My Girlfriends

I’ve been wanting to tell you about my girlfriends for a long time . . . I haven’t because I was afraid of invading their privacy; not everyone is as blog-crazy as I am!  But, over time, they seem to have gotten used to me with the camera, and, I think they are sort of saying that it’s OK now . . . we will see . . . After last night, I just couldn’t stand it one more minute without mentioning them!

There is a definite “How we met story” that I have to tell you, because it’s really an interesting story, but it’s long and, you know, I have to go try on clothes to pack for England!!!  The clock is ticking!  I can’t do the story justice right now, so I’m saving it . . . but, as a mere hint of the creativity and heart of these girlfriends . . .  here are the ocean liner ice cubes Jaime made for the birthday party she gave me last night.  It’s the tip of the iceberg.  Not even that, it’s a little puff of fog that rises above the iceberg.

Here’s what she gave us last night . . . the dinner table!!  Jaime has four sons and this is the house she brought them up in. She was a single mom for most of that time, with triplet boys she got the old-fashioned way; and then, two years after the triplets were born, guess what?  She had another boy!  If she did not do one single other thing in life, this was, to me, amazing, the way she handled it, like buttah.  She is a wonderful cook, and started her own catering business here on the island. She is one of the six or seven most romantic people I have ever met.  Roses should be her middle name. You should see her garden.  All the tulips, growing around her front door, are ruffled.

Here was the first course, Jaime’s soup; I don’t remember the name of it, but I think I figured out, it’s corn, lime, lemon grass, cayenne, chicken stock, sour cream . . . a thin gorgeous soup served with a grilled, buttered crouton with crab salad on it (you can barely see on the left)!!  Oh yes!  Dinner was fresh salmon, mashed potatoes, thin little spears of asparagus; she passed a sauce boat filled with buerre blanc!!  Simple, elegant and delicious!

See the rings under those candles on my Chocolate Birthday Cake (When my honey asks for chocolate, he gets chocolate!)?  My girlfriends have a tradition; when it’s one of our birthdays, we all get to make a wish.  We put our rings over the candles and when the birthday girl makes her wish, we all do . . . it blesses the cake!  It’s been like a bond between us, all these wishes, made together, all these years.  I would like to quit my job and just make soup and bread for them every day! That’s how much I love them.

To me, this photo is the essence of Jaime; this is her at my house for her birthday party last fall; we’d given her a photo scrapbook of memories from all of us . . . and she hadn’t even opened the box, this reaction was for the card!  What you see right here is what you get. 

That’s Lowely, third from the right, bending, with the blond hair and glasses; and you can’t really see her face, but that’s Martha on the left in the red.  Margot is next to Jaime in the black-flowered dress.  Margot is the one who gives the amazing workshops at Kripalu and wrote the book “A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids” (Margot’s the one who saved my life when she became my friend and introduced me to the rest of these girls, many years ago). I know I’ve mentioned them in other posts, so I thought I would show them to you. (You can get a peek at Jaime’s Memory Book, because Enikö, the dark haired girlfriend on the far right, made this gorgeous book for Jaime, and has posted it on her Scrapbooking Blog, Enikö’s Playhouse.)

What my girlfriends have in common: they all work in their own businesses (Martha’s Vineyard is like that; there’s no thriving manufacturing community; no McDonnell-Douglas or Apple here; no large employers of any kind; people sort of have to make their own way).  They are caterers, decorators, authors, cake-makers, real estate sales women, speakers, artists (all of them are artists, like you, who make something from

nothing every day — here are Lowely and Martha making crepes at our yard sale!  For no reason, just a pretty day and we were hungry and they are brilliant), and teachers, and they’re all amazing cooks. They’re believers in life, love, and dreams coming true.  They are also wall-paperers, house painters, scrapbookers,  knitters, gardeners, home-makers, drape-makers, animal-lovers, cute-dressers, smart shoppers, tea loving, life adventuring, music loving, book readers; all the regular things!  Six are moms; two, three counting me, aren’t.   Some are in relationships, some are between gigs (we like to say it that way).  They are, as Oprah would say, every woman.  The thing they do, which I think is a hallmark of almost every woman I’ve ever known, is GIVE • GIVE • GIVE.  Everything they have, time, energy, support, truth, laughter; they know what it means to sacrifice for love; they have all done it.  They are wonderful girlfriends; they are all citizens of their island, and citizens of the world with a concern for making it a better place.  Just, may I say, like YOU!  Celebrating them is just one more way of celebrating the good and honorable, because there is so much of it around us. 

