Last weekend I had the pleasure of introducing Lee Child on stage and rubbing elbows with him (he’s a Yankees fan) as I chaperoned him for the day at our Milford Readers & Writers Festival in Milford, Pennsylvania.
Prior to the festival, when I was going over final arrangements with his associate, I noticed that Lee had requested his driver pick him up before our dinner for festival speakers and organizers, so I said I’d get him something to eat for dinner. She described Lee as the very definition of the word “chill” (he is)—content with a place to have a cigarette and a cup of black coffee—and suggested he'd be happy with a piece of lemon pound cake for the car ride home.
Manette got a chuckle out of that story and the day before the festival she saw slices of lemon pound cake as impulse purchase items on the checkout line at the grocery store. She bought one for Lee.
When I met Lee the morning of the festival at the Hotel Fauchère, we were going over the schedule for the day and I mentioned that I would arrange something for him to eat before the car picked him up. I told him the story of the lemon pound cake. He smiled and asked me to thank Manette.
After the first event I went home to walk Styles and when I looked for Lee's lemon pound cake it was gone. We call my stepson, Zac, Bear Claw, because he has a habit of wandering downstairs in the middle of the night and eating whatever is around, most times mauling it in the process and leaving a trail of crumbs and wrappers behind. In this case there was no evidence that Lee's lemon pound cake had ever existed.
I was sitting next to Lee during the next presentation at the festival and someone on stage mentioned food. I leaned over to Lee and explained to him who Bear Claw was and that he had eaten Lee’s lemon pound cake. He laughed.
I had told Manette about Bear Claw’s indiscretion before I returned to the festival, and when it came time for me to introduce Lee on stage, we were sitting in the front row, waiting to go on. Manette walked up and I introduced her. She handed Lee a paper bag and leaned over to speak to him. I heard Lee say something to her about Bear Claw and they both laughed.
After the festival, Manette told me she had given Lee a lemon meltaway cookie—the only substitute she could find at the Patisserie Fauchère. In the process she said she was a fan, too. She said Lee smiled appreciatively. Then Manette said, “Of lemon pound cake.”