REEELY BIG ONE, reeely

Beautiful cool morning here, quiet, foghorn and boat whistle . . . I’m in my studio, listening to the birds drinking my first cup of tea … How are you? I’ve been missing you! This post is a book, prepare yourself, go get tea and get comfy, while I rev up the MUSICA ….

Home sweet home

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Joe and I left home for our cross-country book tour on April 30, and last Sunday, we drove off the boat and made our way through the familiar streets of home, and finally, into our own driveway, with 9,800 brand new miles on the Fine Romance Van ~ and wonderful memories of an amazing trip we will never forget.

Our House with the flag

First thing we did was hang our 4th of July flag, and ever since then we’ve been unpacking, stepping over piles of stuff (and THIS ⬇️ was just the beginning!),

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Taking naps💤, walking the dirt road through the woods to the sea, shaking road noise out of our heads (it’s like the rocking you can still feel after getting off a boat), collapsing boxes, rearranging, cleaning, making lists, filling the fridge with deliciousness🍒🍊🍓🍉, and putting our house back together.

Home Sweet Home!We couldn’t wait to get into the garden, trimming back dead things and filling in the dark spots with blue and orange flowers and peach Brandy roses,

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Because, after all, first thing’s first.  Ahhh dirt. How I love thee. Pure road-noise expunger.gardeningphoto 3

And tomatoes and marigolds and roses and lots of other things . . . it’s July, the Island is in bloom, green and lush . . . and we can’t let this season escape us!garden

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I put out my favorite garden decor . . . I even had him at Holly Oak . . . he seems to feel a lot like I do about life.💞

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Come inside for the little vases . . . garden 101IMG_2176

This is what I call bang for the buck, takes less than a minute to pop a flower in there, easy to change,  and looks just wonderful ~ perks up everything! Even the Queen is enjoying it!

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But mostly, it’s undivided attention for you know who! We unload the car and Jack makes himself King of the Mountain. Who? he asks looking at me with wide-eyed innocence, What did you say your name is? He might not recognize me, but I’m sure he recognizes the camera.

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The children. Don’t they look happy?  LOL. I look in vain for a change of expression. But no. It’s just me. I’m the only one doing the happy dance.  They keep their feelings buried deep inside. But I know they’re there.

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Jack was on the ironing board in front of the kitchen screen door, watching the world go by when I came in. I walked up very slowly and reached out, he Kitty Lovesniffed my hand, then furrowed his forehead with quizzical eyes and sniffed me again, what could this be? With each sniff, he seemed slightly more interested ~ that’s the best I seem to get from this puff ball that I adore from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair! But for me? No problem. I touch foreheads with him, I circle him in my arms and whisper sweet nothings in his ear.

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I pick her up and cradle her in my arms like a baby and walk around the house rocking her and cooing to her . . . She’s 15 years old now . . . I always worry about her when I leave the house. She never likes it when I’m away. And shows it by not eating. Very scary. Do I go or do I stay. But ever since I walked through the door she has been STUFFING herself, 2 or 3 cans a day! Plus taste treats.

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And here was my first view of the house from the car window as we were turning to back the van into the driveway. The excitement was tangible. Opening the car door, putting foot on terra firma, getting out of the car, was surreal. It all smelled exactly the same. Mixture of boxwood, linden trees, and ocean air.  The house has been here since 1849. Nothing about it had changed. My house since 1989. 😘home Home

But before I go on with the future, and all the news I’d love to share, and will, when I can, I need to celebrate a little more of the recent past . . . this book tour to celebrate the completion of this … my memoir trilogy of booksSBAutobiographicalTrilogyFour years of concentration (or something like that) to write the story of my first little house on the Island where I tried so hard to figure out who I was and how to make my dreams come true, and when the writing and watercolors were all done . . . for better or for worse . . . there was a reward:

R O A D    T R I P !

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I chronicled about half of it in the last post, so we’ll start here, with sweet kitty “Sasha” on top of some of the art binders on a shelf above Kellee’s desk at my Studio in California.  It was good to be at our other-coast “home” and  reconnect with our faraway friends and family, and meet our wonderful west coast Girlfriends.

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And see my garden out there . . . and just settle in for a week after a month of serious country-crossing to get here . . . Seeing this photo makes me think of changing my Vineyard garden from blue and orange back to lavender and pink next year . . .get-attachment.aspx

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Loved meeting my good friends for lunch, darling Elizabeth on the left, her sweet aunt Marion and dearest Diana (Elizabeth’s cousin, and daughter of Marion), in Danville California, perfectly apropos because almost every bit of this book tour has been a family affair 👩‍❤️‍👩 . . . sometimes mine but for sure, everyone else’s! Moms and daughters, grandma’s and granddaughters, husbands and wives, sisters and best friends, aunts and nieces have all come to the book signings together . . . and I have to say, it was a total Love Fest! Right? I saw lots of YOU there, was it NOT a Love Fest??? Oh it was!

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Speaking of which, for starters, here’s Aunt Susan with her two beautiful nieces, Karis and Trisha, in Morro Bay, California. Love fest.Family faces

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Karis was there with her husband Henry, and  this little doll, the newest addition to our family,  Xavier ~ I’m his great aunt, and he is even cuter in person, if you can imagine that! He’s the joy of so many people’s lives!

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And there’s  Kellee and Sheri from the Studio on either side of me, plus, my best friend Diana (if you’ve read my last three books you know all about Diana💞), and Bonnie who also works at the Studio during moments of supreme emergency (like when books come in and we need strong hands and good hearts to help out 📚). They were my perfect welcoming committee for this event, which was also a benefit for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter (thanks to the great energy of Joanne and Linna at Coalesce Bookstore). 👏

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This was on the wall where I gave the talk and did the signing . . .THINK! Is it kind? Good advice, don’t you think?

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I have to mention, I could not have done any of this without my beloved intrepid pathfinder, guardian angel extraordinaire who is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind 💖.

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One by one, I got to meet and shake hands with all our Girlfriends who came to Rakestraw Books in Danville, CA … And this, as you see it here, was how it was everywhere we went. Roomfuls of happy, interesting, funny, friendly, kind, people, moms, sisters, best friends ~ if they came as a stranger, they went away as a friend.

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Mom and daughters and the Fine Romance Van featured as photo bomber!

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The line kept going, we took tons of photos, signed lots of books, and…

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By the time we finished, it was dark outside!

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Our girlfriends are so cute!

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The smiles never ended . . .beautifulfacesIMG_0098

I think you can see why we were honored to be there . . .

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Mostly Joe took the pictures, but every so often the tables were turned. He loved meeting everyone as much as I did . . . he was always roving around the line where there was always a buzz of talk and laughter I could hear from my seat at the table.

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But then, once more, it was time to move on, and look, the California fog is rolling in . . . all those old volcanos are peeking through . . .

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It was a constant change of scenery as we traveled from place to place across our beautiful wonderful country full of good and kind faces . . .

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See what I mean . . . this is Pasadena, at the wonderful Vroman’s Bookstore where my grandma used to shop! If you ever need a suggestion for a wonderful new book to read, your Independent Bookstore will send you in the right direction! That’s what they do. The caring human touch. Always a good thing.