Important to say right here: before I found Martha’s Vineyard, there was California, and that’s home to a whole other set of inspiring wonderful girlfriends that I will love forever, like a mom, equally, because I couldn’t live without a single one of them.  Or you. ♥ 

Gotta go, girlfriends . . . For one thing, Joe and I need to go on our walk and work off some of that birthday cake … plus, it’s my turn on “Words with Friends” (Smart Phone Scrabble; fun!!), Lowely made her move!  Have a wonderful day!  Start looking for Willard on Tuesday! 

Margot and me last night (yes, every once in a while Joe manages to wrestle the camera out of my hands). My birthday was wonderful, and I can’t thank you all enough for the wonderful wishes bestowed upon me by YOU, girlfriends of the heart.  Thank you!  P.S. A disclaimer, because my dad is going to read this; men are really good too.  🙂

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301 Responses to My Girlfriends

  1. Sara Holiday, FL says:

    Not only are YOU blessed but your gilfriends are too! The love you have for them is so beautiful and heartwarming. That isn’t always easy to find.

    • Enikö says:

      You are so right, Sara…we are blessed beyond measure! Margot was just here for a visit and we inevitably started blabbing about how wonderful Sue is…and how beautifully she shines her light on us…

  2. Pam says:

    I really enjoyed your post today, what a wonderful group of ladies. You all seem to have such fun when you get together. I just love it how the simplest of gifts are so appreciated and just spending time in each other’s company means a lot.

  3. Cindy says:

    Of everything you have ever posted, I think that was my favorite. Happy birthday to you! I have a group of girlfriends, our “therapy group”, who have been friends for over 20 years now, so I really connected with you and your friends. I understand that bond that can never be broken. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of your life.


    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Cindy!! Had to wait until I was sure I wouldn’t get the girls mad at me — there will be more of these in the future (when I think I can get away with it!); they are always doing something fun, nice, or interesting.

  4. Lori says:

    Girlfriends are the BEST! (That includes those online.) Glad you had a happy birthday.

  5. Bobbie Ann Picard says:

    That you for sharing, I loved being introduced to your girlfriends!! How lucky you are , how lucky they are!! How lucky I am to know you through your blog! Thank you, more than you know!!!
    Have a blessed day and blessed year ahead!!
    Bobbie Ann

  6. Robin Murray says:

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy SUSAN!
    Lovely post and fabulous girlfriends! You are truly blessed❤
    Thank you for sharing, xoRobin❤

  7. nanette from Alabama says:

    Oh, Sweet Susan! Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us! We all love you for it…… and who deserves a happier, sweeter birthday than you! It was lovely to share in your “circle of friends.”

    ALL the girlfriends will miss having you here but take our love with you as you travel and we look forward to having your adventurous posts as you see each new thing!

    Love and best wishes from an Alabama girlfriend……Nanette

  8. Margot says:

    What a nice birthday you had!!! I am glad. Tell Jaime that there is a special place in heaven for mother’s of sons. I too raised sons through the high school years alone, but it was a blast. We hung up your birthday small flag for all our birthdays. Tell Margot that this Mermaid shall never be landlocked again, and haven’t been for 13 years or maybe my whole life if you count growing up near Lake Michigan.

    I was wondering if you could have that Magnolia tree transported from down here and the ferry could bring it over to the Island. Just a thought.
    Enjoy the “summer” day!

