BIRTHDAY!

Hello darling Girlfriends . . . I just wanted to do a quick update so you can see why you haven’t been hearing from me!  Today is Joe’s 64th Birthday🎈 and we will be celebrating this afternoon with about a hundred of his nearest and dearest friends, we’re going to let him know that we will still need him, we will still feed him, even though, he’s 64  . . . So we’ve been keeping ourselves very busy getting ready!birthday party

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Old friends have come from far and wide ~ we’ve been planning this party since last January ~ and even invited everyone before we went on our cross-country book tour, but with everything that’s happened in these last months, the actual organization part was put off until maybe these last two weeks, but even so, the tent showed up right on time . . . we have lots of tables ~ I’ve been cooking, and today we birthday partydecorate! Party starts at 4:30 pm. The man bringing the music system comes at noon, the birthday cake (to serve 100, three tiers, coconut lemon cake) comes at 4pm … I spent all day yesterday with three of my dearest girlfriends making a playlist for the party!!! 🎵 🎶 It was SO MUCH FUN.  We included my Dad and had Tennessee Waltz on the list, and for about 4 hours, we sang along balloonswith the songs, decided whether they should make the cut, said yes or vetoed, and jumped for joy when we remembered the perfect song… like this one MUSICA … we chose a mixture of 70s and 40s musica from Dancing Queen to I Only Want to Be with You, plus La Vie en Rose, and Fly Me to the Moon ~ my niece Holly has already requested I send the list to her …. We hope singing and dancing will break out all over! It’s a once-in-every-15-years-type-party to celebrate Joe with all our good friends ~ actually, the last time we did a party like this was for his 40th birthday!  But this boy deserved a party, and anyway . . .fun is good

dancing fools

Joy

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Paul's Birthday

⬆️ This was dinner last night . . . There’s Diana from California on the left (BFF from Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams), our dear old friend Peggy, then Paul, of “Rachel-from-England-fame,” then Elaine (BFF who hired me to work in the record department in Fairy Tale Girl in 1971), then Rachel herself, then darling Bob, Peggy’s husband, and then Siobhan, from England (from that adorable stone cottage in A Fine Romance). So this was a fairy tale dinner . . . 💞 with the freshest farm-stand corn that just jumped off the cob, and with people who love to sing over dessert!🎵

⬅️ Remember cute English Paul? He calls Vineyard Haven, “Haven,” and Cape Cod, “Cod.” We love him.  This little portrait was HIS birthday surprise last year . . . . 🎁

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Here’s Ray and I . . . pen pals is how we met, she in England🇬🇧, me in America🇺🇸 …. she’s 20 years younger than me ~ we’re going to England to celebrate her 50th 🎂 this fall ~ a few years ago, Ray and I discovered that we both wrote to Queen Elizabeth when we were children, AND we both got letters back from the same Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen (the longest serving Lady-in-Waiting in history) …. 20 years apart!!! Now this is a friendship that was meant to be.💕

So now I must go . . . so much to do, but I had to let you know what was going on so you wouldn’t think I was just ignoring you!!! Never! XOXOXO

Have a wonderful day! 💛

dreams

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592 Responses to BIRTHDAY!

  1. marty from New York City says:

    So how do you top what looks like it was perfection? Hope all Joe’s Birthday wishes come true and I wish you both another fairytale year ahead. Fondly, Marty

  2. Andi Geary says:

    Hi Susan,
    A very Happy Birthday to Joe! Hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating, as I know you will…

    Dreams do come true *

  3. Andi Geary says:

    PS I LOVE the cupcakes pictures!

  4. Edel Mulligan (Ireland) says:

    Happy Birthday Joe my mum who died last August 14 th aged 94 would have said”Sure he’s just a boy! Enjoy your special day🎉💐🍷🎁🎉🍀 and yet again I say when are you going to visit Ireland. Room and board at my house. 💞

  5. AngieTink says:

    😊💖😇💙😎🌟✨🌸🌻💛🌹🌿💚🍁🍭🍩 Good~Morning Sweet Sue & Ray…. Oh How I Love This Photo Of The Cutest~Girlies Ever!!! Wow You Went All Out For Joe’s 64th Birthday!!! I Can’t Wait To Hear All The Details!!! Happy~Birthday Joe!!! Yay! & Happy~Birthday To Julia Child!!! Wishing You The Most Magical Week & Thank~You Sweet Sue For Including Us~GirlFriends I’m Doing The Birthday~Jiggity~Jig xoxo Poof! 😊💖😇💙😎🌟✨🌸🌻💛🌹🌿💚🍁🍭🍩 Love & Hugzzz & Joy!!!

