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

Home sweet home


July 08 Vineyard 1339

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

Our House with the flag

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


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

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

photo 2

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

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

my frog is green now

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

photo 4

Flowers accidentally broken off during planting . . .get-attachment.aspxIMG_2198

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

R O A D    T R I P !


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

California garden

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


By the time we finished, it was dark outside!


Our girlfriends are so cute!


The smiles never ended . . .beautifulfacesIMG_0098

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


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


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



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


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


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


Mom’s and daughters . . .


And whole families!!!


And husbands and wives.


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


I could see “guardian angel” in their eyes.


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


These girls knew how to celebrate . . .


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

potato chip cookies


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

IMG_0929Fairy Tale Dudes and their Fairy Tale Girls . . .


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


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


Tennessee! Off to Memphis and the Booksellers at Laurelwood.


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


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


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


… Where nothing’s changed since the 1950s.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Smiles I loved meeting . . .


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


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

XXX FoxTale Woodstock GA

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


Love you!


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


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


Baby sister is feisty!IMG_1488

But big sister wins for most adorable shoes and socks!


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


Everyone . . .


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


Hello everyone! 💏

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


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


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


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


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


Daughters and Moms, I felt so honored!


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


Past fields of wildflowers . . .





what a wonderful world


Little churches . . . houses and barns . . .


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


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


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


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


With views to everywhere . . .


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


And were rewarded with amazing sunrises . . .


And lovely roadside views, truck free . . .


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


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


and Boyfriends with good attitudes . . .

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1,009 Responses to REEELY BIG ONE, reeely

  1. Ellen Eastman says:

    Thank you, Susan, for sharing your travels. You make me feel like I am riding along with you.
    I am sorry to hear about your dad. There is a special bond between dads and daughters. Cherish the memories.
    Hugs –

  2. Jonna Green says:

    Dear Susan,

    First I want to send you my deepest sympathy. I know how hard it is to lose a parent as I lost both of my parents almost 9 years ago, 7 weeks apart. My Dad’s passing was completely unexpected and my children were very young at the time (my twins had just turned 3 and my oldest had turned 6), then my Mom 7 weeks later. Through your blog, it was so evident how close you were. I am really so very sorry for you loss. Your re-cap of your cross country trip was fabulous and you can tell how loved you are for all you do! You are an amazing and talented woman! Looking forward to reading your latest work. Thank you! Jonna Green

  3. Peggy says:

    So very strange – I had a strong feeling that your sweet Dad had died while you were on this road trip. Strange. I lost my Dad in 1997 and I miss him every day. But you know, he is around and I feel him at times and I remember things he said to me at times when I really need it. I know your Dad will do the same for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I can remember leaving the house after my Dad died and being completely shocked that the world seemed to be going on as usual when something so momentous and shattering had happened! We are very fortunate people to have had fathers we were close to and thought the world of us. On a different note, I hope you will return to Fredricksburg, Texas sometime! I just got home today from a few days there. I love that area of Texas. The heat can be a lot to bear in the summer but I am a Texan and have learned to grin and bear it for the most part. Oh, okay, sometimes I complain about it a lot and I carry a fan! Much love to you. You are in my thoughts.

  4. Susan Morgon ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words . Susan, I was so sorry to read of your daddy’s passing. In a way, it’s a loss for all of us here. I know I always enjoyed reading his comments. Thank you for sharing him with us and letting us know him better
    through your books. My own father has been gone for twenty-one years now. I remembered how I felt , and the memory brought a few tears for you. Our loved ones are always in our hearts!
    The travel pictures are just wonderful! It’s been fun journeying with you. The kitties made me smile. Whenever Mom and I took a short bus trip, the furry princess was always a bit aloof when we returned. We had to be taught our place, and she reminded us every time!

  5. What a lovely telling of your adventure. I wish I could have been close enough to go to one of your book signings!

    I am so sorry to hear about your dear, sweet dad. I lost my daddy 18 years ago next month. I don’t know how it can possibly be that long. I was only 27 and he was 50. It’s entirely too young. I love the way your dad loved you and let you know it. What a great example he is to all of us.

  6. Ruth Medlin says:

    Hi Susan,
    Oh goodness. So, so sorry about losing your dad. I know he was a very important part of your life and has left a hole in your heart. Blessings to you, dear Susan.

    I was at the SLO signing and thoroughly enjoyed seeing you and getting a couple of my Susan books signed. BTW, I love, love, love the new 30 year edition of Heart of the Home cookbook. I am lucky enough to have the original edition and now this one. I am a happy girl. Thank you for being you and for doing all that you do. Enjoy your family reunion and the fall trip and keep us updated as you blog your way through the rest of the year.

  7. Mamey says:

    I was sooo happy to see your new blog post. I’ve missed them. Wonderful pictures of your travels and congrats on the NY Times bestseller list. You are a true GEM Susan! I am saddened to hear the news of your Daddy. I remember when I lost my dad when I was 27…it’s not easy, but remembering the good times and how blessed I was to have him as a Dad helped. May this help you as well. Welcome Home!!

  8. Mary, St.Louis says:

    I just saw your blogpost ,well, about an hour ago, now ( it was a reeely big one…but I love it! ) I’m so so sorry about your Dad. I know how that feels, and my heart goes out to you, and your family. It’s wonderful that you are getting together, though. It will be the best thing for all of you…to be together; and just what your Dad would want. God bless ! XOXO

  9. Susan Joy says:

    My Dearest Susan,
    The words “I’m sorry” just don’t seem like enough, but I am. I’ve lost both of my parents and no matter what age you are, you still feel like an orphan. Last year my only brother died suddenly and seven months later my wonderful husband of twenty nine years past away after being ill for a year and a half. He was only 51 years old. I don’t know exactly how you feel but I certainly can relate to your broken heart. Please know that I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I often came to your blog when I had very dark days just because I knew you would bring some sunshine into my day. I wish I could send some of that sunshine back to you. Take care of yourself and know that your dad loved you so much and he will always be there with you.
    Love, Susan

    • sbranch says:

      You do Susan, bring back the sunshine to me, every time I see your name Susan Joy! Just being here for each other is gift enough.

  10. Linda says:

    Oh! Susan!!! I am crying for you, I was so shocked to read your blog today!!!! Please know that you are in my prayers for comfort and peace.
    Love you bunches!!
    Linda from PA
    ps. my daughter (she’s 15) will be on your island later this month, she doesn’t know it yet, it’s a surprise! I know she will just love it! She will be traveling with her grandfather.

