Showing posts with label GETAWAY GIRLS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GETAWAY GIRLS. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

In Memory of a Wonderful Friend

Several days ago,  I never dreamed that I would be writing this post today, especially on a happy occasion such as America's Birthday week... But---I lost another good friend on Sunday night --and have been very very sad this week.

I have known REIDA RANKIN since childhood  (we even went to Kindergarten together), and she has always been a very special friend.  And for those of you who have followed my blog for years,  you may even feel as if you knew Reida.  She's part of my Getaway Girl group ----four childhood friends who have been getting together every year since we all turned 50 in 1992.  There are 15 posts about these four friends on my blog (listed on my sidebar).  If you want to see any or all of these posts,  click HERE.

All four of us  (Reida,  me,  Susan Hollifield Daugherty, and Nita Holding Wilson) were born during the summer of 1942.... After high school,  we all went our separate ways for many years... Once we turned 50,  we decided it was time to start getting together once a year for 4-5 days of fun and fellowship.  We did that for many years...

THEN--one of us,  Susan,  found out that she had breast cancer... She fought it --but the cancer ultimately won.  Susan died in June of 2011.   Our little group went from 4 to 3.... And the sad thing is that the three of us never got together again after Susan's death.  Reida has been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for years ---and had gradually been having more problems recently.  However,  I had no idea that she was THIS sick.  She has pulled out of it so many times --so I thought she would live forever...  When I got the call Monday afternoon from her sister,  I was SHOCKED...  Now our little group is down to TWO....

BUT--the good news is that I have many many happy memories to share...  Reida is the only one of us who never got married... In fact,  her Daddy lived with her for many years --and he was well over 100 when he died...

Reida was the type of friend I could talk to about ANYTHING --and know that it wouldn't be repeated.   She and I had many fabulous conversations about LIFE through the years... She LOVED George and was so happy when I married him.  She loved my sons --and always asked about them when we would talk.  What a wonderful friend.  I will miss her FOREVER....

I'll close with 3 photos of the Getaway Girls!!!!!   As I've said many times,  there  are friends and then there are REAL FRIENDS.  Childhood friends are the BEST of all...  Reida and Susan are sitting up there on the "pink cloud" watching down and shaking their fingers at Nita and me.....

Kindergarten (1947)  Susan and Nita --at the back on left next to the window;  Reida is sitting at the table on the right end;  Betsy is at the table on the far side on right --with white bow in my hair!!!

Taken in 1993 by my son:First row:  Reida, Betsy, Nita;  Standing behind Betsy is Susan.

Taken about 1997: first row:  Betsy and Reida;  2nd row:  Nita and Susan
God Bless You,  Reida Rankin... Rest in peace, my friend.

Pray for George and me on Friday as we drive to Kingsport, TN for Reida's celebration of life service.

NOW---switch over to my Photo Blog for a great July 4th photo.  Click HERE.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blue Ridge, Georgia Trip

While looking through some old photos,  I came across some that I decided to share with you today.  In October of 2005,  the "Getaway Gang"  ---made up of childhood friends:  Susan Hollifield Daugherty,  Reida Rankin, Nita Holding Wilson and me,  took one of our annual trips --this time to a cabin on top of a mountain in  Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Many of you may know about my trips with these special friends.  I have blogged about these yearly trips quite a bit in past.  The four of us grew up together and when we graduated from high school,  we all went our separate ways..

In 1992,  when we all turned 50,  we decided to get together for a few days to 'catch up'... That turned out to be a fabulous reunion ---so we decided to continue doing it most every year until a few years ago.  We lost one of us (Susan) in 2011 to Breast Cancer.  Since she died,  the three of us just haven't been able to get together anymore.  I hope that we do someday.  I miss our 'get-togethers'---and I miss Susan TERRIBLY.  If you want to see some of my other blog posts of my time with these wonderful friends,  click HERE.

