TRAVELLIN’ RICK VISITS A GREENHOUSE
written by Debbie Williamson
Travellin’ Rick had just finished packing his suitcase, when the telephone rang.
“Hello,” he said into the receiver. “This is Travellin’ Rick.”
“Travellin’ Rick,” said a voice on the other end. “I’m glad I caught you before you left on your vacation.”
“Oh hi, Jim,” said Travellin’ Rick, recognizing the voice as being his boss, Jim Alpine.
“You’re lucky you caught me when you did. I was just walking out the door.”
“Well, there has been a slight change in plans,” said Jim.
“Oh no,” said Travellin’ Rick, disappointment showing clearly in his voice. “Jim, what are you talking about? I’m not going on an assignment, I’m going on vacation.”
“I know,” said Jim. “However, a good friend of mine just so happens to live in Oregon. Now, I know that’s where you are going, isn’t it?”
“How did you find out?” asked Travellin’ Rick. “I left explicit instructions with my secretary that I didn’t want anyone knowing where I was.”
“I have ways of finding things out,” said Jim.
“Yeah, I bet,” said Travellin’ Rick. “What did you bribe poor Margie with this time?”
“Bribe!” exclaimed Jim. “I wouldn’t do a thing like that!”
“Oh no,” laughed Travellin’ Rick. “Poor Margie, I guess she is going to have to have lunch with you every day next week.”
“Well, not exactly every day next week,” said Jim. “I have a meeting on Thursday.”
“I see,” said Travellin’ Rick. “All right, Jim, let’s get down to business. I’ve got a plane to catch.”
“Yes,” said Jim. “What I would like you to do is call on my good friend, Randy Peterson. He lives in Portland, Oregon.”
“Alright,” said Travellin’ Rick. “There must be more to this. What else do you want me to do?”
“Randy owns a small greenhouse,” explained Jim. “I would like for you to write a small article about it for me.”
“How small?” asked Travellin’ Rick, regretting having answered the telephone in the first place.
“Well, let’s see, the greenhouse would be about eight feet wide by eight feet long,” said Jim.
“Not the greenhouse!” exclaimed Travellin’ Rick. “The article.”
“Oh,” said Jim. “Make it about 1500 words.”
“You call that small,” said Travellin’ Rick.
“Have fun on your trip and good luck with the article,” said Jim and hung up.
Travellin’ Rick left his apartment and hailed a cab to the airport. The plane ride was long and tiring. Travellin’ Rick was quite worn out when he arrived at the airport in Portland, Oregon. He put off telephoning Jim’s friend until the next day.
“Hello, is Randy there?” asked Travellin’ Rick, when he finally called Jim’s friend, from the hotel lobby.
“Yes, this is Randy,” a voice said on the other end of the phone.
“Hello, Randy,” said Travellin’ Rick. “I’m Travellin’ Rick. My boss, Jim Alpine, asked me to give you a call. He wants me to do an article on your greenhouse.”
“Ah good old Jim,” said Randy. “How is he doing?”
“He’s doing just fine,” said Travellin’ Rick.
“Look,” said Randy. “Why don’t I pick you up at the hotel and bring you out to see the greenhouse?”
“That sounds great!” exclaimed Travellin’ Rick. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of Oregon’s sights.”
Randy met Travellin’ Rick an hour later. The two men sat in Randy’s truck, driving along the highway.
“My!” exclaimed Travellin’ Rick. “Oregon is such a beautiful place. Lots of farms, I see, too!”
“Yes,” said Randy. “Oregon has lots of farms. This here soil is perfect for growing things.”
“If that is the case,” said Travellin’ Rick, taking out his notebook. “Then, why the greenhouse?”
“I use the greenhouse for starting my vegetables in the spring,” explained Randy. “With a greenhouse, I get a little longer of a growing season.”
“What sorts of plants do you grow in the greenhouse?” asked Travellin’ Rick.
“Just wait, you’ll see in a minute,” said Randy, pulling into a long narrow dirt road.
On the left hand side of the road, Travellin’ Rick saw what looked like a ranch house. It was beautifully crafted out of logs.
“Wow!” exclaimed Travellin’ Rick. “What a beautiful house?”
“Thanks,” said Randy. “I built that house all by myself.”
Travellin’ Rick was impressed.
“You know,” said Travellin’ Rick. “I feel like I have stepped into the pages of a great western!”
“Yes,” said Randy. “This place does have that effect.”
Randy parked the truck in the driveway and then immediately took Travellin’ Rick on a grand tour of the grounds.
“This is my greenhouse,” said Randy, proudly.
Travellin’ Rick was ready with his camera in his hands, snapping picture after picture.
“I can see why Jim wanted me to do this article,” said Travellin’ Rick. “Your place is beautiful!”
“Thank you,” said Randy, leading Travellin’ Rick into the greenhouse.
“Boy, it sure is hot in here,” said Travellin’ Rick.
“The temperature and humidity are both very well regulated for the young plants,” explained Randy.
“What is that?” pointed Travellin’ Rick to a tree that stood in one corner of the greenhouse.
“That’s my prized plant, a banana tree,” said Randy, proudly.
“You can grow banana trees in a greenhouse!” exclaimed Travellin’ Rick.
“You can grow just about anything you want in a greenhouse,” said Randy, leading Travellin’ Rick in the direction of some lemon trees. “Just about anything.”