Friday, 25 June 2010

The Day I met Paula & Susan C

While perusing the newspaper one morning in April, I ran across a list of upcoming authors visiting the Dallas area, making personal appearances and signing books. As luck would have it, Paula Deen's name was included in the listings. Paula Deen of The Lady & Sons in Savannah, site of the 2010 QCI Meeting!

Admittedly, I am far from being a foodie nor am I frequent food channel follower of Paula's cooking show, but I am very interested in homes, decorating and design. To my surprise, Paula was beginning a book tour to promote her new book on Savannah Style, a book on Southern design, not another cookbook!

With that, the date was marked on my calendar because surely, we could use a signed book for a gift at the meeting. I envisioned waltzing into the book store and leisurely visiting with Paula about the upcoming QCI meeting in Savannah.

Signing Day arrives. I drive to the book store in a suburb north of Dallas, park and walk into the store well over an hour before the signings were to begin. I was directed to the second level of the very sizable store and as I began to climb the stairs, the noise level began to rise. If my jaw could have dropped to the floor, it would have as I saw the line of people, mostly women, snaking around the second floor and snaking between countless rows of book shelves! Young and old they had all come to see the anointed queen of cable cookery!

It was time to reassess my carefully laid out plan and move to Plan B.

Time passed and I became best friends with my line buddies. Cooking, travel, teenagers and politics were all discussed as we were directed to tighter and tighter positions by the store's staff. It also began to get much warmer as people were amassed. Word was passed that 600-800 books were in the store and available for signing....and no provisions or pyjamas!

More time passed and applause erupted, followed by cheers and squeals on the opposite side of the building. Apparently, the queen was in the building, but in my location between the shelves, who knew! The decibel level began to lower as an employee, over the intercom, requested for all of the noise makers to be quiet to hear an announcement.

Paula was in the building and would be out momentarily, but first the rules..."due to the large crowd," Paula would only sign her name, "no personalization." Secondly, "photos can only be taken outside of the cordoned area around her table," not when you are getting a book signed.
Sighs from disappointed fans sweep throughout the shelves.

"Hi Y'all!" was the next sound and unmistakable voice of Paula Deen that we all heard loud and clear. More applause and cheering followed. Paula, in her best Southern drawl, apologized for the rules and hoped everyone would understand her dilemma and the limitation of her hand.
Who wouldn't be understanding of her circumstances after that sweet, syrupy apology? Whatever!

The snake began to, ever so slowly, make forward movement. It was a very interesting trip through the rows and rows of book titles on the shelves and the reading helped to pass the time.
Wow, were there some edgy and salacious titles!

Rounding the last corner, I could finally see Ms. Deen. I readied my camera and took a few pics as open views became available between the line of bodies. One last shot and I had to pocket my camera, according to the "store police!"

As Paula signed, I don't recall exactly what I said, but she mentioned that her husband was standing in a nearby corner and that he'd love to sign books or be in a photo.
On to Plan C.
Before leaving my house earlier that day, I penned a small sign about the Q Club's 2010 Savannah meeting, so I drew it from my purse and approached Michael Groover.
In my best Southern drawl, I too asked for understanding. To his credit, Michael was easily won over into helping me fulfil my Plan C mission.

He personalized a number of Paula's books and, bless his little heart, posed for pictures, one holding the hastily made sign promoting the QCI's Savannah meeting!

The sign could have just as easily been promoting a competitors cookbook and I think he'd have obliged my request! He was a good sport!

Perhaps, we'll run into Paula or Michael while we're in Savannah this October? I might have to try out her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, for a helpin' of some delicious Fried Green Tomatoes!

Take care now, ya hear. See y'all in Savannah!


  1. Hi, Susan, what a book store adventure! As long as I block out the calorie and fat content, Paul's comfort food is wonderful!I'm looking forward to sampling it in Savannah this Oct.

  2. Susan, cute post! I'd say Michael is a good sport! Glad you got your books. ~ Sarah

  3. great PR work Susan. Just some hints about The Lady and Sons don't just show up for a table but you have to show up the morning of the day you wish to have a meal and put in your name and get an assigned time for your reservation for you to return. All reservations are sold out quickly so don't be late. The bryants and the robinsons did this excerise a few years ago. There is a nifty gift shop to browse thru while waiting which is attached to the restaurent. If I can find my pic, of our experience, I will ask Maggie to post.
    See you'll soon. I showed up around 9:30 (if memory serves) and we were assigned a 12:30 time for lunch.
    YOu might find more info online somewhere for more details and Diane Robinson

  4. Loved seeing Susan and Michael...and also that
    other "lady". Hope to make it to Savannah.
    Barbara M. (I do read the blogs and really enjoy them!)

  5. How very clever you are, Susan...really enterprising, and I think that Michael is a great guy to do that for you!

  6. Hi Susan. That is an awesome and entertaining post. You make me wish I had been along on the adventure. What a sport that Michael was holding the sign for you. You are great at working the Quimper angle too.
    Sarah S.