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Jan 21, 2007
OK...what Fresh Hell is THIS?

I THINK I last wrote from Cincinnati?  I am not even 100% sure where I am at this moment—let alone days ago. 

Ok, we “safely” drove—in the dark—from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati—through the sleet and snow—with my side of the windshield completely frozen over.  Ahhh, there is a fairly important set of MIRRORS over there on my side that were not visible through the sheet of solid ice, Mr.CoachNet-it’s-safe-to-drive-now-butthead!  However, NO THANKS TO YOU, we did make it safely.

And we also made it from Cincinnati on to Dayton, also no thanks to you.  If we weren’t having so much fun seeing all the Queens in every city, we’d pack this sucker in, I’m telling you!  The photos should tell it all—who could resist y’all!?  We will toil on—and neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor assmonkeys-who-are-supposed-to-be-handling-this-stuff-but-aren’t-doing-jack-shit-and-yet-they-still-have-jobs will sway us from our appointed rounds!

Going into Dayton was “interesting” on account of the GPS thingee was starting to screw up and sent us through some twisty-windy backstreets instead of like, getting off at the exit RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOTEL (which we could see, once we arrived at the ho-tel via the dark, snaky path the device chose for us).  This malfunction was actually Portents of Things to Come—but we couldn’t know that—then.…

We “got” to stay in a ho-tel for two nights in Dayton—because I had a bunch of radio interviews to do and needed to be on a land line for them.  I say “got to” on account of—we discovered we were more comfy on the BIG ASS BUS!  Go figger!  But they did let Sostie stay with us and I did get to take about 14 actual BATHS so it evened out.

In the Concierge Lounge of the ho-tel, there was a computer so I got to answer a bunch of e-mails so that was good.  But it is strange the folks one encounters in such a place.  One afternoon, I was in there—all alone, not another soul had crossed the threshold in a couple hours—and first, the Lounge Attendant, a youngish man with Truly Unfortunate Teeth—came in and turned on the teevee (which was to my immediate left) and said it MUST be on for the news.  (In spite of the fact that I was the only person in the room—and I was 100% disinterested in the news—even HE wasn’t going to be in there watching.  Nobody was going to be watching but the RULE is, apparently, The TV Shall Be Turned ON for the News If It Harelips Hell.)

Oh, believe me—I tried just muting it—and BACK HE CAME, snatching up the remote and restoring the VOLUME TO ITS NEAR-FULL CAPACITY.  Apparently there were some hearing-impaired folks down the hall, in their rooms, who wanted to hear the news.

Then this odious creature—a man, I think it was—came in to the but-for-me deserted room which was HUGE with probably 25 or 30 tables and assorted seating arrangements scattered about.  So where does he sit?  Eighteen inches—give or take—to my immediate right.  And to exacerbate the situation, he has brought with him two consumables from the free happy hour buffet and he is chowin’ DOWN, I’m saying.  

I cannot decide which of the two consumables he is devouring with such relish—yea, even abandon—was causing ME the most distress.  One of the dishes seemed to be, if one can trust one’s olfactories at all, a cup of vomit.  The stench was overwhelming.  I thought I had stumbled unawares into the Drunk Tank.  I am asking myself WHY OH WHY has this man chosen—out of 30 empty tables in all parts of this huge ass room—to come and sit practically on top of ME and eat a bowl of steaming vomit??

But just when I thought I could stand no more—he bit into the OTHER horse doover he’d fetched to his (our) table.  Close your eyes and imagine you are completely engulfed in a cloud of vomitfumes and now there is a large, sweaty mule eating Frito’s directly into your right earhole.  Now try to think about ANYTHING other than the smell and the sound.

So that’s how come I didn’t post from Dayton.

But, we had an absolute BALL at both Joseph-Beth in Cinci and at Books and Co. in Dayton; so, all is well.   Of course, I can hardly waddle through the Big Ass Bus any more—between the chocolate pie and the dips and all!  BWAHAHAHAHA!  People are always asking me if I really do EAT the stuff y’all bring me—and all I can say is, can’t you TELL?!  I am bigger every single time you see me!

We finally got the windshield wipers over-nighted to us in Indianapolis.  But we nearly didn’t get ‘em—on account of Big Hat Books owner Queen Elizabeth had gotten the box and thought they were FOR HER!  She was just thinking to herself how on top of things her husband was—ordering new wipers for her VW without even telling her—and he was prolly pretty close to getting a Delivery on the Promise for this act of kindness when WE showed up and announced that we were expecting delivery of some windshield wipers. 

