Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Wowed Wednesday

Yesterday was Tombstone Tuesday, so today must be Wowed Wednesday. (To be honest, what wows me is people. Must be that curiosity gene.)

Okay, I know I just talked about walking on Friday,

but go with me on this. 🙂

My walking buddy and I charged past some great yardscapes yesterday.

A tree challenged witch.

A spider infested house.

And even a brand new neighborhood graveyard, which just recently sprung up. Shades of The ‘Burbs. *Shiver*

But the house that stopped us in our tracks is a very familiar one to me. It’s the house where I took piano lessons from the time I was in second grade. It’s the place I walked to once a month for Piano Club.

The home’s current owner and one of her beautiful daughters were there, putting on the finishing touches when we power walked up 😉 and screeched to a halt.

We said hello and told them how beautiful their decorations are. Then I asked for permission to take pictures. And since we’re all from the same Small Town World (I used to smile when the sisters came in the dress shop) I took the chance to chat a bit.

We had such a great talk! I loved the few moments we got to hang together and wished we had more.

Beautiful yardscape, ladies. Love it! And more, I had so much fun catching up. Trouble is, now I want to know more.

It’s really not my fault. It has to be that curiosity gene.


Tombstone Wednesday :)

Snippet of Fantasie-Impromptu

Image via Wikipedia

Hey! Walking here! (What movie is that?)

Did that sound like the Big City? LOL.

I’m not good at sounding as if I’m from a place where people don’t chat when they stand in line together. Where they don’t make eye contact. Where people don’t care about the lives of those around them.

I’m a true small town world guy.

Back to walking. I’ve started walking again since the temperatures have dropped below a hundred. (To be honest, I waited until it dropped below ninty.)

Yesterday my newest DIL, the musical one, and I walked in the cemetery together. I enjoy spending time with her so much! It’s amazing how good my boys were at choosing their women. 🙂

As we walked, I told her stories and pointed out where people I knew were buried. I showed her the twins headstone their daddy made, which I wish I could bring home and care for. (I need to call the city office and see if they know who those babies are and what year they were born and buried.)

We walked on and I took her to my piano teacher’s headstone. Patti Adams Shriner was her name. She’s buried next to her father (I believe) but I didn’t see a husband’s headstone. Maybe she was divorced. I didn’t think to ask when I was a kid. (I was just a little intimidated by her.)

Mrs. Shriner had suffered a broken hip sometime before I started taking lessons from her, so each time I went into her house, it smelled like Deep Heat or Ben Gay. Remember those rub-on pain relievers?

She had two pianos. A studio piano (I think she used it when she and someone else played dueling pianos) and big, black, shiny grand piano, which we took our lessons on. Imagine a tiny 2nd grader (she liked her students to be able to read before they started taking lessons.) one hand on the magnificent keyboard, plunking out, 1-2-3-rest. 1-2-3-rest. 2-1-2-3. 1-rest-1-rest.

♪♫ Here we go. Up a row. To a birthday party. ♪♫

♫♪ Dolly, dear. Sandman’s near. You will soon be sleeping. ♫♪

And all the while, this beautiful woman had tons of musical talent coursing through her. She’d play for us sometimes. When she did, it was magical. My favorite song she played was Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin.

That was a girlie version. The one below sounds more like the way Mrs. Shriner played.

If you listed to both, you’ll hear the difference. I liked Mrs. Shriner’s version best. I took lessons from Mrs. Shriner for six years. When I changed to another teacher, she told me I “played like I was killing snakes.” 🙂 Then explained I had a man’s touch, rather than the sweet delicate touch a woman (or girl) normally has.

I don’t play anymore–at least for anyone but myself. It takes time and practice to play well enough for others to hear, and I don’t take the time to practice. Right now, I’m trying to learn to be a good writer.

But I enjoy the little bit of knowledge I received from Mrs. Shriner. And I love good classical piano.

That’s the music to Fantasie Impromptu at the bottom of her headstone. Beautiful, isn’t it?


The Shay Vaca

Hey, y’all! I’m back.

My man and I went to Paola, Kansas to the 22nd annual Roots Music Festival (and BBQ cook off) and we had a great time. I didn’t even know there was a Roots Festival, much less twenty-two of them!

We put our chairs next to a guy named Greg who was from Paola. He had two daughters there with him that he stayed in contact with all during both days. He also had a pair of older children who weren’t there. One in college, the other at a new job. He advised us that our chairs were safe if we wanted to leave them over night, so we did!

