Travelin’ Rick had just finished packing his suitcase, when the telephone rang.
“Hello,” he said into the receiver. “This is Travelin’ Rick.”
“Travelin’ Rick,” said a voice on the other end. “I’m glad I caught you before you left on your vacation.”
“Oh hi, Bob,” said Travelin’ Rick, recognizing the voice as being his boss. “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 Bob.
“Oh no,” said Travelin’ Rick, disappointment showing clearly in his voice. “Bob, what are you talking about? I’m not going on an assignment, I’m going on vacation.”
“I know,” said Bob. “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 Travelin’ 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 Bob.
“Yeah, I bet,” said Travelin’ Rick. “What did you bribe poor Margie with this time?”
“Bribe!” exclaimed Bob. “I wouldn’t do a thing like that!”
“Oh no,” laughed Travelin’ 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 Bob. “I have a meeting on Thursday.”
“I see,” said Travelin’ Rick. “All right, Bob, let’s get down to business. I’ve got a plane to catch.”
“Yes,” said Bob. “What I would like you to do is call on my good friend, Randy Peterson. He lives in Portland, Oregon.”
“Alright,” said Travelin’ Rick. “There must be more to this. What else do you want me to do?”
“Randy owns a small greenhouse,” explained Bob. “I would like for you to write a small article about it for me.”
“How small?” asked Travelin’ 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 Bob.
“Not the greenhouse!” exclaimed Travelin’ Rick. “The article.”
“Oh,” said Bob. “Make it about 1500 words.”
“You call that small,” said Travelin’ Rick.
“Have fun on your trip and good luck with the article,” said Bob and hung up.
Travelin’ Rick left his apartment and hailed a cab to the airport.
The plane ride was long and tiring. Travelin’ Rick was quite worn out when he arrived at the airport in Portland, Oregon. He put off telephoning Bob’s friend until the next day.
“Hello, is Randy there?” asked Travelin’ Rick, when he finally called Bob’s friend, from the hotel lobby.
“Yes, this is Randy,” a voice said on the other end of the phone.
“Hello, Randy,” said Travelin’ Rick. “I’m Travelin’ Rick. My boss, Bob, asked me to give you a call. He wants me to do an article on your greenhouse.”
“Ah good old Bob,” said Randy. “How is he doing?”
“He’s doing just fine,” said Travelin’ 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 Travelin’ Rick. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of Oregon’s sights.”
Randy met Travelin’ Rick an hour later. The two men sat in Randy’s truck, driving along the highway.
“My!” exclaimed Travelin’ 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 Travelin’ 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 Travelin’ 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, Travelin’ Rick saw what looked like a ranch house. It was beautifully crafted out of logs.
“Wow!” exclaimed Travelin’ Rick. “What a beautiful house?”
“Thanks,” said Randy. “I built that house all by myself.”
Travelin’ Rick was impressed.
“You know,” said Travelin’ 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 Travelin’ Rick on a grand tour of the grounds.
“This is my greenhouse,” said Randy, proudly.
Travelin’ Rick was ready with his camera in his hands, snapping picture after picture.
“I can see why Bob wanted me to do this article,” said Travelin’ Rick. “Your place is beautiful!”
“Thank you,” said Randy, leading Travelin’ Rick into the greenhouse.
“Boy, it sure is hot in here,” said Travelin’ Rick.
“The temperature and humidity are both very well regulated for the young plants,” explained Randy.
“What is that?” pointed Travelin’ 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 Travelin’ Rick.
“You can grow just about anything you want in a greenhouse,” said Randy, leading Travelin’ Rick in the direction of some lemon trees. “Just about anything.”