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It would take several blog posts to show you how much fun this was.  See the girl in blue standing up in the back, almost in the middle? That’s Kris, I went to high school with her! See what I mean? And I got to meet everyone here!

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Mom’s and daughters . . .

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And whole families!!!

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And husbands and wives.

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The guys, I have to say, were a blast! Funny! One thanked me for being his wife’s therapist! He thought the price of the books was a deal! LOL!

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I could see “guardian angel” in their eyes.

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While waiting, these two made posits to commemorate the end of the long line, and those posits are now  in my diary. Kind of what Joe and I are saying to each other now! “We did it!”happy?IMG_0204

We hated to leave the ocean-views, brunch-with-wine, and joie de vivre mentality of Southern California . . .waves

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Private blend lavender teaBut onward and upward . . . we were people on a mission. I thought you might like to see how we packed. There is method to this madness, never fear. Two ice chests in the Fine Romance Van, one on the floor between our seats where I could access it anytime, and another one in the way-back for staples and an extra bag of ice . . . plus, we had my favorite earl grey and lavender tea, the tea kettle, cups, spray starch, laundry soap, a zillion quarters for the machines. No stone unturned, we had it all!

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Hither and yon we go. At this point heading through Arizona, and for the following month we never saw the underside of 90 degrees again! One time, in Texas, we got in the car in sunthe morning and the car thermometer registered 132 ridiculous degrees!! You know how we (in Northeast USA) “warm up” the car in the winter? Well, out here, we’d go to the car early to turn it on to ice up the air conditioner!!! You go from freezing-cold, air-conditioned hotel room to the hideous heat, hurry to the car, and just about the time you get there, you begin to thaw out. In the nick of time, you jump in, slam the door, and ahhhh, saved by the bell.

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HOT. But interestingly, the desert was “in bloom.” If that is what one wishes to call it.

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But then we went to the High Desert, to Prescott, Arizona for a lovely tea party . . . here is just a tiny hint of the deliciousness that awaited us! They made them!!! And they were gorgeous!

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Clotted cream and jam and homemade scones! And sandwiches too!

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They set up tables on the lawn of a beautiful old house ~ it was a tea-party, fund-raiser, book-talk and signing hosted by one of our Girlfriends (up there on the porch with her husband), Mary Heiland, benefitting the local library and Hospice . . . and it was so beautifully done! Flowers and party favors on every table.

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Everything was  in bloom . . . still warm in the mountains but with a lovely breeze through the draped bunting (white, like on Downton Abbey) and the weeping willow that gave the house its name, Willow Tree Manor, swayed gracefully in the wind . . .

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They welcomed us, and everyone, royally . . . (and gave us the sign to take home! It’s already hanging above the door in the wood room!) …

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Hats! (Hi Dianne, Bev, & Merci!)

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These girls knew how to celebrate . . .

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Much as I loved ALL the hats, this baby-pink one had to be the winner . . . might have had something to do with that little face . . .baby

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On each side of this group is a Mary . . . these two Mary’s are the best friends who are responsible for the gorgeousness of this party ~ and those are their beautiful daughters who’ve known each other all their lives. We met both Mary’s at the Madonna Inn in California about three years ago, where there was a drawing to see who would be our dinner partners for that evening. Mary’s name was drawn, and of course, she brought Mary! And now here we are, experiencing one of the tea parties they have each year ~ pure serendipity! I think this was their 23rd!

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This is Mary Heiland’s (the Mary on the left) 97 year-old-mom, and so now you know where this family got its beauty . . .beautyIMG_0737

Here’s the winner . . . both for the auctioned-off quilt that made $600 for Hospice (whoever bid on it, gave it to her, I told you, the most wonderful people were there) AND the hat ~ I think she was having a red letter day!

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And to complete my red letter day, I received this!

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To put in my keepsake box along with this . . .

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Joe has gotten so GOOD at taking pictures of the things he knows I’ll want to see when we get back to the hotel and I get my hands on the camera again! I get to see everything I missed!

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And then, down through southern Arizona, near the Mexican border and miles and miles and miles of beautiful Texas . . . wildflowers and desert and hottest heat in the world . . . Too hot to stop and shop in Fredericksburg … so now we have to go back! Need to shop at Magnolia Pearl!  Too cute to miss.

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A little intimidating to make this left turn, but we survived . . .  (yikes!).

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We loved every mile of it . . . (look at the little orange sign on the left)

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And we knew we’d entered the weird world (their words not mine)) of Austin when the first thing we saw was this. It is a bar that moves as the customers PEDAL , it has no engine . . . it drove across the road while we were sitting at the light ~ and I scrambled for the camera! We don’t have one of these on the Island.

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We went to dinner at the historical Driskill Hotel and sat directly across from that romantic little table on the left (pushed together for a larger group) where President Lyndon Johnson proposed to Claudia Taylor, better known as Lady Bird, on their first date!

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She made hime wait a full six weeks before she accepted! Ahhhh, young love. 💘 Later the people for whom that long table was reserved arrived . . . a woman sat in Lady Bird’s seat (as I imagine it would have been) with her back to the wall, her partner was across from her in the chair and it was ALL I could do not to rush over there and tell them DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU’RE SITTING? Joe was a little embarrassed when I asked the waiter to tell them. I couldn’t help it. They had to know. I would want to know, wouldn’t you???

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And now, here we are at BookPeople in Austin, with my Twitter Girlfriends! Wonderful to finally put the real people with the names!

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And dearest Texas Girlfriend from many years ago, whose name I just love to say in my fake Texas accent, Mary Alice Yelverton (try it in your fake Texas accent and you’ll see what I mean, even better if the accent isn’t fake!), 97-years-young and still writing her column for the Boerne Star Newspaper, which is how we met, when she called to interview me for her paper because she liked my cookbook Heart of the Home! We go way back! I was so touched that she came.

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And another warm welcome from a room full of kindred spirits! I have never felt so loved. You girls, you should know, it was heaven for me.

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One of our long time Girlfriends, very creative Rachel, made packages of cookies for everyone at the Austin Book People signing from my recipes . . . that’s Annie Hall’s Butter Cookie made into Texas cutouts, and my mom’s Potato Chip Cookies were there too, which is also one of my favorites! It’s on page 209 of The Fairy Tale Girl, but in case you don’t have it yet . . . here you go!

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That’s our cutely dressed Girlfriend Kat on the left,  and there’s Rachel with a to-go box of cookies on the right… xoxoCookiesIMG_0954Different kinds of cookies, but still very sweet: mom’s and daughters,

IMG_0929Fairy Tale Dudes and their Fairy Tale Girls . . .

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It was a long trip, but look at these smiles, how could I not love it? My feet were about 3 inches off the ground the entire time!

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A Fine Romance Lacock EnglandWe had a surprise, unscheduled, “pop-up” book signing at The British Emporium in Grapevine Texas ~ mainly so I could shop there! I’d heard about this wonderful store for years, and there we were, so close, how could we not stop! So we called them and told them we were coming, and they invited a few of their customers for an impromptu signing. Also I wanted to THANK them for selling so many copies of A Fine RomanceI did a whole lot of Christmas shopping there 🇬🇧😃 and signed a bunch of books to leave behind! And then, it was time for . . .