    • AngieTink says:

      #KnockKnock #DingDong Good~Morning Sweet Sue….Can Ya See Me???? Above…..Just Checking….Now We Await “Willard” with #SweetAnticipation Wishing You & Joe & The~Kitties A Delightful Weekend xoxo #Poof 😊💖🎶🌸🎹🎵💙🌻🌟✨🍁💛 P.S. The Summer Is Flying…..It Has Wings!!!

      • sbranch says:

        I see you Angie, little stars and sparkles zipping past my eyes . . . that’s you isn’t it?

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Angie! XOXOXO 😊💖😇💙😎🌟✨🌸🌻💛🌹🌿💚🍁🍭🍩

  6. Ellette says:

    Would love for you to share the party playlist with all of us! Please!

  7. Asha says:

    Happiest of birthdays, Joe! Met you in CT for the book signing. You are the best! We wish you many more birthdays to come!!!!

  8. Debi Hutchinson says:

    Happy birthday, Joe!

  9. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Wishing Joe the happiest and healthiest 64th year ever!!!!!! How blessed you two are to have one another!!!!!! Rest up and take care before your big trip………store up all the energy you can!!!!!! (A very rainy day in Dearborn, Michigan. So needed.)

  10. Mamey says:

    Sounds like a LOVELY party!! Happy Birthday Joe!!

  11. Diana H. says:

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE!!! Looks like it will be a humdinger of a party to me!! Cheers and enjoy all those special people!! Funny how life brings us just the right people we need when we need them most. You all are indeed blessed!

    Thanks for the update and can’t wait to hear how it all went…I’m soooo in the mood for fall….Done with the heat and rain and sweat…lol…bring on the most beautiful time of the year…. my sister and my hubs and I are going to have the privilege of going to Maine in October….can’t wait!!! This midwest girl has never been that far east!!

    Take care and Love always – Diana

  12. Clydene says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe! Our best wishes to you for a great birthday. And, may you and Susan have a super trip to Scotland.

    Clydene & Tom, Stahlstown, PA

  13. Janice says:

    Happy Birthday to you mr hubby… Wishing you a wonderful time on your special day. And may you have many more with your lovely wife. May God bless you both❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️🎂❤️✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

  14. Katy/Oklahoma says:

    Happy birthday to Joe. Several years ago, I happened to be in Liverpool on Paul’s 64 th birthday. What a treat. Enjoy your trip to England. I spent 2 weeks there in June and Sissinghurst was wonderful.

  15. Susan (in VA) says:

    Happy birthday, Joe! I hope the DJ also played The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-four” for you.

  16. Becky says:

    You will still need him, you will still feed him! Ha ha ha, brilliant! The happiest of birthdays, handsome Joe!

  17. Merci says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET JOE! MANY BLESSINGS COMING YOUR WAY!

  18. Helen "Maggie" Giltmier says:

    Happy Happy Birthday, Joe God Bless you with health, happiness, dear friends,and your love, and His Good grace, Maggie

  19. Ruthie P says:

    Happy Birthday to our Joe🎉❤️🎈💃🏻🍰🎂🎊XOXOXO Ruthie P

  20. Susan butler says:

    Susan , I met you in Denver, and I told you that even though I am not very good at it, you give me the courage to throw a party. I love the details of his party and I got to visit with Joe at the tattered cover, and he kindly signed my book, he’s a sweetheart for sure

  21. Amanda Dierenfeldt says:

    Susan! Many months of illness and recovering, then catching up on your blog!( my mom read me the final installment of your sweet trilogy. I loved your books before but having my mom read to me was wonderful. It drew us closer! And eased my jealousy watching her read it and not knowing what was happening when she laughed, cried, or drew it to her chest.
    Love you! Love your dad! Had to take a moment today and absorb it all.

  22. Rhonda D. says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe! What an awesome celebration. You sure know how to do 64 right.
    “You will still need him, you will still feed him when he’s 64!” Congratulations!!

