It was June 29, in the sweltering Portland heat…wait, that can’t be right.
But it was. It was like 90 degrees the day I met Neil Gaiman. There were 900 people packed into the Crystal Ballroom, a beautiful, non-air conditioned venue downtown.
By virtue of our early arrival, my friend and I were seated in the second row. Not all authors have an opening act, but Jason Webley opened with his hat-wearing-accordion-playing awesomeness. Neil did a reading (Chapter 3) from The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I had purposely not read yet so I could read the signed copy.
After the reading, my friend and I debated about sticking around in the sweltering heat to get our books signed. The 900 bodies in the Ballroom, combined with the unexpected sunlight, were cooking up a decidedly sweaty funk.
Naturally, I complained to Twitter.
And from backstage came this reply:
So, of course I did.
And also, because the friend I was with happened to be pregnant, we were whisked to the front of the line.
So, after painting he and his wife with skull faces; and both of his dogs, with regular faces; I finally met Neil Gaiman in real life.
As my kids get older (i.e. old enough to sit still for a long car ride, pack their own bags, maintain intelligent conversations, not scream or pee in public, etc.) I’ve started to be nostalgic for places I loved as a kid. Last weekend we visited my parents on the Oregon Coast and made a day trip to West Coast Game Park Safari, or as I called it as a kid – Deer Park.
The last time I visited, my husband was carrying my oldest around in a backpack, so maybe 10 years ago? It hadn’t changed much from my childhood memories at that visit, and it still hasn’t.
You still see the same weathered signs (coastal air does that.)
You still walk through the gift shop.
You still buy ice cream cones filled with deer and goat chow.
The free-ranging goats and assorted deer still single out the smallest children and knock the cones out of their hands as soon as you walk through the gate.
The place is still lousy with peacocks and peahens.
The animal enclosures are still charmingly rustic.
You are still separated from huge beasts by mere wire and electric fence.
And the best part – you still get to hold BABY ANIMALS. Gah!