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Tennessee! Off to Memphis and the Booksellers at Laurelwood.

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And don’t think that we didn’t keep ourselves correctly hydrated throughout our trip!! That’s not Coke, it’s just ice, into which I poured fresh cold water from our cooler, with just a splash of lemonade to keep it interesting.

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And the food was really good everywhere we went, look at this crisp, icy, crunchy iceberg wedge with all the trimmings. Just delicious.  We also discovered that Wendy’s makes a perfectly wonderful fresh salad with not a limp bone in its body. We became road food aficionados!

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In Memphis we had breakfast at this famous (it’s been in lots of movies) old Arcade Restaurant . . . (that’s not our suitcase back there, we kept ours in the van!).

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… Where nothing’s changed since the 1950s.

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And where, for the first time, I was able to sit with the new book and look through every page. Of course, there’s Joe with the camera.paintbrush

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So I showed him some new pages. I really love this book. It was fun to do it, like remembering all the years it took me to get the nerve to write it in the first place . . . and giving it a brand new outfit with new pages and perky new art.hearts and flowers

XXX

Are you sick of this yet? I hope not, but if so, stop now and save some for later!  So, anyway, Here I am at Channel 3 in Memphis getting ready to go on TV. Don’t I look relaxed?  Well, I’m not. In case you missed it, here it is. 

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And later that night, here I am with such hardworking girls, Nicole and Macon, (who treated every one of their customers like they were the most important person in the world) at The Booksellers at Laurelwood. I felt so proud to be at all of these independent bookstores, proud of how hard they’ve worked to keep afloat in these changing times, and proud of everyone who supports them.

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Were you there? Can you see yourself . . . ? Wasn’t it fun?

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Here’s another angle . . . See the dark-haired lady way back sitting next to the woman in the black top? See her necklace . . . I told her it was cute . . . scroll back up and you’ll see that she GAVE it to me!!! And she did it through the bookstore owner so I couldn’t even say no! She was already gone! So I had no choice! And of course, I love it!

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More wonderful Girlfriends . . . I would speak for a while, then I’d take questions and that was my favorite part because my Girlfriends ask the best questions!

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Smiles I loved meeting . . .

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It was a pure treat and the pleasure was all mine!

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Then through the cornfields . . . to Woodstock, Georgia ~ close to Atlanta, to an event put on by FoxTale Book Shoppe. Talk about Southern Hospitality!

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You guys tried to make me cry by giving me a standing ovation!!!!  I’m sorry, but this was verklempt-ville for me😂.

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Love you!

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Cutest things, and a black beret in honor of Joe!

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Joe took perfect pictures of these three . . . adorable . . .

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Baby sister is feisty!IMG_1488

But big sister wins for most adorable shoes and socks!

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Bambi’s enthusiasm could seriously move the world! And the world could definitely use some moving! Believing there is hope for the world (as Gladys Taber said) is a way to move toward it. Believe and Vote.What we do matters

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Everyone . . .

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Was just adorable. And I . . . was just lucky.

And in Woodstock we went to Starbucks to get the Sunday New York Times because that’s what we always do on Sundays on the road, and  saw this for the first time . . .

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In print! In the New York Times Book Review for the first time in my life. (See? Number 3 under Travel! That’s us Girlfriends. Because it’s  your wonderful word-of-mouth and your kind comments on GoodReads and Amazon and to each other that made this happen! You have rocked my world! I’m eternally grateful.💕)fairy tale girl

ohhappyday Those customers at Starbucks were just LUCKY I didn’t run to every table screaming because I definitely wanted to. I know I did leave the ground for a few seconds. Then Joe and I high-fived and stood around glowing (hearts leaping) wondering when someone would come up and ask us why we looked so happy while we waited for our iced mochas! This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day . . . and I have to say, our whole trip was like that, just amazing, profound in its own way, lengthwise, and spirit wise, not to mention event-wise and beauty-wise.Exhaustthelittlemoment

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And on our way again, to Malaprops Bookstore in BEAUTIFUL Asheville, North Carolina. You really have to go see that charming city . . . 💖 You will love it!

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magicAt Malaprops they did some sort of magic, and moved all the books and displays to the side to fit all the Girlfriends in.  Their shelves must be on wheels, because when we left, this room looked NOTHING like this! Every chair was folded up and gone, and the space was filled with rows of bookshelves!

             Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 👏

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Hello everyone! 💏

IMG_1779As usual, lots of fun in the line!fun is good

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The woman on my right is a star of my Twitter world, @NellieBragg, with her husband and their daughter . . . They brought us a quart of fresh picked blueberries from their garden ~ the best we ever tasted and provided us with a healthy breakfast for the rest of the way home!blueberries

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Here’s the funny Fairy Tale Boy who thought I  was a good therapist! And his darling wife Becky who made us a teacake and embroidered this precious thing . . .

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which is now hanging in our guest bathroom! (Teacake is LONG gone, YUM! 😎)

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Thou shalt not covet. I tried to remember that when looking at that HAT with the little pink flowers. Covet-Ville USA. And more Fairy Tale Girls and Boys!

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Daughters and Moms, I felt so honored!

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And now hill and dale, from North Carolina to New Jersey . . .

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Past fields of wildflowers . . .

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America-the-beautiful

MAS MUSICA

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what a wonderful world

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Little churches . . . houses and barns . . .

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with country roads we’re just dying to go explore . . .

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We got off the main roads as much as we possibly could . . . no traffic, could hear birds, see people, very gentle way to go . . .

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It took a little more time, but it was so worth it . . .

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Here’s a little bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway . . . 400 miles of this beautiful country.

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With views to everywhere . . .

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We’d leave early mornings for the long drives . . .

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And were rewarded with amazing sunrises . . .

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And lovely roadside views, truck free . . .

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To famous Bookends Bookstore in Ridgewood, New Jersey with store owners Pat and Walter Boyer who were SO MUCH FUN!

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where I got to meet another lovely crowd of Girlfriends . . .

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and Boyfriends with good attitudes . . .

And now it was starting to get a little bitter sweet . . .

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Because we were getting so close to home, and this had been so fun, yet we were getting close to HOME, and I really needed to be home . . . with only one more stop to go!