Even though the pictures were taken from an OLD camera in 2005,  some of them are worthy for the blog I think.... The picture above is one of the sunrises we saw every morning  from our cabin on that mountain.   I love this photo showing the fog in the valley below...

Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Here is a picture of our wonderful little cabin we rented that week.   The little cabin was decorated with bears.  Someone was very creative--as there were bears EVERYWHERE in that cabin ---even the light fixtures!!!

This is the road to our cabin... I got out and walked in the area one day... There were a few other cabins in the area --but we were on a dead-end road.  (I'd love to own that cabin!)

This is not a great picture,  but I wanted you to see some of the mountain ranges in that area.  Blue Ridge is a great little city in the mountains in North Georgia...

Here's one more photo of our neat little cabin.  Isn't it pretty?  The weather was perfect--and we enjoyed sitting on the deck ALOT during that visit.

Here's a collage of the four of us.  Top left:  Reida, Susan, Betsy;  Bottom left: Nita and Susan;  Top right: Susan, Nita, Reida.

AND--here's another collage of us from that trip. Bottom left:  ME in the tub;  Bottom right:  Reida, Nita (standing), and Susan.  The middle picture is dark --but at the table, you can see Nita, Susan and Reida.

Here are two more photos of those glorious sunrises.  There is nothing better than seeing a sunrise or sunset... Our cabin was in a perfect location to enjoy these..

UPDATE:  Please say a prayer for friend, Reida... She has MS --and has been in the hospital recently.  

Finally,  here is a photo of PINK CLOUDS (not taken on this trip)....  When Susan died,  she told us all that she would be sitting up there on a Pink Cloud--waiting for us to join her.  Every single time I see a pink cloud these days,  I think of Susan... She was a wonderful woman --and is SO missed!!!!  OH--how I love her!

Have a great day ---and take time to HUG those people whom you love.

HUGS to you,

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Memory of a Great Friend

 June 2, 1942- July 28, 2011

It is with much sorrow that I have to write this blog post.  Yesterday morning, one of my very best childhood friends,  JO SUSAN HOLLIFIELD DAUGHERTY (Susan or SuSu to me) passed away peacefully--after a long battle with Breast Cancer.  You may remember that I wrote a blog the first of June on "Perseverance" about Susan.  Click HERE to read that post.   Susan has fought her battles for several years--and has had some good and some bad times.  Recently,  she truly did 'rally' ---and I thought she would be around much longer. 

Susan,  about Age 12
This time though,  Susan reentered the hospital about June 17 (while George and I were on our trip out west)--and this time,  she did not rally.   They did all they could to help her --but when it became apparent that there was nothing else to be done,  her family wanted her comfortable.  So they put her in a very nice hospice facility.  The bottom line is that I knew her death was inevitable,  but when it actually happened,  I found myself crying and crying yesterday.

Susan and Duke,  with sons Brad and Ben, taken about 1970
Susan (and my other 2 childhood friends, Reida and Nita) call ourselves the Getaway Gang --or even the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  You will have to read more about our special bond (click HERE).   All four of us were born in the summer of 1942.  We grew up together and were great friends throughout childhood.  When we turned 18, we all left for college --and then went  our separate ways into different lives.

A sweet picture of Susan and Duke, 2009
Then in 1992,  when we all turned FIFTY,  we decided to meet for a few days of catch-up... That 'get-together' was AWESOME ---and we talked a mile a minute for about 3 days!!!! We decided at that time to try to meet every year in the Fall for another special time together.   We have done it most every year since 1992. 

Betsy and Susan, in 1992, on our first Getaway trip
One thing about these trips together is that we spent more time in our robes and gowns than our clothes!!!!! We looked through old yearbooks and talked about everyone that we knew 'back in the day'.... I have such wonderful memories of those trips together.

