Larry Vaughn with Mentora Vaughn Gratrix

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

He Had Me at Carrots! Remembering Gilbert Blythe…

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Maybe you don’t think I’m good enough for you now, but I will be someday.
— Gilbert Blythe

Jonathan Crombie, better known as Gilbert Blythe, passed away last Wednesday from a brain hemorrhage at the age of forty-eight. The news was devastating, not only for me, but for so many other women . . . and men (my brothers never liked to admit it because it wasn’t cool, but I knew better!), who like me grew up watching the classic miniseries Anne of Green Gables. Honestly, Gilbert Blythe had me at “carrots!” No one could get under Anne Shirley’s skin like Gilbert Blythe. While their tantalizing love story kept me on a rollercoaster of emotions, Gilbert’s unfailing love and patience in his pursuit of Anne Shirley made him, well, quite irresistible.

Anne, wait! I’m sorry for teasing you about your hair.
Don’t be mad at me for keeps.

In a very real sense, the memory of Jonathan Crombie will continue to live on. Unlike most of us, actors have a unique legacy because we can watch their films long after they’re gone. Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley were my role models growing up. During my dating years, I gave guys such a hard time (not on purpose); but deep down inside, I realize now I just wanted someone willing to patiently woo me, as Gil did with Anne.

And thankfully Gilbert’s legacy will continue. My girls and I are in the middle of reading Anne of Green Gables, and I am anxious to finish the book so we can watch the movie together. I can’t wait to watch their reaction as they meet Gilbert Blythe for the first time. I hope they too will admire his patience, kindness, and strength and that they will look for those characteristics when they are old enough to have a man in their life. And most importantly, I hope they learn that it’s okay to be complicated as a woman—and, yes, even a challenge. Why? Because every girl wants to have this conversation someday:

Anne Shirley: You just think that you love me.
Gilbert Blythe: Anne, I’ve loved you as long as I can remember. I need you. 

Perhaps LOVE unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship.. as a golden hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


USA TODAY’s writer Jayme Deerwester wrote a tribute to Jonathan Crombie’s life:

Crombie is best remembered for his work as Gilbert. He was never bothered by the fame it brought him and even answered to the name Gil when recognized on the street, [Jonathan Crombie’s sister, Carrie] says.

“I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions,” she told the CBC. “He really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it — we all were,” she said.

The son of former Toronto mayor and Canadian Cabinet minister David Crombie, he beat out fellow Canadian and future 90210 star Jason Priestly for the role. “We never screen-tested him,” Green Gables producer Kevin Sullivan told the CBC. “We met him and he was cast. It was a perfect storm. … It just all worked perfectly.”

“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the Anne of Green Gables films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door,” he said, explaining the actor’s appeal.

“I think there will be hundreds of people who will be floored that this has happened,” he said of Crombie’s sudden passing. “It’s such a devastating tragedy. In reality, Jonathan was as generous, as kind, as sensitive and as ambitious, in some ways, as the character he came to be identified with.”

Keeping in character with his kind, generous alter ego, Crombie’s organs were donated.

Throughout his acting career, Crombie traveled back and forth between New York and Toronto via bus. “That’s how we are going to be bringing him back,” his sister explained to the CBC. “We felt that it was an ode to Jonathan. He would never go on a plane, so we’re going to make the trek from New York to Toronto on a bus with his ashes.”

Read the entire article here:


Don’t Miss Oprah’s Diamond in the Rough…

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Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

For most of my married life, I have enjoyed delicious meals around the family table that Doneata prepared with love. About ten years ago when I retired and Doneata went to work for a cardiologist’s office, I decided it was time for me to try my hand in the kitchen. I thought it was only fair that if Doneata was going to go to work, I should take care of the home and meals for her. I got online and googled recipes. At first, it was a lot of trial and error, but I came to enjoy what I once feared—cooking meals in the kitchen. What I have learned while trying different recipes is that when seasoned correctly foods that at first don’t sound appealing can actually be quite tasty.

So, why all the food talk? Because Doneata and I recently watched the 2014 fall release of the comedy drama, The Hundred-Foot Journey. This little picture opened last fall without a massive marketing blitz as many films do. According to Box Office Mojo, whose job it is to track the Hollywood movie grosses, Journey came in ranked number fifty-seven of the top one hundred grossing films of 2014, which means a lot of people missed this great little film.

In 2009 Sony Pictures released Julie & Julia, which would certainly play to the same audience as The Hundred-Foot Journey. Both films have an A actress in the lead role. Julie & Julia has the actors’ actor, Meryl Streep, in the starring role; and The Hundred-Foot Journey has Helen Mirren in the lead role. Helen Mirren is not as popular as Meryl Streep; however, she is one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress as Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen.

What I appreciate most about Journey is how the issues that the characters struggle with are very true to life. Journey is not only a story about food: the storyline is rich—filled with love, family, hardships, disagreements, life-changing decisions, and joy. Journey celebrates the simple things in life and is a delight to the senses. From the beautiful scenic landscape of Southern France to a superb cast of characters, Journey makes for a most enjoyable movie experience.

After watching Julie & Julia I came away with a deeper appreciation for, of all things, butter! After watching The Hundred-Foot Journey I have that same appreciation for herbs and eggs. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the film.

Trivia: What two industry giants teamed up to produce The Hundred-Foot Journey along with Juliet Blake?

