“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Temporary Nashvillian

harlotparthenon.jpg
Dear Kay,
I tried, I really did. I managed to get a plate of fried okra within two feet of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, but she wouldn’t bite. I know she was tempted–two more minutes, and she would have laid aside that avocado and gone for it.
She’ll be back. I know, at this very minute, she’s dreaming of fried okra as she finds her way to Lexington, Kentucky.
So, it really was a worlds-collide sort of day yesterday, just great. Trippy trippy trippy to meet someone who lives so large in my imagination. I’ll let Stephanie tell you what she thought of Nashville, but I’ll tell you what I thought of Stephanie.
1. Funny. Really, really funny right from the git-go. People who are professionally humorous are often not so funny when they’re out of the limelight. Stephanie just wanders around telling funny stories the way I whine at my cat: often and mercilessly. It’s hard to be around someone so larded up with the absurdity of life. My jaws started to hurt.
2. Caffeinated. You would admire her tolerance for coffee. You and she could have a coffee-off and it would be a nailbiter.
3. Respectful of regional traditions. We discussed how many Bless Your Hearts we had each received in recent weeks. She understood that this was a problem. She understood that when receiving a Bless Your Heart, you nod solemnly and say nothing but get out of the conversation, or state, as soon as possible.
4. Capable of childlike wonder. When confronted with things like temperate weather and people running through Centennial Park, it was like she’d discovered Santy Claus in the living room. At one point she listed to the side of the car, muttering, “Leaves. There are leaves on the trees.”
5. Prompt. Condoleeza Rice doesn’t hit her marks half so well as Stephanie. Send the woman to Iraq! She’d have the place tidied up snipsnap just like that.
Threaded Bliss was full of happy knitters who left happier than they came. Sheila’s photos tell the tale better than I can (I was too busy sitting in the back laughing like a dork). Lemme tell you, she overcame an urge in Nashville that nobody can resist: with a karaoke machine microphone in her hand, she did not sing ONE Tammy Wynette song. No Wynonna Judd. Not even a verse of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Sandra was there, she of the lush Koigu sock. (HAVE YOU NOTICED the number of people knitting socks?)
Jen gives you a peek at the hooha. And what a throwdown it was–guitar guys from North Carolina, Huntsvillians, socks, scarves, Rudy the dog, all that is Brentwood, and right in the middle of it, the unflappable Stephanie cracking jokes and making our jaws hurt.
It was great. Canada ho! We gotta take off for the great white north, and soon.
Love,
Ann

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. So glad to hear you had fun with Steph! Love the photo of her.

  2. Oh, yes please! Come to the great white north. We’re very nice and we’d love to see you!

  3. Well bless my heart! It’s the Parthenon!!! Did you sacrifice yarn to that humongigantuous statue of Athena? I LOVE THAT PLACE!

  4. I’ve been there! Well, to Nashville, and to the Parthenon. We went there for a school field trip, sometime during the time that I lived in Murfreesboro. I loved it there! I always thought it great that the post accepted the abbreviation M’boro on mail.

  5. wow very cool. two knitting rockstars hanging out in nashville.

  6. And can I just say, “someone so larded up with the absurdity of life” not only describes Steph perfectly, it’s also one of the absolute greatest phrases I’ve ever seen in my life.

  7. YES!!! There are no words to express how funny Stephanie is. She is awesome.

  8. “We gotta take off for the great white north, and soon.”
    Oh, yeah.

  9. Typical conversation:
    Hey mom…whazzup?
    Just calling to see how your day went honieeeeee.
    Kinda rough. full day at church home to kids, laundry and sports practice, just got the bath/story/bed done and put my feet up.
    Well, blessssss yourrrrrrrrrrr haaaaaaaarrrrrrrt.
    …..ummhmmm. Mom’s from Kentucky – northern part of that bluegrass sate…known as the “tri-county area” of Benham….although she has lived in California for 45 of her 70 years of life! They never lose the Bless Your Heart!
    (Bless their hearts.)