  11. What a wonderful post this was! I am the one that asked you in Memphis how you possibly can reply to all your commenters so please do not feel the need to comment on this but I just wanted to tell you what joy it brought to my life to meet you in person and what an honor it was just to get to talk to you. I hope we can work it out for you to be on my podcast, Live Inspired this winter. I’ll remind you then, I promise. I’m so glad everyone across the country was so kind to you because you have brought such joy to our lives for so long. I lost my Dad at only 21 (he was 49) and I know firsthand the hurt you are feeling now. I was numb for a long, long time and I also did everything I ever did just so he would be proud of me but I am waiting to see him again in Heaven and living so I do! I know your Dad was so very proud of you, as we all are. Love and hugs to you! PS: I was astounded to find out via your Twitter that the weekend before I met you in Memphis, you were in Grapevine, TX. I was literally across the street at the Hilton waiting for my plane back to Nashville. I was teaching hand lettering at an event there. I could have popped over and saw you there too or saved myself a trip to Memphis. haha! That’ll teach me to not check your Twitter every day! I would have loved to see that British store too! XO!

  12. Suzanne says:

    Dear Susan,
    So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing . . . and even still your beautiful, sweet, spirit shines through your words. ♥

  13. Jeanie Piscitelli says:

    you have my deepest sympathy, I too lost my sweet Dad in April only 11 months after I lost my Mother. I to cant talk about how much I hurt , but they raise me to carry on Thank you for this post and for sharing

  14. Kelly H-Y says:

    Ohhhh, I was not expecting that ending. Tears. What a wonderful life your father lead and what a wonderful relationship you had … I am so very sorry for your loss. But, what a legacy you will continue. Beautiful blog post today.

  15. Stephanie says:

    Dearest Sue, your brave face showed so much courage. You are just like your dad and thank goodness you inherited his happy gene. We love reading about him in your books and on your blog. Every time we think of him and you it will remind us of the blessings of our own parents. I hope I can enjoy my mom and dad as long as you have enjoyed yours. I hope for comfort in your tears and brighter days with your very close family. You are an inspiration to all of us. You are all in our prayers. 💛

  16. Barb says:

    Was so very very sorry to hear of your dear Dads passing. I hope you and your family find great comfort in each other as you remember him when you are together soon. Happy you and Joy are home safe for awhile. And it goes without saying the blog continues to bless us all. Thank you Susan.

  17. Sharrie says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey, your happiness, and your joy of this third book. And thank you for sharing your dad, his warmth and humor here on the blog. Nothing we can say can take away the sorrow of such a loss, but we all feel a sadness and a sorrow with the passing of blog daddy. I’m very sorry for you and your family’s loss. ❤️ I am truly heartbroken.

  18. Merci says:

    Oh, my dear sweet Girlfriend, so very sorry for your loss. I know just how very special Blog Daddy was in your life, and how he had become a part of our life. Thank God you have precious memories that you will treasure forever. It’s so important to appreciate each other, life moves on ever so swiftly. My prayers and that of my husband are with you and your family.
    I finally met you in Prescott, AZ, and was not disappointed, you are such a wonderful lady and it was such a pleasure to meet you in person, I now feel like an official girlfriend. I wish you continued success, continued love and happiness!

  19. Susan Toye Ferguson says:

    Dear Susan,

    I send my heartfelt condolences on the loss of “Blog Daddy” – he was quite the guy, wasn’t he? You were so lucky to have him so very long and that he was able to share in all your wonderful success! You must remember that you will carry him further through life via your heart and soul and that he will always be with you.

    And it was wonderful to finally meet my “twin” at Titcomb’s – and thank you so much for telling me that you remember meeting my mother so many times – she always told you that you “…look so much like my Susan…”. I still have all those autographed books and I still cook from them, too!

    Your Vineyard book has been enormously helpful to me as I struggle through my own separation and divorce. It is so good to know that I am not the only woman who has gone through the life re-invention process later in life! I find it so reassuring to see your great success and you have helped me remember to just put one foot in front of the other…

    I hope you have found a wonderful place for your monogrammed towel. I have a feeling that the original “S B” is smiling down on you!

    The “Other” Susan (according to my Mother!)

    • sbranch says:

      One thing this book tour taught me, I probably already knew somewhere deep inside, is that old or young, we are all still the same people we always were on the inside . . . never that far from the curious, scared, thrilled little girls we once were. Nothing changes but what’s on the outside. Lovely to meet you Twin.

      • Susan Toye Ferguson says:

        I’m really only 39 in my head…and about 12 in my heart!
        Thank you, Susan…I deeply appreciate your thoughts and words.
        P.S. Damn that gray hair…it gives us away!


  20. Mylinda Drury says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just wanted to let you know that I’m so glad you guys made it home. I’ve missed you! I’ve missed reading your blog entries. (I’ve been checking every day since July 1st to see if you’d made it home yet!) And, sadly, I was too far away from any of the book signings, so I missed those, too. But, I have so enjoyed reading about your grand adventure and am so glad it was such a success and so much fun for you.
    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your daddy. Mine passed away nearly 14 years ago and sometimes it seems so long since I’ve seen or spoken to him and sometimes it seems like just yesterday. Occasionally I see a man in a store who reminds me of my daddy and I’ll just stare at him (I’m sure he thinks I’m a crazy woman! haha), as if it’s a little moment of heaven and I try to soak it in before it’s gone. I still miss him and probably always will, but it gets a little easier all the time.
    I look forward to reading about your next adventures, so THANK YOU for sharing them with us and allowing us to go on those grand adventures with you!! 🙂

  21. Trisha K in MO says:

    I’m so sorry! You have been in my prayers since I read your blog last night. I know this is a hectic time. Safe travels, I know the family celebration is the best medicine.

  22. Donna Rothe says:

    Susan, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes for so many reasons. First, the passing of your father but knowing youwill have wonderful memories of him for your lifetime. Secondly, …your blog. Thank you for allowing me the chance to live vicariously through you. Loved the pictures, the writing and all those happy faces of people of all ages that you met along the way.

    I’m heading to Santa Cruz, CA to visit my sister this week. If you do another book tour please consider ‘Bookshop Santa Cruz’, a wonderful independent bookstore. My sister works there and I know you would love it. It’s homey and has lots of little corners to sit a spell and read away.

    Again, thanks for ‘the memories’. You did good girlfriend.

    • sbranch says:

      💞 Two things my dad always said, “Do good work” and “Ya did good.” And when something wonderful happened he would say, “Try to do better.” Joking of course. So sweet.