That cute little Susan getting ready to take a 'dip' in the creek (NOT)
Susan was the sweetest one of the four of us.. She was a peacemaker ---and always saw the best side of everyone and everything.  When we would get in a 'discussion' about a certain issue,  Susan would be the one who could see both sides --and helped us to come to a good  balance.

This gal always had a smile on her face.
Susan lived in Atlanta and worked for many years in the insurance business.  She married an Alabama boy --who loved her with a passion.  You can imagine how hard all of this has been on Duke.  They raised two wonderful sons, Brad and Ben.  Brad got married in 2001 --and I was was privileged to attend that wedding.  He and his wife Joy have given Susan three wonderful grandchildren... Ben is getting married in the Fall --and Susan had hoped to live long enough to go to that wedding.  She will be there with them in spirit now.

Betsy, Nita, Susan, Reida
The picture above was the last picture that the four of us have together.  It was on our 2009 trip to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  We knew at that time that SuSu had cancer, but she was doing well then.  That trip however will remain in my memory as one of my favorites.

Look at all of my winnings!!!!!
Susan and Nita had a good time when we went to New Orleans in 1995.  We went on a casino boat ---and they just had to play the slot machines!!!!!  Susan actually won a little money!!!!  One would have thought it was a million dollars! ha

In the Sevierville, TN area in 2007
Our trip in 2007 was to a gorgeous condo in Sevierville, TN... We of course had to do some 'window shopping' in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg.  Susan wanted to take that big pumpkin home with her!!!!

Taken at the Wunderland Hotel,  near Gatlinburg, TN --1993
"Sweet, Sweet Susan:  You will be missed.  Our trips won't be the same without you.  I'm glad that Nita was with you when you died because she represented all 3 of us... We love you dearly.  We'll be watching for your smile from that big pink cloud in the sky."

Susan gave all three of us a gorgeous photograph album in 2009 ---with pictures from all of our trips together.  In my album,  she wrote this for me:  "For my dear friend, Betsy.  I  will forever treasure these memories of our 'Getaway Gang' trips.  Love you, Susan"

Susan's Response to us
This picture jumped out at me yesterday when I was going through our photo albums looking for special pictures.  This picture was taken in New Orleans in 1995 ---but I think she really made this picture for us today.   I can almost hear her say: "Hey Girls,  I am fine --and will be watching all of you from above.  Now behave yourselves. When you get here,  we'll have a big party."

Have a great weekend---and hug the ones you love. I am taking a couple of days off from blogging and commenting.  See you Monday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Some people consider 'perseverance' the cornerstone of SUCCESS.  To expect the roads we travel to be a 'cake walk'  is naive.  NONE of us is immune to the obstacles which life throws our way.  BUT---each of us does hold the power to choose what we do with whatever lands in our laps.  Like my blog last week on "Forgiveness" (click HERE),  I made the choice to get some help dealing with my childhood sexual abuse so that I could go on with my life.  (Thanks Be to God!)

Today,  I'm not talking about me--but about a very very good friend of mine,  Susan.  Susan and I grew up together and have kept in touch almost all of our lives.  Several years ago,  I got an email from Susan --and the title said "Breast Cancer".   My heart immediately sank....  It was hard reading her words saying that she had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Obviously,  my heart was broken.

Cancer is such a horrible disease.  In fact, it took the life of one of my brothers in 1985.  I have prayed for Susan almost continually through her battle.  She has truly had several good years.  But--she has had some rough times as her cancer spread to her bones.

Anyone who knows Susan knows that she has a fabulous attitude and has worked hard (without complaining) through all of the pain and suffering, to have the best life she can have.  She even took a trip to Alaska last Summer.  I truly think it is because of her attitude and outlook that she has done so well.

However, these past several months,  she has had a really hard time.  She's been in and out of the hospital several times with fluid build-up in her lungs and around her heart, along with other problems.  I was so afraid that her end was near.  She seemed to have given up the fight.

