We're in line at Walmart and I hear the kid chuckle. I know it's because there's a Paula Deen magazine close by. Our most recent conversation went like this:
"Daddy says Paula Deen is the devil."
"Paula Deen is not the devil," I explain.
"Well, she looks creepy. Look at those eyes."
"You mean her crystal blue eyes that look like they'd give you the shirt off her back if you needed it? Those blue eyes that have had their share of sadness and now reflect the joy of successful business and a fulfilling personal life?"
Okay. I admit that's a little deep for a 7 year old. She somehow made her eyes look blank, then flashed a wide toothy smile that can best be described as a :D in keyboard language.
"That's my Paula Deen face," she said.
So in the car on the way home, I explain to Sydney that Paula Deen had a rough time many years ago. She suffered from a disorder known as agoraphobia, the fear of getting out in public. It was probably hard for her to go to a parent-teacher conference or to a toy store.
And not that she could afford to go to a toy store. She was a single mother for a while and probably didn't have enough money to get luxuries like toys. That's when she started her first food business.
I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed I was getting through. The no-money-for-toys bit always hits home with the kiddo. So I continued.
She made lunches to sell to people in businesses so they wouldn't have to leave their offices. But, remember, she couldn't make herself leave the house to go in public, so she sent her kids to sell the lunches for her. Eventually she asked a local restaurant if she could use their kitchen and they said yes. Over time her business grew and grew and so did her confidence. She was finally able to overcome her agoraphobia and has built a successful business that she and her whole family can enjoy.
"And now she has enough money?"
"Oh, yes. Now she's doing fine."
So that afternoon when Jim got home, Syd met him at the door. "Daddy, did you know that Paula Deen used to not have enough money for food and toys and she was afraid to go anywhere so she made her kids sell sandwiches. Now, she's famous and happy."
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. He and Syd can both do the eyebrow thing. Then he looked at her and said, "Yes, honey. She's happy because she sold her soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune."
They both laughed maniacally. I give up.