Yesterday I got a wild hair. When I say wild hair, I mean WILD hair. I had seen a while back on The Pioneer Woman’s Facebook page and her blog, that SHE would be coming to Nebraska to do a book signing at Baker’s in Bellevue. (For those who don’t know, Baker’s is a grocery store that I would liken to Dahl’s in Iowa). Anyway, I wanted to go. Scratch that, I needed to go. Pioneer Woman is the best thing to hit the Food Network if you ask me. She promotes beef for goodness sakes, that is a good thing and the Oklahoma ranch lifestyle played out on television is fabulous and interesting. Not to mention, meow… Ladd, Marlboro Man, aka: PW’s husband. (Yes, he was there.)
So let’s skip to the part where I called my sister and asked what she was doing. She is a carsick kind of person and it takes an act of GOD to get her to travel unless it is something pretty compelling. But hey, when you are married to your own cowboy I guess meeting another cowboy IS high on your list. She said “Heck YES I want to go!” and then I realized all of our babysitters were unavailable. So I had to call Dad (aka: Bobo as my son calls him). Bobo was indeed available. He was more than happy to come and babysit the kids. As long as there were zero dirty diapers involved. So my sister packed a million things to eat, drink, sit on, write with and enjoy and we headed west. Two and a half hours later, we arrived. At 4:20 we got in line. And waited, and waited and waited. We waited SIX hours to see this woman, but it was totally worth it. We had awesome sister time, many laughs, met so many nice people in line and got to see Ladd (PW’s husband, remember) quite a bit. We visited with him briefly a few times asking, “Jeepers Ladd, who’s running the ranch?” He replied “Well I hope someone is, I’m sure they are figuring it out without me.” We saw him a few more times, saw their sweet little boys playing catch in the grocery store aisles with what looked to be a knee-high panty hose egg and then something tragic happened.
My sis and I had been in line for 5 hours at this point (9:30 p.m.), we were nearing the place where Ladd was autographing books and taking photos very close to PW but still 1 hour from meeting her due to the line. He was so kind and genuine, the poor guy didn’t have a table but was just out amongst the crowd visiting. Anyway, we were within 2-3 people from meeting him and he went to check on PW and the boys. Well much to our dismay (and my sister kept saying… “He’s not leaving is he?!”) he was taking the boys back to the hotel for the night. He had gathered up gifts people had given to PW and was walking out the door. I swear we must have been staring at him, he kindly tipped his hat to us on the way out and my sister looked at me with THOSE eyes. As if to say ‘CRISSY! Don’t let this happen!’. She said, “But Crissy, we were so close.” We waited so patiently for 5 hours and I turned to see many other people asking him for photos. I watched all day as people just snuck up in line and took their photos with him so snagged my sister’s arm and took her right up to Ladd, asked for a huge favor of taking a photo with her before they left and he obliged. It was a moment I’ll never forget because my sister was so darn happy. She deserves to be, she’s had a tough year. I finally felt like I did something for her, which I guess if brazenly asking a stranger for a picture is IT. I did it. Rude I’m sure it may have been, but I learned at the NYC Wine and Food Festival that nice and polite will never let you meet any celebrity at a meet and greet like that. (Unless there is a line of course.)
So, without further adieu…
We finally got to PW at around 10:30 (she’d been signing for 5.5 hours straight). She was so kind, visiting with us and signing our cookbooks. She was everything I’d hoped she’d be. Humble, gracious and genuine. I had heard she’d read your recipes if you took the time to submit them to her so I had a folder with recipes in it. I hope she does read them. When it was all said and done, it was the perfect end to a chilly evening of waiting outside for 6 hours. It couldn’t have been better. I got to spend some really fun time with my sister alone (rare treat these days) and we felt like little school girls walking out of that supermarket. We got a hotel, spent the night, got up at 6 a.m. and rammed back to good ol’ Iowa.
Totally worth it.
I’d do it again tomorrow. And the next day.
PS: Next time my brother in law is going so we can have a look-alike contest with Ladd. (And you never know, they might be looking for over-qualified ranch hands in OK for part time work).