  23. Tamara Thompson says:

    This song is for you Susan, I had it sung when my dear sister Becky passed away from cancer at only age 45… I hope it helps you as much as it did me. Tears and blessings flow together, I hope you will listen…

    • KarenP - Wisconsin says:

      Just beautiful, Tamara! Thank you for sharing that. Beautifully ministers to the hurting soul.💕

  24. Tamara Thompson says:

    PS ( just close your eyes, the pictures are distracting.)

  25. Jo says:

    So sorry for your loss and the pain it has brought you and the rest of those you love.
    So glad you were often surrounded by people who love you for the joy you bring them.

  26. Nina says:

    Dear Susan, I am in awe of your strength. When my mom passed I didn’t even want to dust the furniture for the mourners who came to the house. And you completed a nationwide tour. Wow. I almost can’t get my head around that. I don’t envy the first angel who meets your dad and tries to win bragging rights about his children. Your dad “loves everything about you.” It just does not get better than that. What a stunningly beautiful thing to say to anyone, but especially your daughter. I would be jealous if I hadn’t learned how inspiring and giving a person you are to everyone even complete strangers like me. You have a way of making us all feel loved warts and all. Your dad taught you that lesson well. I wish I could thank him for that…for you. But instead I’ll wish him Godspeed and hope the angels sing in tune:) Rest your mind and your heart and come back to us when you are ready. We need you. Love, nina.

    • sbranch says:

      If the angels sing off tune a bit, then my dad will fit right in! Thank you Nina! And your words were just perfect, “stunningly beautiful,” it meant everything to me.

  27. LINDA JUNE says:

    What a wonderful blog! Thanks for taking us along on your travels–really enjoyed the ride. And I’m so sorry that you had to hold back all your tears from the death of your dear father for the sake of your girlfriends. Such courage.
    I lost mine, so I know how much it hurts when you have loved someone so much. You really want to cry out, “I’m hurting–hurt with me.” Must have been really hard for you, but your pictures belie your sorrow.

    • sbranch says:

      I was really two people on this trip. That’s the only way I can explain it. But I guess we all are at times, the private us vs the public us. It was such a shock, despite my dad’s age, I had to get used to it before I could talk about it. I wasn’t even planning to put it in this blog, but it just came naturally there at the end, so I guess it was time.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        You know, I’ve had times in my life where I was two people and thought there must be something wrong with me. Now I’m learning it can be normal. I’m glad you told us about your Dad. You’ve been such a strong support to all of us and now we can be there for you. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

  28. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Oh Susan….I lost my Dad June 8, and my daughter and I saw you in Prescott June 11. What a sweet blessing you were for me that week. We did ask Joe about your Dad, because I knew he was supposed to come with you, and he very sweetly told us he wasn’t doing well. I’m so very sorry. We would have all completely understood had you canceled your trip, but what an honor to your Dad that his sweet Sue was living life, being and sharing her wonderful self with all the girlfriends who love her! May all the beautiful memories you have of your Dad bless and comfort your heart each day. My thoughts and prayers are with as you join with your family in Colorado, making precious new memories. ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      And there we were, both in the same boat of upper lip stiffening, and love. It was a beautiful day wasn’t it Lisa? I’m so glad we were there! I would have been letting down so many people if I had canceled, book store people too, and also let’s not forget, my dad. xoxo I’m so sorry for your loss Lisa, I think for a change, I can almost say, I know JUST how you feel.

      • Lisa R (northern Az) says:

        Yes it was a beautiful day, and you are a beautiful soul. I always thought of your Dad when we went to Cottonwood. I still will. I’ll think of you both, when I think of my Dad and me. Big, big hugs to you Susan….I hope to see you again someday. Xoxo

  29. Nor Azlina Lop says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a wonderful read, as usual…The welcoming feeling , the smiles and the love you experienced at every stop must be very rewarding after all the months of writing and drawing.
    I am very sorry to hear about you dad’s passing. All dads are special. I lost mine about ten years ago and i still think of him. I am sure you felt the same way too about your dad. My love, prayers and thoughts to you, your dad and your wonderful siblings. Sending warmest hugs……Nor

  30. Nicoline says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Thank you so much for the long, lovely post, taking us along with your trip.
    Oh the cats!! They must certainly be so happy to have you back, sweet darlings!
    I am so sorry to read about the loss of your lovely father. He seemed to have such character and he was so proud of you. I very much hope that the hurt will become less with time as you fill your days, heart and mind with memories of a lifetime of moments spent together and the love shared.
    I hope the family trip will be sweet balm for the soul, and I hope the summer will be a happy one for you.
    Looking forward to Stourhead in September! xox

  31. Dearest Susan,
    Blessings upon you for all that you have given to us through sharing your beautiful self. You have inspired us all with your love, your talent , and your hope for the world. You have given us tangible evidence of seeing the world through beautiful eyes, through your books, your beautiful words , and your lovely illustrations. You have traveled to see us, cheer us, and encourage us on, all while your own heart was breaking. You have given us beautiful quotes to cherish. Now I give two quotes to you , that perhaps you have read, but become all the more meaningful now, as your mourn the loss of you dear father.
    “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” (Isak Dinesen)
    May your beloved sea comfort you. May your beloved friends and family comfort you.
    “Let your tears come…let them water your soul” (Eileen Mayhew)
    Blessings to you ..Your heart has provided comfort for the world..May you now be comforted.

    • sylvia in seattle says:

      These are lovely quotes. Often in times of turmoil and sadness the Ocean called me to its edge; I could put “the world” behind me and just gaze at the sea. Letting emotion “flow” into it has a soothing effect and the vastness of that moving water puts things in perspective. Sorry to butt in here, I just wanted to thank you for reminding me how much I love the sea and for the thoughts and feelings your quotes brought to me.

  32. Dearest Susan,

    I was so very saddened when I read your words. The loss of someone we hold so close to our hearts is a heavy weight. The memories you make with those that you love are so very important. For it is memories that you are left with. So, I hope that singing around a campfire, laughing, crying, toasting s’mores and being with those you love, you will all be able to share your loss together and shared together, the weight will be a little lighter. Your in my thoughts and prayers! Jennifer xoxo

  33. Heather L. says:

    Oh wow. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I can’t imagine you had to go and do all this touring with that so fresh on your heart and no one knowing. So glad you had Joe and perhaps all the time driving was good for mourning and remembering. Thank you for sharing with us. We will miss him on the blog!

    Taking your trilogy to a dear friend today who is in great pain as she awaits major back surgery later this week. She begged me to bring her books, so I’ll take her my best!