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A welcome home party at wonderful Titcombs Bookshop on Old Cape Cod. It was 4th of July weekend. You have to drive over a bridge to get to Cape Cod and of course traffic was backed up, because that’s the gateway to the Islands, Provincetown, and Hyannis and all the lovely old towns on the Cape . . . I didn’t mind a BIT, it was the best traffic jam, I enjoyed every moment of inching toward home!TheSweetLifeIMG_2119

My camera tried to break right about here (like saying my hand fell off! Still dealing with it!) . . . But it was a gorgeous afternoon, and look, there’s Elizabeth . . . she, and everyone who works at Titcombs, was wearing a beret on this way too hot day, just because they are darling. I left one and a half billion signed books here . . . in case you are looking for Christmas Presents or any other thing!giftsIMG_2143

Home And now, the end of this manifesto, and the beginning of the next phase of life, which is obviously going to be just as crazy as the last phase, as I will tell you all about when next we meet. Joe and I are taking the train to Durango, Colorado on Tuesday, for a family reunion. We’ll be staying in a wood me and my dadcabin in the high mountains, under the trees next to a lake around a campfire and under the stars. Sounds like a prayer and for my family, it will be. 🌲 My brother will be singing “I’m so Lonesome in my Saddle Since My Horse Died” ~ we will all sing along and tell family stories and I wouldn’t miss it. With all the beautiful things that happened on this trip, there were other things I wasn’t able to talk about (even though I was sometimes asked by audiences, I had to lie, I’m sorry, it was too fresh and I would have dissolved), and I still have trouble, and will always have trouble, but we lost our dearest Cozy flannel familydarling daddy in May. Blog Daddy to so many of you. Dad to his eight children. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to upset you, but I knew I had to tell you, he was your friend too. I will save a eulogy for maybe next Father’s Day when I hope it’ll be easier. Impossible this year. Life goes on. I’ve been so spoiled to have had him, wide awake and smart as a whip, for as long as I did. I do most everything I do, most probably for my dad, and I know that will never end. So my family is getting together for a group hug.💔 And some singing. And Joe and I are packing . . .

me and DadMe and my dad watching my brother sing in Durango a few years ago.CountingBlessingsXOXOXOXOXO

LOVE YOU GIRLFRIENDS, thank you for everything! ❤️ Hug your loved ones tight. If the TV news is too hurtful, turn it off, and right after you call your congress person and demand they do something about gun violence 🌎  (because we are the world and what we do does matter), settle into your favorite chair with your kitty or dog, and watch a wonderful old movie. Make my mom’s Potato Chip Cookies and take half to a friend. Put a flower in a tiny vase on your kitchen sink.💐

Little things, old movies, baking smells, petty pets and girl talk, I promise, will restore your hopeful heart. 💖 Blessings to you and yours from us and ours.The little things in life SBLater . . . P.S. I’ve just finished reading somewhere around 400 comments on this post . . . and wanted to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. My dad loved reading your comments too, Blog daddyhe would talk about them with me on the phone as he was slowly getting to know you. My prayer is that he’s reading them right now, he would be honored!  Your words are so comforting, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your stories and really, your hearts.  Our Girlfriend Mary S. left a quote I love . . . “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” I know this is true. Because yes, Gabi, my dad did raise me to be a trooper, just like he was.

“I love you too, Sue. I love everything about you.” 💞 Dad, just 2 days before he was gone.

Those words were all I ever wanted, and all I’ll ever need. How can I mourn when I had such love. I’ll celebrate his life every day of mine. As for Joe, while he drove, I cried, and there was my get-attachment.aspxguardian angel, reaching across the ice chest with his comforting hand to hold mine. I smiled through the book signings and wondered if anyone could tell. I knew what my dad wanted me to do and I did my best to do my best. Looking forward to the dad and melaughter and the music I’m about to share with my family! I know it will be a celebration we will always remember. Thank you so much everyone. And yes, off we’ll go to England and Scotland in September! And we will have so much fun!  So get ready. I’ll be sending out a brand new Willard filled with new news and gifts and fun things next month!  Life is for the living. My dad’s greatest gift was his love of life. He revelled in it. I want to be just like him when I grow up. XOXO

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1,009 Responses to REEELY BIG ONE, reeely

  1. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Welcome home from your Durango trip, Susan and Joe. Your kitties, house and garden are so happy to have you home! What a wonderful reunion with all your family, and I love the group photo you posted on Twitter. You definitely need a framed copy in your office! Time will ease the burden of sorrow, but you will always miss your Dad. Cherish the memories, and know you are loved.
    Barb
    XOXOXO

  2. Katherine Steele says:

    Sympathy at this very difficult time. Thank goodness for wonderful memories.

  3. Judy Lincicum says:

    Dearest Susan, thank you, thank you, thank you for the opportunity to meet you and your sweet Joe in Prescott a few weeks back! I have enjoyed you through your blog and books for about 5 years now. My daughter Amy and I attended the tea, and when I left there, I remarked to Amy that I thought I knew you pretty well through your blog, and how very upbeat you are with a wonderful outlook on life. But I felt something was amiss with you, you weren’t quite yourself. My daughter said you were probably tired, from all the traveling you have done, and your grueling schedule you have had to keep. I didn’t think any more about it until your post came to me and I heard about your sweet blog daddy! I’m so very sorry for your loss, and I have to say, you hid such a loss very, very well. I just lost my daddy in Oct. and we are still, as a family, not quite there yet, being able to just glibly bring up stories about him but we will get there, I’m sure. I would read all the comments on each of your posts and intentionally look for the ones from your Daddy because they were so cute! And speaking of cute, Mr Joe is sure the special one, the great supporter for you, and also the perfect other half! I’m sure glad you have him at this specially hard time. He’s such a darling. I just ran to the grocery store, and because I have no yard to speak of, I picked up a darling bunch of fresh flowers and got out all of the little vases I could find, and filled each of the vases with a fresh flower or two, and scattered them all around my house, even in the bathrooms! Thank you for all of your encouragement and inspiration. I really, really do love you as a special girlfriend and appreciate all that you share with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Your senses were right on Judy, that was my hardest day on the tour. It was so awful to be at my Dad’s house and not have him there. I can’t tell you how uplifted I felt by the people I was meeting, it was such a blessing, and took me out of myself for a while. And me too, the first thing I did when I came home was fill my little vases with a flower or two, that habit helps with everything. Thank you Judy, so nice to hear from you!

  4. Mary S. says:

    Susan, just in case you didn’t know and the girlfriends, too – the September issue of Victoria magazine is all about England. It’s the British issue and it’s wonderful! Love from Mary S. in Fresno, California

  5. Rosemary says:

    It has been so long since I have checked into your blog and I was just sad to read of the loss of your Dad. Your love and care for him was deep and true and it was a beautiful relationship you had for a wonderfully long time. It amazes me that you could do this tour with the charm you always show to your girlfriends. We saw you in Austin and so enjoyed it and never had an inkling what was heavy on your heart. We just followed your sweet lady from Boerne in the signing line and saw how it pleased her to get to spend a moment with you.
    I know that the Colorado skies were full of all that love of your family, winging its way to heaven. God bless you, Susan..

  6. Samantha L. says:

    This morning, I was making my morning cup of coffee when I wondered if you had written a new blog post- and I was happy you did! I really enjoyed reading about your cross-country trip! I am so jealous you visited Bookends in NJ (I used to live in NJ)! I used to go there for book signings- it’s where I met Paula Deen!
    When I got to the bottom of your post, my hands clasped to my mouth and my eyes started to water. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that your family reunion will bring you all happiness and peace- to remember the good times and cherish them forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! <3
    XOXO
    Sam

  7. Katy Welty says:

    Dear Susan,
    As a devoted bunny slave, I want to tell you about pet bunnies. They can easily be litter box trained and roam the house just like any other pet. When bunnies are happy they jump up in the air and do a little twist that is called a “binky.” When a bunny leaves us for the rainbow bridge we wish for them to “binky free.” That is what I wish for your Dad. Binky Free, Susan’s dad.