  9. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Dear, Darling, Sue: Good thing I didn’t put on the eye make-up 1st thing, it’d be running down my face into my coffee! You flew me to the moon with this wonderful blog – lovely! And, all the wonderful GF & Jack comments, swelleth my heart! Thank you to you and your BFsF, for sharing with us, and warm hugs all around! Happy & sighing……..GFF, Joanie PS Blog or 2 back, you got your orange shoes – yesssssss!!!

  10. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Susan, thank you for sharing your girlfriends with us! What a sweet community you have their on MV! I can see why you love living there so much. Such a beautiful birthday party. So much creativity among all you girls….all in one place! It’s mind-boggling! (p.s. Gotta love Word with Friends!!!….must run now and take my turn, too! 🙂 Have a wonderful day….looking forward to Willard! xoxo…kp

  11. The special moments in life shared with family and friends are gifts that cannot be purchased. There are many types of “girlfriends”; some start off with you as children and grow with you throughout your life, some meet you along the way whether it be when you go to college, work, some are neighbors that you raise your family with, some are true family your “sisters” and many of the girlfriends here on your blog are true sisters and who knows you better than family, and some are women put in your life at difficult times in your lives and they are “guardian angels” and they may be older than you and that is ok because their perspectives give you hope and encouragement. So, even though some of you don’t think you have “girlfriends” like Susan is blessed with that may not be the case…..and the older we girls become there are times that our very own Mothers’ can share our dashed dreams or broken hearts and give us hope that tomorrow will be better. Susan, all the love that you give to everyone with your inspirational stories is a true gift given to each of us and that is why you are so blessed. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  12. Vickie Getty says:

    Lucky ladies – all.

  13. Sharon Byars says:

    What lovely Birthday photos!! Very touching, your family of girlfriends. I totally feel your love as I was an only child, parents passed years ago and have men in my life , husband and two sons but NO girls. So….made girlfriends my family. They are treasures! Your dinner party was beautiful. Thought of you Saturday when at the “Three Speckled Hens” Antique show and Junk sale in Paso Robles. You would have LOVED it. Have a wonderful day from your Central Coast California Friend.

  14. Mary says:

    Thanks for another great post! And I can’t believe I missed wishing you a happy birthday! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUSAN BRANCH!<3 Many more!

  15. Jeanette says:

    The very best thing in life is friends! Thank you for sharing yours with us.

  16. CindyK says:

    Looks and sounds like a glorious birthday party. You are very fortunate to have such wonderful friends. I’ll be celebrating too, in 2 days, but my party won’t be quite so elegant. You must be getting super excited about your trip!! Can’t wait!!
    And those ocean liner ice cubes were awesome!!!

  17. Jennifer says:

    Hi Susan. What lovely pictures from your birthday party. I don’t know why you don’t allow the camera capture more pictures of YOU. You are gorgeous! I like the rings on the cake tradition – I want to try that next time with my girlfriends.

  18. Christine Anderson says:

    What a wonderful Birthday party. What lovely friends you have. Such Joy in life!!

  19. Julie Cavrich says:

    Beautiful post. I loved the picture of you and Margot. What an elegant table setting. Your pictures make me feel like I could walk right into them. Glad you had a great party. What a lovely circle of friends. Kisses to the Kitties.

  20. Joy Pence says:

    You and your sweet girlfriends are just lovely. I like your haircut, very flattering!

  21. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, good morning everyone, how wonderful to meet your girlfirends and what lovely friends they are, you are so blessed and so are they. well just got in from looking after the chickens, ducks and turkeys, we now have 2 turkey chicks, and we have them inside by the woodstove to keep them a large box of course and covered to prevent nosy cats from getting in and causing trouble. we are also having a delightful surprise in the back yard by the barn and henhouse and the yard around the henhouse… we have had some wild turkeys visit, they are beautful birds, look very much like the black winged bronzes we have(standard heritage birds) and we are hoping they will come over the fence and join our turkeys and their family!!! there is plenty of cracked corn and feed for them as well, and lots of space for nesting in a dry warm henhouse. so thats what we are up to these days, enjoying the visits and hoping they will stay. have a wonderful sunny day today everyone. hugs……… 🙂

