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my first (almost) trip to nceca - a saga

updated fri 17 mar 06


earlk on wed 15 mar 06

I had hotel reservations for the whole week.
When it came time to leave on Tuesday the
day-job said "I don't think so !!! He-He-He.".

Mumble-gerf, mumble-gerf !!!

Friday morning all was under control again
so I threw a change of clothes into a bag and
took off. I could make Portland by 1pm, get a
day-pass and at least make a quick tour by
the exhibitors and maybe watch a little of
the demo's.

Oh No, that was not to be.

Temporary sign alongside the road said
"Crash Ahead". Traffic stopped. Over an
hour and some 10 miles further I came
to an obvious fatality accident.

When I got to Portland It was 3 pm and my
room was not ready. OK, I'll go to the
convention first. The nice man at the
day-pass booth looked at me appolegetically
and said "There's only two hours left and it
will still cost you $90."

NINETY DOLLARS for TWO hours ????

NCECA may be worth a lot but not that much.
A "deal" I could pass up. Got a cup of coffee,
waited for the room to be ready, and calmed
down some. About 6 pm I wound my way over
to the ClayArt room at the Red Lion.

Now there were only two Clayart people that I
had ever met face-to-face before: Mel and ClayBair.
And here was a large room filled with strangers, or
so I thought. With some trepedation I stepped over
the threshold. How would these masters of pottery
and prose react to me, a mere dabbler in clay?

I walked over and said hi to Mel. He said "Who are You?"
Good start. The only person in the room I knew
didn't know me. But he recognized my name and
proceeded to give me a warm welcome.

Then I saw this tall, lanky Texan in a red cowboy shirt.
That could only be David Hendley. Emboldened more
than usual I walked straight up to this stranger and
introduced myself. Would he brush me off as a nobody?
No such thing happened. Instead David asked a little
about me and then pointed out some other people,
including Wayne from Key West.

I introduced myself to Wayne and he reacted like I was
his long lost soul mate. Big hug and then he started
pointing out more people.

Among them was Ron Roy and John Hesselberth. Yes,
folks, I can attest these guys are mortals like you and
me. In fact I had to keep a close eye on Ron because
I thought he might abscond with my hat.

And then Wayne introduced me to Susan Nebeker.
Heidi Haugen came along and the next thing I know
Maurice is driving the four of us to the gallery
opening where Mel has some pots and paintings.
Yes, the man can paint.

Later I found myself alone again back at the hotel.
Most everyone was out so I took some time to get
a little chow. When I returned more people had
come back from gallery tours so I spent the rest
of the evening chatting with Marcia, Shula, Gayle,
Bacia, Ken, the Pirate and Piratess and some others.

About midnight the room was emptying so I headed
back to my hotel for a little sleep before I had to
return home on Saturday.

So, all in all, my entire NCECA trip include no NCECA
but was really a ClayArt trip of a mere 6 hours.
But what 6 hours those were. It's been a long time
since I was so happy and had met such nice people.
Special thanks go to Mel (of course), Wayne, Susan,
Heidi and Maurice for turning a disaster into more
than I expected.

And maybe I'll do the whole shebang next year and
bring something to show.

Thanks, all...

The one from Bothell.
Not the one teaching kindergartners.
wa, usa