  8. Kathie Ferko says:

    Dearest Susan,
    When I commented a few days ago, my focus was on you and your Dad.
    Hoping each new day gives you more strength.
    When you talked about your family reunion,I was thinking about my family…really what I have on my mother’s side of the family. A few days later I received a note from my cousin saying that a reunion was happening this September. I was so happy…we have been out of touch for so long.

    Also ,I wanted to tell you that I bought your new “Heart of the Home” book as a present to myself…a retirement present. This is my last week of work…I am retiring from pediatric nursing after 47 yrs. I will become a full time creative self!!!!!
    Looking foreword to hearing from you soon.

    Kathie from Limerick

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Retirement Kathie, and may I say, thank you for your service . . . nurses (and teachers) have a special place in my heart for their lives dedicated to giving. Congratulations, and here’s to years of full-time creativity! xoxo

  9. sandra jones says:

    “Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams” was one of my ( if not THE) favorite books of all time! I loved EVERY part of it! We share so many loves and you were so funny! I bought three and gave them to three of my friends who I thought would like it ..They loved it too! Thank you so much for sharing your story and talents.

  10. Mary says:

    Dearest Susan, I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. I know you miss him so very much. I understand your pain because I lost my Dad 37 years ago and I still miss him greatly. I’m so glad you have wonderful memories of him!

  11. Erica says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,

    From you latest blog, a quote: “And each heart is whispering home at last.”

    As you left the travelled road behind you and felt the eager anticipation on returning to your beloved kitties and home – I am certain that so too was your Dad on returning to his eternal home. The road of LIFE; much as a long road trip away from home, can be filled with adventurous fun, challenges, happy times, difficult times and sad….interspersed with people/friends/families, hellos, goodbyes and everything else in between.

    So great that you were so very loved and that your Dad knew the same love from you as was evident by both of you sharing on these pages. My Dad had a good long life, was independent, hard working had a kind and giving heart – and for the most part maintained good health into his 80’s. I was most grateful to be able to say goodbye and know that he is “home at last.” And, so it is with Blog Daddy and all the other Dad’s and loved ones spoken so dearly of. That’s something to celebrate through our tears in seeing them go…… xo

    Love,
    Erica

  12. Janet Conn says:

    Dear Susan,

    I am nearly done reading Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. I have so enjoyed this book, words seem inadequate. I am just getting around to catching up on emails. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I so loved my dad as well. They truly do become a part of you after they are gone. You can hear their thoughts and often you think what would they think of this situation or what would they do in this situation. We are both very lucky women to have had fathers that loved us dearly. I will be forever grateful. I also know your dad is very proud of you completing the book tour. I hope you and Joe had a wonderful time with your family. Families are truly one of God’s greatest gifts. Save travels to you and Joe on your trip in September.

    Love,

    Janet

  13. Judy Young says:

    To the wonderfully generous girlfriend who anonymously sent me a gift from Susan’s website, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. My youngest son was in a terrible accident on July 5 and died that night. I was so overwhelmed with grief from the heartbreaking news, and then to read that Susan’s dad had passed during the book tour. Susan, you are so strong, I don’t know how you were able to carry on and continue the book tour. I just want to say thank you to my anonymous friend for putting a little light back in my life. Every time I look at the beautiful red and white bead on my bracelet, I am reminded of my son.

    • sbranch says:

      One thing I’m finding out, it takes time for it to really sink in, it’s so hard to believe. It must be impossible for you Judy, for it to happen so fast, and so young. This is just one of the reasons I love our blog so much, not only the connection between myself and our Girlfriends, but for the connections that are made between just you wonderful people. What a lovely thing for someone to do. A true blessing. Love is the thing, and that’s what we have. All my love Judy . . . I cry for your loss, and I know I’m not alone.

      • Judy Young says:

        It IS so hard to believe……I keep feeling that my son is going to call or walk through the door. I had not seen him for a couple of months and did not see him the night he died, so closure is difficult. My other two sons are wonderful, one lives close and one lives with his family in Virginia. They were all here for a memorable memorial service at a local church. I didn’t know just how many friends he had who showed up and shared memories (at the church and at my house). Everyone has been so supportive and loving, that is a blessing. But I still can’t believe it.

        • sbranch says:

          You just don’t expect it. Everyone always says, Hug each other tight, because you never know … But still, life doesn’t sometimes work like that. Soon, you’ll forget the couple of things you didn’t do and remember all the millions of things you did do. 💗

    • Sharon on the coast in South Carolina says:

      Oh Judy, I am so sorry about your son. I cannot imagine your grief. I hope your other children live close by and visit or call often to help comfort you during in the months and years ahead. I also hope that every time you take off your bracelet at night that you are able to visit Susan’s Blog for uplifting thoughts from girlfriends far and near. It has been such a source for comfort for me in the past couple of years. I cry for your loss too.

      • Judy Young says:

        Sharon, thank you for such kind words. I am very grateful for Susan’s Blog and the girlfriends, they are a terrific source of comfort. It’s my favorite “go-to” blog. Nothing else like it anywhere.

        • sbranch says:

          Love you girls.

        • Sharon on the coast in South Carolina says:

          I completely agree. When I need uplifting or to just daydream, I just key in Susan Branch Blog and . . . there I am, on Martha’s Vineyard. I love the Blog, the Willard’s, and the YouTube videos. I am not much of a Twitterer, but I still like to read and follow. Watching Jack play with the hair bands while listening to Susan’s Musica is exactly what our country needs . . . getting back to basics and what matters most . . . family, friends, our pets and being together. Still thinking of you and your loss Judy.

    • Charissa says:

      Judy, My heart goes out to you, as I have lost a child as well. My loss is old, but I just wanted you to know that you can make it and thrive from someone who came out the other side when I thought it wasn’t possible. It’s just not fair though and my heart breaks for you. I am wishing you comfort and sending you hugs. xoxo

      • Judy Young says:

        Charissa, Susan and Sharon…….thank you all so much. I am so sorry for your losses too. I know in my heart that I will thrive and begin to remember just the good things. Thank you all for being there when I need a little lift.