  10. No kidding – she wouldn’t try the okry?? How about banana pud’n? Man, she’s gotta come back if she didn’t get any of those.
    By the way, I noticed a catfish sporting a Boy Scout uniform on my way to somewhere in Nashville yesterday (would have been one of two yarn shops). What’s up with that? I meant to ask once I got someplace, but I was kind of awed and forgot.

  11. Vancouver is green all year round! And if you come during the dry season, you’ll never want to leave. (Hint.) And we have the best cheap sushi you’ll ever eat. (And tempura, since I’m sensing a fried theme…)

  12. Whew, you scared me for a minute. I thought you had a link of Jen showing us *her* hooha instead of “the hooha.” Eep.

  13. I’m glad you were able to put so eloquently all that is Stephanie and all that is Stephanie in Nashville and all that was Stephanie at Threaded Bliss in Nashville/Brentwood (to me they are same!).
    Despite that sentence, I am actually still speechless. Bless that digital Nikon’s little heart!

  14. too too funny. Hubby thought she was flying a kite in the picture

  15. Wow – knitting worlds collide:
    Mason Dixon meets Yarn Harlot
    What’s a knitter to do with this much input at once? AAH!!

  16. I agree with Julsey–Add in Wendy, and all three knit-blogger author stars would have been in one place . . . the mind boggles. I do love that picture, too!

  17. Please visit Winnipeg too on your trip to the great white north! (Come in July… it’s never white in July.)

  18. The great white north must include montreal. we will welcome you with such culinary wonders as poutine and foie gras and real bagels and….i could go on and on….

  19. Could you not entice the woman to travel even further South to Huntsville? We love us some famous knitter-blogger-authors down here.

  20. …WAIT! You’re coming to Canada? Where? Wherrrrrre, I ask you??? :D

  21. HINT: Toronto in the fall can be very nice, if it isn’t pouring rain.

  22. Love the photo outside that concrete Parthenon, would have liked one inside as well…..

  23. PS – have just seen a picture of the inside on Stephanie’s blog – just as fantastic as I remembered…..

  24. You have the Parthenon of Nashville, now you must come and marvel at the London of Ontario!
    Aara

  25. If I tell you that I just cast on for my Mason-Dixon washcloth last night and knit my first 6 bobbles ever, will you promise to come to Canada? :)

  26. as I sit here, pondering the huge-ness that is The Yarn Harlot meeting Ann (and then writing a “Dear Kay,” post) I cannot help but giggle with the occasional “wish I was there” sigh.
    (and, uh, if you go to Canada, can I, um, simply suggest that, well, a trip to Boston is in order? it’s sorta on the way…. and, mmmm, is it possible to have that gathering be on a weekend or Friday, so I could, maybe, get there? (see, even coming close to actually talking to you leads to mumblings and stuttering.) I’ll be the one sitting in the back and then acting like a dork when my book is signed.)

  27. No fair, no fair. How can my two favorite bloggers be in the same city and neither one of you with plans to come here? Yes, go, go to Canada; But go by way of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’m tellin’ ya, we have a boatload of yarn shops here. (You betcha, uff da, etc.) P.S. I don’t know anyone here who says those things.

  28. What a shame she wouldn’t eat any okra! It’s one of my favorite foods. (I only eat it fried, of course. Or in gumbo.)

  29. Please, please, please come to Canada! And if you do come to Canada, don’t forget Calgary! We have great yarn stores and it’s got that whole country thing goin’ on so you’ll feel right at home (or at least one of you will).

  30. Oh – yes! Please come North. Toronto would be good. It’s pretty right now and we do have the Harlot -when she’s not galivanting about the South. Oh, please come to visit. we’d LOVE to have you!

  31. Stephanie’s a Canada ho? Wow, that never came across on the blog, but I guess sometimes you just have to meet someone in person. ;-) My kitchen dishcloth drawer and I are loving your book very much.

  32. i just had to write: “it’s a beauty way to go,” to your idea of coming to the great white north…
    andthenihavetogorightbacktodoingmywork (she mumbled).