In Celebration of Home

We’re on our way hme darling Girls . . . and pour vous: MUSICA

In celebration of Home Sweet Home, I’m thinking of all of you cozy in your homes, playing your music, cooking with old movies on TV, planning your Thanksgiving menus, thinking about company, plotting secrets and gifts, counting our many blessings. Aren’t we lucky!

The very long approach . . .

We’re on our way!  We’re in Albuquerque now making our way home to Massachusetts the slow way across this beautiful country.  It’s good we have a light hand on the reins because there’s lots of this on our roads  . . . trucks going 63 mph passing trucks going 62.  La de da, la de da, :-).  My patient guardian angel is still asleep ~ I’m in a good mood this morning, so I thought I’d count my blessings out loud while giving you a few of our views.

The most we drive in a day is about five hours, the clouds and scenery fly by with MUSICA playing and at least two stops for walking around and eating something, so we are not worn out at all and we get lots of sleep in cozy hotels with comforters, refrigerators and microwaves (We love Hampton Inns and they are everywhere).

I’m reading this oddly interesting book called Snobs written by the same man (Julian Fellowes) who writes Downton Abbey. The book was hard to get into, a little bit boring in the beginning, about the British upper class (as he sees them) even inspiring a couple of eye rolls, because really, what is more boring than snobs and this book is loaded with them.  I keep thinking that these characters have too much time on their hands.  But Joe read it and liked it so I’ve kept on.  It has recently taken a turn for the more interesting so now I’m excited to go to the Fitness Room this morning and climb on the bike and read for forty-five minutes.  So blessed to get to do this!

There are hay trucks on the road, affording us lots of extra chances to make wishes. Do you make wishes on hay trucks?  I don’t know where I learned it, but I always have.  Every morning, in our cozy room, I make Earl Grey and Lavender Rose Petal tea in the tea kettle we brought along, and then I bite into a large organic Honeycrisp apple, so juicy there are drips wanting to fall on my chin but I am careful to grab them before they get loose.  Waste not, want not. 

Wherever you are, we’ve been sharing your moon.

Our GPS decided this was a good shortcut, and took us up this curvy road over the top of a rocky mountain in Arizona, but look, what is wrong with this picture?  If I lived in that house, every time I came home I would take notice of that top rock up there.  I’m sure it’s secure.  But still.  Boom!

We’ve had sunrises and sunsets, palm trees, oceans and deserts . . . last night we settled into our room, we didn’t want to go out, so we cooked in.  We made organic iceberg wedge salads with chunks of Swiss cheese, broccoli slaw, and creamy blue cheese dressing and mugs of hot tomato soup and ate it in bed (I brought my red flannel jammies) with our books.  Because outside it was like this . . . . Brrrrr . . .

But we didn’t care.  Coming into Albuquerque it was downpours and threats of snow and the wind howled all night.  The sky is still stormy this morning but not raining or snowing and we’re waking up eating apples, drinking tea with honey and half and half in sweaters and socks and counting our blessings.  Tonight we have a book signing here at Bookworks and I get to go meet some of our Southwestern Girlfriends!  Tomorrow we are off to Oklahoma City where we’ll be at Full Circle Books and after that, we hightail it HME!  We won’t be home for Thanksgiving, but you know how much we love serendipity so don’t worry about us.  We’re grateful for the opportunity.  Life is like a box of chocolates!  If you are an East Coast Girlfriend, we have two more signings coming up in December . . . check out our Itinerary HERE.  Now off to the gym!

I’ll leave you with this . . .

I found this good photo on Twitter this morning . . . .  Reminds me that it’s almost Small Business SaturdayBe an Elf  Girlfriends and make your little hmetowns sing with your attention (and you don’t have to wait until Saturday!).  Wear something cute, smile and bring sunshine into those little stores we wouldn’t want to live without.

Love you! Love having you with us!  XOXO Happy day!

P.S. When we stopped at my Mom’s on our way out of California, Mini Jack met my Mom’s “baby” Simon and they very nicely posed for this photo . . . ♥  

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277 Responses to In Celebration of Home

  1. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I almost forgot to tell you, that yesterday I had lunch with a girlfriend who went on an author tour of MV. I think she met some of your friends. She brought a postcard of a map of MV and her pictures. She loved the gingerbread houses in one town and stopped at an American Indian woman’s bakery (They cleaned out her oatmeal cookies!) and she was quite excited about a new organic farm they toured.
    She also bought your book!!!

  2. Sue says:

    Hi Susan and Joe! Thanks so much for being at Bookworks last night. Susan, you are a treasure to be cherished. Your latest book is wonderful. I sat up last night reading it and will take it with me to South Bend (Indiana) and Chicago for Thanksgiving so my Mom and daughters can read it too. I have read and loved the same authors and then visited their homes, both in England and the US. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who likes these sorts of things, but then I look at your blog and know better. Thank you, Susan, for all of the Willard’s and cookbooks and calendars. I have loved every single one of them. You inspire me! I hope you get your Hilltop. Please write a book about it some day. Oh, and please come back to Albuquerque again. Love you!