    • Pat, I do enjoy reading about your menagerie and I can relate to all the wildlife walking about your place. Growing up we lived on a 73 acre farm and I recently moved and really miss watching the wild turkey raising their babies, there were always 2 hens one in front and one in the rear and their babies in between them chasing grasshoppers…one time I looked out my front window and there were 25 wild turkeys!! We also had deer and again it was nothing to see 10-15 just eating the grass and of course my shrubs/flowers….we always seemed to have a set of twins each season and watching Mom and the Dad (which is unusual they normally watch from afar) try to keep them in check and the buck would stomp his hooves and send the baby running toward Mom and continued to romp and play….even in the animal world there is always one baby that misbehaves…..I know how much work it takes to care for all the animals that you do everyday….they are very lucky to have you and good luck with all that you do everyday!!!!

  22. Georgie says:

    What a wonderful party! I love the candle wish tradition!!! everyone’s a winner. Just think of how many happy wishes you can make in a year. Did one of you come up with this idea or was it someone’s family tradition from way back?

    Thanks for sharing your hands on girlfriends with us, your cyber girlfriends!

    Enjoy the day dreaming and planning and preparing for your wonderful trip!

  23. Nina says:

    O Susan what a wonderful blog update! You are so very blessed and so are your girlfriends! Hope you had (I’m sure you did!) a Happy happy birthday!
    Magnolia trees are my very favorite I hope you get one soon! xxxx

  24. Jennie says:

    Susan- You and your friends are so beautiful! The last time I had a close knit group of friends was seventh grade- no joke! That’s what happens when you fall in love at 16 and marry and have children at 20, and give and give and give to them (as women do) and then find one day, years later, you’re sorta all alone! Especially when you’re the type of person who would make a wonderful ‘professional hermit’ if there was such a thing!

    I am so inspired by your sweet group of friends who go so out of their way to care for one another. Well- to have friends we must be friends, so I’d better put some effort into those few friendships I already have, regardless of my hermit tendencies.
    ps. Loved seeing a picture of you! You are so lovely! (all the love inside just makes you glow! It’s obvious! )

  25. Mary Spring says:

    Dear Susan….you and your friends are all simply charmed…I’m sure !!!! …much gratitude..again..for all you do !!…with love

  26. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon…Sweet Sue…You Lucky Birthday Girl! omggggggggggg Thanks for Sharing Your Best Friends with All of Us! You are beyond Blessed! Tell Joe “Thank~You” for taking that Gorgeous Picture of You & Margot! &
    all Your Photos of All Your Beautiful Girl~Friends! Those Ice~Cubes! Beyond Magical…& that Devine Birthday Cake! Yummy….Now That was a Scrumptious Echanting Birthday Party! Hugzzzzzzzzzzz & always Lots of Love & Pixie~Dust! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  27. Susan says:

    Thanks for letting us join you and your friends for the celebration. You are truly blessed to have an amazing bunch of supportive ladies around you. What a magical evening, and you looked especially gorgeous–I’m glad Joe got a turn at the camera!

  28. Kelly J. says:

    Love the wish ring idea! What a beautiful birthday celebration! Thanks for sharing your day with us!

  29. Darlene says:

    Susan, your girlfriends are wonderful. I want to give you a hoorah for saying that your life was saved when you were introduced to them years ago. Friends become part of the fabric that makes up who we are. Without our girlfriends, we would be very different people from who we are today. Thank you for allowing us all to be girlfriends of the heart. You inspire me always to be more carefree and enjoy everything and everyone around me. And to cherish the little things.

  30. Dinahsoar says:

    Oh my–ocean-liner ice cubes…too cute. What a special bunch of island girlfriends you have! You live the life that many dream about. Thanks for sharing it with us….from the hills of TN

  31. Wait a minute… Jake’s going to read it too! 🙂

  32. Susan, it just struck me going back over your Birthday Blog how very much you and Lowely resemble each other?? You know they say owners/dogs start to resemble each other what about girlfriends?? ha Isn’t it amazing how much your Dad’s comments are resonating with the girls……maybe while you are away on your journey Jack can check in with all of us and give us some words of wisdom?? Just a thought…..he is a sweetie.

