Part 3: Ridiculous Me
So what I had expected on our excursion to the Pioneer Woman’s holiday cookbook signing was for Gabbie to become shy and tongue-tied in front of her childhood hero. No surprises there.
What I hadn’t expected was that I would do the same thing.
In retrospect, it all makes sense…
1. In my excitement about Gabbie and her costume, and in the frenzied nature of our day, I had forgotten to dwell on the fact that I, too, am a huge fan of Ree Drummond’s.
I might have been a bit slow to the Pioneer Woman party, but once I arrived, I was a goner. I love her blog, her cookbooks, her show, and I am so proud of the way she represents Oklahoma. I genuinely admire her and…so what?…sometimes I pretend like I’m her sister.
2. It is just in my nature to get goofy around celebrities. It must be the Lucy Ricardo in me, and so it wouldn’t have really mattered whether I was a true fan of Ree’s or not; I am eternally doomed to act like a nut-job in front of anyone who has been on television or had a book published or even walked on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I think all of this probably reveals something about my spiritual life but I don’t want to identify it yet.
3. I just had a baby and am still nursing every three hours or so. I cannot be held responsible for anything I do or say until I get a note from my doctor and, by the way, it is nothing short of a miracle that I have been able to recount this story in anything close to intelligiblistical words.
All that to say, when it came to striking up a lifelong friendship with P-Dub that night, the odds were not in my favor a’tall.
And here’s how it all went down…
We walked into the bookstore to line up and, after I snapped some photos of the girls peering at Ree, a young and clean-shaven employee approached us and asked if we were having books signed. When we responded in the affirmative, he handed each of us a small piece of paper, instructing us to write down what we wanted Ree to sign in our books.
It was quite simple; we needed to write something like “Merry Christmas to Kelly!” or “Happy Cooking, Mee-Maw!” and any normal lady would have just done what she was supposed to do to make the signing run efficiently and to make sure that her name was spelled correctly in the cookbook she was giving herself for Christmas.
Ms. Funny-pants had a brilliant idea.
Instead of just writing a simple felicitation and my name on my piece of paper, I decided it would be so knee-slapping hilarious to compose a short letter; after all, the young man had TOLD me to write what I wanted Ree to say…
and I wanted Ree to say the following:
Dear sweet, Mrs. Gore,
I love you.
I love your pretty hair and your infinity scarf.
Your blog is my favoritest on the internets (www.mrsgoresdiary.com).
I just crack myself up sometimes.
Especially when I’m in the back of a long line after standing outside with 5 children for 3 1/2 hours and am giddy about the prospect of meeting a red-headed national treasure.
My plan was to lay down the long note, have a laugh with PW (who would hug me and say “You DO have beautiful hair! Now what do you really want me to write in this cookbook, ya knucklehead?), and then show her the other side of my paper that said “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Gore!” (I thought it would be meaningful if Ree used my pen name since we were going to be best blogging friends after this night).
Sounds like a plan, right?
So after finishing my note and laughing about it with my Mom and Megan, I put it aside and went on to other things…tending to Rebekah, putting on lipgloss, getting my camera ready, picking out a coloring book for my son (who, though also a fan of PW, obligingly stayed home so his sister could accompany me to the signing)…
and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the cash register, snapping photo after photo of Gabbie meeting Ree. I was caught up in the moment, focused on getting good snapshots for Megan, and it was such a big, beautiful jumble of laughter and fun and excitement, but then…
it was over.
Gabbie was waving goodbye to Ree on her way out the door and Megan was saying one more “thank you” before following behind her and I was grinning at them and waving…
and sighing happily, I turned back around…
I fiddled with something on my camera…
I looked up…
And I realized that everyone was looking at me.
Including THE Pioneer Woman of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
And this is where I mentally blacked out.
I only have a vague idea of what I said from this point forward and will be embellishing my responses to reflect what was going on in my head and what I might (or pray to God might not) have said:
“Did you have a book, too?” Ree’s assistant asked.
“Oh!” I exclaimed, making my way back to the side of the table, “Yes! A book. A bookcook…er, a cookbook. I bought a cookbook….”
“And do you know what you want Ree to write?…” the assistant asked.
“Oh!” I said, “I wrote on a paper thingy (followed by a nervous hahahahahahahahahaha)…”
My paper…I thought.
The paper with the stupid note on it!…
And although I was mentally vacant, I do remember realizing in this moment that I very much wished I had left my jokes at home with Mr. Gore and Gid and Betsie and Jake.
But I couldn’t.
I had just confessed that I had a piece of paper. It was too late to back out.
So, wearing the expression of a 5-year old, I pulled out my note…
and handed it to Ree. “Here you go (nervous laughter)…uhhh…you don’t have to write all that…it’s just a…it’s a…I was…joke. Funny. It’s not. You don’t need to write all that. Just…other side. Merry Christmas.”
Poor The Pioneer Woman must be used to this sort of thing, for she never skipped a beat and, probably courtesy smiling, flipped the paper over and quickly scrawled the normal message onto my cookbook before signing her name.
I just thank God my little spitfire of a daughter was there beside me to cover over my awkwardness…
“And how old are you?” Ree questioned her, probably sensing that I was about to expire on the spot and needed a distraction.
“Four,” she boldly replied, “but I’ll be five on my next birthday.”