  34. Sally Roth says:

    Susan, my heart breaks for the loss of your wonderful father. He is so proud of you for your courage and your people are too. You carried on and didn’t cancel your joy-spreading trip, and now you’ve shared with us who didn’t have the fun of seeing you and Joe in person.
    Enjoy your family now and thank you for everything! Sally

  35. Kim Skaggs says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. We lost my dad 3 years ago and at 55 I felt like an orphan. I admire your strength (and Joe’s supporting hands) as grief hits you when you least expect it. Being with family will help. Your trip must have been amazing. You were able to see our beautiful country and meet some of its lovely people. I especially love the babies and the little girl’s socks 🙂 . Thanks for taking us along for the ride. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of sadness and happiness. Laughter through tears. Kim S in TN

  36. Marissa says:

    Dearest Susan,
    As usual, I’m laughing and crying and inspired and happy from your stories. You have the capacity to bring so much joy to so many people. You are such a special person who uplifts so many. Your Dad was lucky to have a daughter like you and you were in turn lucky to have him. My Dad is in that sparkling Paradise as well, and if it’s any comfort to you, I think I feel him more now than when he was here on Earth. It’s like having this special presence around you whenever you need it! Talk to him and listen for an answer in your heart. 🙂 Susan, THANK YOU for sharing, thank you for the joy and thank you for being you!

  37. Julie says:

    oh Susan, I’m so sorry about your dad….what a special relationship you had with him. I’m glad you will have the chance to get together with your family to celebrate his life and your love for him. Thank you again for sharing your travels. I was very sad not to have been able to some see you speak but the next best thing was reading your account of your trip. Please write more so you can travel more and so maybe I will be at a place in my life to come meet you then! Safe travels, love and hugs……Julie

  38. Judy from Maine says:

    Dad’s and daughters, there can be nothing more perfect in this world for those of us who were lucky enough to have the best Dad in the world. I know I was one of those lucky daughters, and you were too. Now is time to remember and cherish.

  39. KarenP - Wisconsin says:

    I was reminded this morning of how precious our sorrow and grieving is in God’s eyes. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 Just wanted to send hugs again today.💕

  40. Linda in Pennsylvania says:

    Dear Susan, Thank you for this beautiful blog. It was a dream come true meeting you in New Hope – you are a gracious, lovely, kind, and funny girlfriend. I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s passing – I cried when I read that. I lost my dad 14 years ago. When I would be saying goodbye after visiting with him, he always said, “Be good to yourself, honey.” I can still hear him saying that to me, and I know he’s still watching over me, as your dad is watching over you. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
    Linda xoxo💜

  41. Terry C says:

    I am so so sorry to read about the loss of your dad. His last words to you made me cry. Those words, what a gift he has given you. Daddies are so special. You are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. (((Hugs)))

  42. Lisa YB says:

    Wow Susan, what a busy , lovely trip. With all that is happening in our world, so nice to know there are still loving , friendly, American people in our country.
    What memories you made and gave to everyone you guys met.
    Thanks for sharing. You know how to brighten peoples days!!

    • sbranch says:

      99 and 999/1000’s of the people in this world are wonderful, want to live in peace, drink clean water, raise healthy children, go to the parks and fly kites and eat popsicles, never forget that. It’s just the squeaky wheels that get the grease. Have to figure out how to change that. xoxo

  43. Julie Lindsay says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Blog Daddy with us all. He will be missed by so many. Big huge hug to you Susan.

  44. Charissa says:

    I couldn’t find the right words when I wrote to thank you for the gift of your tour in the midst of your grief. I suddenly remembered this story because it is something my husband and I try to do for each other every Christmas and because I had the same feeling when I learned of your gift to us.

    Some time ago there was an American missionary living in a very tiny African village. The young woman was a teacher who labored alongside the natives. One Christmas Eve a little boy from the missionary’s class proudly brought her a crudely wrapped gift. The teacher was surprised. This little boy was poor.

    What could he possibly give?

    The teacher unwrapped the present and found within the crumpled brown paper an exquisite seashell. The missionary, knowing that the only place to find such shells was many rugged miles away, expressed her enthusiastic appreciation.

    “My goodness,” she told him, “you’ve traveled so far to bring me such a wonderful present.”

    At first the boy appeared surprised by her reaction, but his eyes quickly brightened and a wide smile crept across his small face.

    “Oh, teacher,” he explained, “long walk part of gift.”

  45. Kerrie Foley says:

    Dear Susan, There are no words. Just know that I am sending you the warmest of hugs because of course, there are no words. Much love, Kerrie

  46. Catie says:

    Oh Susan…I am SO sorry to hear about the passing of Blog Daddy. Through your writing, I know how important he was to you. And still is. Grief ebbs but love forever swells.

    He lives on and on in your heart and in ours. God bless you, dear girl.
    Hugs multiplied by Infinity. Catie

  47. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, Susan….I was enjoying your post so very much, and then read of your father’s passing. I am so sorry, and you have my sympathy and will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am so happy that you have so many good memories of your life with your Dad. That is what counts…and you will always have that. I saw this post a few days ago and waited to read it because I was RIGHT in the middle of Isle of Dreams and wanted to finish it before I read this. WONDERFUL ! LOVED IT ! Saved it for summer so I could savor it, on the porch, with tea, and an afghan, in the early morning, with the PA birds singing. Your book was entertaining, uplifting and educational….a blueprint for how to enjoy life. I identified with your road trip…my guardian angel husband of almost 40 years drove me to the ALA conference in Orlando, FL in late June. We went because I was honored with the AASL Roald Dahl Miss Honey Award for Social Justice ( what a mouthful) for a school project we do with our 6th graders on Holocaust Children. It was wonderful, moving, sad…and I had to give a speech, so I loved your passages in the book about public speaking. We drove because you get so many free books and stuff at a big conference, and we packed the car like you did, with books ! And other fun stuff, too. Then we drove home slowly through Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware ( sometimes stopping at motels, sometimes at fabulous B&Bs) checking out spots that we might like for retirement. And, you won’t be surprised to discover that we decided we cannot live without the SEASONS! No Florida for us…it was beautiful, but I kept thinking I will miss the leaves, pumpkin muffins, fires, toasted cheese, cozy nights….so if anywhere, Delaware! Lots of fun to explore….
    OK…I don’t know if you will get to read this before you leave for your family trip ( I love family times – was at a shower yesterday and got to hold my GREAT GREAT NIECE Violet…BLISS) but I wanted to share it with you in case you never saw it – doubtful – and because you love quotes, as I do. Found it on a card in an old church in England years ago, and have used it in both my mother and brother’s eulogy….it gives me peace, and I hope it does the same for you. Love and hugs and sympathy –

    Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened.
    Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no air of forced solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me , pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight. I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is passed, nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. Only better, infinitely happier, and forever we will all be together with Christ.

