A Reading of FISH KICKER and an Iris Garden

May 24, 2014

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.


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22 Responses to A Reading of FISH KICKER and an Iris Garden

  1. Sharon on May 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Beautiful pictures. I did not know about the Iris farm in Salmon Creek, will check it out this coming week. Happy that you were able to be here,however a little sad that I didn’t get to visit with you a little more. Hopefully next time.

  2. Pushing Time on May 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    So glad to see your comment. It is a lovely garden and will be at it’s fullest next week. Next time we’ll definitely have to spend more time together!!

  3. thelma straw on May 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    What a lovely trip and multi-occasion. You are so fortunate to have relatives, Margaret. Cherish them as much as you can.
    Thelma Straw in Manhattan

    • Pushing Time on May 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you for commenting Thelma. Yes, I feel blessed!! It was a very good time away from NYC, but, oh so, good to be back home again.

  4. Susan Kelso on May 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    It was a fantastic reading, and great weather for it, too. So glad you were able to share your book with us in the NW. More adventures await us!

    • Pushing Time on May 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Yes, Susan, the weather was ideal for a trip to the NW. Oh, yeah, more adventures ahead!! Stay tuned!!

  5. Jeri on May 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Your photos are beautiful – they make me want to hop a plane and take a look around! I’m so glad you had a good time and returned with such fond memories. I do like that idea of summer picking in the berry patches . . .

    • Pushing Time on May 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for your comment Jeri. Now I need some NYC photo time!!

  6. marcella on May 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I really enjoyed seeing you and the other cousins.
    Good reading. Weather is nice today.
    Talk to you later.

    • Pushing Time on May 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

      So glad to see you comment Marcella!! I was great to see you, too!

  7. Toddi/Claudia on May 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    The reading was the highlight of the visit, for sure. The rest, as they say, was icing on the cake….double icing. So glad that you came and stayed with us and enjoyed the visit. Vancouver, WA can be beautiful more days than rain, but again, rain helps to beautify this area. Most of my roses are at full bloom, sorry that you are missing it.

    You are such a great photographer and the ones chosen for this blog represents just a little of what you saw when here.

    • Pushing Time on May 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Yes, Claudia, the reading was a high moment in the trip out west but it was great to see everyone again, too!

  8. Chloe C on May 25, 2014 at 2:28 am

    short story in the berry fields? yep.
    The PNW is so beautiful!

    • Pushing Time on May 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Thanks, Chloe for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m letting that berry field concept float around in my head while I finish the latest editing of PUSHING WATER my latest novel.

  9. Helena Fairfax on May 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Margaret, your photos are wonderful. What a beautiful part of the world to visit. Irises are some of my favourite flowers, and the farm would be a great setting for a novel. So glad the reading was a success!

    • Pushing Time on May 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks Helena for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, it is beautiful in Washington and the iris farm and garden was spectacular!! I now have a new appreciation of what it takes to develop a new color variation in the iris family.

  10. Nalo on May 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Very nice location !!

    • Pushing Time on May 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Yes, Nalo, it was a great location. Lovely scenes and great weather!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!!

  11. James McKee on June 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    You were always so shy!…should’ve suspected an awesome creative instinct hiding in U!…

    • Pushing Time on June 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Ain’t shy no more!! What a treat to hook up with you again.

  12. James McKee on June 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Read FISH KICKER in short story version…I’m assuming the story will be the 1st chapter in the novel & curious about Sharon…easy for me to identify
    w/her… My young adult life very similar…reading it, I feel I am writing the story (same feeling w/ JC Oates stories)…will download FISH KICKER, the novel soon…

    • Pushing Time on June 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Hope you enjoy the full version of FISH KICKER, James.