Going to the Fesitval was my man’s idea. Tower of Power was playing, and with them so close, he didn’t want to miss it. I had a great time, even though I’m not as into music as he is.

We heard a couple of new-to-us groups we really enjoyed. One was a group of three girls (there were guys in their band, but the girls were the stars) called Carter’s Chord.

I loved hearing these sisters and their country music. (Their parents were in Waylon Jennings band for years and years.) The youngest played keyboard, the middle played a guitar that looked as big as she was, and the oldest didn’t play anything. They all sing and write music, and they were fantastic! (I might have to buy their CD!)

Another group we really enjoyed was Tyler Bryant and Shakedown. Tyler is a young man with a great sound and a really slick presentation. He didn’t play country (for which G-Man was very grateful!) and his group was fantastic.

This is from Wikipedia:

Tyler got his first guitar at the age of 6.[5] When he was 11, he sold the dirtbike his parents had just given to him for Christmas and bought his first electric guitar, a red Epiphone Les Paul from Hollybond’s Music Store in Paris, TX. While still in elementary school, he met Roosevelt Twitty, a 63 year-old bluesman from Paris, Texas.[6] Mr. Twitty taught Tyler how to play the blues.[3] At 13, Tyler and Mr. Twitty started playing shows around Texas. This was the age that Tyler also started writing songs.

I might have to stuff one or two of his CDs into my man’s stocking this Christmas. LOL.

What struck me hardest while I listened to these kids perform was the dedication it takes to get where they are. They’re young! (Tyler just turned 20 last February. I didn’t hear the girls’ ages, but they looked very young. twenties and early thirties, maybe.

These people know what they want! They’ve worked hard to get where they are and do a wonderful job. (Catch them if you get the chance.)

And finally, we heard Tower of Power. They performed at 10:00 Saturday night, and even though we’d been able to see everyone else from our perch under a tree (it was hot out there!) we couldn’t even see the screen because of the people standing in front of us.

Good thing is, when we stood against the tree (we didn’t want to be in anyone else’s way) we had the best seat–er stand–in the place.

Tower of Power has been in existence since 1968. They have a lot of brass in the group and put on a show not to be missed. When they set up for the show, I noticed there were enough drums to fill my living room. It made us wonder of there were a pair of drummers, but only one man sat there.

And, if you’ll pardon the pun, he did a bang-up job!

The only bad part? During Tower of Power, a couple of men in front of us started dancing. (Their women just kind of smiled.) These guys must have had a little too much to drink, because they were without rhythm. They kind of flailed their elbows and shook their hienies and shuffled their feet.

I tried not to laugh, but it was too funny! And these guys didn’t care.

Of course, we didn’t only listen to music. The concerts were held in the downtown city park. There were a bunch of venders selling (even henna and spray on tattoos) and several open stores around the square.

I’ll try to share what I found with you tomorrow. I was thrilled!

So what did you do this summer that put a smile on your face? I hope you’ll share.


Sing a New Song

There are two songs that really hit me where I live these days. The first is How Great is our God–Chris Tomlinson. I love singing it in church with other Christians. I love singing it during my solo worship time. I even like it when the song gets stuck in my head and goes round and round.

This is a video of Chris talking about writing the song, then singing it.

The other song that has taken up residence in my head is Revelation Song.

The music is beautiful, but it’s the words that touch my heart.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lighting rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only one who’s King
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Oh, You’re worthy, mystery
You are worthy

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You

Of course, there have been lots of songs over the years that touched me. Amazing Grace was my mother’s forever favorite.

I’ll Fly Away always brings a smile to my face as I remember singing it at countless  Christian get-togethers. (ie: Sunday morning, Sunday night, revivals, church camp, etc.) Just Over in the Glory Land.

All the songs from the Kiamichi Songbook. 😉 That was a song book we had at church  which had very hard to read music–because of the way it was printed. I’m not sure about this, but I think it came from the Kiamichi Men’s Clinic. My dad used to go there every year with several other men from our church. We’ve laughed at so many good stories Dad told about Kiamichi over the years!

I believe Ronnie Epps, our preacher back in my early , was the one who got them started going. 

And there is still a Kiamichi Men’s Clinic! (I googled it)  And, big surprise! Ronnie is the main speaker this year. There’s a Preacher Boy contest for budding preachers. I think I’ll pop back over and see if I can find a list of winning preachers. I think I know some of them. 🙂

Are Christian songs and the memories they bring back beautiful? What are your favs?