We loaded up the minivan and headed out, but not without a stop at Sonic to start us off right. No proper road trip begins without Sonic and their little pieces of ice.
The Bean was an excellent backseat driver. He slept while at the wheel...rather, slept in his car seat. We were jealous.
Here are a few things we learned on this trip:
1. Never allow Lou to navigate. Perhaps you've heard of the Bermuda Triangle where ships are mysteriously lost at sea. There also exists the Oklahoma Triangle residing between Blackwell, Tonkawa and Ponca City. This is where little gold minivans get lost and do a couple u-turns. To look at a map, one would not think this is necessary or possible. But, Lou is good at making easy things difficult, and Jo is very good at taking directions. Twelve miles west, my foot.
2. We are grateful for the hospitality and kindness of the folks at Brace Books. And their smart inclusion of a toy section in their store. Primarily, a Thomas the Train play table. The Bean was entertained for hours. Literally.
3. A word of advice: if you're going to a book signing, call the book store to see if you need to register for tickets ahead of time. Out of 200 people, we were 129 and 130 (not bad at all). While we appreciated the ticket system for crowd control, we were wizened to the idea of calling the store ahead to learn the format of the program. Call us naive. We can take it.
4. Keep a hold of your keys. We don't know how it happened, but they got lost. No one will fess up (Lou). We simply have no idea who misplaced them. *Wink* We moved around the wonderful store quite a bit through the afternoon, and somewhere between Thomas the Train, the coffee bar and chasing The Bean through the maze of book shelves, we temporarily lost them. Thank goodness for a kind Oklahoma stranger who turned the keys in to the front register.
5. Book signings are such a fun way to meet people who enjoy the same kinds of things. We spent time standing in line chatting with people like us who had never really been interested in cooking until reading Ree's book, as well as ladies who have been avid cooks for many years.
6. Ree is just as great as we imagined her to be. She signed books for at least four hours (that we know of), and was incredibly cheerful and welcoming the entire time.
And here follows an account of our Ree Encounter:
Ree: Hi, ladies! Are you friends or sisters?
Chorus of Lou and Jo: Cousins!!! (Giggling followed)
Ree: Where are you from?
Chorus: Wichita! (Giggling followed)
Ree: Do you always answer in unison?
Ree: Are you robots?
Of course, the last two questions of answering in unison and robots were not asked by Ree. Only in our heads. We tend to over-analyze. She graciously signed our books and allowed us to take a picture with her. She chatted with each person as if she knew them well. What a great experience.
Lastly, if you ever find yourself in Ponca City, we recommend eating at Enrique's Mexican Restaurant located inside the terminal of the Ponca City Regional Airport. Their salsa is Bean-approved. Tasty.
After many chips and chimichangas, we happily waddled our way home. This was a perfect way to end a wonderfully memorable day.