  3. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♥*¨☆*✿Hello Sweet Sue! Oh How I Have L♥ved “Our” Road~Trip! Thanks To You & Joe! 🙂 I Know You Are So Ready To Get H♥ME! 🙂 OMG Baby Simon with Mini~Jack Scrumptious! 🙂 So Where Will You & Joe Be For Thanksgiving? 🙂 I’m Keeping You In My Prayers for A Safe Journey Back H♥ME Jiggity~Jig…. Here’s some Extra Traveling Pixie~Dust Too ♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿ 😉 Wishing All Of Us A Blessed Happy Thanksgiving! It’s Truly The Yummiest Day Yay! xoxo Poof! ♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿ P.S. Sue Have Fun & The Rest Of Your Book~Signings! 🙂 & P.P.S. We Have A Lovely Pretty New Hampton Inn Right Here in Winter Haven Florida! 😉 ♥*☆*✿

    • sbranch says:

      Hi sweetie pot pie! xoxo Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Huge Smile on Me “Pot~Pie” Face! 🙂 Warm Hugzzz Safe Travels & Hug Our Girlfriends For Me Sweet Sue & Have Fun!! xoxo Poof! ❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄

  4. Carla Ludwig says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I just discovered another yummy apple, “Candy Crisp”. Honey Crisp have been my favorite for a few years now, but I just found the Candy Crisp at Whole Foods and oh my are they good!!! I also wanted to say GOD Bless you and Joe on your travels homeward bound and have a beautiful Thanksgivig wherever you are!

  5. Nettie says:

    Oh Susan how do you ever have the energy to keep up with all of us?? Just got a chance to read this wonderful blog as I sit in my sewing room(which I am supposed to be organizing) watching the snow fall gently on my gardens that have been put to bed.
    I was going to go do errands and decided staying home is the most grateful and peaceful thing to do with my afternoon.
    I wish you and Joe safe travels…and many blessings. Nettie

  6. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Dear Susan and Joe…I could just sit and read your blogs ALL DAY LONG:-)))
    Such loving messages being sent to you, and each one is sssooooo heartfelt. WOW…it must be awesome to have such tenderness and concern from all of us girlfriends. Should have written yesterday…at the 12:46PM time as there were many memorials I was watching from across our GREAT and BEAUTIFUL country on the 50th SAD anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. ‘ O beautiful for spacious skies and amber waves of grain’…you must have seen so much of that hymn on your trip. You are to us witnesses to our precious country and the millions of gifts we receive EVERYDAY. Praying for our country and for you and Joe to be safe. (This is the mother in me speaking …’just take your time and when in doubt of the weather, pull off into a Hampton Inn and wait out the storm.) ‘ There…I feel better now:-))) Love to both of you , as we are SOOOO grateful( in the Laura Ashley dress in Goshen IN) for YOU Susan and Joe. Prayers for your safety and much love xoxo, Toni and Jim from Sylvania OH

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I remember you and your darling dress Toni! Thank you, we are holed up this moment in a Hampton Inn and watching the Wizard of Oz!

      • Carolyn in Indiana says:

        I remember Toni and her Laura Ashley dress too! She gave me a jump in line as she had an extra number and I so appreciated that kind gesture.

        Watching your journey across America makes me yearn to “get on the road” myself. Be safe and enjoy every moment.

        By the way, my mother-in-law finished her trip to England and was thrilled with your book that you signed for me in Goshen. She is now convinced that she must take the Queen Mary 2. She recently attended a tea with friends and they began talking about your book. A friend of hers was waiting for her copy to arrive in the mail and my mother-in-law was quick to point out that her copy was autographed by you! Thanks again for earning me extra daughter-in-law points! 🙂

  7. Jamie from Doty Island, WI says:

    Thanks for the lovely fall pictures and sayings they touched my heart. And enjoying your trip across the country. I had forgotten those big wide open spaces that make you feel rather small, but in awe all at once.
    Did not know that Julian Fellowes had written another book, I will try and see if it is available on my Kindle so thanks again for the recommendation. It would be fun to have a Susan Branch book club where we all read together and share. By the way if you have Netflex you can see Julian Fellowes in Monarch of the Glen, it is fun to watch him act.
    Have a happy Thanksgiving where ever you are….

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jamie!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Jamie–we LOVED watching Monarch of the Glen. We watched the episodes, thanks to our local library, all last Winter. It is a series I highly recommend–fun store and beautiful scenery! 🙂

        • Jamie from Doty Island, WI says:

          Hi Pat,
          I am glad that you too enjoyed Monarch of the Glen as much as I did. Loved the series so much and that magical landscape that I Goggled to find what the castle’s name was and where it was. Apparently, you can rent cottages there on the grounds. Also the film Mrs. Brown- starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly and Geoffrey Palmer had scenes from the same beautiful place. It was fitting since Queen Victoria loved Scotland as does the present queen. If I ever win the lottery I am booking a flight to see the Highlands!