        • sbranch says:

          💞💜💟💔💝💖

        • charissa says:

          Judy, You are so strong and doing the right thing by doing things that bring you joy. That is important. And Susan is the best for making things better! I am so glad you have her!!! Happy I could make any small difference. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Carol S says:

    Susan, my heartfelt condolences to you. I pray that you are having a wonderful time with your family telling stories and fondly remembering your sweet dad. Many thanks to you for continuing your trip even after the sad news. I was blessed to meet you at the end of May in Danville, and although I assume you had received the sad news by then, you and Joe were so sweet, so engaging with each of us. Not surprising though, to those of us who know you through your books. Take care. <3

  15. Candy in Monrovia, CA says:

    Oh, dear Susan. I just read your blog post. It’s been a wild month here, so I’m catching up on emails, and your blog was saved until today. The right day. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost your dear and precious dad. I lost mine 18 months ago, and I still miss him so… Thinking of you and your family these past weeks or days in Durango is heartwarming. I’m glad that I got to see you at Vroman’s in Pasadena. I guess that was the day before you lost your dad. I am so sorry for your great loss. I will keep you and Joe and all your family in my prayers. Much love to you, dear one….Candy

  16. Sheryl from Magalia CA says:

    Dear Susan,
    I was just reading the full blog you wrote upon returning home and I just burst into tears. I am so sorry to read that your Dad has passed on. He seemed so young, vibrant and involved. You know how many people are sending you prayers or good thoughts and I am one of them. I am glad you are home safely from your whirlwind trip. Having your family reunion will be the best thing for all. It will be a joyous, healing time. Love you….Sheryl

  17. Linda G says:

    Have not visited for awhile and just finished reading. I am so sorry for your loss Susan, your daddio’s post always made me smile. He so reminded me of my own dear dad who I only got to know until I was 22. (now 62) But I aleays thought my dad would have said that too! He did leave a great gift behind for all of us though, you! And for that I am so grateful to him…sending you a big hug! Linda

  18. Peggy McAbee says:

    Susan, Thank you for always giving me a place to go( your blog) for charm and beauty and a feeling of contentment. I so enjoy my visits with you. You remind us how lovely life can be. Peg

  19. Diana Hartman says:

    Dear Susan….Let me first offer my condolences for loss. My prayers are with you and your family. Beatrix certainly lived a lifestyle we would all love. She left us with beautiful books to take us to a place of her little place on earth. I to have several of her books and read them to my grandchildren. Keep up your
    lovely works of art and remember how many people love you. Blessings Diana

  20. Lynne L. says:

    The Loss of our Dadd-i-os… is like no other. I lost mine at age 30… way too soon.

    May your eternal abundance of love and memory of him outshine the sadness that washes over you each time you realize he’s physically absent.

    In shared heart-longings for our daddys,
    Lynne

  21. Darlene Brunetti says:

    Dear Susan,
    You are such an inspiring woman and I love reading your blog. Your recipes and seasonal ideas are wonderful too!
    Keep up the good work and thank you.
    A big fan,
    Darlene

  22. Lynn Slosson says:

    Oh, Sue. My condolences on the passing of Blog Daddy. I loved your fun relationship with him. I know how hard this all must be. But he left you knowing how much he LOVED you! And that is, truly, all you will ever need.

    God Bless.

  23. Linda "Who Still Says Land !" says:

    Welcome home, Susan. My daughter Kimberly (visiting me in Massachusetts from Florida) and I look forward to attending your reading and book signing on Cape Cod at the Brewster Ladies Library to celebrate the 150th birthday anniversary of Beatrix Potter. Your posting about family time in Colorado is heartfelt. The lakeside setting was a beautiful place to rejoice in treasured memories while creating new.

  24. SusanA says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your father in May. I always loved reading his comments and your stories about him. In a way, they made me feel closer to my own daddy. He died when I was 28, 32 years ago, so I didn’t know him through most of my adulthood, but I like to think we would have been to each other what you and your dad were to each other—love and support, laughter and hugs, a safe place and a strong shoulder. Thank you for sharing the gift of your daddy with all of us.

    With blessings,
    Susan

  25. allison from austin says:

    Renee did a wonderful job with beatrix but i would love to see another movie
    about her life and what she accomplished with her farm in the lake district.It
    is a magical place.

  26. Kathleen LaBernz says:

    Loved reading about Beatrix Potter in the latest blog. Although I live in Central FL now, I used to live in Sandwich which has the Thornton Burgess Museum. He was inspired by Beatrix Potter and did his American version of Peter Rabbit and his animal friends. Thanks for bringing back pleasant memories of both!

  27. Bobetta D says:

    I am just getting caught up on your posts after our own road trip to Santa Barbara from Missouri. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your Father. I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for you to soldier on and smile through the tears on your book tour. I’m sure your wonderful Dad was proud of you! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  28. Lissa Rogers says:

    Thank you, dear Susan, for this beautiful post and tribute to your Dad. I was so sad to miss your book signing in Salt Lake City. Now I am trying to decide if I feel worse for missing it, or feel like I just got the best parts of it. When my grandmother died, a dear hospice nurse shared this with us, “Tears are healing”. Bless your heart for smiling through your heartbreak. Hoping you can take time to heal and rejoice. HUGS!

  29. Margie J says:

    Very dear Susan,
    Such beauty, such delightful words on your blog, though our hearts all became heavy as you even allowed us in to feel the loss of your dear dad with you. I’m so very glad you and your family were able to get together and maybe begin to get a taste of the joy that comes after the weeping.
    And your Fine Romance — My sweet daughter had you sign a book for me when you were in Kansas. I was reading it in the doctor’s office and had to put it away because I was beginning to laugh out loud at your explanation of that first drive on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car! And (a testament to the power of your words and art), when you said you put Joe’s woodpecker feather in, without even thinking I reached up and rubbed it – expecting to feel a feather, I guess! What a wonderful book – thank you!

  30. Kathryn Warren says:

    Welcome home, I love your garden, knick knacks and cats

  31. Barbara Heinsohn says:

    Oh Susan, my heart breaks for you and your huge loss. But you are filled with so much love, the love you share with us all the time, the love he poured into you as he was helping to mold you into the beautiful person you’ve become. That love will never die.

    Thanks for coming to Austin and continuing to share that love.

    xo
    bh

  32. Bette says:

    Oh Susan, it broke my heart for you when I read that your Father had passed away. You know how very fortunate you were to have all that love, and to return the love, for so many years. And don’t think you ever really get over missing them. I am your age and my parents have been gone for 34 and 18 years…and I still cry now and then over the loss!

    • sbranch says:

      I have no doubt that it is a forever thing, and then the blessings left behind. xoxo

  33. Yvonne Harvey says:

    I just read about your darling daddy passing on to Heaven. My heart is sad for your great loss but joyful that you had Blog Daddy in your life for such a long time. There simply are no words to heal your deep sorrow, but I hope you can feel the love from all of your blog girlfriends from around the globe.
    Big hugs, Yvonne

  34. Melissa R -UT says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I didn’t read to the end of your previous post so had to go back and read now what I hoped you weren’t going to say. I cried with you and my heart hurts for you. Also thinking back to your visit in Utah and in hindsight maybe thought you were a bit road-weary but oh so strong to continue on with your tour! As you said, he would have wanted you to carry on and because of him you are the amazing woman we love so dearly today! Thanks so much for all that you share and inspire us with. I loved so much to be able to finally meet you and Joe-so sorry for the heavy heart you were enduring. I love and miss my Daddy every day and also feel him alongside. Sending you and Joe love and prayers

  35. Debbie P says:

    Hi, Sue ~
    I read this a few days ago and the emotion it pulled from me made it impossible to respond immediately. I am so very sorry to hear that Jack died. I know that you loved him beyond words and he felt the same about you. He was such a smile creator every time he commented on your blog! His sense of humor and the ease between the two of you was simply a blessing to be part of.
    I, too, lost my dear Dad in late February. He was the father of 7 and I am the oldest. Even though we live only about 15 minutes apart, the last few years most of our visits took place over the phone. Dad called me most every day and our conversations ran from current events in the news to current events in our family to a “review” of the latest old movie he had just watched. I gathered the courage to give a eulogy at Dad’s service and spoke of our phone conversations and how I will miss the sound of his voice the most. I actually felt panicked when I thought of that. Imagine by joy when I discovered that I had saved 2 voice messages from Dad on my answering machine! For his 80th birthday I gave him a membership in the “Pie of the Month” club; baked and delivered by me. One of my saved messages is Dad singing “Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Can she bake a cherry pie, charming Billy?, etc.”, thanking me for the recent cherry pie.
    I don’t know if you have any recording of your Dad’s voice but I think that even if I hadn’t found it, I would always be able to hear my Dad’s voice in my heart and I think you will, too.
    Sending you lots of love and peace and continued blessings of happy memories of your dear Dad ~
    xoDebbie

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, I have the voice messages! Wonderful to hear his voice. Such a lucky thing. I’m so sorry dear Debbie. It’s another world we’ve just entered.

