Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


10 Random Unnecessaries and One NECESSARY

This is a kind of weird day, so get ready for a weird post. Okay? If it’s not okay, come back and see me tomorrow. Maybe I won’t be as weird then. Or I might be weirder. Who knows?

Random Unnecessary #1: I love coffee early in the morning. Hot coffee. Really hot coffee that burns on the way down. By the time I get to work, I’m usually through drinking java.

🙂 Unless I find a Starbucks. I love Starbucks.

Caramel Macchiato

and Cinnamon Dolce Latte

BTW: They won’t look like the pictures. The hot drinks come in a white cup with a long-haired woman wearing a crown with a star in front.

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being us...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, she looks a little odd, but once you taste the coffee for the first time, you won’t notice her again.

If you haven’t tried either one of these, put them on your Bucket List. Try them before you die. They’re yummers!

Warning: Don’t check calorie content. If you do you’ll be tempted to drink their diet version which they call a Skinny. STEP AWAY FROM THE SKINNY. Go for the gusto and drink the real thing! It’s delish!

Random unnecessary #2: I hate Easter Egg hunts. I’m so ashamed. (Not really.) I’ve always hated EEH, even when I was a little kid BECAUSE I COULD NEVER FIND ANY EASTER EGGS.

The first birthday party I remember having was an EEH, and it was awful. We lived in Old Ford in a house with my dad’s parents. Behind our house we had a big pasture or a field. I’m not sure which you’d call it, but it didn’t grow anything but grass and we normally didn’t keep animals there. (We had a few chickens, but that’s all I remember.)

Anyway, Mom gave me an Easter Egg Hunt for my birthday. The kids who came were also my cousins, and they were mostly older than me. About the time I’d see an egg, someone else would snatch it.

I think I cried in frustration, but I might have pouted. Or thrown what my folks liked to call a whing-ding. (Tantrum for the uneducated.) Anyway, my daddy took me by the hand and helped me hunt for the stupid eggs. I even remember him saying, “This one’s easy to find. Let’s leave it for David.” That was my cousin just younger than me, and I liked him a lot, so I agreed.

I don’t remember ever having another Easter Egg birthday party. (Thanks, Mom!)

NECESSARY Thing: #4 is a grandmommy. Again. And the baby is adorable!  It’s not right or fair, but it’s true. She has two grandchildren and another on the way. #2 has three kids making her a grandmommy, #3 has two and I don’t have any.

If I threw a whing-ding, I wonder if it would help? 😉

Random Unnecessary #3: I went to Ozark Bible College (now Ozark Christian College) in Joplin for two years before moving on to study Fashion Merchandising.

Random Unnecessary #4: The first year I was at Ozark, I set a record. I was campused more times than anyone had ever been campused in the history of the school. Hard to believe, isn’t it? 🙂

Campused was kind of like grounded. You could go to class and to eat, but you weren’t supposed to do anything else. At least anything fun. But since we had to be in our dorms by 7:00 and lights out was at 11:00, there wasn’t time to do anything fun anyway.

Random Unnecessary #5: One of my roommates at Ozark and I used to play Gin Rummy by candlelight after lights out. (I hope Mom Thompson doesn’t read this and campus me retroactively.)

I’m not naming any names, but this is my roommate who tempted me into playing.

I’m on the left. My fun roommate is on the right.

Random Unnecessary #6: TVs were against the rules at Ozark. Once this same roommate snuck her TV into our room so we could watch a “star,” who played the ukulele and sang about tiptoeing through flowers, get married to a girl on national TV.

We had to muffle our laughter with pillows to keep from getting caught. There wasn’t enough space for all the girls on our floor to come in our room.

 Random Unnecessary #7: When I was at Ozark, my friends and I liked to swim in a strip mine near the town of Oronogo. It looked like a giant hole in the ground big enough for most of Old Ford to fit in, where I guess some mining company has used high pressure water to wash away the soil and ferret out minerals.

We jumped off high cliffs and swam underwater into caves. (The cave wasn’t underwater, only the entrance was.)

The pit was rumored to be bottomless. “The bottom has washed away because of underground springs, so no one knows how deep it is. Even scuba divers have tried to find it and can’t go that deep.” (Riiiight.)

Supposedly the strip pit was where Evil Doers went to ditch stolen cars, and once an entire train, whose track ran right next to the big hole, fell in and disappeared forever.

 Random Unnecessary #8: I was a basketball cheerleader when I was at Ozark. (You know the old saying: Those who can’t play, cheer.) Once a team from Manhattan, Kansas, came down to play on a school night.

That night, there was an exception made for bb players and cheerleaders. We got to be out late. And after the game, since the team had so far to go back to Manhattan, we had a little get together and fed them.

Cheerleaders were supposed to go straight back to the dorm after that, but I went roller skating instead. AND I DIDN’T GET CAUGHT!!! (For once.)

Random Unnecessary #9: My man and I almost had our wedding supper at Denny’s. (My idea.) Luckily, it was too crowded, so we went to the hotel where we stayed and had a really nice dinner. I had fried shrimp. 🙂

Random Unnecessary #10: Today is my birthday. Don’t ask.


A New York WGT

From Susan: This is an email forward given to me by a life-long friend. Being Terminally Curious, I have to wonder who these people are. 🙂

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square . Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it’s enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

For a musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing.

It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked. “No,” I replied.. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?”

To my delight, she accepted my invitation.. “You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well. …. do you know any hymns?”

Hymns? This woman didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. “Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’?”

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.” She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like you!” But the ovation continued..

I embraced my new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”

“Well, it’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said.

“Why is that?”

“Well . ..” she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.”

“Really!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual.. “She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week.”

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are you going to be okay?”

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no stretch for me to imagine that God could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting God and singing the songs, everything’s gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use YOU, just remember…
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer…
AND Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.