  8. Sara McKeefer says:

    Your word-picture of laying in the grass and listening for the heartbeat of the earth and your kitty joining you took me back to my own childhood when our lawns were my playground, my library, my place to dream. Thank you for such a poignant reminder, Susan.

    Guess what I found today! A beautiful silver, braided chain for the MV, Girlfriends and Fine Romance charms. I’ve been carrying them around in my purse, while looking here and there and everywhere for just the right necklace; and I found it at our Hallmark Store! I am so pumped–I finally get to wear them! As I showed the charms to the lady who waited on me, I told her she really must read “A Fine Romance.” I think you’re going to have another girlfriend in Indiana before long.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and your furry babies!


    P.S. Winter is finally here… the Irish finished out their last home game (with BYU) on a very snowy field. I love the soft layer of white that transforms our orchard and pasture into a dreamy vista where ghost-horses stand silent in the night.

    Be safe on those roads and enjoy your book signings. MV beckons!


  9. Gail Marie says:

    Any chance of a book stop in NYC or the Hamptons?? After you’ve rated up a bit, of course.

  10. Nancy says:

    Love Simon and “Jack”…..Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. judi says:

    Happy to see via twitter that you got safely tucked in for the night on Sat. A safe journey today to Oklahoma City. Time to play Christmas carols in your car with the wintery weather you will have all the way home.

    How wonderful, a new nephew! Congratulations to your relative. xoxo judi

    • sbranch says:

      We found a station that played Christmas carols the whole way from Albuquerque to Amarillo where we are right now and it was perfect!

  12. paulie says:

    Susan and Jack………oh my gosh…………how about Susan and Joe ? Sorreee about that Joe ! the fingers and brains are going in different directions here this morning. My apologies…..along with the sincere wishes for a safe return to the East Coast

  13. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Lovely blog my dear, thank you! Lots of wide open spaces in this America the Beautiful! Yesterday, Mom (98) & I went to the holiday parade to see our 13 year old granddaughter play the flute in her middle school marching band. Something about parades with flags, children, bands, floats, that makes our hearts swell!! Then, Mom & I had our toes done – me red & Mom pink!! A great day! Thinking of you and sending prayers & safe travel thoughts as you roll along, Sue & Joe! xoxoxo

  14. carolshapiro says:

    Hi Susan,

    As always, you just don’t disappoint any of us with your blog! Such a journey you have been on cross-country! Have been really enjoying your entries and your accompanying pics- as always! I love that you have turned even your little hotel stays into an adventure! Safe travels!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been a true life snow and ice adventure these last couple of days! Best get used to it!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        You should have come North–no snow or ice here (yet–and none predicted for several weeks–unless the weatherman is wrong). One never knows, though…have a good Thanksgiving to you and Joe and the other girlfriends!

        • Pat Stansel says:

          Who would have guessed !!! You always think of cold & snowy in the north . Happy Thanksgiving Pat from another Pat!

  15. Tawni urrutia says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you sweet Susan and to your darling Joe!
    What a wonderful journey across our beautiful country you’ve shared with us. Your posts are like a vitamin B12 shot…full if zip and happiness to sustain each of us through the day! One of the many things I just love about you, is in everything you do…anywhere you are…the hallmark of Susan Branch is gratitude. And it’s contagious!
    My grandmother(her cup ran over with magic) taught us to wish on hay trucks…we licked our thumb, pressed it to the opposite palm of our hand, and stamped it with the bottom of our fist, ya know to make it official! Crazy to say, the licking of one’s thumb didn’t seem remotely gross or weird, nope…normal as licking a first class stamp!
    I love the pic of the house sitting so precariously under that cartoonish rock…seems like Road Runner and Wiley Coyote should be roaring by at any minute!
    Best of everything to you and Joe as you make your way home. I am sooo ready for glimpses of life on the Vineyard!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

  16. Janet in Rochester says:

    I’m loving that Simon! Especially that cozy-cozy flannel outfit he’s in. I want one of those! Wow, he looks like a life-size baby too. I guess after eight of her own, your Mom still needs a baby around the house. Keeping things normal. And this one requires only hugging to keep him happy & healthy. I think he should have a mini-Jack too though – they look perfect together. Take care in your travels and have a wonderful-quiet-delicious-fireplace Thanksgiving somewhere on the way. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      He is such a well-dressed baby. He is heavy too, feels just like a real baby, is such a comfort to hold! Her neighbors ask to babysit him when she goes away! Popular child.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Do you happen to remember where you got him, Sue? I know someone who’d love a Simon for Christmas. Thanks.

        PS – Does your Mom ever dress him in an old [gee, maybe I should say “former”

        • sbranch says:

          There is (or at least was, I don’t see it on Google) a doll store in Shell Beach California that I used to browse in because they had the most wonderful dolls.