  36. Amy says:

    It was wonderful meeting you, and all of your girlfriends at Vromans in Pasadena, Ca. I recently had a my life turned upside down, and have found “Isle of Dreams” both comforting and inspiring as I begin my new journey. Next I am reading “A Fine Romance”. Looking forward to making Mom’s Potato Chip cookies, to enjoy over the weekend.

    Amy

  37. Gretchen says:

    I keep your book in my sanctuary – where I go to be among all and only things beautiful.

  38. Julie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad Susan. I especially enjoyed that picture you took of his hands, those big hands that could fix anything, that held all of you kids as babies, and hugged you tight as adults. Thank you for sharing him with us…

  39. Martha says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your dear father. I always enjoyed reading his comments and loved the posts you wrote about him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. With love from a fellow Daddy’s girl.

  40. Andrea Rumery says:

    Hi, Susan! I just spent the last few minutes writing to you re: Thursday’s Birthday Party. Somehow, I must have hit the wrong button because the whole thing disappeared!

    A shorter version of what my message encompassed – I knit two little mice for you this past week and planned to present then to you when you signed the books I brought in. I planned to attach their whiskers in the car on the way to the cape from our summer home in CT but, alas, I forgot them and the small note card addressed to you!!! If you have some scrap yarns available at your home, I could explain how to attach them. The mice look so much cuter with whiskers!

    By the way, the booking-signing line was ever so long and my daughter’s husband and 8 kids (she has 10 in all – the two oldest boys are at summer camp in NH) and my hubby were waiting over at the library for us, so I had to leave the gift on the table in the large outer room. I unfortunately never got to meet you or get my books signed but I just might get over to the Vineyard in August when you do your last signing before your trip across the Atlantic.

    Warmest wishes and thank you so much for inspiring me in the kitchen! I have a reputation for preparing wonderful meals and hosting great parties, in part because of your delicious recipes and advice!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to say, they look pretty darn cute without the whiskers too! And Jack was QUITE interested. So thank you Andrea, for your kind thoughts and creative self. Hope to see you in Aquinnah!

  41. Linda Thomson says:

    “At times like these there are no words, but there is The Word. There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel, God is with us.” Praying His comfort for you with the loss of your Dad, we will all miss him. BIG hugs, Linda

  42. Susan says:

    Susan, you are so special and so loved by all of us! Thank you for your wonderful books and beautiful blogs posts, I wouldn’t miss a one.
    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. I lost mine when I was 19 so I know that heartache well. I know one day you will see him again, no doubt about it. Sending you lots of hugs and hope you feel all the love we have for you and Joe…and those sweet kitties!
    ♥X♥X♥

  43. Phyl D says:

    Oh Susan, how very sad to hear about your father. Thank you for all the memories of him that you have shared with us through the years…he always sounded so much like my own father who is now 86 and just starting to slow down, although he and my brother are building a boat (almost done). My Dad and I may not agree on some things but I savor every moment with him…
    I always enjoyed seeing your father’s comments on your blog and how much he loved you! He will be missed. Warm hugs to you and Joe.

  44. Phyl D says:

    Erm, “savour”…..

  45. Becky McGinnis says:

    Dear Susan,
    Sending you hugs and love and more hugs to hopefully give back just a small amount of what you share here with all of us. I lost my Dad in 2013 and sent up a prayer asking him to connect with me in a way that would affirm for me that he was happy and still with us. Less than a week later I stumbled on this video and just knew he had led me to it in a way that I don’t think I ever would have discovered on my own. He used to play his guitar when I was very young, so this was just the “love letter” I needed from him. I hope you and your family receive all the “love letters” you need to get you through the hard times. Best wishes always, Becky xoxo
    youtube.com/watch?v=u1p9kj-odnU

  46. Wanda Rogers says:

    I enjoyed reading about your trip to Durango and seeing your photos. It is a beautiful area. My prayers are with you as you go through the next months and years. Our memories are to be treasured. Some of the things you said about your Dad reminded of the love my Mother had for me. My Mother died in March of this year at age 95. We as you said were truly blessed to have them so long. My thoughts will remain with you. Wanda

  47. Dawn Walther says:

    I shed some tears for you dearest Susan. I was so sorry to hear about your dad. Our lives are made so much richer by those we love and are loved by. I don’t get a lot of time to read, but I treasure seeing the world through your eyes no matter how brief the moment. Thank you for sharing your gifts and letting us escape into your dreams come true.

  48. Mari Elizabeth Webb says:

    Susan – I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. I lost my dad 15 years ago and miss him dearly – there is such a special bond between a father and his daughter. Hold tight to the wonderful memories you have of him. He will always be in your heart. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  49. We just returned from our cooling off trip to New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado! Living in Texas.. we find that we can travel nearly anywhere.. and it’s just cooler! Wish our travels would have “bumped” us into one another.. but, another time, eh?!

  50. Deb Harmon says:

    Dear Susan, Reading about your Dad made me cry. I am so sorry. I know what it feels like to lose a parent, my Mom. It does get a little easier, but the feeling of loss never goes away.
    I still have my Dad, thank goodness. I had my lower leg amputated 2 mos ago. My Dad has been such a huge help. Don’t know what I would do without him. He’s not such a great cook, like your Dad? But I’ll be able to handle that soon. Should get my prosthesis in a month or so, then no one can stop me!!
    Sending prayers for you and your family during this hard time. Deb

  51. Lori says:

    Hope Jemima gets to come home with me!
    Thank you for making the world a brighter place.

  52. Paula Dee says:

    ~SuSan~
    I am brand new to your website, and just finished reading “A Fine Romance” , o my goodness (in Shirley Temple voice) you are a friend of my heart!! I can not find the words to express my own thoughts. Thirty years ago I did my baby girl nursery in “Peter Rabbit”, and of course I still have it !! And in 2007, I took my baby girl (21 at the time) to England, we are so over due for another visit !! But, I would love to visit Martha Vineyard it is on my dream list !!I want to get all of your books !! I love kitties I have 5 of them , I love to garden, bake, shop, and travel. 🙂 I am so very sorry about your daddy, my died young(68) in 1999, and it was the hardest thing I had to go through. My dear sister & best friend passed away February 2016 miss her dearly, but for her 60th birthday (Oct.2015) we still have a girls weekend staying at the Biltmore Inn. very lovely time and keepsake memories. So, reading your book was like spending time with a very dear friend. Thank you !! Hugs

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what I think too, that LIVING life, celebrates their lives. Nice to meet you Paula, kindred spirit!