  23. Janet Ammitzboll says:

    I was reading something on Pinterest that mentioned you and I ended up on your website (and said to myself “oh Susan branch! I know who she is! She’s awesome). Anyway, the first thing I read was that it was Joe’s birthday on August 14th and that’s my birthday too! Tell Joe Happy birthday from a fellow Leo!

  24. Barbara Seibert says:

    I am so glad that you and Joe found each other. I guess that is what happens when you live your life with faith and courage.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I would like to take credit for it, and say it was that, but maybe it was serendipity, or luck or destiny. Whatever it was, I’m grateful every day.

  25. Mary in St. Louis says:

    🎼 Birthday….I would like you to dance
    Birthday….take a Cha Cha Cha chance ! 🎶
    I saw Sir Paul Saturday night here in St. Louis , and he sang that one ! So fun…the whole audience sang everything with him. It was like a sing along ! Happy happy Birthday to Joe !
    Have a blast !

  26. Pat Johnson says:

    A Birthday! A Birthday! What a wonderful, cute, handsome guy to have another birthday! We all know how special EVERY birthday is and this is no exception……Simply Divine!! And he gets to share it with YOU! As well as his friends, of course……. looked like wonderful fun. And the music was outstanding I am sure!! I like to play music when I am a little down and out. Something I can sing my lungs out too!! And to do it LOUD is the best! Anyway, I know you had a grand time. Sending HUGS!!

  27. Karen Wills says:

    Happy Birthday, Joe!

  28. A late “Happy Birthday” to Joe…. I’m so excited… My birthday is also August 14, and Joe is the first “birthday twin” I’ve ever found!!! (Although I AM a few years older that him).
    Hope you had a grand time at your party Joe!!!

  29. Debra V. So Calif says:

    I’d like to wish Joe a Happy Birthday. Loved the blog and the excitement getting things underway for the 64th birthday bash. Wow, sounds like fun. I do hope you’ll share some of the fun & funniest photos of the celebration. Would love to have been a little bird in the trees watching the whole day. I know Joe must have felt very loved, it’s a lot of work and prep for these kind of parties. I threw one for my grandson’s graduation, and it was worth it. But only for someone you really love. Happy Happy Happy. Bless you Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      It was a lot of work, but you are right, it was SO worth it. And we had help, all our friends staying in the house pitched in, hung lights, filled pitchers with ice water, tied on the crepe paper, set out the chairs, picked flowers for the cake, spread out tablecloths, made music ~ could not have done it without them. Very fun.

  30. Diane Harris says:

    Here’s a little belated Birthday Present for The Handsome One, aka Joe! youtube.com/watch?v=MjF1bG5LUcs
    Happy Birthday, Joe, it’s only appropriate that The Beatles (you know, Susan’s BFFs) would serenade you into your 64th!
    Enjoy!!
    Diane

  31. jamie hopkins says:

    Happy Birthday to Joe!

  32. Irene Harrison says:

    What a wonderful affirmation of the lovely fairy tale you and Joe are writing with your lives! I’m sure it was a very memorable time!

    I just HAVE to ask you this…..I noticed that the spider in the basement of that ADORABLE drawing of Holly Oak is over-sized. It’s as big as the bucket below it. Is there a reason for it?

  33. Janet Conn says:

    Happy birthday, dear Joe.

    It looks like a wonderful time was had by all.

    Cheers!

    Janet

  34. Corinne Mancuso says:

    Here’s celebrating that handsome man with the beret hat you met many moons ago… enjoy one another ~

  35. Laurie Walt says:

    Beautiful beautiful people, inside and out! Happy Birthday Joe!

  36. Alisa says:

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing and love the story about your friendship with Ray❤️❤️❤️ Hope Joe got all his birthday wishes!