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Thanks, Sue. I’ll try Google next. I just want to buy from a small business if I can. PS – somehow my previous comment got cut off. It should say “baby outfit of yours or your sibs?”

          • Pat Stansel says:

            Oh, talk about a small world , my former daughter in-laws grandmother used to work there. I loved that store!!! Her name was Billy & of course she loved dolls.

  17. I wish on hay trucks…always the same wish…wish I had that hay for MY animals! God speed on your travels.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha! I go more in the direction of world peace! xoxo

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Whenever my kids ask what I want for Christmas I say “Peace on Earth”. Best gift ever was when my son “decoupaged” a baseball with an earth on one side and a peace sign on the other 🙂

  18. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    Thanks for your update…stay safe on the roads…not sure if Oklahoma City is going to get snow, but there is snow somewhere in Oklahoma…as there is here in northern Michigan…making lists, lists and more lists here as we await our family…12 in total…beginning Tuesday evening for Thanksgiving…excited to have everyone here in our forever home…travel safely…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      Oh it’s a mess out here … we probably would have had an easier but colder time going through Wyoming! 🙂

  19. Sherry says:

    I’m so glad you’re going to be in OKC tomorrow! Full Circle Books is one of my favorite booksellers and they have a wonderful little cafe that is my favorite place to have lunch in front of one of several fireplaces they have burning this time of year. See you there after work!

  20. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Safe travels back to MV and enjoy the lovely scenery. I want to thank all of the girls for their good thoughts on the previous blog and I wish I could give all of you good news about my back but I cannot. I have practically been bedridden for 2 weeks on ice therapy, BioFreeze Gel, TENS (electroalysis), and bedrest. I went to the Dr. last week and found out some things that totally shocked me and some I can improve over time, and some I will have to learn to live with. I will not go into the details and will just say that chronic pain will now be added to some of my other health issues. I’m trying to stay positive and not feel bitter which just isn’t my nature. So, I’m going to have to rely on others to do all the preparation for Thanksgiving this year and I’m sure they will all rally for the cause. I also have to say this because this is the time of year we should all count our blessings and I’m so thankful for my wonderful, loving husband Jim who has gone beyond what he should in taking such good care of me. I’m so worried about him because bless his heart I know he is scared. I want to wish you and Joe a wonderful Thanksgiving on the road and all the other Girlfriends a Blessed Thanksgiving!

    • sbranch says:

      One day at a time dear Deborah and Jim too xoxo I’m saying a prayer for you both and wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.

    • Becky Maggio says:

      Dear Deborah..Susan is right, one day at a time! I have never responded to others’ comments but felt compelled to “talk” to you. Only because I have been there, done that, and experienced chronic pain for years, along with the changes that brings in our lives. Even with great faith, we still feel the “pain” of it all. Please let others do for you!! That seems easy but it’s the hardest thing to accept at times like this, I know! I can tell that you have an amazing, loving soul mate…just like I do. That in itself is a God send and will be a great comfort to you. I am giving you my email address..again something I’ve never done! But just “feel” that’s what I need to do. Having someone to talk to, other than family, can be such a great comfort, especially someone who has experienced the same thing. I had bilateral knee replacements, different from your back pain, but still a life changing experience! Please do not feel obligated to reply, just know I am here if you ever need me. Hang in there, girlfriend. Our choices/attitudes make all the difference!! Big prayers being sent your way. Happy Thanksgiving. [email protected]

      • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

        Thank you so much Becky for your concern/compassion towards me. I appreciate your email address and will keep it handy. I am (was) a very active person and all the restrictions recently placed upon me have totally thrown me for a loop. I did rely on family to get 80% of the Thanksgiving meal prepared and I do have to admit that the 20% that I did try to do put me right back to ground zero in my back issues. I had an appt. this morning and the Doctor was a little upset that I could barely walk into his office. I have recently learned that for my lumbar to get where I do not feel shooting pains down my entire left side I have to give up doing almost everything!! I am not pleased about that and the word “invalid” is coming to mind. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and daughter who just called me today to inform me she would come the weekend before Christmas from KY to do the baking this year because she knows that I am fretting about that. I love traditions and I am the baker in the family and everyone has their favorites; but, I already know that I will not be able to stand for hours upon hours this year. Again, thanks for your support it means a great deal to me. I hope you are well and sending blessings to you.

  21. Lee Rose says:

    Safe travels. Sounds like you are hitting some bad weather this weekend. If you are in Richmond on Thanksgiving just drop me a note and you can come over for Turkey and all the fixin’s.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Lee . . . we think we are going to try to stay a bit behind the storm and from Oklahoma City go to St. Louis.

  22. Esther says:

    Two of the sweetest words in the world….going home!

  23. Tana says:

    You and Joe drive carefully going home. I am glad you are not going to rush to make it back in time for Thanksgiving. The weather looks dicey. You are driving with my prayers.