BUT--thanks to a wonderful doctor (and to her fabulous family and set of friends),  and ONLY after Susan hit 'bottom' did she finally decide her future.  Lying in her hospital bed recently,  she asked her doctor if she was dying.  This doctor said that it was all up to her.  He wasn't ready for her to die ---and wanted to send her to rehab at another facility.   He said that he wouldn't send her IF he thought she was dying.

Susan thought about those words,  and told herself that she could just lie there and die ---or get up and keep on --keeping on.  She chose to  PERSEVERE.  As I write this,  Susan has been in a rehab facility for a few weeks.  When I talk to her,  she sounds like a new person.  She says that they are working with her about six hours a day (physical therapy) to help her get her strength back.  (She had lost all energy and strength since she's been so sick and in the hospital so much.)

She's eating again ---and gradually getting better.  She actually hopes to go home soon.  I am so very very proud of her.  So many of us would have just given up.  She is the ultimate example of PERSEVERANCE.

Who knows what Susan's future holds?  That dreaded cancer is WINNING --but she's not going to give up until  there is just no breath left inside of her. Susan does a have a goal which she is working on now.  Her youngest son is getting married in the near future.  Of course,  she doesn't want to miss that wedding.  God be with Susan,  my special childhood friend.

You can read more about Susan on a couple of previous blogs (click HERE and HERE).  Today,  I will share a few more pictures of Susan.

Here's Miss Cutie Pie in her shorty-pj's  ---when we were teens,  and she was spending the night with me!!!!!

Here's me (with my niece, Carolyn) and  Miss Prissy Susan ---also taken when we were teens!

Here is a picture of Susan and me after playing tennis with our high school boyfriends.  (Neither of us married those boys!!! ha)

Here is a fairly recent picture (Dec/Jan)  taken of Susan with her newest grandson, Andrew!!!

And  here is a proud Nana with Drew's two big sisters,  Lindsey and Rebecca.  Susan's three grands are the children of her oldest son, Brad and wife Joy.  She ADORES her grandloves---as all of us Grandmothers do!!!!

So,  what about you?  Do you give up when times are tough?  The truth is that our true character is determined by how we deal with our obstacles.  The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if you get there fast or slow,  as long as you keep on going.  Hold steadfast to your vision,  your hopes,  your dreams and your desires.  Never stop and never give up!!!

Calvin Coolidge once said:  "Nothing in the world can take the place of PERSEVERANCE."   God Bless You,  Susan ---and all of the others out there who are struggling with a dread disease.  You are an inspiration to all of us!

By the way,  today is Susan's BIRTHDAY..... Happy Birthday, my Friend!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Days at Maggie Valley

Toward the end of my stay with three childhood friends at Maggie Valley, NC, my cute little red camera quit working... No matter what I did, it was just dead. It was stuck OPEN. I had EIGHT batteries with me ---and none of them worked. BUT--I told my friends that as soon as George could use his 'magic' ---that little camera would perk up. And guess what?????? It DID.... He put some of 'his' batteries in it and it worked!!!! Well---duh??!!!! I think that camera likes George best. I'm glad it's okay--but I missed out on alot of pictures that last couple of days. Just my luck!!!! (See why I need George!!!! ha) The other gals had their cameras --but I'm hoping they will share their pictures with me.

Anyhow---we arrived at our cabin on Tuesday, the 20th. While there, the trees just erupted into beauty, with each day becoming more gorgeous than the day before. The pictures above and below were taken from the deck of our cabin on Saturday morning--before the camera died. Aren't the colors just marvelous????

Each year, the four of us take small gifts to exchange with each other. This year was no exception. The gift that I gave each of them (and even had one made for me) was a mug with our picture (taken last year in Tybee Island) on it. Here is a picture of it.

As much as I loved the trips (remember that we had THREE in a row), I will say that it's great to be HOME. Yes--there are leaves to be raked and wood to be stacked ... BUT--after all of the good eating I did this past week, I certainly need the exercise NOW.