I just arrived back from Vancouver WA, my old stomping ground when I was a kid. I went there for a reading of FISH KICKER, to attend a high school class reunion, and to visit with family and friends. It was a fun-filled ten days. The first thing I did was drive over to the Latte Da Coffee House and Wine Bar where the reading was scheduled to take place on Friday. I met the owner, Scott, and my sisters and I took photos of the poster on the outside bulletin board announcing the upcoming reading. That was pretty cool to see.
Latte Da is located on a side street and nestled behind tall evergreen hedges that help muffle the noisy street traffic when sitting in the garden area sipping a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
We had several days to kill before the reading so we took rides into the country. We stopped at an iris farm, the Aitken’s Salmon Creek Garden. The flowers were not in peak bloom and were expected to be at their best the week after I was scheduled to return to NYC. But there were many flowers popping up and the setting was fantastic. The Aitken’s farm is a magical landscape with breathtaking beauties everywhere.
The iris farm is actually an experimental station for developing and growing hybrid iris and orchids. Though the iris flower grows from a bulb, hybridization takes place when the seeds within the flower are propagated with other colors and varieties .
In 2015 the National Iris Convention will be hosted by The Greater Portland Iris Society. This year the Aitkin’s farm is one of the gardens in the area where new hybridized iris are on display and the farm is gearing up for the festivities, award ceremonies and the many tour buses with the convention attendees arriving to see the garden. Here is the Aitken’s Garden website if you are interested in learning more: www.flowerfantasy.net
While my sisters and I were on another drive we happened upon a huge pond with Water Iris. If we had not visited the Aitken’s farm we would have driven past these yellow beauties never knowing what they were.
Then Friday evening arrived. It was time for the reading. We set up the outdoor space at Latte Da with flowers (No iris, though now I am sorry we didn’t have at least one of these flowers represented.) and arranged seating for the guests.
It was a nice showing of friends and relatives. We spent an hour gabbing and getting reacquainted before the reading.
FISH KICKER and I are old friends by now. It started out as a short story years ago, but when so many readers asked what happened to Sharon, the main character, a novel ensued. I typically read the first 14 pages of the novel which gives the listeners a feeling for the story and what the character will be dealing with throughout the remainder of the tale.
Once the reading was over I still had several days for visiting old haunts and attending my high school reunion. Seeing old friends is fun and often sobering to see how quickly time passes.
I never get tired of driving in the country. In the daylight, when the Northwest opens its sky, and the multitude of green foliage is on display, I wonder for a brief moment why I moved away from such a beautiful part of the USA.
On one of our trips into the countryside we stopped long enough for me to take a photo of a berry field. This field brought back lots of memories of when I was a teenager picking berries in the summer. What fun we had back then and I never thought I’d get the black berry stain off my fingers. I’m sure there’s a short story in those black berry fields of yesterday.