Six Degrees of Ree
Living in a moderately populated city-town, my husband often jokes that at any local meeting, instead of six degrees of separation there are only two. The phrase it’s a small world is frequently uttered. On a recent Saturday I was at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Network meetup in little rock. I got involved because my friend Stephanie is one of the
founders instigators of the group. I first read Stephanie’s blog because both our husbands work for Arkansas State Parks and she and her family were living at one of my favorite parks. They live at a different park now and it too is one of my top five picks. She’s lucky. She was also lucky smart enough to have found Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman blog almost as it was beginning. About two and a half years ago, when the Pioneer Woman Cookbook came out and she was doing book signings across the country, Little Rock was on her tour. I found out about it a bit late, wasn’t sure I was all that interested but knew that my sister in law would be. After finding out that the book signing tour would not be coming to a city anywhere near my SIL, I decided to brave what I knew would be a crowd of women to get a book signed for her. Here is where our 6 degrees come in to play:
That night at the big shiny somewhat newish Wal Marts in West West Little Rock, I got into line clutching my two cookbooks and wearing what could only be described as “comfortable” clothes. If you know how each and every Wal Mart is arranged you will understand when I say that I was in the back of the store between the towels and the sewing/craft aisles. Ree, was at the checkout area. It was going to be a long night. As you can’t stand around silently waiting at an event like this, I started chatting with some of the ladies around me. One sweet little thing looked about the age of my daughter but insisted that she was not only old enough to drive but she was even married. While I was busy wondering about child-brides, the subject of cycling came up and my 6 degrees went to 2. Yes, she rides and she knows my sweet friend Sarah, who is also young enough to be my daughter, if I was a child bride. Behind us by an aisle or three is a tall asian man. Who is clutching a book. I wonder, is he holding a place for his wife who went to the ladies or HAD to go shop for something? What is he doing there alone? He seems…out of place. As the line gradually inches foward we hear giggling from ahead. Someone had gotten creative and had placed handwritten post it notes along the line. Things like “the end is near”, “Marlboro Man Ahead”, you know, entertainment amidst the tension of the longest slowest feeling queue since I waited to ride Space Mountain, in the heat of a Florida July, when I was 9.
Flash Forward to Saturday April 28th, 2012:
It’s a blogger meet up, is there a chance in hell that Ree Drummond’s name will not be dropped at least 5 times? No. So Stephanie starts the story of how she had these close internet encounters with a woman named Julie. And how while waiting in line the Wal Marts with the rest of us schmucks, she had seen those post-its. Which happened to be written by Julie’s husband. Julie would soon become Stephanie’s friend and collaborator for the ARWB network. I had read those post-its, hadn’t met Julie or Stephanie yet, but I too would find my way to them, their blogs and the network.
That night we invited a group of fellow cycling enthusiasts over for munchies and mojitos because my mint plant had gone all ninjamint on me and took over the front yard. All the guests were friends via a google group known as (and deservedly so) Bike Nerds. Cliff Li, cyclist, hydrologist, photographer and wonderful writer, brought his famous twice baked potatoes to the party. When
pressed physically accosted for the recipe, he willingly credited The Pioneer Woman. And it still wasn’t clicking with me. I don’t know how the subject came up, I may have mentioned the blogger meetup or something but we got around to the discovery that Cliff was the lone Asian man. His wife had stayed home with the kids because it was really his interest in Ree’s photography that had led him to that long line at Wal Mart. Which explained his lone-ness and the nice camera I noticed back in 2009. And then this still very tiny little thing politely asks “umm didn’t we stand in line together?” Oh good Southern Red-Eye Gravy and Biscuits. The world is shrinking. My child bride cyclist that I lost touch with after 3 emails post-Ree encounter was in my house, drinking Mojitos. I had to trust her that she was old enough. She still doesn’t look it to me. So while the rest of the world stumbles around having to turn to the “Missed Connections” on craigslist, my day was completely full of wonderful people who could have been my own missed connections but for the fact that Ree Drummond and/or living in Arkansas cuts 4 degrees of separation out of the equation.
I’ve been so busy I haven’t been posting but in another twist, on Mother’s Day May 13th, 2012, the loneasianranger as Cliff has become known around our house and my child bride mojito drinking cyclist Randi Lynn were both with me on a ride which means I need to write another post.