  37. Nina says:

    Hi Susan! I wanted to wish Joe a belated Happy Birthday! Willards and posts aren’t getting to me so I check back every few days on the site…and I guess I am a little late…..but I couldn’t let such a hale fellow well met not be acknowledged. Plus I’m a Leo too and we eat this stuff up:) Im so pleased for you both that you had a reason to celebrate and grabbed it by the …lets just say tail. I hope Joe had to rest for days after all of the festivities. You both really deserved a chance to howl. P.S. I just finished your book MV Isle of Dreams. Boy did Agnes leave you a starter kit for your first book or what? Bartlett’s, Stillwater and Joy of Cooking? Looking backwards…i think that fate might just have had a crush on you. But YOU did it…& with fears of your own. Thanks for sharing that part too. It seems like I am scared of everything since my mom died. Your books continue to cheer me on, though. Thanks for being there. Nina

    • sbranch says:

      I’m more scared too, since I lost my dad, I feel like one of the crepe paper streamers, but set loose, not tied to my rock like I used to be. But remember what they want for us. Step over it, and go. Because you have to and because life is too short. Although, it’s hard. I know. xoxoxoxo sending love. I also loved your words, had a crush on you ~ that is a pretty phrase and way of saying it. xoxo

      • Mary S. says:

        That’s exactly the way I felt when my mother died almost 2 years ago! I felt like a boat that had been untied from its moorings – lost and wandering. But it does get better. Love from Mary S. in Fresno, California

  38. Diane says:

    You throw the best parties ! I would have loved to be there (I don’t mean that to
    sound pushy or rude). It just looks like the perfect setting for a wonderful backyard gathering – the type of party I would love to throw myself. ahhhh…

    • sbranch says:

      It’s funny but it feels like we are all such friends that you were probably there! Not pushy or rude a bit. You could make a party like that, and if you don’t have the space, you could do it in the park, and make it pot luck like we did, and then it’s a pretty easy party to do! Just get some crepe paper, tie it to branches of trees so the long streamers fly in the breeze. It’s very festive!

  39. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!!
    Hope you had the best party ever!!
    You did a great job Susan!!

    • sbranch says:

      He had a wonderful time. It was his turn, we haven’t done a big celebration for Joe for years.

  40. Georgia Larson says:

    Hau’oli La Hanau Joe. May your year be filled with Aloha.

    Georgia from Kona

  41. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello nd good afternoon to all the girlfriends, just popped in to remind you all tonight is the full moon, the sturgeon moon and also it is a lunar eclipse tonight ……. a double treat for us. so be sure to watch the moon tonight and enjoy…. stay cool everyone. hugs…… 😉

  42. Linda Kidd says:

    HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!!

  43. Margie says:

    Susan thank you for taking the time to share with us in the middle of all the craziness of the preparation for a fun filled special event. You are just amazing! Just love the little details of the cute napkins too. So I’m a little late but Joe hope you had a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and wish you good health, much laughter and great joy in the coming year.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Margie, we’re still walking around in the glow of that party…and now a new WILLARD goes out starting tomorrow, and then we sail away for another dream trip as reward for all our hard work this year, so much to look forward to! xoxo

  44. Sandy in KY says:

    A bit late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE!!!
    Just wanted you to know, the wisteria seeds you gave me and my daughter at the Ohio signing, are growing. Don’t know whether to attempt planting them this fall, or trying to winterize them until next spring?
    Hope you have a beautiful ending to Summer, and a wonderful Fall, but I’m sure you will with your dream vacation approaching. Take care you GREAT people!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful! I would plant them this fall, actually, I’d do it right away, that way they’ll have time to root before it gets cold (if it ever gets cold). xoxo Thank you Sandy!

  45. Becky P says:

    Happy Birthday Joe!🎉🇺🇸🇬🇧 The next blog post should be a list of songs that you played at the party. Pretty please?

  46. I have just started reading Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, after LOVING
    Fairy Tale Girl and A Fine Romance. Thank you Susan for sharing your life,
    your joy, your linen, your emotional roller coasters, your found peace in meditation, your travels, your friends……your most enchanted life. I always
    felt that my life was magical (still do at 75) and that life is supposed to be fun
    and full of joy (not a popular concept and I kept it mostly to myself until I was
    around 60….and then “let loose”….but you let loose your joy to us all earlier….
    and so public….ly. I can only say Thank you and tell you that I just erased
    Google News from my screen, so now when I go to Safari….your Blog shows up
    …..the kind of news I LOVE to read.
    Love you
    Aneeta Makena

    • sbranch says:

      Very Good Aneeta . . . first thing’s first. I find I have to steel myself to watch the news lately! I want to know, but I don’t like what I hear most of the time! They tell way too much. Just the facts please! I think I’m pretty much like everyone else, if we all take the time to look around and see the beauty around us, it’s definitely there! xoxo

  47. Caroline says:

    Happiest Birthday to Joe! I am sure you all had a wonderful time!

