Pioneer Woman Book Signing
Last week I went to the Pioneer Woman book signing in Salt Lake City. It was the second book signing I’ve ever attempted.
My first was in May, on Mother’s Day weekend when my all-time favorite author David McCullough was in Salt Lake City for a book signing. I LOVE his writing. On that occasion, I went but only had a small window of time (5 soccer games that day, plus company in town) so I didn’t stay. Instead I stood off to the side with my Dad and two of my sons and just watched him interact with his guests and grew to like him even more. And his signature! AMAZING. I had a nice conversation with his wife, and while I was talking to her he suddenly walked around the corner to check on her. Well, I took a deep breath in case the store managers jumped on me for doing it, stuck out my hand and said, “Mr. McCullough, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you!” He shook my hand, said thank you and went back to work. I was so excited! I took one more longing look at the line and his incredible penmanship, and we left. Oh, I’ve wished for his autograph in my books that he’s written probably twice a month ever since, but shaking his hand was pretty cool too.
I went to last week’s book signing a little more educated about how long people end up waiting. It “opened” at 6:30 pm, started at 7:00 pm, and I think people started lining up at 3:00. Hello! I’ve got children to take care of, eight of them to be exact! I can barely get away for a couple of hours, let alone camp out half the day. My friend couldn’t go so I had to do it alone. Oh well. So after I made dinner, got everyone to and from their after school activities and started them on homework, I drove away, wondering if I was crazy because I probably wouldn’t ever get to see her. I got there after 7, after she’d spoken to everybody. They had given out tickets with the letters of the alphabet on them. When your letter was called, you could line up to go in. Good thing that the weather was unseasonably warm! The book shop was less than half the size of my driveway, so people were just waiting on the sidewalk, lawn, and spilling into the street a little.
Of course when I got there they had run out of tickets so I was in the leftover category. I think they had handed out 400 tickets. I had my 2 1/2 month old baby with me in case she got hungry. I figured that at worst I could spend the evening holding her and I also figured I could count on finding some pleasant people to chat with for a while. I was right. I ended up visiting with some really nice women.
I must pause here and just ask myself why, WHY I didn’t get my camera out and take some pictures of the crowd, of the people I was meeting? I mean, by the end of the night I knew them pretty well! I guess I was just trying to keep my baby bundled in her blanket so she wouldn’t get cold and so I wasn’t digging in my bag for the camera. Still, I wish I had.
After standing there for an hour, they were on the letter “D”. Hmmmm. How long can I stand here before the baby gets hungry and starts screaming, I wondered? A few minutes later a lady walked up to me. She was also holding a baby and had decided to leave. “Do you want this?” she asked.
It was a ticket! With the letter G on it! I thanked her and decided to stay. I’m sure she picked me because I was also holding a little bundle of joy. Gratefully, about the time I thought my baby was going to freeze, they called my letter and we made it inside the shop to the next line. Hooray! A big thank you to whoever got in line that afternoon for my “G” ticket!
At length we were close enough to see her, Ree Drummond. Her sister-in-law, Missy was there. She was taking pictures and chatting about the Ranch and life in the Drummond family. She was also telling us things about her husband’s eating habits that he might be embarrassed to have repeated. It was funny! Missy signed her picture for the girl who was in line in front of me and I thought about having her do the same, but I wasn’t feeling super coordinated and decided to just enjoy the moment. Again, why didn’t I take a picture?!
At last it was my turn and gratefully I managed to get my camera out and hand it to someone.
Me with Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman. Kinda fun!
My first ever personalized inscription in a book.
I have to explain why I went to this book signing. I wanted to know if she was real. I wanted to know if the down to earth impression I have of this ranching woman was how she truly is. I wanted to find out if she was genuine. And you know what? I think she is. It was a pleasure to meet her. She’s lovely. She’d been signing books for 2 1/2 hours and still had a long line to go, but she was smiling and very kind (and of course said sweet things about my baby). At 9:30 pm when I left I thought, that was totally worth it!
On my drive home I compared the two authors in my mind: David McCullough and Ree Drummond. No question they’re two totally different breeds. I thought about why I had wanted to meet the Pioneer Woman. I guess it was because I like her story. I like that she seems so normal. I like that she’s raising children on a big ranch. I sometimes wish that we had a bunch of land for our children to grow up on. I like seeing how her life is so much different, and yet the same as mine. I like seeing how her development of talents and interests had taken her down an interesting and rewarding road. She’s inspired me, given me confidence to press forward with this little blog of mine. I guess in a way it’s sort of a Cinderella story, and it’s nice to know that things like that still happen.
Not to mention she’s a good cook. Chocolate sheet cake, here I come!
(And Ree, if you ever read this, thanks for being the real deal. It was a pleasure to meet you.)