Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Friday–A Great Day

After a few stressful intense days at work (Tax Time. Whoda thought?) yesterday was a very welcome respite. Wanna know why?

Dad bought something to entertain the entire office.

A tricycle.

Yeah, it’ll be hard for all of us to use at once (Snort!) but we’ve learned to share.

Actually, Dad bought it for my little buddy to ride, and I think Dad was more excited about it than my buddy was. At least at first. The truth is, he didn’t know what to think. Wasn’t really sure what to do with it. At-first-sightBut he didn’t walk away. 🙂

We enticed him closer.

a-1-mama-rings-the-bellMama taught the kiddo how to ring the bell.(And in case you didn’t notice, his fans are watching. LOL.)

It wasn’t long before the little guy was riding the trike like he was born riding one. (His mama’s probably happy he wasn’t. Ouch.)


Pretty soon, he was hanging off it and riding like a pro. Even offered to take me for a ride on the back step plate. 🙂

That would have been a great day all by itself, but there was more.

I walked down the street to Celebrations, my favorite flower shop in the world! As I walked, someone beeped a horn at me. I jumped and looked to see a sweet blond headed girl grinning at me. Naturally, I had to tell her that beeping at old ladies like that could make us fall down dead on the sidewalk.

That made her laugh.

It’s a real thrill to hear this child laugh. In fact, I’m privileged to know this girl.

In her young life, she’s been through brain tumors and surgeries and check ups and pain and the loss of an infant brother. She practically a baby herself, but she’s a spiritual heavy weight. She knows Jesus, walks with Him, and helps people around her get to know Him. One Sunday, I watched her baptize one of her friends into Christ.

If this girl started a parade, I’d beat the bass drum!

Oh, and she hugged me. 🙂 That made my day!

I toddled on to Celebrations. Not only do they create gorgeous arrangements, sometimes it seems as if it’s a kind of gathering place for women here in C-Town. This week, the women working there have been busy, busy, busy getting ready for the prom. They rent tuxedos there (the only place in town) and most of the kiddos order their corsages there.

Since the C-Town prom is tomorrow, most of the ‘Bration crew was on hand, making wrist corsages and handing out tuxes. Kids were going in and out, getting ready for the big night. I had so much fun, I wanted to just stay and watch and enjoy.

Ever notice how much fun something is when you aren’t directly involved?

AND I also got a new app for my iPhone. Snapchat. Like I mentioned on Twitter, I’m not sure what it’s about, not sure how to use it and I only have one friend on there, but I had a great time with it today. The niece with Snapchat and another niece and their friend all went to get mani/pedis. (I was invited, but I had to work. 😦 ) I sent my senior niece pics of her car, getting new windshield wipers. (And me wearing her sunglasses. And the guy replacing her wipers.)

She sent me a pic of the girls. And her NEW sunglasses. LOL.

So! Much! Fun!

In case I didn’t mention it, yesterday was great in our Small Town World!




The Oklahoma Response

The Murrah Building is demolished more than a ...

Have you heard of the Oklahoma Response?

I don’t know if it’s real or if the woman who gave it a name for me (a wannabe romance writer who threw in the towel after a year or two) made it up. *Note: I just googled The Oklahoma Response, and found nothing, so I’m figuring it was the afore-mentioned woman’s best job of fiction writing.

Whether anyone actually calls it that or not, I’ve seen it happen.

This woman said she’d been a news person in OKC, and was close enough to get to the Murrah Building bombing sight before a perimeter was set up. Because she was there first, she’d been allowed to stay, but couldn’t leave or she wouldn’t be able to get back in. So she spent days without much sleep or a change of clothes, giving updates to TV stations all over the US.

Then she asked where I was when it happened. (Someone must have told her at some point that a conversation means talk and listen.)

So I told her I was driving to work when I heard about the bombing over the radio. My first response? I’ve got to go help!

I hit the gas and headed for OKC. It only took a couple of seconds for me to remember I would be a hindrance, not a help. I’m not a nurse–I don’t even have first aid training, so I wouldn’t be any help that way. I’m not a power lifter, so I wouldn’t be much help lifting buildings off victims.

And I am a huge crier. I have a strict policy that no one cries alone in my presence. *Know that movie?* I don’t mind crying solo, either. 😉

The woman said, “That’s being called ‘The Oklahoma Response’.” She went on to compare it to an earlier bombing. She said in both cases, when the bombs went off, people ran. In the first, they ran to safety and just kept going, grateful they weren’t hurt.

In Oklahoma, people ran toward the bombing to see if they could help. When no one else could help, people lined up around the block to give blood, donate money, take in home cooked meals. Anything to be a help.

Since hearing about the Okie Response, I’ve seen it proven over and over. When someone is in need, there’s an Okie (or a thousand) who’ll step up to help.

