John and I drove back from fishing with plenty of time to spare (or so we thought), only to find Corvallis still locked in the deep freeze. Nineteen degrees, snow covering everything and four inches of solid, clear, black ice turning the roads into a skating rink. With the predictably jammed up traffic, it took me 45 minutes to drive 34 blocks from John’s house to my hotel, and I witnessed three wrecks along the way. Traffic jam in Corvallis? No way! At this point, I figured anyone who was going to come to the readings would bail, and it was looking doubtful that we could even make it to the reading. As we drove to Albany for the first event, John and I were already making plans for where we should go eat if nobody showed up.
We pulled into the Albany Public Library, and amazingly, the parking lot was full of cars. I immediately thought they were from people who must have walked home to avoid driving. But John said, no, there are people here. And when we went into the big meeting room, it was full of people. No way! The reading went great, with Larison nearly stumping me during the “interview” part of the talk–that’s him in the photo above, back in civilian clothes–and lots of good discussion from the audience. And really, I was just grateful to even have an audience.
Finally, we wrapped things up in Albany and slipped and slid our way back to Corvallis for Part 2 of the doubleheader. Again, I was sure nobody was going to show up at a fly shop at 9:00pm on a weeknight with ice covering the roads to hear a guy they’d never heard of. And once again, I was wrong. Full shop? No way! I should disclose, though, that a large part of the draw could have been the excellent beer on tap. Still, it was a great discussion, and we ended up reading and talking until midnight. Whew! Huge thanks to Kyle Smith, who organized both events, and no doubt twisted a lot of arms to fill the venues. Also to Larison, for his excellent interview and for letting me poach some of his fans that came out to see him. Same to Kate Taylor and Justin Crump. When it was all over, I walked out into the icy night nearly overwhelmed with gratitude, not to mention hunger. John and I hadn’t eaten since leftover bear burgers on the river at noon. The pizza joint across the street’s still open? No way!