    • sbranch says:

      Very nice to hear Tana…today is our trek from Amarillo to Oklahoma City and I think your prayers might just come in very handy! xoxo

  24. Mona Duffy says:

    I am sitting here stunned..this is what happens when you follow threads. I can’t even figure out how I came to find myself here..but I am so pleased. How in the world you have time to blog with all that you have going amazing to me.
    Going home has always been a big thing in my life. Married to a serviceman from the age of 17, it seems I was always waiting to hear he had orders to be “going home”… I just ordered your 2014 calendar last night.. It’s always one of the highlight of the end of each year. I am now 77 and he has passed away. It was a wonderful 43 years. We had some wonderful travels and going home was a wonderful thing.
    I am totally “star struck” at the moment so please forgive my prattling on….
    Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

  25. Brenda Bakker says:

    Hi Susan! Each year I have so much to be thankful for but this year is particularly special. My husband is a pastor so we have lived in a lovely home provided by the church we’re serving at the time-ever since his first charge. This summer, due to a series of events, we were able to buy our own home for the first time in 35 years of marriage. We chose a modest ’50’s home (it was the only one for sale in our little burg!) that the previous young lady had up-dated with paint…except for the kitchen. We hope to do a bit of up-dating next summer but must be patient until then. Do you remember “Harvest Gold and Avacado Green” from the ’70’s? Well, my kitchen paid homage to both! They are really NOT my choice of colors but I thought I could live with them until next summer. I was wrong. I couldn’t. The faded drab color (which was once vibrant I’m sure) wore on my spirit…but what color to paint? I stewed on this for over a month…so unsure and indecisive…I’d always had “Preacher Beige” (as my children called it!). Then I remembered your kitchen up-date. I loved your color so I too painted my kitchen Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue. I accent with sweet cherries/red. I made little valences with fabric left over from a previous project and a cherry print my mom had picked up for me, and painted a little table white along with the frame on the bulletin board. Saturday evening, after hanging a few pictures, I had a delightful cup of tea in my “new” kitchen. It looks and feels like home. I can’t wait to surprise my grown children, my mom, and my brother and his family with the new look when they arrive for Thanksgiving. Thank you not only for the color inspiration but also the daily inspiration of your blog and your art. I am thankful…for YOU!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Brenda, I hear your joy and I’m so happy for you! How wonderful, your first home, and now a newly painted kitchen. Happy happy Thanksgiving!

  26. sondra fox says:

    I didn’t think you were going to more bookstores on the way back east. Wow, don’t you ever tire? You’ve “got” to be taking high potency vitamins.

    Love your pictures & can’t help feeling that my husband, our cat & dog, & myself have travelled along the same roads. That rock above the house is amazing. Don’t think I could sleep at night if I lived there.

    The moon has always meant a lot to my husband & I. For instance, when he travelled I’d always tell him we were looking at the same moon. When we thought of the distance between us, the miles diminished when we thought thoughts like that.

    Wishing you & Joe a wonderful Thanksgiving. You have so much to be thankful for, especially the way you two compliment one another. I won’t worry over you having dinner in a highway restaurant, as I know you’ll enjoy yourselves no matter where you are, as long as you’re TOGETHER. God’s blessings as you travel down the highway. Our family will be in Lake Tahoe at a home we always go to on Thanksgiving. We will give thanks for the many years of good times, when my husband Larry was with us. This will be our first Thanksgiving without our dear Peepaw. Peepaw will be at a huge table feasting with God this year.

    I’ve been looking at recipes online, for ways in which to cook a turkey. WOW, I can’t believe the multitude of ways in which to cook a turkey!

    Blessings to you & yours. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Tahoe, how perfect for Thanksgiving. Among the pine trees, it will be beautiful up there. You can hold hands and bring Larry right back to the table with you. Blessings on you and your family Sandy. As for turkey, too many ways, but roasting, and butter basting, that’s the best forever. Deep fried? I have never understood it because there is no stuffing! Have had it a couple of times, it doesn’t taste any better to me, all that dangerous oil, cooking in trash can, no cozy good smells in house and no stuffing roasting for hours inside turkey with flavorful meat juices. Nope, give me my grandma’s turkey any day of the week.

      • sondra fox says:

        I totally agree with you Susan. Frying the turkey sounds so dangerous to me. I’ve heard of houses burning up due to this method, as well as the cook getting badly burned. I did come across a stuffing I’m going to try though. Lord forbid that I deviate from “any” of the dishes that we have for the holidays. Our family would have a fit if I set out anything other than the traditional foods. But, I’ve got to try this dressing recipe. It’s got sausage & the other ingredients you usually put in the dressing, the celery, onions, herbs, bread, but, here’s the thing that’s different, you lightly sauté wings ,& place them over the sausage dressing that’s in a casserole dish. The wings flavor the dressing. I’d also make the usual dressing & stuff that dressing into the turkey. Don’t even know if my family will try the sausage dressing.
        I’ll be thinking of you on Thanksgiving, hoping the two of you are enjoying yourselves. What am I saying? Just like I parent & Grand parent, I “trust” the two of you to have a wonderful holiday. I know you will. Happy Trails (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Becky from Lockport, Illinois says:

        It is dangerous …my son had a turkey explode on his driveway as he and his friends were taking it out of the deep fryer…no one was hurt thankfully and the wild life had a feast!

    • EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

      Sondra, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and happy memories of Larry to comfort you. My advice is that you sit in the place that Larry always sat in at the’s almost like a hug & you won’t have to see anyone else sitting there. My husband & I hosted Thanksgiving here beginning 1982 and I still host it, now 16 years without him. Every year, as I’m making preparations, I’m reminded of the time I told him let’s have someone else host next year and he said he loved having eveyone here and would not want to miss out on that. So I always feel he has to be here in spirit so as not to miss out and of course now I have two children-in-law and three grandchildren plus numerous great-nieces and great nephews to fill the house too! It makes me count my blessings!
      Note to Susan, I’ve been trying to tweet picture of lovely Santa Christmas towel my sweet daughter brought her mom but twitter will not cooperate! I will try again later. I’m off to lunch with girlfriends. XO

      • sbranch says:

        What a beautiful idea Susan!

      • sondra fox says:

        EsSuzy, Just read your message today, when I got home from our Thanksgiving trip. Love your idea of sitting in my husband’s place. Too late for this year, but I’ll do that next year. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Very kind of you. Merry Christmas. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  27. Mary Anne Helms says:

    Happy Monday!!! Hoping all is well in Oklahoma this morning, I have been playing with Google maps and see that it is only 18.5 hours from St. Louis to Wood’s Hole!!! Home in sight and not so long now. The only problem could be snow on Wednesday in PA/Upstate NY but you should be behind that hopefully.
    What crazy weather!!! Drive carefully as I am sure you will. Thinking of you as you cover these last miles home. As lovely as snow can be, I always think it is best viewed from indoors and not on the road! And I hope you find a nice place for a wee Thanksgiving meal. Can’t wait until you are finally HOME safely. xx

    • sbranch says:

      We are waiting until the “sun” comes up before we leave Amarillo, then we have about 4 hours to Oklahoma City. It will be very nice when we get there…we saw a truck crash, 6 semis spread all over the highway day before yesterday on the way here from Albuquerque. Very unnerving. We’ll be fine, Joe is a really good driver and of course he has me for second pair of eyes, which he loves (not). Thank you Mary Anne, won’t be long now!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Imagine all the girlfriends are praying for your safe travel. All that wet and snowy weather from AZ this weekend is heading east but I know you’ll be safe with Joe behind the wheel. As your favorite Mark Twain said, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get”. Enjoy the unexpected … and the adventure!

      • Lee Rose says:

        I think you could make this reply into a Country Western song.

      • sondra fox says:

        Somehow, it’s very difficult getting accidents out of your mind when you’re traveling. We’ve had similar experiences on the road. Makes you slow down & be overly cautious, right? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  28. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Oh GF, happy you’re waiting ’till the sun’s up! Black ice, yikes, good thing Joe’s had lots of winter driving experience living on the East Coast! Hope you four have your woolies with you, looks cold in OK. I’m sitting here in flannels, socks, heavy coat, hat, scarf & had to take off the gloves to type…..bbbrrr…kkkcold in here this morning…heater is on!!! Safe travels! xoxo

  29. Shawnee in Naples~ says:

    My dear Mother, Rachel, (born 1924) always said to make a wish on hay trucks..I had always thought she made it up…but there, you too make wishes…She also used to say when you come upon a rose unexpectedly….make a wish!

    Drive safe, be careful, and Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I was thinking about you both this past weekend, I use to live in Oklahoma and remember those ice, snow, storms and people trying to get across the state. I pray you both are safe somewhere on your journey!

  31. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    Susan…Thank you for your concern about my husband’s cardiac procedure (it was a SB day of reading at the hospital!). It went well and we will express great appreciation on Thanksgiving (actually, everyday)! 🙂 Praying for safe travels, cheery Hampton Inns, and a memorable Thanksgiving feast while on the road home! Thanks for taking us along…charlene

  32. Joan Georghiou says:

    Hi Susan, Just wanted to drop a line to let you know you are now a full-fledged part of our Thanksgiving TRADITIONS. My daughter is now 23 years old. In those 23 years our menu has always been the same (at her insistance). I have tried to change things and she says “I don’t think so…that insn’t our Tradition”. There is one thing that has changed through the years and that is the chicken stock recipe I use for the dressing. I have tried so many and was never completely happy until last year when I came across your “signature” recipe. It was the one I had been searching for! Immediately after Thanksgiving it was placed in the “Thanksgiving Traditions” recipe envelope never to be removed! So thank you for the recipe and we are sending you and Joe Happy Thanksgiving wishes on the road.

