Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Life's Been Good

It's been a while since I posted here on my blog and thought I would update all my friends out there who stop by on occasion. 



We've had a busy year so far!  Our home took a hit with the strong wind and rain storm we had the end of February.  As a result, the front door and paladian window are having to be replaced.  What a job! 



And before that, we ended up with 2 sinkholes in our front yard!!  After some digging, we discovered that the drainage pipe under the front yard was old and rusted and decaying and had caused the sinkholes.



With a backhoe, Matthew dug up the front yard, and our neighbors front yard, and removed the old drainage pipe, replacing it with a newer one that won't rust.



Matthew Vaughn - Jazz Improv - Jan. 13, 2016 from Susan Vaughn on Vimeo.

Matthew is in his Freshman year at UNC Charlotte and doing well.  He's also achieved a lot of success and interest in his piano compositions.  We couldn't be more proud!  He did receive an injury, though, on that windy day in February I was telling you about.  A large branch fell from a huge oak tree on the campus of UNC Charlotte, and hit him in the head.  The good news is that he had on his Fedora and was holding it on his head with his left hand when the heavy branch hit his head, the bad news is that it broke one of his fingers and gave him a concussion.  I thank God he was wearing that hat.  Had he been hit in the head without his hand and a hat to cushion the blow, he might be dead.  He is healing fine and still playing the piano - cast on his finger and all!



Sarah is a senior at Appalachian State University and preparing to graduate with Honors in December.  She will be getting married in March, 2017, and then attending Seminary for a Masters in Divinity.



Glen is a sophomore in high school and doing very well!  He is getting so tall, I call him to reach all the things I can't around the house. He is a big help around the house and also with the yard work.  So proud of him!  I can't believe he is 16y/o!! 



Bob is working hard at his IT job and landscaping as well with Matthew and Glen.  The boys stay very busy!



My mother is 91y/o.  Hard to believe, but she is also doing well.  Moving around a little slower, but still sharp - for the most part.  I'd say for her age, she's pretty sharp.



After 36+ years, I found my long lost cousin, Patty.  As a child, we used to visit my grandparents in Frederick, Maryland, and I'd get to see my cousin Patty, who was 2 years older than I.  She was my first real friend.  We lost touch after she married.  I had a friend help me find her.  She is living in Florida and doing well overall.  She came to visit us here in NC for my mother's 90th birthday celebration.  It was a special time reconnecting with her after all these years.



Kimberly is doing very well too.  She is happily married and living in Arkansas raising her daughter, Reagan.  My granddaughter will be 7y/o this year!  Kids grow up way too fast!! 



Kathleen is living in Maryland and doing well as a gaming host or something like that.  I don't understand it, but as long as she is happy and able to support herself, that's fine with me.





As for me, I've been painting more than ever in the last few years!  I've joined the Waxhaw Art Council and having shows.  I've sold quite a bit of my work and have been doing a lot of pet portraits as well.  My pet portraits have been a big hit!



After 20+ years as a professional artist, I finally got my dream easel.  I now have a Hughes 3000, and it is almost too beautiful to paint on.  Boy do I love it!

Thank you for stopping by! 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad


My Daddy. I sure do miss him.



He took pride in us kids and spoiled me something awful. He gave the best hugs and loved to make us laugh and do things with family.



He worked hard and gave back to the community. He loved being our Dad and I felt like he was Superman when I was with him.



My Dad, Harry Simms, passed away in 1980 at the tender age of 55. He had an aneurism just 2 years after having suffered a stroke caused by the stress of our beloved Olney Inn burning to the ground. He left us much too soon. I was 5 months pregnant with my 2nd daughter, Kim, and was forever changed by his sudden death.



My heart skips a beat when I think that I am, right now, the same age my father was when he passed away all those years ago.  They bring back a flood of memories of a time gone by, and a man who I cherished.



My Dad was politically active for many years.  He ran for Congress and U.S. Senate in the 1960s and 70s.  He would include us kids in all his activities, from Grand Ole Parties (LOL) out at our home in Brookeville, Maryland, to campaign parades and more.  When he wasn't politically involved, my Dad sold real estate - mostly commercial real estate deals.



What I remember most about my Dad, was how much time he spent with all of us, taking us on vacations, riding motorcycles, playing board games, dancing in the kitchen with my mother, or watching television with me while enjoying Tastycake Chocolate Cupcakes with milk.  I loved my Daddy.


When Kennedy was shot, he was very upset and hurried home from his office in Wheaton, Maryland, to watch the news.



When Nixon resigned, he cried.  And cried.


When he lost an election, I would cry.  I remember one time my Dad was trying to be stoic about his loss to J. Glenn Beall, and I could see how hurt and upset he was.  I wanted him to feel good so I said to him "Daddy ... you are a winner to every one who voted for you."  I remember he looked at me and came over and gave me the biggest hug and kiss.  I could tell that those words meant a lot to him.