“When is your birthday?” Ree asked.
“Ummm…” Rebekah replied, looking to me for the answer.
“Oh!” I said, brightly, crawling back out from under the rock where I was hiding, “ummmm…uhhhhh….hahahahahahaha…when IS your birthday?”
I stared at my daughter quizzically for what felt like 5 minutes while trying to will myself to remember the day of her birth. Was it January? July? Is Halloween a month? Halloween the 14th?
“June!” I finally replied, exultantly. “June the 8th!”
“You have more than one child, don’t you?” Ree asked with a chuckle.
“Oh yes,” I replied, “I have four.” (Cha-ching! Look who got an answer right).
“Is the baby one of yours, too?” she asked, pointing at the stroller where Shep continued to sleep.
“Yes,” I answered, “He’s a…baby. Like you just said. Hahahahahahahaha…”
And then Ree asked me a question that made me want to die on the spot: “Do you mind if I hold on to this?” she asked, picking up my love-note paper once more. “For your blog address?”
My blog address…
She thinks I’m self-promoting.
And maybe I WAS self-promoting!
And now I look like a self-promoter!
And she had to keep my paper so she wouldn’t hurt my feelings! She probably does that for all the pathetic self-promoting bloggers who slip her their address!!
And since I promised to spare no details in the retelling of this story, I have to admit that I very much remember this particular response better than the others and it went exactly like this: “Oh, no, no, no, no, you dont have to do that…I was just kidd-…or…I…actually that would…that’d be great, hahaha…I mean, if you want to, thanks…but…you don’t…hahahahahahaha…”
As I continued to stammer and babble like an idiot, she leaned down to put the paper in her bag and, looking back at the pictures, I…
think I might have tried to touch her hair?…
I don’t even know.
When my husband saw this photo, he said “…Did you touch her??”
“I don’t know!!!” I wailed, laughing and hiding my face. Then I peeked at him through my fingers before confessing, “actually, I do know that I patted her on the arm.”
“You touched her arm?” he exclaimed, delighting in my misery.
“I did! I touched her arm!!” I squealed. “I don’t know why! I just wanted to pat her because I felt so bad for giving her my blog address! I was consoling her for having to meet me!”
awesome awful. But mostly awesome awful.
After posing for a quick photo with Ree, I gathered my cookbook and my daughter (who continued to talk loudly to her all the way out the door) and, hanging on to my giant, t00-big-for-this-store stroller for dear life, I attempted to bust out of there like a girl who was literally on fire…
but I was driving too fast and, hitting the threshold of the door, my stroller bounced and we kind of crashed into the doorjamb. I was trying to straighten up my wheels so I could exit when a lady on the other side of us, right outside the door, said “Oh! Something fell out of your stroller!”
Reaching down, she stood back up and handed me a book.
The coloring book I meant to buy for my son…
Licking my lips, I took in my surroundings.
I was standing IN the doorway of the bookstore, and approximately 200 waiting PW fans were facing me from the surrounding sidewalk and street, staring. These folks had been standing in line for hours and they were hungry for a spectacle.
“Oopsie!” I said to the lady.
And then, for some reason beyond my comprehension, as I reached for the book, I took my eyes off of her and surveyed the entire crowd before loudly proclaiming, “I was going to buy that!”
It gets better.
Just in case they didn’t all hear me, I said (yelled) even louder, “I almost STOLE a coloring book! Hahahahahahahaha…”
We backed up out of the teensy doorway and I crawled back to the cash register, (you know, the one that was right in front of the Pioneer Woman), where I fumbled around for my wallet and continued to hem and haw and laugh like the dweeb-of-the-year. “I promise I’m not a klepto…” I assured the cashier, who probably could have cared less.
As far as endings go, it was a grand finale.
Do you want to know how I knew it was really bad? My Mom – who thinks I am perfect – was even like, “Yeah, um, what was that all about?…”
Coming down from this experience was like waking up from anesthesia; at first, I was so numb and giddy, I couldn’t grasp the depth of my ridiculousness, but with each ten or so minutes that passed, another memory would surface of my behavior and I would sink lower in my seat; it was somewhere between Tulsa and our home that I realized that I didn’t even introduce myself to her….
Nor did I tell her that I was the lady who posted Gabbie’s picture…
I told her nothing about our day or how excited we were to meet her…
I didn’t tell her how much I love her blog…
I didn’t inform her that hardly a gathering goes by that her name or one of her recipes is not mentioned by me or one of my friends….
I didn’t commend her for making a wholesome and educational television show that our entire family can watch together…
I didn’t mention that she has taught me so much about cooking and homeschooling and that her orange marmalade muffins have become one of my favorite things about Christmas…
I don’t think I even said “hi”…
I just blinked at her.
Then I sort-of-accidentally gave her my blog address.
And then I stole a coloring book.
I’d say I made an impression, don’t you, and that if she doesn’t invite me to her ranch, she’ll at least get me a restraining order.
But regardless, although it wasn’t my best moment, one thing is certain: I’ll never forget my five minutes with the Pioneer Woman…
I only pray that she has forgotten hers with “Mrs. Gore.”
Delivered, as promised. And now it’s your turn! Ever acted a fool in front of a celebrity? Or just have an embarrassing moment to share?…