Now, why she thought they were for her Bug when they are nearly 6 feet long is another question—but her hubby was totally getting credit for stuff he hadn’t even thought of doing—oh well, better luck next time, guy.

Big Hat, a tiny but powerful little store, was packed to the rafters with Queens!  Before the event actually started I was sitting and talking with early arrivals—one of whom was a guy.  He was kinda hanging back, not really participating, just listening—smart guy—and we had been talking all about the Big Ass Bus This and the Big Ass Bus That—and finally, he couldn’t stand it any more and he said, “WHAT Big Ass Bus?”

We just fell out laughing—because it was parked not FIVE FEET AWAY FROM THE FRONT DOOR!  We made him actually physically GET UP and walk to the front door and look out.  And of course, we ragged him about it ALL NIGHT. 

Ok, so we’ve got wipers, we are thinking we are so totally smack on top of it ALL now and off we go to Lexington, KY.  Huh.  Yeah, we got us some wipers.  What we AIN’T got is any power at ALL other than the motor, which we discover about 5 miles down the road.  We got no lights inside, we got no GPS, we got no WATER—so we ain’t got no FLUSH (if you catch my drift) and we ain’t got no HEAT. We stop at a gas station and Kyle goes outside for an hour in the freezing-ass wind and snow talking on the cell phone to the technical folks about voltage and amperage (whatever those are), apparently all to no avail. Then the suggestion was being made to him that HE had done something wrong to cause the latest problem—not the thing to do to the Bad Dog! They want us to disconnect all the batteries, which means shutting down the motor, then to plug in our battery charger, which of course Kyle packed along with heavy duty extension cords, for at least two hours to try and recharge the batteries enough to start the generator. Kyle questions them about the safety and effects of just driving to Lexington. So long as the motor is running we’d have headlights and wipers and the motor SHOULD charge the batteries—so off we go, again.

Somehow…who knows how—I’d taken BIG drugs and gone to sleep—we made it through 30 mph sustained winds, 12 degrees, and sleet and snow, to Lexington at 3am to the parking lot of the teevee station where I’m supposed to appear that morning. Apparently, Kyle stopped to buy a Lexington map, a cup of coffee, and Powerball tickets—if we win we’re doing the rest of the tour in a chartered plane—when we got into Lexington, and then just for the hell of it he asked the guy working at the Stop-N-Go if he knew where the teevee station was on such-and-such road. The guy, without hesitation, said, “South on 75, to exit 110, you’re at 113, at the bottom of the ramp, take a left, go about a mile, it’s on the left—can’t miss it.” WHAT? I can’t give that specific of directions to my OWN house. He musta lived his entire life next door to that teevee station.

When we woke up…or came to, as the case may be, Kyle ate a banana that had been sitting on the counter and it was FROZEN SOLID. He said it reminded him of his high school physics class where they used liquid nitrogen to freeze bananas, then used the bananas to drive 16 penny nails—whatever those are—into 2x4’s.

If y’all haven’t figured it out by now, there’s a theme to all these late night driving adventures: “I’ve got Xanax and I’m not afraid to use it!”

Anyway, thankfully, a reporter let us in to the studio early so I could wash off the make-up from the night before and put on some new!  Simon & Schuster folks got busy early and within moments had hired the most excellent media escort, Debbie, to get me between television interviews and to the bookstore while Kyle was off trying to get the bus fixed. He was really pissed, of course,  that he couldn’t just do it himself.

We NEARLY took on another passenger at the second teevee station.  The show had a Rescue Pet segment—like our very own Pippa does in Jackson—and they had on a little Norwich Terrier named, “Wild Man.”  Wild Man and I fell deeply in love pretty quick.  If Kyle had been with me, it woulda been all over—Sostie woulda had a new brother on the spot.  But Kyle was off getting the Big Ass Bus fixed and he only got to see Wild Man on teevee so he could be strong and say that this was PROLLY NOT the BEST time to adopt a new pet—when we’re living for the next 40 days on a bus and we don’t know if he, Wild Man, barks or pees or hates other dogs—and we do ALREADY HAVE ONE DOG on the bus so it does matter!  Sigh.  I told ‘em if Wild Man has not found a home by Feb. 21—I’ll be coming back for him!  And I mean it, too.

The Big Ass Bus got fixed and the stuff that was wrong with it was NOT our fault—which we already knew but it’s nice to have it confirmed by experts. The brand new batteries were not installed properly and weren’t charging as we were driving so they did whatever to make it do the right thing from now on. 