    Our oldest daughter goes back to college tomorrow and guess what she requested for her last meal at home?! Your Beach street cajun shrimp and lemon pasta:) You certainly have given my family some of our favorite recipes!!! All 3 kids and husband actually CLAMOR for your queen’s coronation chicken salad!:)

    I have always felt my heart smiling to think of your pen pal ship with Rachel blossomed into beautiful friendship. How could you set up all the pen pal wanttobees with Branch inspired girlfriends across the pond?
    Any girl friends out there from England or Scotland want to be my pen pal?!!

    You just inspire me in so many ways! I am sending lots and lots of love, Caroline

    • sbranch says:

      I just wrote about that in my newest WILLARD, funny you should ask… and I gave a link where everyone can go looking for pen pals! Perfect timing! Thank you Caroline!

      • Caroline says:

        Well darn! but I can never receive your Willards! I look in spam and they are not there! Even enlisted the help of the wonderful 17 yr old Anna…. I will try to sign up again. Hope you are enjoying this absolutely gorgeous day!

    • Carolyn, I am in England and would love to be a penpal with you.

  48. Anon says:

    Hello there,

    Glad you’ve had such fun and memorable times celebrating he who loves you best.
    Sounds like a right proper love-in was had, glorious.

    Have you ever had a series of inadvertent/unintended mishaps with someone that resulted in a misunderstanding? Misunderstood emails to sending a DM to the wrong person, fate can have a wicked sense of humor.

    One can only hope the bigger picture and history will serve to correct the misunderstanding and make things right as rain once again. But if it’s not meant to be made right, one trusts that is the way of fate and has nothing but wishes for all the best life has to offer.

    • sbranch says:

      So easy to have misunderstandings on the Internet, in an email or with a text, not hearing lovely voice inflections that would explain instantly that something was a joke, or meant with love.

  49. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning Susan and good morning girlfriends, hello everyone!!! well the county fair is over and summer is wrapping up fast, time for the kids to return to school ( do I hear some grumbles and see some glum faces?) and time to get in the harvest of summer veggies, all the canning is done with for now. time soon to start picking the grapes and apples, make up a ton of pie crusts to freeze and start on filling up the freezer for the winter. the chickens are a bit miffed at me, I turned the sprinklers on them this morning to get the pen wet and cool, all the food and water containers are full of feed and full of fresh water. have the frozen jugs out for the hens to cool them off, its going to be hot today but not in the triple digits, that is over with I hope until next summer. we had from Wednesday to Sunday in the triple digits, enough of that already I am ready for the cooler Autumn winds to come around and start cooling things down. still porch sitting and watching the tractor parade go by to the gas station, and of course just watching the weather and enjoying the last few days of summer. the katydids are singing more and more each night, Fall is coming and I am so ready for it to get here. see some leaves beginning to turn, not a lot just a small few. but its telling folks that Fall is almost here. the squirrels are showing darker fur now, instead of light grey, we are seeing darker gray.. almost a charcoal gray. our male ducks are showing their fall colors, their feathers change colors to match in with the dry grasses and the weeds. Dongo, our male Rouen, is definitely changing into his Fall colors. must be getting close to Fall I found a nice warm poncho I want to get for Fall, I can’t wear my winter coat around just yet… to heavy and too warm, but a poncho would do just right so I have eye on one and plan to get it with some of egg money. I have a question for all of you, anyone ever try pumpkin butter???? if so is it good and what did you use it on… English muffins, toast, waffles or pancakes?? I have a ton of pumpkins this year and it seems so wasteful to use them for decoration and then get rid of them, yes I do make pumpkin pie and toast the pumpkin seeds ( my favorite Fall snack) but wondered if there any other thing to do with pumpkins. since I do apple butter I thought pumpkin butter might be a good treat. so if anyone has tried it, let know. thanks 🙂 got to get the last load of laundry out to the line and drying, soon it will time to pack up the clothesline for the season and go back to the dryer. you all have a great day today, stay cool and enjoy. hugs everyone…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Lots of pumpkin butter on the Internet . . . looks good with the cinnamon . . . I might try it with brown sugar, finely chopped walnuts and maybe even a little mint leaf and lemon zest.