  33. Linda Pintarell says:

    Not much left unsaid; Girlfriends Rule! Just spent two days in Laguna Beach with my girlfriend/cousin from Texas. Such fun!

  34. Lori C. says:

    What a precious blog today!
    You are treasured!
    Question – I know you loved Jane Eyre – have you (or anyone else) read The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey. I have it on order right now. So I haven’t read it, but can’t wait!
    Any feedback (from anyone) on whether or not this might be a good read for Susan to take on board? Something to do, besides her knitting? :o)

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t read it . . . maybe one of the other girlfriends has….But do not fear, I have a teetering stack of books right now. Joe looks at it with skinny eyes, who’s carrying that! — suitcase on wheels!

      • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

        Oh my, you must leave room for books you find “over there” as well! This could be tricky. And if you are going anywhere near Hay-on-Wye, you will probably want to check out all the book shops there….which I believe will take you a lot of time…you may have to book a room!!! I had only time for a too brief browse and a deep sigh and a gut-wrenching yearning as The Husband dragged me away.

        I see that the Hay Festival is from May 31-June 10. According to your tastes and tolerance for crowds, you may or may not want to be in the area then.

        Of course, there is always a way to ship articles from England to home, isn’t there? You may want to accumulate your items first and not ship item-by-item, because it might be cheaper in the long run. I forget, are you and Joe “shipping” home as well as “shipping” there? If so, it’s not really a problem, is it? Just trying to help a good girlfriend plan!

        Stowing away the girlfriends is the bigger problem; I will have the gin and Dubonnet and that’s pretty potent stuff. Maybe someone else could bring some tonic water and soda water to dilute it until we get accustomed to it. I may have figured out why the Queen Mother lived to such a ripe old age!!

        And no, I have not been into the stuff this morning. Just sitting here with my coffee and Tut and Cleo, and putting off what needs to be done today.

        Do you think we will be having Sticky Toffee Pudding while we are there? My packing includes pulling out my favorite UK recipes to be ready for all the meals, including tea.

        • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

          P.S. Perhaps Jaime could make her ship-shape ice cubes to bring along as well for cocktails, if we asked politely.

        • sbranch says:

          I love all your plans! We’re heading for Hay on Wye, let’s see if we get there! Gin, well, yes, Joe is a gin man.

  35. Roberta Moors says:

    How blessed you are to have such wonderful friends. It is such a joy for me to be a part of your lovely website and blog. Your birthday dinner looked absolutely beautiful. I have not been fortunate in having lasting relationships with women because My husband and I moved alot around the US for career for him. But I managed to acquire one friend who I treasurer. She lives in Maryland and I live in Maine. We manage to see each other as often as we can but we talk a lot and play words with friends now. I am also a an artist. I do Botanical Illustration and love it. Anyway, Happy belated Birthday and I look forward to seeing more lovely things you do and say!! Roberta=}

  36. Gail Buss says:

    Dear Susan, What an absolutely lovely party! Your friend went all out with those ocean liner ice cubes…… dear! Yes, girlfriends are so very special. I left many behind when we moved from Maryland to Florida, but I’m making new friends every day. On the other hand, the new ones aren’t like the ones I’ve known for years. I do keep in touch with all of them and some have come here to visit us. Everything looked lovely but my favorite picture was of you and Margot at the very end……….that was very sweet. We send special wishes to your Dad who will be reading your blog. He raised a very special daughter in you! Hugs, Gail & Joe Buss, Fl

  37. Lori Hemmis says:

    Happy Belated Birthday:) I found the perfect bday gift for you a Saucer Magnolia:) I own an RV Park in Ozark, AL and I was in the market to buy a Magnolia tree. I went to the nursery today and said do you have any Saucer Magnolia’s? Lucky me they did:) I would mail you one if I could:) Thanks for sharing your life with us Girlfriends!

