This was hard, folks. I know I say that every time we have to pick a contest winner, but in this case so many of you seem to adore Paula Deen for many reasons. But I narrowed down the 50 or so entries to two winners, who will each receive two tickets to Paula’s appearance at the Salem Civic Center on October 2.
Winner #1 is Renee Ratcliffe, who offered this heartfelt and compelling argument for why she should be a winner:
“I would love to get these for my mother-in-law & sister-in-law for an early Christmas present. As with everybody else, times are extremely tight at my house right now. My husband had a kidney-pancreas transplant in February with alot [sic] of complications afterward. He has spent over 6 months either in the hospital or laid up at home not being able to earn any type of income except his monthly disability which barely helps to cover our bills combined with my salary. My in-laws are HUGE Paula Deen fans but also can’t afford the tickets. They don’t have cable so don’t even know about her coming to the area. I saw it on WDBJ7 & checked on the ticket prices but there is no way we can do this for them. My mother-in-law put her life on hold to stay at our house with our dogs while we were at UVA for 3 solid weeks after surgery. All we hear about from her is Paula Deen this, Paula Deen that. We had to buy a couple pieces of her cookware last year for Christmas & she’s all the time asking for her cookbooks & books. As far as being the biggest fan, I don’t know if she is or not but I would greatly appreciate being considered for these tickets as a way to pay them back for all their help this year.”
Winner #2, Teresa King, wanted to win tickets for her 10-year-old daughter. Here’s why:
“While most toddlers were watching cartoons, my daughter Carrigan was glued to The Food Network at age 2 watching Paula Dean and begging to watch any show she might appear on. She has to be the biggest Paula Dean fan I know. She has begged for tickets since she heard that Paula would be in the area. My daughter is now 10 years old and has most of Paula’s cookbooks and loves to go online retrieving new recipes that she doesn’t have. Some of the fondest memories we have together involve making Paula Dean recipes together over the years!”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Paula, then meeting her, a few years ago when she came to Roanoke. I get the impression that she’s a lady who worked through some very difficult times in her life in order to make it to where she is today. I think her heart would go out to Renee and her family for what they’ve been through, and I believe she’d want to reward Renee’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law for the love and support they have offered their family.
Also, if Paula is any kind of food lover at all, she should appreciate a child who is interested in cooking from the very young age of 2. Teresa’s daughter, Carrigan, has been a Paula Deen fan for 8 years, and she is only 10 now! The audience should not be filled with only adult fans of Ms. Deen, in my opinion. There ought to be some young blood there to represent a budding appreciation for cooking at home, where families – no matter how many members there are – can sit down at a table together and be filled in on each others’ lives over a meal prepared with love.
So congratulations to Renee and Teresa, who have won tickets to see Paula Deen. Winners, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide me with a telephone number where you can be reached, including the best time to call you. I’m sorry I was not able to offer tickets to each and every one of you. Thank you for playing, and thank you for reading this blog!