When the Olney Inn burned down, it took everything out of him.  He had lost everything - or almost everything anyway.  Two strokes and an anneurism within 2 years of the fire took his life.  He just couldn't handle the stress.



My father served in WWII.  He served in the ETO - European Theater of Operations.  He served in Belgium, France, Germany.  Whenever my Dad would get sick with a fever and sleep, he would begin squirming and yelling "Juba!!  Juba!!"  He was in a fire fight overseas and next to him was his military buddy, Juba.  Juba had his head blown off right next to my father and my father was also scarred and injured from that event.  He was sent home after that experience  to recover from his injuries, but the scars from war went deeper than any healing could ever hope to heal.  



Yes, I miss my Daddy.  I wish he could have known my children and grandchildren, my husband, Bob, and all that I and my brothers accomplished in this life.  He would be 88y/o had he lived.


Here are two stories about my Dad that should make you laugh.  One time, we were going on a vacation and driving down this road - a small highway - on our way to Florida I think.  Anyway, all three of us kids were in the back seat and my Mom was in the front with Dad.  It was really dark that night as we were traveling.  Coming in the other direction were headlights, but they were way up in the air.  I mean waaaay up.  Like 12-15 feet above the ground.  As the vehicle got closer, Dad was leaning into the steering wheel and squinting.  He said "What the hell?"  But, he kept going down the road.  Those lights got closer and closer and finally, while going about 50mph, my Dad ran off the road and into a field coming to an abrupt stop.  We were all shook up from the experience.  Mom said "Harry!  What are you doing!!!???"  The vehicle that passed us pulled over and the driver ran to our car to make sure we were okay.  Dad got out of the car and dusted himself off and the truck driver passing us said "What happened??  Are you all okay??"  Dad replied, "Mister, as you got closer I figured if you were as wide as you were tall I better get the HELL off the road!!!"  I'm sorry, I can't help but laugh out loud every time I remember that experience and hear my father's exasperation.  - - you are probably wondering what it was that was coming towards us, right?  It was an 18 wheeler carrying new cars.  The 18 wheeler had two blown out headlights, so the driver of the truck turned on the headlights for one of the new vehicles he was carrying.  Holy Crap!!


My Dad loved to play games with us kids.  He would invite all the neighborhood kids over to our house when we were living in Silver Spring, Maryland, and he made sure we all had fun, especially during the summer.  One summer evening, my Dad invited all our friends over for a game of fox and hounds.  The "fox" team would have a 10 minute advance to go hide anywhere in the community.  Dad was on the "fox" team.  There were about 10-15 of us kids on each team.  So, we all gathered in the garage of our home and made plans.  We all had flashlights, and the foxes would occasionally make sounds to get our attention after we came looking for them.  It was a great game of chase.  On this particular night, I was with the "hounds" and we were all walking down Tanley Road and looking for signs of the foxes.  Suddenly, we hear a loud ruckus from down the road.  We run in that direction and notice that there is an elderly man at the foot of a huge oak tree with his German Shepherd standing on his hind legs barking madly and jumping on the tree.  The elderly man was in his bathrobe with a rifle and a flashlight.  We stood back in the dark, turning off our flashlights.  It was just before midnight.  The man yelled "Get Down Out of My Tree You Hoodlums or I'll shoot your asses out of the tree myself!!!"  Oh boy.  They all filed down out of the tree, the German Shepherd on a leash growling at each one of them.  One-by-one, they filed out of the oak tree, one kid, then another, and none much taller than 5 feet tall.  The old man aimed the rifle at them and had them lined up like soldiers.  He took his flashlight and shined it right in the face of each kid who filed out of that tree ... then, he came to my father.  Yes, my father was up that man's oak tree on a very dark night.  The old man stopped in his tracks and shined that flashlight in my father's face for the longest time before he said anything.  Then, he said "Excuse me sir, but are you Harry Simms?"  My father replied "Yes Sir."  The old man said  "Aren't you running for U.S. Senate?"  My father replied "Yes Sir."  The old man studied my father for a minute and then said quite boldly ... "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING UP MY OAK TREE??!!!!"  

Think about that a minute.  Imagine what he must have been thinking.   Anyway, Dad explained to him how he enjoys playing these games with us kids to keep us out of trouble and it is lots of fun.  After a brief conversation, the man said, "Well damn.  That is best story I've ever heard for being in my oak tree.  You've got my vote."  We all laughed and were relieved, then we turned on our flashlights and said "Got Ya!!!"  That was a fun evening and the experience was one that I will never forget.  


Yep.  I loved my Dad.  He was pretty great.





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