Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Tulip Time

April 14, 2014

I’ve been enjoying the many Spring photos posted by my fellow bloggers, especially those featuring wonderful skyscapes and blooming flowers. I’ve resisted bemoaning the fact that Spring seems to be avoiding Portland. On Saturday Mrs. C. and I decided to get in the car and find Spring. We found it.

    

Twenty miles south of Portland is the town of Woodburn, home of The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and Tulip Fest 2014. It might seem strange to have tulip fields in Oregon when they’re mainly associated with Holland, but tulips aren’t native to Holland either. The colorful flower originated in Turkey.

    

Tulip Fest was started in the 1980s by the Iverson clan and it’s still a family affair. When the Iversons started to grow wholesale tulip bulbs in the 1980s, a couple of ladies from Woodburn suggested they open the fields to the public. Barb Iverson explains that they put an ad in the paper, put out a wheelbarrow of picked flowers to sell, opened on Easter and caused a traffic jam.

    

The Iversons raised six kids on their farm after purchasing the property in the ‘50s. Over fifty crops are raised here but the Iversons are most famous for their tulips. Every year they plant over seven million bulbs and people come from around the world to see them. Foreign languages mingle with the buzzing of bees and hang on the air along with the scent of flowers.

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much as I love the tulips, I think I enjoy the children even more. Their faces light up at the sight of a landscape quilted in rainbow colors. What I wouldn’t give to see the world through their eyes, like Adam and Eve on that first dawn in Eden.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope everyone has a terrific week.



Comments

30 Comments
Those are some beautiful flowers. I'd have liked to look for spring Saturday but I had to get a root canal. And now it's going to snow! It seems spring is never going to really get here. We'll probably go straight from winter to the dog days of summer.
By: PT Dilloway on April 14, 2014
Beautiful, like a living rainbow flag.
By: Cranky on April 14, 2014
Whata wonderful way to begin the week! I used to go here every year...and later on check out the Dahlia Fields in Canby. We used to ride the Canby Ferry over from the west side of the Willamette River. It's a fun summer adventure! Cheers! Here's a link: http://www.clackamas.us/roads/ferrystatus.html
By: Kathe W. on April 14, 2014
i love seeing these fields! i follow another blogger who has posted recently from the wooden shoe. :)
By: TexWisGirl on April 14, 2014
Do you live in Portland? My best friend is moving there so I'll probably start visiting Portland twice a year. If so, we should get together for lunch sometime. I want to see your art studio.
By: Michael Offutt on April 14, 2014
Great photos! Loved the ones with the children, too!
By: Linda on April 14, 2014
I love the views of the tulip fields. I've seen aerial photos of the fields in Holland, which are amazing. I'll bet these would be, too.
By: Catalyst on April 14, 2014
What a wonderful day that must have been!!
By: fishducky on April 14, 2014
I can't even wrap my mind around "over seven million" bulbs. How is that even possible? But how beautiful they are. I would love to see it. While the Dutch might not be the originators of tulips, the Dutch are into tulips in a big way. Most of the Dutch communities such as Pella, IA or Holland, MI are full of them. As my husband is Dutch we do manage to get to an occasional tulip festival.
By: Cheryl P. on April 14, 2014
Super photographs. So the next time I hear the song, 'Tulips from Amsterdam' I'll sing 'Tulips from Woodburn' instead to put them right!
By: Bryan Jones on April 14, 2014
Hooray for tulips! That's a beautiful way to find spring.
By: mimi on April 14, 2014
What a fabulous way to spend the day! I'm happy you found "Spring" and thanks for sharing it with us. :)
By: Lexa Cain on April 14, 2014
Beautiful! I've seen aerial photos of huge tulip fields and they never fail to amaze. Thanks for the reminder. :)
By: Scott Park on April 14, 2014
You are right. The tulips are splendid and breath taking but those kids just make the heart sing. Wonderful shots.
By: Akansas Patti on April 14, 2014
What a joyful landscape. It was very kind of you to share with us. Love the kids too.
By: Oma Linda on April 14, 2014
It's a treat for the eyes.. and I'm sure for the nose, also. I love your photos of the kidlets enjoying the tulips. Is 7 million plantings even possible?
By: Hilary on April 14, 2014
Love the tulips...like nature's Skittles!
By: Pixel Peeper on April 14, 2014
Oh wow- what a wonderful sight! And the children are so sweet, aren't they!
By: Coloring Outside the Lines on April 14, 2014
That's a LOT of tulips!
By: Val on April 14, 2014
Awesome tulip fields.
By: red on April 14, 2014
Spectacular! We don't have tulips around here, b/c the deer gobble them up.
By: Tom Sightings on April 14, 2014
Stunning beauty. Tulips were always a vivid part of spring in Indiana. Lana had "painted" the yard with gorgeous tulip beds. Seeing your photos are a real joy. What a beautiful sight!
By: Tom Cochrun on April 14, 2014
they are something to behold aren't they? just gorgeous photos and much more convenient than going to holland. we have a festival in australia too. http://www.tulipfestival.com.au/
By: Fran on April 14, 2014
Beautiful images and such wonderful smiling faces!
By: John on April 15, 2014
Wowie, Zowie. I would have taken waaaay too many photos.
By: Tabor on April 15, 2014
After being reminded of these glorious tulip fields, the week can't help but be terrific.
By: Mitchell is Moving on April 15, 2014
Precious photos, Stephen! I learned something new about Oregon too!!
By: Michael Manning on April 15, 2014
I agree it's seeing the delight on the children's faces that's the best, although tulips are one of my favourite flowers too and the orange ones in your photo are truly magnificent. A lovely post, thank you!
By: Sharon Bradshaw on April 16, 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful photos. I love seeing tulips too.
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 16, 2014
Oh lovely! And, yes, the kids make it even more special.
By: The Bug on April 22, 2014

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