  50. Caroline says:

    Well things are looking promising for your next Willard! but I don’t think I will be able to see the current Willard until it is placed in your archives:( Any way you could send me a link? I am still in the greatest of hope for a pen pal:) Have a wonderful walk this gorgeous morning!! I am heading out walking too with cutest dog, Mabel Jane, and girl friends:)

    • sbranch says:

      If you go to the right-hand column of my blog, and click on WILLARD, you’ll go where ALL the old WILLARDS are . . . you can read any you like there!

  51. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Belated HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY EVER DEAREST SWEET JOE.Sending you much healthy love and joy.You and Sweet Sue have magic afoot.May all your dreams come true.Gods richest blessings be yours today and many years to come .All our love Cheyenne from Henderson Nv.

  52. Debbie Murray says:

    Looks like fun was had by all! Happiest of Birthdays to you Joe!

  53. allison from austin says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Joe-what a lovely party. I like your packing ideas-I will
    be going home to Northumberland in a couple of weeks and am hoping for good
    weather. Have fun in Scotland -Edinburgh is magical. The queen is loving the
    spot by the window.

  54. Robin says:

    After reading Willard, I thought, the world sucks the life out of us each day and you so graciously put it back in us to forge on. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful photos, insights and life with us; it makes a difference in a lot of lives.
    All the best on your trip.
    Thank you again.

  55. Gala Dumas says:

    I can not find the recipe for the beer butt chicken.I need that please.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s in the new Heart of the Home and it was in the newest Willard, and just yesterday in a newspaper article, I’ll get you the link . . .HERE it is … You’ll love it!

  56. Muriel Owen says:

    I just found the Willard in my inbox today and I broke down crying. My grandmother, Kay showed me your wonderful blog a few years ago and we used to always read it together and laugh and try to recreate certain details from your blog. It was always such a great time. Sadly my grandmother passed away due to breast cancer so for some stupid reason I haven’t been reading your blog as much as usual and when it popped in my inbox I remembered those times with my grandmother. So I would just like to truly thank you for your wonderful blog and books and creations for they created memories between me and my grandmother and always make me smile. Keep up the amazing work!

  57. Gail says:

    What a delicious birthday celebration, for your beloved Joe. Hope he aphasia a wonderful birthday🎂🎈

  58. Mary Heiland says:

    A very belated but heartfelt birthday wish for Joe B. Hall … your sidekick, navigator, trip planner, renaissance man, personal chef, driver, book tour coordinator, old house curator, fix it man, cheerleader, wood chopper, photographer, antiquing partner, dreamer, sweetheart for life ♥ I bet he felt especially blessed to have so many friends gathered in his name. That’s the best part … bringing people together 🙂 I know just how much went into that party … and happy you had your girlfriends by your side to help. It reminded me SO much of our tea parties … especially the part about hosting a dinner the night before, breakfast afterward, and everything in between with people who mean so much. SUCH FUN and SO MEMORABLE. “If you’re going to do it, do it” … and you did. Felt you basking in it all the way to Arizona 🙂 Love you guys! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I think if we added about 10,000 other amazing details, such as home made scones, hand painted parking signs, party favors at every placesetting, etc. etc. etc., THEN you could compare your tea party to Joe’s party!! But thank you. And also for all those true and wonderful adjectives about Joe. Love you back, how’s your darling mom?

      • Mary Heiland says:

        My darling mom just turned 98 1/2 on August 23rd 🙂 Thanks for asking! We are planning our trip to Montana in November for her sister’s 100th birthday … only 2 left of 8 kids who survived the dust bowl and the depression. She’s doing great … and is treasuring a framed picture taken with you at the tea ♥ Funny story … my son, after hearing mom repeat over and over how she had a first edition of your first cookbook, said: “I think Grandma thinks Susan Branch is Betty Crocker”. Haha … mom definitely knew who you were! She was on top of her game that day and said meeting you was a highlight of her life … along with living long enough to see both a black president and woman president 🙂 Wow … you’re WAY up there Girlie! Enjoy the peacefulness that your grand lady home brings after a long separation and a big party. Still thinking of your awesome dad and how he is in your ♥ and with you every step of the way. xoxo

        • sbranch says:

          Lovely, as always, to hear from you Mary! Still thanking you for that wonderful special thing you did for my dad . . . you made him feel like a million dollars and I will ALWAYS love you for that! XOXOXO Our parents, are so very dear to us. I was lucky to meet your darling mother.

