"I don't want to insult your fair city," she said. "It's just that, like, Philadelphia? Of all places? It's an odd prize. I couldn't understand it. You'd think maybe a week in Hawaii would be a prize."
That said, Kinkead revealed that she did not particularly want to go to Hawaii, either. She wanted to go to Nova Scotia to visit friends. She was willing to pass through Philadelphia on the way if it meant she could save on airfare.
Frankly, the folks at Weightman Public Relations, who put the prize together in response to an offhand remark by Mayor Rendell, had been expecting a bit more jubilation.
After all, they had arranged for round-trip airfare through USAir and six nights at the Four Seasons Hotel. And persuading the Jeopardy! staff to use it all as a prize was not easy.
The Weightman people had hoped Kinkead could come in time for the July 4 week Sunoco "Welcome America!" celebration.
For Kinkead, that wasn't enough notice - even though she had known about her good fortune since February, when the Jeopardy! segment was taped, out in Culver City, Calif., a half-hour from her home.
At the time, she was required to take the standard Jeopardy! oath, swearing that she would reveal the outcome of the game and the nature of her prize to no one except her husband. As she is not inclined to brag, she said, it was an easy promise to keep.
When she first learned of the prize, Kinkead said: "I wasn't sure what we would do for seven days" in Philadelphia. Then she got to thinking.
"I thought to myself, how bad can a week at the Four Seasons be? We have one out here in L.A. . . . And I remembered about the Amish country and all the things that are close to Philadelphia, like New York and Washington."
At this point, Kinkead, who works as an insurance administrator for a cooperative of doctors, said she is "getting" excited, and tentatively plans to arrive sometime in the fall, perhaps in time for Super Sunday.
"They told me I would meet the mayor and get a tour of the city and ride some kind of special train from the airport into the city."
Kinkead and her parents breezed through the city once, when she was 12, on the way to the New York World's Fair. She saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall then and imagines they haven't changed much.
Now, she said, she is looking forward to eating a cheesesteak.
She has heard about them from transplanted Philadelphians out in L.A.
"And to be perfectly honest," she said, "that's all I know of Philadelphia."