  38. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    Ooh yummy…ya had the chocolate one! I love the ring tradition…what a great bash. And the ship ice cubes. Genius. Thank you so much for (and please thank them too) for sharing the gff with us…so lovely, all the rituals, and the joy. Um, your haircut is a-dora-belle! Hello! Ciao for now, and thanks again. xx

  39. Karen Saunders says:

    Susan…any chance you might buy some ‘goodies from England’ you might put in your store????? paaaleeeeze!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m always looking . . . 🙂 We’re going to slip in an extra suitcase, we’ll just have to see what turns up!

  40. CAROL OLIVER says:

    It sounds like you have had a good one….and how Beautiful the tables were set, and yummy food….Yes you are loved….On the discussion of GIRLFRIENDS…I too have a Circle of Girlfriends, that I love dearly….my anchor, my connection…they are everything and right up there with my Family…I truly Love them. I have an April Birthday also…the 27th….but better than that I am retiring this Thursday…and very Happy about that…at 65…I am done….and Healthy..and can still DANCE…with my Girlfriends….we have a ball and enjoy ourselves when we are together….I want them to know you….all of them. My Best Friend and I have met and spoken to you several times…I have told you about the times, and you would remember us, as we have bought some special things from you from your darling Shop..sad…Enjoy your Spring….and hope to see you at Remnants next time.
    Carol O. in So. Cal.

  41. Annie from Sydney Australia says:

    I love us ♥

  42. Teresa G., Lafayette, CA. says:

    Ohhhh! Never go out of town without your laptop! I feel like Ping (does anyone remember that children’s story? One of my favorites. Ping was always the last duck getting back on the boat) Anyway….wait! I didn’t get to say Happy Birthday! What a lovely party you had. On the risk of sounding like I’m stealing movie lines, you’re girl friends make me want to be a better friend. True camaraderie. The best part, Susan, is that I know from your words and your actions that you appreciate every minute of your wonderful life which makes is so much sweeter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  43. Sarah says:

    I just saw those ocean liner ice cubes last week! Oddly, they had them in the gift shop at the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC, where we went to see the Titanic exhibit. I thought they were in a little bit poor taste to have them there, as they also came with little iceberg molds. But using the little ships as a Bon Voyage for your upcoming trip is perfect! 🙂 I love reading about your girlfriends. I wish I had that. I’m still new to where we live now, and I need to work harder to grow some friendships. 🙂

  44. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your friends with us! They are all amazing, just like you! And all of us! I don’t know what I would do without my girlfriends and sisters!!!!

  45. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    Ahh.. true girlfriends.. words are almost not enough sometimes.. at least for me. I have a hard time saying the words, but I know that with true friends..the words aren’t really necessary.. there are smiles.. looks, glances, faces..hugs, tears.. laughter, groans, but soooo very much a part of the “good life”!… You are truly blessed with so many girlfriends at one time!!! How very lucky you are!…They are as beautiful as you made them sound and I know they want nothing but the best for you! So special to have a “girls” night!! Enjoy it all.. life is short… laugh, hug and be merry!


    Girlfriends are right up there at the top of my treasure list!! I’ll be 69 this July and my girlfriends are just as important to me as they were 40, 50 years ago. Your party is surely one of those treasured times; something you’ll be thinking about all the way to England.

    It was GREAT to see a photo of you with your girlfriends; nothing better than having that special circle!! Everything was so special for you, but then I’m positive you deserved every little part of their planning.

    I’m so excited (in advance) that we’ll be receiving BLOGS from you on your trip. It has been my dream to go to England, so will be going with you vicariously. I was thrilled that you autographed a “Girlfriends” book that my girlfriend Suzette Lees bought for me in San Luis Obispo!

    Thanks for all you do to make your “other” girlfriends feel special.

  47. Jackie P says:

    It is such a treasure to have good friends to share your life with. When I look at the photos of your birthday parties and dinners, I can feel the warmth and commaraderie that you all share. So wonderful. I love my girlfriends, too. Just being in each other’s company can be enriching, comforting, healing, or hilarious. We respect each other – our shared interests as well as our differences. We would do anything for each other. Thanks for sharing your friends with us.