All SEEMED well—until I went to get ready for the Joseph-Beth signing in Lexington and NO HOT WATER!  The repair guys had turned it off somehow when they were fixing everything ELSE!  We o-fficially joined the Polar Bear Club—right there in the Big Ass Bus! 

The Joseph-Beth signing was amazing!  Queens everywhere—AND they had me speaking from the TOP OF A FOUNTAIN!  There were some folks in the crowd who knew about the Fountain Floozies—and were prepared to do a re-enactment!  We got to have lunch with Kyle’s sister Cindy and her two youngest daughters Rachel, who got to cut Spanish class, and Illana—got to see them plus son, Josh (birthday boy), that night, too. Too bad, Cory, Cindy’s oldest daughter, had to work—so did her husband Marc, him being a Rabbi and it being  a Friday night.  I did get beeeyoutiful hot pank roses from SPQ Wannabe Emily and Head Wannabe George—the Big Ass Bus was needing a touch of color, according to George!  These flowers came JUST in time to replace those I’d gotten on the road from Queen Charlotte—thanks hunnies!

At all the book stores, we’ve been handing out numbers to folks at the beginning of the events—then, while I’m signing books, we have drawings and give away Million Queen March posters and key chains and pin sets and Promise Certificates—to keep the waiting folks entertained.  Well, in Lexington, a Queen who was a good ways past larva stage, shall we say, won a Promise Certificate and I filled it out for her husband.  She said, “Law, he’s EIGHTY-THREE, I try not to give him anything that’ll kill him!”  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!  So between the Lick You All Over card, the Never Wear Panties to a Party bumper-sticker and that Promise Certificate—we’re hoping that hubby made it through the night.  If not, we know he went with a BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE!

Another highlight of the evening came when a little Larva Queen really wanted Kyle's autograph--NEXT TO HER BELLY-BUTTON!  There should be photos posted soon of this event--and I'm sure she'll be wearing it for AWHILE since he wrote "To the Only Woman I Ever Really Loved"  with a big black Sharpie!   Not to be outdone, yet another Queen had BOTH of us sign the cups of her strapless bra!  (She had removed it.)  I wrote "Be Particular" on my side--Kyle wrote, "This ONE is my fave!" on his side.  What WILL y'all think of next??  or maybe what WON'T y'all think of next???

We didn’t get out of the store until nearly 11p.m.  We went out in the freezing cold with most of the staff helping us carry out all the suck-up gifts (INCLUDING A WHOLE RED VELVET CAKE, thank you “Queen Susan”—not to mention gallons of fine Kentucky bourbon and a Big-Ass Basket of everything Kentucky but a HORSE) and we’re gonna put all the stuff in the Big Ass Bus and then take photos of all of us in front of it, with the store sign in the background—and THE DOOR TO THE BIG ASS BUS WILL NOT OPEN.

Kyle and I are just going WHAT NOW?  How can this BE???  JUST when you think that nothing ELSE could POSSIBLY go wrong—well, just shows you how WRONG you can BE!

But after a few very long, very cold minutes—somehow the door agreed to let us in and we hit the road once more.  This time headed South.  Drove until around 4:30 in the am to Jackson, TENNESSEE—parked in the Cracker Barrel parking lot—got up and got to Jackson, MISSISSIPPI around noon.

It was a LONG haul—just to be home for about 24 hours—but we really had no choice—there was NO MORE ROOM FOR SUCK UP GIFTS on the Big Ass Bus and we’ve got 5 more weeks to go!!! We’re leaving the “Kyle” (the reclining, near naked, guy-doll on the brownies given to me in Lexington) with our next-door neighbors, “The Girls,” so they’ll have our “husband,” to keep them company while we finish the Big-Ass Tour. We LOVE all of the gifts, including those I CAN’T eat. Thank you so much. We REALLY APPRECIATE them and y’all!!!!

Been holding Bailey on my lap since I walked in the door—got to soak up as much as I can of her—won’t get another chance until the end of February! Since I can’t trust the in-motion teevee satellite, with the pouring down rain we’re having and expecting to have all the way to Little Rock, Arkansas, provided it doesn’t turn-into snow, we’re staying at home to watch the Saints’ Game—Kyle’s just gonna have to suck it up and drive late into the night again.  I’ve got my little peach, and blue, and white, and yellow, “friends” that I’m not afraid of using. As my friend Gail always says, “You don’t need a friend you can’t use!”


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