  53. Rosinda says:

    Dear Susan, You never cease to amaze and inspire me. You are a real-life “hero” to me in every shape and form. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much you adored your dear Dad. Bless your heart! XOXO

    Rosinda from Canada

  54. Judy in Ohio says:

    Just wanted to let you know that many many hearts and prayers are with
    you today, dear Susan…He must have been a great father to have such a fantastic daughter!

    <3

  55. Anita says:

    Hi Susan, I’m truly inspired by your lovely books and a close follower of your blog. I’m also a fellow angliophile; but, unlike you, I will most likely not be able to make my dreams of visiting England come true, unless I win the lottery! 🙂 So for now, I live vicariously through your writing, photos, and illustrations about England. Will you be writing another book about your upcoming trip across the pond? I hope so. I do have a quick question for you regarding your blog. Is there anyway to do a keyword/topic search? I remember you posting one time about your recipes appearing in Country Living magazine’s Pantry column. But, alas, I don’t recall when and would like to revisit that post. Wishing you all the best, Anita from AZ

  56. Melissa says:

    Dear Susan,
    Aren’t you the most traveled lady these days! How great to just “be home” for awhile..
    I was so sad to hear of your dad’s passing. It is a new world, this world without your first, best buddy. But everything that you do and are is a result of his love and care. This is the greatest gift that he gave you, and it’s with you forever.
    Thanks, Susan, for sharing your dad’s gift with us.
    Love,

  57. Caroline Elsted says:

    May Blog Daddy get his wings to fly high to heaven where he deserves a fluffy cloud. May you see signs that he is around you when you go on your lovely walks with Joe – you will know when this happens – my Dad did it for me – sending a big Irish hug to you Susan and an angel to mind you and Joe xx

  58. MaryEllen says:

    Susan, I also only now caught up with your blog and discovered your heartbreaking news. I read once the words of a phsychologist, who said that losing a parent “is a searing loss at any age”. The magnitude of the loss has to do with the closeness of the bond rather than the age of either party. I’m so glad you immortalized him on your blog and in your calendars. He must have derived such great happiness from those beautiful tributes!
    Even our weeping is a huge tribute to the value of the loved one’s life! May you and your family continue to be blessed with peace and comfort, and the strength that his spirit imparted
    To all of you. XO

  59. Jeannie says:

    Oh Susan I am so sorry to hear about your DAD and our blog DAD! I know you miss him terribly! All the memories you have shared with us are so special! You are in my prayers.
    Hugs to you Susan,

    Jeannie

    Sure did enjoy meeting you at Malaprops with all the sbgf’s!

  60. Jenny Page says:

    Dearest Susan, I am so glad that you were able to visit Asheville, NC! I’ve wanted you to see it for so long!! Please tell me that you took the time to visit Biltmore Mansion… If not, then it MUST be written down on your Dream list. I went in spring of 2015 when Biltmore had clothes displayed from Seasons 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey!!!

  61. Janis H says:

    Dearest Susan, love to you during this difficult time. I’m praying for your strength and resilience. I lost my father 7 years ago but he has never left me. There have been many times and days where I’ve smelled his cologne in the car as I drove, ran to my window to hear the short solitary chirp of the cardinals at my feeder, ~his favorite bird!~ and would have a penny fall out of my laundry basket as I folded, only to know dad had sent me a penny from heaven. Like you, I’m the oldest and was my daddy’s girl. When he passed I found a pewter heart in the trunk of his car. It read “Every day is a gift from God”. Isn’t that so true Susan? Bless you and all os us who will relive and remember the poignant moments with our special dads. Love you from Southern New Jersey. Please do visit us sometime. Thank you for sharing a beautiful world with us through your painting, your writing and your life.

    • sbranch says:

      SO true Janis. I’m like two people, the normal one who goes on, and the other one, who doesn’t have her dad. Oddest thing in the world. But it is what it is (apparently). Thank you for your kind words. xoxo

  62. Claudia says:

    Dear Susan,

    Don’t feel you have to respond. I am so late in reading this post, forgive me. My dear, my heart and thoughts are with you. I lost my dad rather suddenly last October. Then I lost my beloved dog in February. Both of these losses have left me reeling, profoundly sad, and I’m heartbroken.

    I understand.

    For me, it’s become a bit easier to wend my way through the day, but the loss and loneliness are always there. So many times during the course of a day, I want to talk to my dad about this election. Or just talk to him about anything. My mom died 18 months ago, but she was in a nursing home with dementia for a few years, so I had already started grieving for her even before she left us. I guess I’m really an orphan nowadays. Losing your parents is something you simply can’t plan for, or gird your loins for. When it happens, it’s devastating.

    You loved your dad, he loved you. He was such a positive force in your life. He is still with you in some form. And love, I am absolutely convinced, never dies. Bless you as you start this new journey.

    Much love,
    Claudia

    • sbranch says:

      I think of him everyday. I’m so sorry Claudia, it’s beyond words isn’t it? Yet, every smile I put on my face, every laugh I make, every time I butter toast or make tea, I do it for him, and for his memory.

  63. Sondra Sargent says:

    Sue, I am so very sorry to hear about your Dad. He was rare among men, I wish I could have me him, but feel like I have through you! I met your sweet Mom, you and Joe and lots of your family at Mary and Tim’s maybe 10+ years ago (when they were still together). I even stayed at your first house one magical day back in the 80’s, man I never wanted to leave that guest room! I spoke to Mary last week and she filled me in. She and I worked together over 30 years ago and continue to stay in touch, she gave me your first book and I’ve bought all the others since. I’ve given them as gifts many times and have read and reread them each season. I spent much of yesterday (when I should have been working) catching up on your posts and always walk away feeling little happier and optimistic, you have such an amazing outlook and am excited to tag along again on your journey across the sea. I am so jealous! Have you read any of the Outlander books? If not, you’ll be hooked, I have wanted to go to Scotland just for that alone 🙂 Anyway, I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and hope you have a wonderful trip! Lots of love, Sondra

    • sbranch says:

      Hello Sondra! So nice to hear from you, and all your sweet memories ~ yes, it’s been quite a loss. My Dad is in my thoughts every day and always will be. I’m sure Mary feels the same. As the saying goes, it’s hard to lose someone who has loved you ~ so true, there can never be enough of that, and it’s hard to lose someone you love. And yes, I’ve read Outlander and LOVED it! Thank you so much for writing! xoxo

  64. Dorothy Dautel says:

    Sue,
    My Dad has been gone for 35 years and it STILL hurts. He was a quiet man, but the things he said to me throughout my life are with me now and forever. You will never get over it, but you Will get used to it. Nobody ever loves you like your Dad. I pass on to you a saying I once saw: “No matter how old she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.” And just a little FYI- I still, after these many, many years, still have a nice long good cry when I miss him. Still.
    Love you! Go with God. And be good to Joe. I enjoyed so much meeting him in Salt Lake City. Love you- Dorothy XOXOX

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