Meanwhile, back at The Ranch…

So you know how I got invited, now here’s the rest of the story.

It was a slightly chilly morning when we got into the car and headed north to pick up my pal Jen and continued on further north and a bit to the east to get to The Ranch. Upon Jen’s entrance to the vehicle I announced that I brought both Maalox and Pepto with me, in the event of a gastro-intestinal emergency. Hey now. I don’t know much, but what I do know is that you don’t want to be 2.5 hours away from home, getting sicker than a dog in a car.

Or maybe I think about this stuff too much? Eh.

I share way too much sometimes.

What I thought would be a long, arduous drive turned out to be a very enjoyable one with good company. As we got closer to our destination and saw fewer and fewer cars on the road, I started wondering just exactly what we were walking into. I had no idea what to expect, but I did have a few ideas about who would be there. Of course, like any good private investigator nosy blogger, I had Googled the email addresses of the other people who were invited and checked out all of their blogs. Some of them I’d visited before, some of them I hadn’t, and one of them turns out was a Livejournal friend/member of GodlyGals from waaaaay back (this was only discovered a few days ago, though I think both of us really thought that we knew each other while we were there at the taping…I’m looking at you, Laurie!).

Off the main highway and down a long gravel road, past an unmanned table, we pulled up to the Lodge. Yeah, that’s right. Just drove right up. We’d been told there was going to be someone waiting for us so that we could check in with our confidentiality agreements, but of course, we were early. We hopped out and moseyed on over to the porch where we met Ree’s mother-in-law (sweet lady) and visited for a bit before we were told that we had to drive back up the hill and sign in.

Lucky us though, we got up there and who was waiting to escort us back down to the Lodge in his pickup? None other than Julie’s (of Another Chance Ranch) husband, McD. Of course my husband, a man who is normally pretty laid back and quiet but who cannot turn down a conversation with a stranger (I’m exactly the opposite), started asking about the size of the ranch and all those details that sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon to me. Just take me to P-Dub!

There were drinks and snacks outside for us and we seated ourselves there on the porch, waiting for the festivities to start. And it was clear that it was about to get very festive. There were cameras and crew members everywhere. No sign of Ree yet, but we made ourselves comfortable there and enjoyed the very windy Oklahoma day, gazing out on that expanse of rolling plain. It was breathtaking.

And then my husband started breaking out in a rash and his eyes were watering like nothing I’d ever seen and it was pretty clear that we had a serious allergy attack on our hands. Good thing Jen was there because she was armed with Benadryl.

FYI – Oklahoma has a lot of grass. A lot of weeds. And man, if you’ve got allergy issues…watch out. Especially on a day where there’s a constant wind of around 25mph. Just a warning.

Finally, we were ushered inside and we found a place to stand near the front. After a little crowd prep — a lot of “oooohs” and “ahhhhhhs” — it was time to start.

Looking splendid and excited as could be in her empire waist blouse, Ree walked out and welcomed us all to the Lodge after a long round of applause. There she was in all her red-headed glory.┬áShe was super sweet — very welcoming and in her element. I know she was probably feeling some nerves, but she hid it pretty well. I would have been doing the potty dance the whole time.

And then she said, “Hi, Miss Wisabus!” and waved.

And I was all, Who, me? But instead of making myself look like a fool, I just smiled and waved back.

Missy and Hyacinth came out and the three of them started talking about what they like to cook for Thanksgiving. They asked us a few questions and then out of nowhere…

BOBBY FLAY.

Read the rest in Part 2!