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.