    • sbranch says:

      So lovely. And you know what, I had already decided that the best course of all was denial. I told Joe, Dad’s not gone, his phone is just broken. He’s as here as he’s ever been, to me. Congratulations on such a fine honor, by the way, that is wonderful!!! And yes long trips are great teachers! xoxo

      • Ann Y. says:

        I love the idea of the broken phone….and what a blessing to have his voice recorded somewhere. My dear sister is gone 22 years, and I miss the way she would answer the phone and her voice. Every so often I pull out an old VHS tape where we were all recorded at a wedding….just to hear the voices of loved ones gone on ahead. Technology as a blessing ! Thank you for the congratulations…I am still floating on air. The award came with 5000 dollars of books for our school, and a cash award that the teachers and I are deciding on how to use to promote social justice. Life is good. Once again, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

      • Cindy in Paso says:

        So beautiful!!!

  48. Deb Antram says:


    I found a wonderful quote from Longfellow on a greeting card when I lost my dear aunt. I keep it framed on my dresser. It says…

    Silently, one by one
    in the infinite meadows of Heaven,
    blossomed the lovely stars,
    the forget-me-nots of Angels.

    So sorry for your loss.

  49. Ann says:

    Oh Susan, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. By the time I got to the end of your post I was crying too thinking about my own father who passed a few years ago. I still feel his presence in my life and this morning was definitely one of them.

  50. Sally D says:

    Crying for your loss, rejoicing in your joys. Love to you and your family; you’re in my prayers. The Lord comfort you all with each other’s love!

  51. Michele Gavaletz says:

    So sorry for your loss Sue – my heart aches for you. I lost my dad when I was three so I envy you a lifetime of memories to cherish. We were traveling from Georgia to NY the same time you were. Wish we could have attended the Woodstock GA event but we were in Georgia for the death of my husbands sister and too grief stricken. But, like you, I believe life goes on and we need to cherish every golden moment. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last September and I am truly embracing every single day of life. Enjoy your family trip – in the end memories are all we have. Thank you for your wonderful book – Isle of Dreams. It brought me such happiness.

  52. Karen Wills says:

    I love reading all of your blog posts, esp the past few about your wonderful trip across country. My twin sister & I-Sharon & Karen and my cousin-Cindy(the 3rd twin) were fortunate to meet you early on your book tour. It was a dream come true for the three of us. We had the BEST time. Thank-you for taking the time to meet everyone, it was truly a pleasure.
    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I can only imagine how difficult this has been, and my heart goes out to you and your family. Sharon & I lost our dad in 1996, and we feel your pain. Thinking of you in your time of sorrow.
    Take care, Karen

  53. Keri Brown says:

    Oh my…you already had me in happy tears from reading about your wonderful trip, then the tears changed to sad ones. What a strong lady you are to have continued with the meeting and greeting and socializing in the midst of your grief. I will be praying for your family as you gather to recount old memories and make new ones.

  54. Heidi says:

    Dear Susan,

    Tears are falling as I type this. Prayers and sympathy to you and your family. My dad passed away 14 years ago this month. A few weeks later, someone asked me how I was doing and I couldn’t answer, teared up and started to cry. He told me “When you lose a parent, life is never the same again. Things will get better, not the same, and even though it doesn’t seem possible right now, it will get better. ” My mom and I attended your book signing in Cincinnati in May – you will never know how much that day meant to both of us – so thank you for that gift. She so enjoys reading about your travels on Amtrak because that is how my dad and she traveled (she is also very afraid of flying). Take good care. Hugs and love.

  55. Kathie says:

    Oh, Susan. I feel for you. The only comfort I can give is that the dearest hearts become dearer each day. As you said you are so lucky to have had that relationship with total love and acceptance. Everyone should be able to experience that.

  56. Nancy L says:

    Susan – it was such a delight for Jackie and I to meet you at Bookends – a dream come true, honestly. To know that you were dealing with such sadness breaks our hearts, and to be honest I don’t think anyone could tell. Our hearts go out to you, along with healing, comforting, positive thoughts. I am truly sure that Blog Daddy was smiling down on you as you and Joe travelled to all the bookstores where everyone was so eager to see you.
    Thank you for your kindness, for greeting each of us by name and with a handshake, for the photo ops, and the wonderful atmosphere and a little bit of the Vineyard that you and Joe brought with you. Our lives are changed for the better for having had the wonderful opportunity to meet you.

    XOXOXO Nancy & Jackie

  57. Dee Dee Osborne says:

    Susan, I am overwhelmed by the love coming through in the wonderful comments from all the girlfriends. You have shined your light on all of us for so many years and now it is coming back to you just when you need it most. I am writing this with tears in my eyes. We are very close in age and a day apart in birthdays. I even went to grammar school in the San Fernando Valley. I couldn’t come to your talk in SLO because we were spreading the ashes of my parents in the ocean off of Santa Barbara. My Dad died last November at the age of 95 and he had saved my mother’s ashes so they could be distributed together. We picked their wedding anniversary as the perfect day to do it. Knowing your great love for your Dad, I, too, am in awe of your bravery and dedication to duty in completing your book tour. And just look at the joy and happiness you brought to so many people at your talks and signings! I,too, thank you for being true to yourself and being you! Love, Dee Dee

    • sbranch says:

      I’m also overwhelmed. We’re on the boat now, on our way to Durango for our family reunion, and I’m reading some of these beautiful notes out loud to Joe. What a world we’ve created together. Thank you Dee Dee! xoxox

  58. Mary Eva says:

    Susan, I loved every line, every sentence reading down this blog. Then the end. I am so sorry. I always LOVED the way you posted pictures of you and your Dad – most of your cookbooks have him holding onto you. So happy that you had so many years to enjoy him. Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  59. Elaine Erhart says:

    Dear, dear Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. I still feel sometimes like I could just pick up the phone and call my parents. I hear their voices in my head all the time. Know you were extremely close to your dad. Dads and daughters always have a special bond. What a wonderful celebration of life you will have in Colorado. And that is how you keep them with you and their memory alive.
    God bless you and all you do to make people feel that bond. To me it’s what all your writing is about. I was all ready to come to your book signing in St. Charles, MO when my daughter called from WY and begged me to come out for a personal crisis she was having. It was so hard to know I would have to cancel my plans to come meet you, but I could not say no to my daughter. Her marriage was ending and she needed her mom. Hopefully in the future I will still have a chance to meet you in person. You keep doing what you do as long as you can. We all need you!