  59. Sharon C. says:

    Happy, happy birthday, Joe! Susan, I hope you have a wonderful voyage–happy Fall(almost ;D)!

  60. Oh, Susan! Heartfelt thanks for so much inspiration!! I woke up to the magic of ‘A Giant P.S.’ yesterday morning and just before bed read and reread your truly wonderful Willard. It felt like a lovely gift all tied up with ribbons! ♥

    This morning, I felt so very grateful to have a virtual, front row seat for your talk at Beatrix Potter’s 150th Birthday. It was just beautiful, truly heartwarming, and oh-so memorable! I was smiling, through happy tears, the entire time you spoke! It is a video that I will always cherish and watch again and again. ♥

    A million thanks for sharing your heart and talents with all of us, dear Susan. You will forever be our ‘Beatrix’… and we all feel so honored to be your Girlfriends!!!! ♥

    Sending a million hugs (in addition to the many ‘Welcome’ hugs outside the tea party in Wilmette!) as you and Joe set off on another fairy tale adventure!! Thank you so much for taking us along. Safe travels, dear ones!! xoxo
    Love,
    Dawn (in Illinois)
    ♡♡

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear one! You are so good to me! xoxoxo

      • My pleasure, Susan! I just listened to the podcast interview celebrating Heart of the Home. That will always be such a special book for our family. When first published thirty years ago, I bought it as a gift for my mom. Two years ago, she gifted it back to me, and you signed it for us. So, our copy always feels like a complete circle of love! ♥ I’m really enjoying the new 30th Anniversary Heart of the Home, too. It was such fun to read it together with Isle of Dreams, as you shared so many sweet memories of writing your first book! ♥
        So excited for you and Joe (and us, too!) as you prepare to set sail! Can you believe that you leave just one week from tomorrow? 🙂 Autumn really is a lovely time to travel!
        Happy hugs!
        Dawn (in Illinois)
        ♡♡

  61. Cheryl Byrne says:

    Susan, please try Relief Band for your voyage. reliefband.com/ I recently began to suffer from vertigo, and seasickness. This product is a miracle.You wear it on your wrist, it looks like a watch, and it sends electric pulses at frequent intervals to your system. You can set the intensity from 1-5, or turn it on and off as needed. It works almost immediately! The first time I tried it, I was with a friend on a boat and she noticed I had gone white. She slapped this baby on my arm and in five minutes I was right as rain.

  62. Bonnie B says:

    Susan help! I can’t read Willard in my gmail and went to unsub just from it. But it says all emails and I didn’t mean all emails.

  63. Carolyn from Pittsburgh says:

    Dear one,
    Just got my first Willard and am delighted. I do also adore that it says August 2017. I only work on projects a month or season ahead not a year or two as you do and can’t keep track.
    I’m charmed by thoughts of your upcoming trip to Britain and so grateful we can go along.

  64. Marilyn says:

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY JOE. Wishing you a year of blessings. Have a fun and safe trip to England and Scotland. I look forward to your post when you return home. England and Scotland must be beautiful in Autumn. Thank you for the updates.
    Marilyn

  65. Jill says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just read my Willard and your trip sounds wonderful and please please think about doing another book about your trip! You must know how wonderful your books are and how much all of us get such pleasure from them❤️❤️❤️

  66. Sheila Pepe says:

    Please please please send me the music list ! I would love it and need to sing along. Just made the baked tomato salad on page 56 of the summer book. , added a little Parmesan reggiano cheese and artichoke hearts ! Delicious. ! Thank you for everything including your sharing and inspiration ….

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll put up the list. I just finished making a new playlist (my 2nd in my life) to pop into our rental car for when we are riding hill and dale through the backroads of Scotland and England. I could make playlists for a living!!!! They are so much fun!

