He’s a great guy and fun to be around.

This is Julie Ann. When she talks, if I close my eyes, I can see her mama, Sally. Julie doesn’t have that Texas Twang that Sally had, but she matches her in tone and quality! She has two sons, and is a very busy mama.

Oh, and she got her husband to do most of the cooking while we were there.

  Julie Ann’s husband, Bob. This was the first time I’d met him.

The first thing Bob told me was that he’s a coffee snob. Just my kind of guy! He buys special beans. So do I! He grinds his own beans. So do I! We had a great time together.

He’s interesting as well as interested in everything going on.

Uncle Robert has a time with his name. His father-in-law was Bob. He’s Bob (at least when #4 isn’t around.) His son-in-law is Bob. And the man who preached his wife’s funeral was Bob.

We’ll miss Sally so much. I loved the way she used to talk to me, even though I was part of a gaggle of kids. I was eleven when she and Robert married, so she’s been our aunt for a long time. I’ll miss her a lot.

Aunt Sally left a wonderful legacy, though, through her daughter, Julie Ann. Julie has two sons, Rowland and Walker. Rowland is a young teen, so I don’t have any pictures of him. Walker is still in grade school and is as rambunctious as my own boys were.

And there’s not a shy bone in his make up.

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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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♥ Things I Love ♥

This is one of my all time favorite Mother’s Day cards. #3 son, Brad, made it for me. I should have written the date on it, but I didn’t think of it. 😦

I don’t remember if Brad didn’t have any money that year or if he ran out of time, but he wanted to give me a card for Mother’s Day, so he made his own.

For years I’ve kept it close at hand, just like some of the letters to Santa my boys wrote. They warm my heart and make me feel very much loved.

The front says,

Dear Susan Carol Spess, Shay.

Happy Mothers Day

It’s decorated with all the things I love–Watermelon, flowers, a fountain, tulips. (Smart kid, huh?)

Inside is a poem.

 Dear Susan C Shay,

Hope you have a happy Mothers day.

Because this is a special day.

Happy Mothers Day. Yeah!!!

He signed it with a heart.

I’ve had many years of Mother’s Day cards and gifts–funny, happy and once in a while, sappy–and each one was very special because it came from my children or their father. But none of them is more special than this card from my little boy’s heart.

And the funny part? The part that makes me laugh and cry and want to hug my little boy one more time?

Can you read it?

“P. S. Sorry this is not a real card.”

I think it’s among the realest cards I’ve ever received.


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A Ring Thing

This started out to be a post called We Nailed It.

Warning: What you’re about to see maybe disturbing. Look at your own risk.

The foot in the blue sandal is a human foot on a live person. The odd color (paleness) caused by a lack of sunshine. People with this malady can be mistaken for walking snowmen. Do not let this happen to you.

But I forgot to take pictures of all the fun we had.

So I started to take a few this morning to share. You know, Show-And-Tell?

I snapped my toes.

And I snapped my fingers.

And that’s when I noticed what I really wanted to blog about.

The rings I wear. I sleep in them, swim in them, do everything I do in them. (Except get manicures. I take them off for that.)

The larger one is the one my man put on my finger during our wedding. He has one just like it, just a few sizes bigger.

The smaller one was my mama’s. Daddy gave it to her during their wedding. She was eighteen years old. He was nineteen.

 I’ll have worn it for twenty-one years on May 20 this year.

I don’t wear her ring as a protest against drunk driving. And I don’t wear it because its gold or old.

 I wear it to remind me of a couple of kids who got married and started raising a family two years later. Who named their first daughter after a pair of basketball shoes.

Who loved each other so much, worked together so well and had such a perfect marriage, all of their children have turned themselves inside out to emulate it.

I look at her ring and remember the first year we lived in Pryor Creek. Brad’s birthday party was going to flop, and on short notice, Mama gathered up the C-Town grandchildren and an armload of gifts and rushed to be there in time to cheer after he blew out his candles.

I remember the first year I was married and she dreamed I ran away from home. In her dream, she took my man to live with her and Dad.

I remember Mother’s Day weekend twenty-one years ago. I took the kids home to be with her, and she stopped everything to fish with my boys and the rest of the C-Town grandkids.

I look at her ring, and I remember the mother-in-law, the grandmommy, the friend, wife and mother I want to be.

  Mama won’t be at Brad’s wedding, but her spirit will be there in each of her children. And her grandchildren. And her great-grandchildren.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:28-31 NIV


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Salt Can’t Save Her

Want to see something cool?

Really, really cool? (Well, I think it’s cool, anyway.)

Look–

This is my mom, dad and cousin, Lindy. It’s the summer before Mom and Dad married (September 30, on Dad’s birthday.) See the muscles on my dad? Not bad, huh? 

And my mom was gorgeous! (That’s a swim cap. Mom wasn’t bald. LOL) Mama loved babies–even the babies that weren’t her own. My cousins adored her, too!   

Here’s another one–

This picture is a couple of years later. That’s Mom and Dad with their clothes on 🙂 and me. Aren’t they beautiful? I’m the cranky kiddo in this picture. (Yep, I’m Alpha.)

When I was small, we were around Dad’s family all the time. Dad worked with them and we stayed with them a lot and even lived with them some. (Our house was out of town and didn’t have running water, they only had one car, so we didn’t stay there a whole lot. Instead, we went in to Grandmother’s house.)

Dad loves to tell the story about the time Mom’s family came to visit. I was very shy and wouldn’t do anything around those “strangers” except hide behind my mama.

It really irritated my mom’s sister who was just older than her that I wouldn’t come out and play. She finally gave up in exasperation. “Susan’s so spoiled, salt can’t save her!”

I don’t know how Mom responded that day, but I don’t think she ever got over that remark. 🙂 Knowing my mom, she told her sister, “Salt can’t save her, but Jesus will!”

Of course, I don’t really remember. 😉


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LIKE MY MOTHER DOES

http://youtu.be/4pPQPY9JfeA

#4 sent this to me, and I want to share it with you.

My hope is that you had a mother you wanted to be like. And if you didn’t, I pray you became the mother you wanted to be.

Some of the best mothers I know had mothers who were anything but perfect. But these women know the Father.

And if you change the phrase, “Like my mother does,” in this song to, “Like my Father does,” you find an even deeper message.

Enjoy the day. (And pray for the end of heat and beginning of rain!)