  60. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    My kitty and I, snuggling in bed this morning, crying over your post. Tears for all of the love-filled girlfriend faces across America, and tears for your loss. My Daddy passed on 12 years ago, yet he is with me every day, just as yours is. How wonderful that your family will gather to celebrate the life of the man who gave you so much. As for your book tour, it’s fabulous that you had the chance to see just some of the people whose lives you have touched and encouraged with your beautiful spirit. There are lots more of us out here, and we are sending you love!💕💕💕💕

  61. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – I just finished reading “Fairy Tale Girl”, and have started “Isle of Dreams”….what a wonderful journey to read your writings about starting over on Martha’s Vineyard, and finding Holly Oak cottage…such courage and warmth and sense of spirit in having a new home find you….thank you for the gift of your writing….

  62. Pam says:

    Oh Sue, I was so enjoying all the happy tales of your journey. I ended up in tears at your sad news. It will be good to have the family get together and share your memories, and what a lovely parting gift he gave you with what he said to you. Love to you and Jo. x

  63. Hello,
    I agree with Keri, what a strong lady…to go on like you did. I know the special relationship you had with your dad. It is something that comes out in your work.
    I am sending prayers and hugs.
    Have a blessed time with family.

  64. Mary Alice says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing your adventures across this great country of ours. There are TWO independent bookstores in Olympia. I will start a campaign to get you to the Pacific Northwest when it is time for your next book tour.

    My husband and I leave in two weeks for our three week trip to England, Scotland and Wales. I have read over several sections of “A Fine Romance” to make sure we don’t miss anything!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you on the loss of your dad. As many people I am sure have told you, cherish the great memories that you have of your times together.

    Oh and besides being a “nudge” to get us to England, Scotland and Wales, we are now planning our first train trip next summer.

    Have a wonderful rest of the summer and I will look forward to comparing your trip pictures with ours in September.

    Thank you for all that you do for the “Girlfriends”.

  65. Nancy Deda says:

    Am sitting here drinking an iced latte while waiting for husband..and going thru all my Kleenex as just read about your dad, Susan! Sending prayers and hugs, but know from what you’ve shared with us that you have tons of wonderful memories to see you through this. So glad you get the time with your family!

  66. Vickie Getty-Little Rock, AR says:

    With tears in my eyes I send you my deepest sympathy. When I saw you in Memphis I almost asked about Blog Daddy but something held me back from asking. He reminded me so much of my own Father, so handsome, so strong, so loving. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  67. Mary D. says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your strength is inspiring. You have been in my thoughts and prayers.

  68. Jeanne Hedin says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your beloved father. I hope you find comfort in knowing that his sunset on this earth was also his sunrise on the other side. xoxo

  69. debbie says:

    Tears are streaming for the loss of your sweet, sweet Dad!! It is a true testament to him that you were able to carry on with a cheerful smile and a broken heart. Lots of love!! xoxoxoxo

  70. Joan says:

    Dearest Sue,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your dear Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. How wonderful that he lived to such a long and beautiful life – and that you were able to share your life and success with him. I lost my dear Dad when I was only 11 – and I miss him every single day – so in your sadness please take comfort in knowing that you had him on earth to love for such a long time… but never long enough, right?

    Sending you a big, comforting hug.

  71. Alisa says:

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your Father. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. ((((Hugs))))

  72. Libby Klos says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know it doesn’t really help but the pain will eventually go away. I lost my own father in April, 1999 and I still think of him almost every day. But lately I’ve noticed it doesn’t hurt anymore, it’s just a comforting feeling of remembering things we did together and somehow knowing he is watching over me. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I love all the pictures of your road trip. It might be too soon to ask but dare we hope that the England and Scotland trip will result in a new book? I loved “A Fine Romance”. Take care. Have a great trip. Know that we all care about you. (and Joe and the kitties).

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

    hello and good morning Susan and girlfriends. first I want to tell I am so sorry we lost blog daddy, we will miss him. I know how hard it is to lose your father, lost mine in 1986, he was quite a carpenter.. well actually an artist in wood and furniture building. he loved nothing better than to look at table design in a catalog and go out to his workshop and make an exact copy of the table or chair and give it to someone and it was even better than the original!!! next welcome home, I can only imagine how sweet it was to come home to your 2 babies and cuddle them. life here is good, it has been warm and then cool, but the chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys are doing fine and we have peeps (babies) in the nursery. so we are busy, but not too busy to stop and have some fun, so we entered our 2 roosters in the crowing contest, our senior rooster, Reuben, did all right, loud and noisy but not enough to win. our newest rooster, Jake, is still learning to crow but he did very well for an honorable mention, our only problem with that is we couldn’t get him to crow if our lives depended on it until the contest, now we can’t get him to shut up!!! sounds like a flattened, plugged up tin bugle. the cats are up to their usual mischief, like getting into the yarn basket and now they have discovered my sewing basket and wreaked havoc with the embroidery thread… ever see a lime green thread wound around between 2 chair legs and looks like a spider went nuts in there??? of course the 4th of July was fun, we had a major barn party to celebrate and had lots of neighbors over to celebrate with us. and now everyone is getting ready for back to the 50’s week, polishing up the classic cars for the shows and the cruise, getting out the shirts and poodle skirts for the sock hops. should be a good time for everyone. time will heal all the hurts felt losing blog daddy and what remains will be good memories of him. every time I pick up a hammer, I can still hear my dad telling me how to hit a nail just right so I won’t hit the wall instead or how to hold that hammer just so as to get the right angle to hit the nail.. little things that. I can remember we had a chair losing it’s leg so I decided to fix it and nail it in tight. I picked up the hammer and I could hear dad telling me to hold it just this way and to hit the nail at this angle to get the best result, I can hear him every time I go to fix something or hammer something. he is always with me. well I have to get the laundry out to the line and another load in, so I hope you all have a great day today and Susan we will all be here for you… somehow I think blog daddy and my dad are watching over us. and tell your congress? senate rep to vote for Bill # 2464 the families in mental health crisis act!! it passed the house, now it needs to get past the senate. get on those phones and tell them. its a good common sense law written by Rep Timothy Murphy (R) from Pittsburgh. get on those phones and call. have a good day everyone and sending out lots of hugs to you Susan….. hugs… 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      some day you should have me tell you about the Christmas my brothers and I had my dad’s pick up truck painted for a present and the color choices we had ( and considering he was an ex-marine made the choice all the more ridiculous) and what happened… you will love it and die laughing, every time I remember that I still bust up laughing. take comfort with the good memories, like my dad always told me, the bad times and memories will leave but the good ones will stick around. hugs girlfriend!!! 😉

  74. Deb Glynn says:

    Someone gave me a card with this quote when my Dad passed away.

    We never lose the ones we love, although they go away;
    deep in our hearts and memories they will forever stay.
    Their gently touch, their happy smile will warm and cheer our hearts,
    and someday we will be with them where no one ever parts.