The past couple of weeks here in Northeast Oklahoma, we’ve had horrible wildfires. So many people have lost their homes, it’s appalling. No matter how hard firefighters (professional and volunteer) battled in the 110+ air temperatures made even hotter by the hell from the fires not to menton the protective gear they had to wear, somewhere between two and three hundred homes burned to the ground.

Larry Lawrence Picture

Everything the fire devil got close enough to burned–from expensive homes to ready-to-fall-down shacks, B & Bs and church camps, barns and auction halls. And I don’t know a soul who wouldn’t have stepped up to lend a hand if needed.

Larry Lawrence Picture

But most of us aren’t trained firefighters, and would only get in the way. So we step up in another way. When the call went out for water and/or Gatorade for the firemen, we donated.

As the size of the loss was realized, churches set up outreaches. One of the churches in The Ford, on an unscorched corner that was missed although the fire burned all around, set up tents and opened their doors for donations.

And the Oklahoma Response? So many clothes came in that an announcement had to be made–“No more clothes! We have no more room.”

   My cousin’s daughter, Mendy, who belongs to this church, took these pictures. It looks like a party, doesn’t it? Rather than hoarding the remaining clothes and keeping them for someone who might need them in the future, she tells me they’re sharing with a church in T-Town that helps the homeless.

So what is The Oklahoma Response?

We care.


Chicken Tales

When Mom and Dad were first married (they were 18 and 19, respectively) they lived in the Basin near Old Ford. Dad went to school at the University of Tulsa. Mama stayed home (sometimes) and one day decided to fix Dad fried chicken for supper.

Now Mom had learned to cook at her mother’s knee, and could fry up some great tasting chicken. The only trouble was, she didn’t have an ax to kill the fowl.

So what did she do? What any self-respecting born-during-the-depression Okie would do. She rung that bird’s neck.

When Dad got home from school, she had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy on the table.

How many eighteen-year-olds do you know who could do that?

I don’t pretend to know what all has to happen to take a chicken from the hen-house and get her on the table, but I know it has to do with giblet, innards and feather removal. Ick.

I can cut up a chicken (surprised to my MIL when G-Man and I were first married) and I have a wishbone piece! But I’m not sure how you get to the inside stuff you have to throw out.

To be honest, Mom, Grandma, Grandmother and Aunt Phyllis were all fantastic chicken fryers. Mom gave Phyllis the kudos for being the very best. I’m not sure if that was because her chicken was any better or if she did it to get Phyllis to fry the chicken most of the time. 🙂 Whatever it was, we were ALL glad she did.

A long time ago, Phyllis told me how to make the World’s Best Fried Chicken. Now I do it every 4th of July.

Want to give it a try? (You don’t have to wait for Independence Day.) Click here! PHYLLIS’S FRIED CHICKEN.

BTW: Have you butchered your own chickens? Tell me about it.

PS: #4–Still need a Father’s Day gift? How about this?


 Pretty cute, huh? 🙂

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Christmas Partying

Yesterday I went to my first Christmas party of the year. It was so much fun!

Romance Writers Ink partied at Kathlyn Smith’s house. Kathlyn

is one of those women who are perfect hostesses. We couldn’t ask for a better place to get together, celebrate and enjoy one another than her house.

On the way there, I picked up a couple of RWI-ers–Judy Pelfrey and Annie Rhyan. Judy is a great navigator and on my own, I tend to get lost, so I jump at the chance to pick her up each time she’ll let me. Annie, a relative newcomer to Oklahoma,  is interesting (not being an Okie, she has a little different view of things) and is a heck of a lot of fun to have around.

All the members didn’t make it (we have members from all around Oklahoma and the world) but several did. And everyone brought food! Really good food.

Our president, Jackie Kramer, brought crack. Shocking, I know, but believe me if you tasted it, you’d be willing to be hooked for life, too.


I’m not kidding, the day was a feast fest. We were well fed! All by herself, Jan did us good–homemade rolls, she baked a cake and spinach dip! Kathlyn’s Ooh, Aah Bird Eggs, Marilyn’s delicious soup, everything was fantastic. And we played Dirty Santa. So much fun.

All the Writing Sluts–bloggers from withint RWI–received sparkly silver slut shoes. In case you’re wondering, SLUT stands for Smart Literate and Undeniably Talented. We’re not just being naughty for naughty’s sake. 🙂

These are SLUTS.

BTW: Overheard yesterday–Naughty is the new nice. (Too often true.)

I really hate posed pictures, so I climbed onto the back of the chair and messed things up a little. 🙂

Here are a few more of the day’s pictures.

The picture above is our sweet Miss Peggy. (My shirt-tail relative!) She knows so much about writing and is always willing to teach and share! “Keep your skirt down and your purse closed!” LOL.

And this last picture is a little thing in our hostess’s house. Just one of the many things she has that I loved! I’m hoping I can get someone to build me one.How about you? Have you started your rounds of Christmas parties yet? How do you do when you’re taking pictures? Do you have any suggestions for me? I’d appreciate any help I can get.