Answer: Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we pause and celebrate the life of a great man, Martin Luther King, Jr. Though, like all of us, his life wasn’t perfect, Martin Luther King stood up for his fellow man against extreme opposition. We are inspired by his life, by his passion, by his determination, and by his love for others.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”MLK2
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter.”MLK3
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”Martin Luther King Jr. mug
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”MLK4


Selma is in theatres now. This film has received rave reviews. Paramount Pictures distributed the film; Cloud Eight Films and Harpo Productions co-produced the film.

 “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered,
“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Cinderella, Is It Really Happily Ever After All?

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This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.
—C. S. Lewis.

Like so many other girls, I grew up watching Disney’s animated Cinderella and dreaming of marrying Prince Charming someday.
Through the years I have heard people criticize fairytales and express concerns with girls having hopeless romantic desires and dreams. While I definitely understand some of these concerns, I am and always will be a hopeless romantic.


The beginning of the movie trailer is very moving as Ella’s mother lovingly gives her sweet daughter wonderful words to live by,
“I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer…Have courage and be kind.”
She also encourages her daughter by saying,
“You have more kindness in your little finger than most people possess in their whole body.”


Lily James, best known for her role as Rose—the vivacious cousin from Downton Abbey—plays Cinderella. What’s not to love about Lily James?
Her sweet disposition seems to make one believe that glass slippers could really be comfortable when she wears them.


After all, who doesn’t love a good fairytale? I for one can’t but help to believe that for some there is the possibility of happily ever after…


Movie Trivia:
Who else was considered for the role as Cinderella? Imogen Poots, Bella Heathcote, and Margot Robbie.

Sometimes It’s Hard to Give Thanks…

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For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

My granddaughter, Brinkley, recently reminded me of the importance of Thanksgiving, as she wore a cute Indian costume and sang a song of Thanksgiving.
papa with Brinkley

Honestly, my memories of Thanksgiving were not good ones for so many years…

I was too young to remember what happened that day. If the truth were known, I wasn’t even in the room when my father died. Throughout my early years, however, I heard my mother, Mary, tell the story so many times that it seems like I was there—that I was very much a part of it all. But I was only twenty-three months old.
We were living in Cordele, Georgia. My father, Andrew Jackson Vaughn, named “Jackson” after Stonewall Jackson, the famous general of the great Confederate army, was a tall, attractive, thirty-eight-year-old man with a zest for life. Mother loved to show me pictures of him and tell me how dashing, stunning, and good-looking he was. She commented quite often on how he liked to dress: white, heavily starched shirts; pinstriped suits; wing-tipped black-and-brown leather shoes; and wide, expensive ties coupled with a gold tie pin and chain. His attire complemented his rather long, jet-black hair, which was always parted perfectly down the middle.
But what my mother appreciated most about my father was his genuine love for us. Her voice still echoes in my mind today. She would say, “Oh Larry, if your father had only lived . . . he loved us so much. We would have never gone without. He wanted so much for you to become a doctor.”
It was Thanksgiving Day, 1948. Dad, not wanting to break his daily breakfast routine, even if it was “Turkey Day,” still had to have his Coca-Cola and Baby Ruth candy bar for breakfast. In honor of the holiday, my mother even served her knight in shining armor his indulgence in bed.
I was told the three of us had a wonderful Thanksgiving afternoon. Dad and Mom spent the better part of the sunny but rather chilly day in the backyard, playing with me.
My grandfather, the distinguished L.L. Blackman, a wealthy Georgia pecan farmer, basically disowned Mom when her mother died. I can recall seeing the old gentleman only once, and that was years later. I remember, even then, he wasn’t very friendly. I don’t know anything about my father’s family. Mother never talked about them, and I never thought to ask.
After Mom and Dad finished off the last of the turkey and dressing, Dad suggested that the three of us take a nap before enjoying the apple pie. Mom wholeheartedly agreed. She took me to my room and put me down in my crib with some of my favorite toys while Dad started his evening ritual of clearing off the table. Mom returned to the kitchen just in time to stop Dad and usher him into the bedroom.
After resting a few minutes, Dad became very quiet and started feeling sick. At 8:00 p.m., Dad asked Mom to call our family physician, Dr. Wooten.
Being a small town, Cordele didn’t have that many medical doctors. Our doctor, the good Dr. Wooten was known by everyone and loved by all. It didn’t take a lot of prodding for him to grab his little black bag and make a house call to any of his patients when the need arose, even if it was Thanksgiving night.
Dr. Wooten arrived at 8:30. As he walked into the bedroom, Dad sat up in bed, looked at the doctor, and said, “Dr. Wooten, it’s my heart.” At that moment, my father died from a massive heart attack.

—Excerpt from Hollywood’s Chosen. Order your copy today on Amazon.

Every Thanksgiving my mother was depressed, and I often had an overwhelming feeling of loss knowing that I’d never have a Thanksgiving with my dad. But now, some sixty-plus years later, I look around and realize I have so much to be thankful to God for: a wife who loves me and has put up with me for forty years now, three children who love their spouses and desire to serve God with their lives, six of the cutest grandchildren you’ll ever meet, and I could never forget my little sidekick buddy, Henry.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Have you ever been in a phase of life where it’s hard to give thanks?

I know we’ve featured The Blindside on our blog before, but this is my favorite Thanksgiving movie scene.