    May it give you comfort in your time of sorrow. Take care

  75. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss! I wrote a comment earlier, but then I realized I had missed the sad news at the bottom. Prayers of comfort and healing to you and your wonderful family. I lost my Dad a couple of years ago from cancer- he will always be in my heart. xoxo love and hugs Jacqui

  76. Sandy in KY says:

    Love you Susan, and all you represent. Feel my hug from Kentucky.

  77. Connie T. says:

    Susan, I’m finally finishing up all 3 of your books after saving them for my summer reading. Almost done with A Fine Romance. I fell in love with your family, your Mom and your Dad in your 1st 2 books of the trilogy. I’m so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I know after reading your books he reveled in his pork chop family, and you all made his life rich and full. I know he is still right there in spirit with you wherever you go. Thanks for this wonderful blog. Your Daddy is SO proud right now of you and all your bestsellers. Hugs and prayers to you and all your family as you celebrate his life together at your reunion. Hi to Joe!

  78. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Susan, SO very sorry about your dear dad. Love, thoughts and prayers are coming your way.

  79. Hello Susan,
    So sorry for your loss. May his influence and love continue to brighten your heart on even the darkest of days. Your dad gave you the greatest gift right before he left for heaven and what a gift it was!
    It was my great pleasure to meet you at Vroman’s. You and Joe are so friendly and loving. You signed for nearly 250 of us (if I’m not mistaken) and met each of us with a fresh and genuine smile, after hours and hours!!
    May your fairy tale continue,

  80. Vickie Beireis says:

    A prayer of comfort said for you this morning. May you, who open your heart to so many, find solace in knowing those you touch send the love you have given back to you.

  81. Kay Lundgren says:

    I took several days to read your blog, because like your books I want them to last as long as possible. Hugs for your loss. I am still reading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams because I need to end my day on a positive note. Bless you for sharing so much love and happiness.

  82. Cara M from West Chester PA says:

    Dear Susan
    Sending my deepest sympathies to you and Joe for the loss of your dad. I am so sorry to read the news. I’m 42 years old and I lost my dad 8 years ago and I’ve missed him everyday since … But his spirit is everywhere. I was close with him like you are with yours. I know you will be comforted by your memories and the love around you. He will always be right there with you. Blessings and comfort to you.

  83. Skye von Achen says:

    Sending you and yours lots of love, for sharing your sweet dad with us in your stories, and for being brave enough to continue your book tour.

    My mom and I had planned to go to separate signings (Memphis & Asheville, respectively) and when we very sadly couldn’t go, my own guardian angel/fairy tale boy had me mail him my book and then went to Malaprop’s to get it signed (and a card for my mom, too!) Swoon! He made me laugh afterwards when he told me all about the girl to boy ratio, and that he admitted to you he had never actually read your books. I cried a lot of happy tears when he mailed my book back to me, it was almost as good as being there!

  84. Sandi Skeels says:

    Awe~~some blog…what wonderful memories you have in your mind and Joe’s camera (talented eyes to let us see so many wonderful smiles in those pictures!) My nightly looking upwards to the stars and to see the smiles and sparkles of loved ones and adopted friends “blog daddy”…twinkling their “Hi’s” back at me gives me endless peace.

  85. Laura Croyle says:

    Thank-you for sharing your trip with us. What a trip it was! I was hesitant at first, to comment after reading your dear Dad had passed away, as I was afraid it would be so very difficult for you to read everyone’s condolences, But I’m so thankful to discover they have been a comfort to you, instead! I’m really amazed you were able to carry on with all your book signings! My heart goes out to you and my prayer is that your special time with your family all gathered together in Colorado will bring healing and closure to all of you. Thank you for sharing your relationship with your Dad with us, on here on your blog, and in your books! It has been fun “getting to know him”! It was always fun to read his comments here! You truly were blessed to have had such a great relationship with him and to have had him around for so long! I lost my my Dad 39 years ago this July 4th. He was only 65 and I was only 23. I was always his “little girl”” and I think of him often and and he’s still a part of my life and my kids’ heritage, even though they never got to meet him. Your Dad has quite a legacy in all of you and your brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews!
    Hugs and Blessings to you and your family!

  86. Linda in Texas says:

    I cried with you when I read about your dad. How blessed you were to have your precious daddy with you for so many years, but how sad it is to have to let go. I am so sorry and am praying God will comfort your heart and surround you with His peace. Your family gathering sounds just right for helping one another remember and rejoice in the life your dad lived. He gave to you a great gift of loving life, and you are right to honor him by living in joy.

  87. Carrie Stevenson says:

    First, I’m so terribly sorry to hear about your dad – I’m dripping puddles of tears over here! My dad had a major and very unexpected heart attack over the weekend, and while I was waiting to hear if he made it, I thought “He’s too young to die, and I’m too young to lose him.” After the worst was over and he seems out of the woods, I realized that I will probably always feel that way. He could be 100 and me 70 and I will never feel like it was the right time.

    I just finished reading “A Fine Romance” last week (got it for Christmas last year, but I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and they are not the best Book Club buddies so it was slow going). I just loved it!! I ordered Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams as soon as I was done, and finished Fairy Tale in 1 day and am now blazing a trail through Isle of Dreams. Running on very little sleep, but your words and art are just a dream.

    Lastly (sorry I’m writing my own novel as a comment) you stopped by my hometown -Hudson, OH! I’m all the way down in FL now, it’s beastly hot and I’m terribly homesick, so it was lovely to see pictures. The Learned Owl is my favorite bookstore on earth… they used to hold Harry Potter book release parties when I was in middle school and high school, all the downtown streets would close and businesses would transform into shops right out of Hogsmeade and Diagonal Alley. It was truly magica. Wishing I could have been there for your book signing – maybe next time <3

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy to hear about your dad …! Scary, but warnings are such nice things, relatively, now he can deal with it! xoxo

  88. Sheryl Pierson says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Thank you for sharing all the wonderful stories and pictures from your trip. I felt like I was right there with you. I received my copy of Heart of the Home, and have poured over, and treasured every page. It’s just delightful!!!

    So very sorry to hear about the passing of your dear daddy. My daddy has been gone for 27 years, and I still miss him. He was my dearest friend, my truest advocate, and my best medicine with his laughter. He also had a beautiful Irish tenor voice. Your daddy will be with you forever because of the many memories that you made together. May your heart receive healing, and be filled with joy.