  67. Mary Anne says:

    Thanks for sharing Joe’s birthday party!
    Enjoy your autumn trip to England…one of my favorite places to visit. I look forward to the book you write about this trip.
    And, finally, my sincere condolences on the death of your father. Both my parents were 90 when they died, and I discovered that advanced age did not make their deaths easier to accept. I miss them everyday as I know you miss your father.
    Blessings…

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, there is no good time to lose someone who has loved you. The confusingness of the situation makes you five years old again. And the person who could fix it is gone. xoxo Thank you Mary Anne

  68. Bobbie says:

    Hoping to hear that you will be writing another book, about your up-coming trip to England. Maybe you have already been asked this question – haven’t had time yet to read all of the latest comments, so sorry if this is a repeat question! Your adventures and books are so much fun to read – hoping there will be a new one coming. Enjoy your trip!

  69. willow says:

    Susan I love your writing and paintings. Until now, my favorite book was “A Fine Romance”. I recommend it to everyone I know. (At least to people who like what I like). But I have to confess, your Martha’s Vineyard book is making it hard to choose a favorite book. I stayed up until way past my bedtime, crying as I read. This book is just so touching! And as a fellow kitty lover, I bawled my eyes out reading about the loss of your kitty. This book will become a treasured part of my Susan Branch library.

  70. Vicki says:

    I just reread Willard for the third time. I think everyone reads and re-reads your works and gains something new each time. I am looking forward to “our” trip to England and Scotland. Hoping to run into some relatives – the distant ones I don’t even know I have, but they are there! (Family history from Scotland, like so many of us in the USA.)

    I hope that at some point you will have time to blog about your stop by Ivy Green on your book tour and give us your thoughts on it.

    Sweet dreams!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Helen Keller’s home, I still want to do that! Thank you Vicki ~ I know I write a LOT in a Willard, not to mention all those links, I think maybe Willard has turned into a one page magazine!

  71. Lisa says:

    Wow, this is a wonderful birthday party! Just look at the pictures, which makes me feel happy. As a busy teacher, I will be busier when the new semester begins. I also wrote something at the end of the course I just finished. I’d like to share it with you!
    Good-bye to You!
    Every time I wished I had prepared your lessons like a robot, but I prepared it like a cow in a field.
    I wished I had walked into the classroom as freshly as a lotus, but my face was roasted like a patato chip.
    I wished you had studied very hard in my class, and you did as I wished.
    I wished you had made great improvement in writing, and you did as I wished.
    I wished I had left the classroom as gracefully as a water lily, but I was tired like a sleepy cat.
    I enjoyed teaching you, my talented ladies and gentlemen!
    I hope you will pass the exam successfully!
    I hope the dream of being a visiting scholar will come true in the near future!

  72. Jennie Ambrosio says:

    Happy Birthday Joe! It looks like a lovely party. All my best to you and Susan…. Jennie 🙂

  73. Andrea says:

    Dear Susan,
    My two children just gave me “The Fairy Tale Girl” and “Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams for my birthday and I just finished them both. I didn’t want them to come to an end. I texted my daughter and said I would like “A Fine Romance” for Christmas. I received your first book from her for Christmas in 1996 because it says that on the title page in her handwriting. Two of my favorites are the “Summer” cookbook and “Girlfriends Forever.” I’m so glad you and Joe found each other. I enjoyed the Fairy Tale Girl” because I’m two years older than you and you brought back a lot of memories of my childhood. Thank you.

  74. Virginia says:

    Thank you, thank you for another inspiring and delightful post. I feel as if I was at that party…what fun. And the memories live on.

    Just wanted to be sure that you saw that PBS is showing a special called, wait– “I Miss Downton Abbey!”. Do they read your blog?! They must–it’s just for all of us. It’s showing multiple times. Lots of clips, cast interviews etc. I watched it last night…couldn’t stop myself.

    • sbranch says:

      I thought it was supposed to be on PBS at 7pm last night but it wasn’t!!! Now I will look for it at other times and see what I can find!

      • Andrea says:

        “I Miss Downton Abby” was on this afternoon in Omaha. My PBS guide says it’s going to be on again on Sept 4th at 8 p.m. CT. I don’t know if that is for the whole country or just here in Nebraska.

    • Wendi Unrein says:

      I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m craving DA lately and I’m grateful for these shows to pacify me. ((Sigh)) I guess I’ll go to my collection and dig up to watch. Can’t decide which season was my fav!

  75. Virginia says:

    I noticed that myself. I was going to watch it again! I have searched WGBH’s website and Amazon Prime but can’t find it. Hope they show it again and you can see it. It’s a fundraiser so I’d assume it will be on again.

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