  33. Lori from MN says:

    Dear Susan~
    So glad to hear you are on your way home! Your book tour has been interesting but I will be glad when you are home again and filling us in on all the fun, warm and cozy things you are up to. And, you are exactly right, I have been working on my Thanksgiving menu, starting to think about decoration for the holidays, doing a bit of shopping, thinking about how to make the holidays special for my kids, drinking tea and hugging my husband. So much to be thankful for! Wishing you safe travels a good weather~ see you at HOME!

  34. Rosemary says:

    Load of hay, load of hay…make a wish and turn away! That one? Me, too. I almost got the ‘girls’ to go on an adventure to OKC to Full Circle Books with me today so I could see you again (Wichita) but the weather is questionable and everyone has a lot to do with Thanksgiving preparations. You must be so near North Texas (Dallas area). Hope you are safe and warm and that you will be behind the storm that is barreling across the country. Happy Thanksgiving! Anxious for you to get to the ferry ♡.

  35. barbara lassiter says:

    Enjoyed this post. Thanks so much!

  36. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello Travelers,
    Well, wondering how you two were doing after seeing the weather in the south west looking pretty horrible on the news this morning. You are smart to wait for the sun to come up and melt some of the ice away. Do be carefull! I agree with Toni in the “pull over and wait out the storm” advice. I’ve been on too many vehicle accidents that were unfortunate due to weather. Soooo, please from the EMS girl here… safe. We just couldn’t do without you two and your kitties and all your loveliness.
    I was wondering if you were going to make it home for Thanksgiving. There is no rule that says you can’t have a “Feast of Thanksgiving” when you do get home 🙂 I’m flying out to Colorado on Friday morning…. after having the first Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, to cook another one for family out there. I just love to cook for everyone, and want to try some new things this year. So, am reading up on different versions of the favorites. I’ll let you know how it goes…lol.
    One more book signing and you’ll be on your way home. Know that you and Joe are in all our prayers.
    Safe Travels you two!
    Jan from Northern CA

  37. Carol D. from Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Susan, I just had to say, I’ve got you in my prayers for a safe trip home. I saw the weather on the news this morning and thought of you and Joe immediately. Drive safely and keep warm! And please let me indulge my motherly side when I tell you, if the weather gets too bad, STAY PUT until it gets better! Have a Happy Thanksgiving wherever you end up celebrating it!

  38. Jules says:

    Hi Susan!
    I love your enchanting writing style. Thanks for sharing your life. If you are going to be near Indianapolis, Indiana on Thanksgiving day, I’d like to invite you to my house. It’s a very small and humble home with a kitty, but it’s cozy.

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds perfectly wonderful Jules … we are trying to stay south while going north to keep away from slick roads as long as possible … just looking at our map this morning! Happy Thanksgiving xoxo

  39. Glenda says:


    I wrote a long comment yesterday morning, but it appears to have been deleted. Will make this one short. Just wanted you to know I really love your new book, it is over the top! I didn’t want it to end. Thank you for sharing yet another wonderful experience with us. You and Joe seem so happy and are enjoying life as it should be enjoyed!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s probably still there Glenda, just with the travel and the book signings I get behind with the “approvals” — am off to remedy that this morning! I am so happy you liked the book!! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me xoxo

  40. Paula says:

    What a joy to “travel” along with you and Joe via this blog, Susan! I love the pictures of the wide open spaces, and I think you are wise to go the more southerly route. It seems that whether it is March or October, there is a stretch on the highway through southern Wyoming that is icy, and we have seen many semi trucks that have slipped right off the road, while driving that route!

    What a darling picture of Jack and Simon!

    Hampton Inns should give you a good discount for advertising for them; so many of us read your blogs and try things you recommend! 🙂

    I join with the other girlfriends in praying for your safe drive home. I love it that you make “home” where ever you are, even Hampton Inn!

    • sbranch says:

      Which is where we are right now, in Oklahoma City! Did our last signing on this leg of our tour just last night, and on our way soon!

  41. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m still reminiscing over Remnants From the Past,*sigh.* It all went too fast. I was looking at your blog pictures of the day’s event in SLO. I thought, while the picture was being taken of all those ladies visiting your booth, a bunch of us were on the other side of the booth, sharing anecdotes, laughing and just plain carrying on. It was fun, I haven’t done that in ages. I’m usually off and running, no time to just ‘shoot the breeze.’ The day was beautiful and it was fun. I caught my son and hubby standing on the sidelines, just watching us. They never really get to see me in ‘my elements.’ I never slow down enough to do it. I just had to laugh when my son said, we were like a bunch of little hens out there, ‘pick a little, talk a little, pick a little. Talk a little, cheep, cheep, cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more, (music man).’ Anyways, it was all in a day. We did manage to go to Avila Beach which is really pretty. I wanted to go down the looooooong pier, but I didn’t because I wanted to get back to Remnants for your signing. Ate some real good clam chowder in the evening in SLO and my husband bought some beer to take home from one of the micro breweries there.

