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.