  48. Kelly B. from Pittsburgh, PA says:

    Happy, happy (bit belated) Birthday Susan! As always, I am enjoying every word of Willard and your blogs, and am excited to be taking a (virtual) trip to England with you and Joe. The best part of it for me is NO PACKING! Have a wonderful day and keep us updated on the people and happenings on the magical island of Martha’s Vineyard.

  49. Lynn McCormack says:

    Love the ice cube!

  50. Nellie says:

    What a lovely party! You are very fortunate, Susan, to have such a circle of friends! It isn’t always easy to find those who will become good friends. Of course, it helps that YOU know how to be a friend as well. xoxo

  51. Enikö says:

    You are a treasure, dear, sweet, Sue! You have shared your Martha’s Vineyard girlfriends with your lovely girlfriends from across the world… Several of them have been by to visit me at Enikö’s Playhouse…I even received a lovely letter from one of them. And so the circle of girlfriends grows and multiplies, and love continues to blossom… It is so like you to bless us and to honor us with such a lovely gift on YOUR birthday!

    I’m so excited about your trip to England and will be looking forward to the tales you will surely tell… I love you! -Enikö

  52. Valentina says:

    Oh Susan! Ooooh, I just shared a magical moment with my cup of tea, a greek spinach- feta pastry, Willard, you and Joe on the QEII, Beatrix, and YES YES most certainly YES: Count me in! 🙂 I’ll need to find a proper hat for the passage!

    You have been an inspiration to me ever since I first bought your Summer book on my university student budget in the nineties in Canada. Now almost 18 years later I am finally getting ready to plan my own ‘Susan picket fence garden’ here in Cyprus!
    I wish you a wonderful trip, and blessing upon blessing for you and Joe! And a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart for having taught me to dream beautiful dreams, and so much more that I cannot even express. ( right now my tears are expressing it better than my words can)
    With love, admiration and friendship,

  53. GardenGirl (SouthEast Massachusetts) says:

    Hello Sue,
    Still catching up on your blog posts since returning from vacation – I had to comment on this one as it warmed my heart so. Reading about your Vineyard friendships for so long now it was nice to have those faces to connect the stories. Such a lovely birthday dinner party and so much affection for you – it certainly shows in the details. Belated Happy Birthday wishes my friend. Enjoy the year ahead – especially your upcoming journey – we’re all looking forward to it. -Kathy

  54. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Just home from Napa, & it has been a beautiful day! Friends have a wonderful camellia garden (many plants still blooming), on top of Mt Veeder out of Napa with breathtaking views! The Chocolate Birthday Cake was a HIT!!! Thank you very much for the recipe, out of your Autumn book! Now, I’m going to have a wee little piece of leftover cake with a glass of milk!!! Yum! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it just the best? I should do that recipe on the blog . . .

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Yes, the best, & the orange zest is just right! I confess, I had 2 pieces last night (little, teeny, weeny) & today I’ll lick the plate before washing!!! Because we travelled, stopped for lunch, had the meeting, I didn’t put the whipped cream on like you did for your birthday – still delicious!!!! The “Autumn”less ladies would love the recipe!! xoxo Joanie

  55. Jackie P says:

    After reading about your circle of friends, I was curious about Margot’s book, A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids. I ordered a copy and it arrived in the mail today. What fun! What wisdom. I just ordered two more copies to give to my best friends, who also are also recipents of Girlfriends Forever. This is real soul food! Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      How great; I love it too … she is an amazing person, I feel very lucky to get that wisdom right through the telephone!!!

  56. Spending the week with my favorite girlfriend from Princeton–catching up all the gossip from my old hometown, sharing laughs and tears and wine and margaritas! How I have missed her and the comfort of her presence; but even after two years apart, we can pick up just where we left off. Now that’s a BFF if you ask me. Love all my girlfriends. Thanks for sharing your ladies and our birthday and photos.

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