    Well, I just read that the weather is pretty rough out there. Please stay safe as you make your way home…. I’ll say a little prayer for you.

  42. Lori Montgomery says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,

    It was wonderful meeting you last night at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City. I’m so excited I got the opportunity to meet you. I have been buying and receiving your books as presents for years and love them so much. You were so kind to sign a copy of your book “A Fine Romance” for my niece Sarah. I’m positive she will love it and it will be even more special because you signed it from you and her Lulu. I look forward to reading “A Fine Romance” from cover to cover. I’m sure I will treasure and read it over and over. Have a safe trip home to Martha’s Vineyard and a happy, happy Thanksgiving. I’m sure your kitties will be thrilled to see you at last. I look forward to seeing you again when you are on your next book tour. Blessings to you!

  43. Ricki says:

    Time to go! I just got here and put my pillow in the van and I know you don’t mind if I bring Charlie, my tuxedo kitty to play with Jack. I didn’t have any of Rachel’s cookies so bringing vanilla wafers. Our tour was so fun but let’s go home. Prayers are said and girlfriends are lining up outside with snacks and pillows. We will help Joe. Hugs Ricki

  44. judi says:

    Well sweeties, you are on your way. Hope you can just post a just few word each day to let us know where you are. We are like a bunch of mother hens worrying about you two chicks:)

    Hope you called your BFF neighbor and had her pick up a turkey to stick in your freezer. We have a 22# one for Thanksgiving (only 9 of us this year) and we picked up a 12# one to make in Jan. whilst the prices are so great:) We will all breathe a sign of relief when you pull in your driveway:)))) xoxoxo judi

  45. Faith rose says:

    I am sorry you won’t be home for Thanksgiving! But like you said I won’t worry!I love to travel!When I was eight my family and I traveled many places in are camper.I am home schooled so we did some book work in the car but we mostly learned about everything by stopping at places!We stopped in Albuquerque as well! There’s nothing like traveling like you are doing!But then again there’s nothing like home!I love the poem that you had in the post about God blessing the home ! It’s so beautiful!Thank you Susan for this lovely post! P.S I am drinking this candy cane tea which I love! It’s cheap and wonderful! It’s from Trader Joes if you have one near you you have to pick it up!

  46. Mary Anne Helms says:

    HOME…. the best 4 letters in the alphabet!! Hope you are on your way. The east coast has managed to avoid all the snow…just lots of rain and very warm. You need to be here!!! xxx

  47. pat c says:

    Hi Susan,
    Yes, I wish on hay in trucks, on tractors, wherever! My mother taught me that. She always said to make a wish whenever you see they hay.

    She was Irish and brought up in NYC but I’m thinking maybe her mother, who grew up on a farm in Ireland, told her to do that.

    I love how you and Joe are getting to see so much of our beautiful country! And sharing it!

  48. diana navarre says:

    I HAD to laugh when you said “trucks going 63 mph passing trucks going 62. ”
    We live just east of Albuquerque and I say that everytime I head to town! Such a funny thing to me – why they do that.
    Would have come out to meet you but had surgery on the 19th – I’m fine but I wasn’t on the day you were here!
    Hoping to get to Martha’s Vinyard in April – I know I won’t see you – but will see all the places you talk about!
    Thanks, love

  49. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Hello Sweeties , i am praying for you to have a safe wonderful trip home to MV. I will cont to keep u in my prayers, i knew the weather would be about what uve had so holding the thaughts of a safe passage home with joy n laughter, and lots of fun and eye candy n beautiful christmas music , Happiest of Thanksgiving , i am so greatful for what i have and have not . Also for you Sue n Joe being there for you to love n charish you and Peg to hold down the fort in Ca. Wishing all the best to stay warm n safe n alert. Love to you all Cheyenne in Henderson Nv XXX

  50. Cheyenne Renard says:

    Be sure to post when u get home just a little note to say Were Home Safe n Sound love to you Cheyenne

  51. sondra fox says:

    Hello You Two! Your blog reminded me of the many times I’ve greeted my Gram’s house in PA, where I grew up. When I’d go to her house on trips from CA, I’d go through the entire old house saying “hello” to each room. When I’d leave to return to CA, I’d go through the old house once again, saying “goodbye,” until the next time I’d visit my family. You too know the secret of old houses Susan. Old houses are alive with memories & the souls of all the people & pets who lived in them. Each room contains stories of the past. Each room kept our family safe & secure when winter storms were howling outside. I love that old house, as you do yours. May your home always provide you with a feeling of being safe & secure, filled with love for all who enter or live there. Love ‘ya, (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  52. tanya says:

    oh love that signs- reading is tops!!!

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