    Take care,

  89. Laura Parson says:

    Love your books Susan – so inspiring! I have looked high and low for your stickers of your alphabet letters that you used in Isle of Dreams. I have some pages left but want to restock. I’ve tried all my craft stores, online stores – even your store. Are they out of print? Please tell me where I can get them again? I love them!!

    • sbranch says:

      Those letters were actually hand painted in Isle of Dreams, and yes, I’m so sorry, but the stickers are long gone. I wish we had them too!

  90. Laura Parson says:

    P.S. You come from such a wonderful family. Sorry to read of your Dad’s passing.

  91. Susan Bochman says:

    Dear Sue,
    My husband and I were attending a wedding this weekend and I had been rereading “The Fairy Tale Girl” in the car and at night after the wedding activities. I saw your blog had been posted right before I went to the wedding and decided that I would enjoy it over a cup of coffee on Sunday morning. So when I went to get my coffee Sunday morning, I returned to bed and found my husband propped up in bed reading “The Fairy Tale Girl.” He had brought me to Asheville to see you and received a”mini course in Susan Branch” on the trip from Virginia. He told me he wanted to know more about you since he had the privilege of meeting you there. I smiled and said, “Enjoy” and that I was going to read your new blog. When I got to the end of the blog and found out about your Dad, the tears started to pour and the blubbering began. When I told my husband the reason for the tears, he kept saying how sorry he was for you and me. See the effect you had on him by just his meeting you in that short space of time. We are so sorry for your loss and thank you for being so brave for all of us that adore you. You could have called off your tour but you put us before you. Now I hope that we can give you some comfort. Did you know that Gladys Taber wrote a book about dealing with a loss in your life? It is entitled “Another Path” and is about her journey after Jill died. I have read it many times and it is great food for the soul to help it heal. I know that being with your family will help to begin the journey. Safe travels.

  92. Carole Beth Rhodes says:

    It was such a great honor to meet you in Asheville NC during your current book tour. I am so sorry, precious girlfriend, that you were going through all this sadness but you were certainly surrounded by as much love as you could handle and more. My condolences goes out to you and your family with the loss of your sweet daddy. Love, hugs and prayers are being sent. Also it was wonderful to meet your traveling companion, Joe. He is a treasure and I am so glad you found each other. Love …..

  93. Judith DiFrancesco says:

    I enjoyed every minute of your adventure. You met so many nice people! Thank you for sharing with me!!!!

  94. Idelsy says:

    Hi Susan – your post was beautiful as always. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad – I know what you mean about now being able to speak about it now. It’s been 2 years since my Dad passed and I still can’t believe it. Time does make it a little better, but I’m still at a loss.

  95. nanette from alabama says:

    Oh! Dear Susan! I am so very sorry for your loss! I didn’t know I could cry anymore but here I am with tears streaming down my face………I loved what your Daddy said to you before he passed…….it got me……got me good…….it’s what every child, young or old wants to hear from their father! I am glad you have that joy in your life to soften the loss.

    We all loved “blog daddy” and feel a personal loss as well as grieving for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your dad with us all through these years. It’s made it even more fun!

    I must say, I admire you beyond expression, that you were able to hold it together and continue on your book tour without sharing your secret. You are a strong, brave woman………we all love you! Peace be with you.

  96. De Hunold says:

    Susan, I saw you in Pasadena (drove up in the morning with my girlfriend from San Diego). We enjoyed the day together going to lunch and exploring antique stores before heading to a packed house at Vroman’s. We closed the place down with you at 10pm and got back home 1am! What a fun, fun day!
    I’m so sorry to learn that you have lost your wonderful dad. I pray you and your family’s lovely memories of him, while together in Durando will be a great source of healing and comfort.
    Love, Love, Love…is the answer for us all.

  97. Ruth Elder says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am a little late to the party in reading this and as I”m reveling in your joyful post, reading out loud what you are saying and pointing out pictures and people and the New York Times picture of your latest triumph to my teenagers and husband, and feeling inspired and refreshed and not at all silly that when the world gets scarier and scarier, I put on Frank Sinatra and light candles and bake cookies because Susan Branch says she does it too. And then I get to the end of your post and I get quiet and my 16 year old son asks why I am crying and I say ‘Her Daddy died.’ and everyone gets quiet with me.

    I don’t know how to word this, so I’ll just say it straight out. My father was an awful, physically and mentally abusive, cruel, manipulative man who got away with every horrible thing he ever did. Dads were a scary thing to me. Even when I finally married a man who is wonderful, gentle, kind and loving, the way my Husband was to my kids did very little to help my picture of a Dad FOR ME.

    Then I ” met” your Daddy. I read about him on your blog and in your books. And because you shared him with us, about how he acted and what he said and how he loved you and encouraged you, I started to heal somehow.

    I know it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it helped me realize that not all Dads are like the one I got. And I saw so much of myself in you ( a nature lover, carefree, adventurous, a book lover, lover of old things, crafty, a homemaker) that I realized that I was perfectly fine and that all of his criticisms and cruelty had nothing to do with me. They were just a reflections of his own heart. Another Dad would have thought I was wonderful. Your Dad would have thought I was wonderful.

    Your stories of your Dad helped me see that there is nothing wrong with me. With liking what I like. With being more interested in home and family and creating than in ‘getting ahead’. My getting the father I got was just the luck of the draw. YOU sharing your Dad with me has been a Blessing. You, and he, have helped me heal. And I thank you both for it.

    With Love,

  98. Patty says:

    Sue, I’m so sorry to hear your beloved father passed away. My heart is with you. I used to call my dad “Dadio”, in my teen years in a “hippy” kind of way & he was always amused by it. Many years later, when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, I would hide my sorrow, put on my happy face, & enter his room at the nursing home with a smile & a “Hi, Dadio!” It never failed to break through his brain fog & he would recognize me & smile. PS~ LOVE girl kitty’s ballet stance “first position” in photo #3 & the FRITOS peeking out of your groceries in the back!

  99. Julie P. says:

    Thank you for sharing all of this! I sure hope you can come to Florida one day. I LOVE your blog and could spend all of my time here. Truly. You have a way of making us all feel like we are there with you. 🙂

    I am truly sorry to hear about your sweet Dad. I lost my mom a few years ago, and miss her everyday. If we had a phone line to heaven, I would be on it all the time talking to my mom. You are in my prayers. I know it is so, so hard to lose them.

  100. Deborah in Odessa says:

    I am so sorry to hear that your dad is gone. I know how hard it is. Thank you for a beautiful post…..and the little girl in the photo at Book People between Rachel and Kat is my grandaughter Ava…..she was so happy to get to see you. Thank you again for sharing so much. We loved every thing.Rachel’s cookies..yum. I recieved the “new” cookbook .It is beautiful.

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