Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Who Else?

What do you do when you have to do something you really don’t want to do?

Maybe you don’t want to because you’re not sure how to do it. Maybe you just don’t like it. Or maybe you’re afraid you won’t be able to do it the way you ought to, but you have to, so you’ve got to find a way.

What do you do?

For me, the answer to that strange and winding question is–I CALL MY SIBLING!

Luckily, I have four sisters and a brother to choose from.

I’ve always told my kids that the best friends they’ll ever have in life are their siblings. They’ll be there for you when you really need them, and you absolutely want to be there for them. Always.

Why should it be true that the best friends you’ll ever have are your sibs?

Because you and your sibs have the same history. Were taught the same values. You have the same blood.

You played together, worked together, cried together, went on vacations together. You grew up together–at least you grew older together. 🙂

These are the people who, even though they know all the bad things about you, also remember all the good things. And they love you anyway.

And otherwise, your mama will smack you. 🙂

Who else truly understands the depth of tragedy when you suddenly lose your mother?

Who else gets the joy you have being with your dad?

Who else knows family history back to the beginning of time?

Who else met God the way you did?

Who else can you tell your secrets and rest assured they’ll never be repeated?

Who else will walk through fire for you?

Friends are wonderful.
Children are a joy.
A loving husband is a gift from God!

But siblings are absolutely necessary.

Besides, who else can you be sure will goose you when you’re taking a picture?

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Dad’s Par-ty!

A hamburger with a rim of lettuce sitting on a...

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At last! I got the pictures from Carollea of Dad’s party.

Remember the Big Day? It was so much fun!

These two are deep in discussion. Never fails when they get together.

Of course, fun times were had at the party. Naturally, Dad shared in several hugs and handshakes.

Sparky was the name of Dad’s horse. (There should have been a comma after the you, but hey. Perfection is boring. LOL)

The cake was delicious! Half chocolate, half white and a cherry filling. Oh, baby! The girls at Homeland bake a mean cake.

Jeffrey and I grilled hamburgers, I caught my grill on fire. (Not my fault! There was too much fat in the meat. That’s my story and I’m sticking!)

Everyone in the office brought dishes to share. I’m telling you, these women can cook!

And this crew can eat! They didn’t even back off when they found out I was helping with the hamburgers. 🙂

But before a bite was eaten, before one person filled his (or her) plate, we thanked God– for health, and friends and, most importantly (in my book, anyway) for family, near and far, and those who’ve gone on before us, but shaped our lives and helped us become who we are.

The best gift of all.

 


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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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O-T-H GANG Rides Again

We love our brother. We really do!!!

Omega loves him so much, she had this made for him.

Isn’t that sweet? (I’d have smacked her, but Jeffrey is a great sport!) It’s hanging on the front of the office. On C-Town’s main street. For the entire world to see.

Of course, Omega hasn’t hit that magic number yet. There’s no telling how her big brother will spell payback.

Dad came out to see the banner. “Did Omega do that?”

Me: “Yeah. If I’d done it, it would say, ‘Welcome to the Over-The-Hill Gang. 

Dad: “Do you remember when he was born?

Answer: “Mumble. Mumble.”

Dad: “Remember we went to the football game.”

Me: “Uh, no. We went to the fair. Did you go to the football game?”

Dad: “I remember that day well. Dr. Dillman came out and said, ‘You finally got that boy, Carol.’ I said, ‘I don’t believe it.’ Doc looked through the glass and yelled, ‘Take that baby’s diaper off and prove he’s a boy.’ He did, and I went to the game.”

Me: “You didn’t even get to hold him.”

Dad: “Naw. In those days, dads didn’t get to do any of that stuff. Your mom was sleeping, so I went home to the game. C-Town was playing Hominy.”

Me: “Who won?”

Dad: “Hm. I don’t remember.”

It was probably Hominy. 🙂 At least we had one winner for C-Town that day.

One last HBD, Jeffrey! (Aka: Jeffy, Boy, Fella, JP and Buck.)


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Sweet Sleep

If you were to drive past, this is what you’d see today

if you noticed it at all.

So you get out of your car and walk a few steps. The stone isn’t cemented at all. In fact, it looks like a piece of flagstone that someone carved by hand. Who ever created this heart touching work of art must have cared so much! It couldn’t have been easy to do, but it was completed.

Hard to read, isn’t it? I’ll make it darker.

Still nearly impossible to read, but you can see one thing. The vertical line that divides the stone. (Reminds me of the Ten Commandments that Charlton carried off the mountain.)

I’ll take you closer. (Isn’t the mossy green stuff pretty growing there?)

It says, “Sweet.

This side says, “Sleep.” Figured out the vertical line? It’s a tombstone for twins. 😦


“Bennie” is on the left. “Sussie” is on the right. Below that it says, “Infants of BF White.” No mention of their mother. I don’t know if that’s a sign of the times. You know, as if everyone believed babies had to have a mother and she had to be married to the father, so the fact of her and her name (MRS. BF White, naturally) is understood without mentioning her. Sigh.

The date at the bottom sort of goes downhill and says only Dec. 23 and Dec. 27. At four days old, they died. Two days after Christmas. Doesn’t it break your heart? This had to be back in the day before ultrasounds and doplars. Could they have known there were problems before the babies were born? Was there any way to be prepared for their loss?

Is it ever possible to prepare for something like that?

Can’t you just see the twin’s father, working into the night chipping away at this piece of flagstone? It’s the very last thing he’ll ever be able to do for his children, and he wants to make it beautiful.

The parents’ headstone isn’t nearby, at least not that I’ve found. Kind of heart breaking, isn’t it, to think of these babies dying and the parents having to move away so they couldn’t visit the grave?

