So Close, Yet, So Far…

I spent the better part of today shooting action shots on the sidelines of our high school’s play-off game, which, in and of itself, is terribly exciting.  I was extremely proud of our boys and coaches as they faced a first-rate opponent. But, because that’s worthy of its own space, so I’ll post more on that in a few days.

Today was also the day Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, was to be in Houston for her cookbook signing tour.   For one day only.  No more.  This was it; my one and only chance to have my cookbook signed.  It was my one and only shot at singing an Ethel Merman duet with her. (I do a mean Ethel impersonation, if I do say so myself.) 

I have had this date on my calendar since the day she announced she would be setting out on a Book Tour. 

I didn’t know, when I circled the date and put a little heart sticker on my calendar, that our football team would be going so far in the play-offs.  So, you can imagine my dilemma when I realized my favorite blogger would be in town during the exact same time my favorite football team would be leaving their hearts out on the gridiron. 

It didn’t help that the book signing was basically two blocks from the football stadium!!  P-Dub was so close, I could smell her!  

But, to be very honest, my heart was with the team.  So, I put aside my desires to go stand in line for hours and hours and hours to have my cookbook signed and to do Ethel Merman duet with Ree  …I needed to stand on the sidelines with some very, very stinky, sweaty football players.

After the game, I climbed into the truck with ThrillCam and the hooligans.  As we drove away from the stadium, I waved and said aloud, “Bye Pioneer Woman.  I guess it was just not meant to be, our duet….our date with destiny… my purchasing one of your cookbooks….” 

ThrillCam, my knight in shining armor, said, “You want to go by and see if you can get a book signed?”  To which our two boys moaned and complained very loudly, “NOOO!”

You cannot believe my excitement, my joy!  I ignored our children’s sobbing in the backseat of the truck and said, over the ruckus, “Yes, let’s just swing by.  Just on the off-chance that things are winding down, maybe I can still sing with her have a cookbook signed!”

Blue Willow Books sponsored the Pioneer Woman’s book signing and very intelligently moved it to a remote location, away from their small bookstore.  (Great bookstore, by the way!) 

Georgia’s was a great place to host such a large group of devotees.

I dashed in and didn’t see lines and lines of people waiting.  The place was so big, it felt like it might be an easy task of getting in line, getting a signature, singing a song, receiving a new t-shirt and heading home happy and content.

But, then I asked the sweet ladies from Blue Willow Books how long it would be…. they said it was going to be quite some time, like hours and hours, before I could expect to meet Ree.  Needless to say, ThrillCam, as great a guy as he is, and my two boys would have nothing of it…  Plus, we had plans to join our neighbors for a big ol’ pot of gumbo to celebrate their son and his teammates’ accomplishments on the football field. 

So, I stood back and took a picture of what would never be.

Look!  Over there!  There’s Ree!  Smiling for someone taking her picture!! 

I asked if I could just move a little closer to take her picture, since I was not going to be able to stay.

Look how close I got to her!  I had half a mind to just shove that man and his pregnant wife out of the way, so I could get my own autograph.

Look at her laughing with that man.  That should have been me.  I should have been standing there, laughing like old friends, sharing in an Ethel moment, but no….  It just wasn’t meant to be. 





She never saw me.  We never had our moment, our duet.  I never got her autograph…and I WAS RIGHT THERE!!

Crazy, isn’t it??!

And, look at these….

Those are the free shirts she gives away to people who actually talk to her….  

I was greatly tempted to grab one and run out of the place screaming something crazy, like, “I got one!  I got one!” 

I didn’t. 

I went home. 

To my neighbors. 

I cried into my gumbo. 

They didn’t really understand, but they fed me, so that was close enough.

I ate another piece of garlic bread, or 30, and had a Magic Bar and I felt a little better.

Plus, I’ll feel even better when I drive back into Houston to pick up my cookbook that Ree very graciously signed after the actual book signing, for losers like me who couldn’t stay and sing.

Thanks, Pioneer Woman for making the trek to H-town!   I’m sad we didn’t meet, but I am still happy that I purchased your cookbook, finally.

I hope you were warmly welcomed and pray you have continued safe travel on your Most Excellent Adventure!


P.S.  To make Magic Bars, melt 1 stick butter in a 9×13 Pyrex.  Add to that 2 cups crushed graham crackers and create an even layer in the casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and put a layer of about 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips, then a layer of 1 c. butterscotch chips, followed by a layer of coconut (use the coconut!  I promise you will like it, even if you don’t usually like coconut.).  Last, if you’d like, add a layer of chopped pecans (or nut of your choice), about 1/2 c. or so.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes.  Watch that the coconut doesn’t burn, but do let it brown a bit.   Enjoy!!!  (These are completely and utterly free of calories and fat, I promise.)



  1. Diane Burns

    Thanks for your condolences regarding the passing of my mother. Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) has touched so many people’s lives. Your recount of your day with your sons football game and the signing is cute. Sorry you weren’t ale to meet Ree, but I can tell how much your family means to you. Hope you have a blessed holiday season.

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      I know, right? I wish we could have stood in line together, but, as I said, it was not meant to be….

  2. Kris McLendon

    OK, your blog cracks me up! I would have paid $$$ to see you bust out in a duet…would have paid even bigger bucks to see you run out of there with one of the shirts, being chased by security. Thanks for the laughs, as always! 🙂

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      If you had been with me, you would have been by my side the whole way!! You would have held the door for me, screaming, “Go Girl! Go!!” (After, of course, screaming for me to grab you a shirt…)

  3. LIsa McClarty

    Sorry you didn’t get to sing with her….you should go ahead and record your half of the duet, see if you can persuade her to sing her part too and then have your talented husband put the them together. It would be almost the same. You never know, she might just go for it.
    It would be Unforgettable…..oh wait, that’s Nat and Natalie isn’t it????

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      Thanks for stopping by! I was just going throug the Houston bloggers’ takes on P.W. coming to town and wasn’t able to finish them, yet. But, I will pick back up tomorrow, and will most definitely visit your site!

  4. Anna Tew

    Oh my gosh, bless your heart.

    You can mail her her book.

    If you would have found me in line I would’ve said I’d hold your place and called you when we were 30 minutes from the front!!! POor you!!! I totally understand.

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      Thanks, Sweet Pea…. I was actually a little nervous about getting up so close, for fear of making someone think I was trying to break in line. I just kind of snapped a few quick shots and moved out of the way.
      But, it was nice to see her in person, even though she never saw me. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Pingback: Fancy Nancy « Out to Lunch…

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