I’d never do it, but I’d so love to be able to take this little tombstone home with me and care for it in my garden, just so it wouldn’t be so all alone.

I just hope the tombstone has moved and that tree isn’t growing up where the babies were buried.


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Father’s Day

Did you celebrate Father’s Day? I know, it’s a Hallmark holiday (ie: made up to sell more cards) but I really enjoy having a day to honor our dads.

I spent yesterday morning worshipping My Father sitting next to my father. I love worshipping with the man who gave me life. Or would that be men?

Anyway, it was a great morning.

Here’s Dad acting silly at his office birthday celebration one year. He’s a great guy to work for!

Yesterday evening we went to #1 son and DIL’s house for a smoked rib dinner. #1 is (finally) in his new house, which is an older home that they’ve refinished. We loved the house. Loved the yard! (They’ve let the rear part of the big back yard naturalize, so it looks like the tall grass prairie. Absolutely beautiful!

I went out with #1 while he checked the smoking ribs and he told me that he plans to put in an outdoor kitchen and how he plans to do it. (I put in a bid on the plants they’ll have to remove!)

We got to meet Gozer, the newest member of the family.

Sosfan4

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We chatted and laughed and had a great time. Oh, and G-Man opened presents and cards.

The food was delicious. The house was gorgeous! And we were all so comfortable, I thought we might just curl up and spend the night.

Instead, we took off our shoes, kicked back and had a wonderful time, being together.

Is there anything nicer than having the entire family together, enjoying one another? Not a whole lot, I’m thinking.

Oh, back to my dad. This is the guy who, when he wants something, he goes right out and buys it. One year, he said all he wanted for Father’s Day was a straw hat for working in the garden. So we got together and decided to give him six hats, one from each of his kids. 🙂 (He’s lucky we didn’t include the grandkids. LOL) If he gets something he doesn’t really want or thinks he won’t use, he’ll give it back or to someone else.

Not wanting to be the one to have my present handed off this year, I gave him eight pepper plants. (I heard him say he didn’t have any sweet peppers in his garden.) And I got him two bottles of a great new (to us) salad dressing. We love it, so it’ll be just fine if he gives it back. LOL!

I hope you had a fantastic Father’s Day and while you were at it, thanked your Father in heaven for the earthly father He chose for you. You’re a perfect fit!


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BB’s Birthday

It’s Baby Boy’s birthday. Let’s celebrate!

This is my baby boy. Not much of a baby, but he’ll always be mine. He’s such a funny kid.

He’s my only child who has been organized from the beginning of time. He doesn’t just keep things put away, he organizes his time. His studies. His money. You name it, and he’ll find a way to take care of it.

Before Brad started school, as we were getting ready to go on a vacation one year, he said, “What about my other brother?”

“Your brothers are going.” I pointed at my older boys. “See? Danny and Matt. They’re ready to go.”

“No. My other brother.” BB was getting a little frustrated with me by this time. “At Miss Kimmy’s.”

“Who?”

“Little Bradley. He’s my brother, too.” Little Bradley was his best bud at Miss Kimmy’s–their babysitter. They were always together, even at church. I guess he thought since their names were the same (both Bradley) and he liked him so much, they had to be brothers.

Since I didn’t have the strength to handle another boy, I quickly explained he didn’t have another brother, and while he was a very nice boy, he couldn’t be Brad’s brother because Little Brad’s mom, whose name was also Susan, would cry too much.

Escaped that one by the skin of my teeth! 😉

When he was in 3rd or 4th grade, BB had appendicitis and nearly scared the liver out of me. That was an outpatient procedure (go figure that one) and less than twenty-four hours later when he went home, that tiny little boy had some heavy duty pain pills. So heavy duty, when he tried to leave a room once (I’d turned loose of him to get something) he missed the door and hit the wall.

But he survived, and now has a nice scar to show for it.

On Easter Sunday 1995, BB was baptised into Christ. Three days later, Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 men, women and children, 19 of whom were under the age of six in Oklahoma City.  

When BB was in middle school or early in high school, he decided he wanted to be an orthodontist. Here’s why–he’d thought his teeth were so ugly before he had braces (they weren’t that bad) he wouldn’t smile. And he didn’t talk to people much because he didn’t want them to see. 

His beautiful teeth made such a difference to him, he wanted to be able to do that for other kids.  

Top and bottom retainers

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BB is now a college graduate, engaged to marry a beautiful and brilliant girl. (I love it when my children marry beautiful, smart girls who are from this area so I don’t have to worry about them moving close to HER parents. I need my kids and grandkids close by.)

We’re hoping he’ll get into dental school next fall. All fingers and toes crossed on that one. (If you have any pull in that area, please use it for us!) And, no surprise, he’s very good at working with children. I’m not sure he still plans to be an orthodontist, but he wants to have a pediatric practice. (Gotta give him kudos for that!)

Because of my sons, I understand why the Psalmist wrote, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” Psalm 127:2.

Sons may be the pride of their father, but they’re the heart of their mother.

One more story–after the wreck when we lost most of the women in our lives, I felt very alone. I couldn’t even feel God anymore (even though I knew He was there and talked to Him non-stop!)

At that huge funeral things got mixed up and my little family wasn’t able to sit with my dad and sibs and their families. Bradley, still in kindergarten, must have known how absolutely alone I felt. Even though we were sitting in hard plastic chairs, he got out of his and came to sit with me. During that time when I needed so much, he was there to hold onto.  

I love you, kiddo. For all the things I’ve learned by watching you, for all the things you taught me, for the laughter, the joy, and even the times when we cried, thank you.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!