Dinner with Strangers: Seattle, 1985

Next week we will be on an Alaskan cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice and we will end our cruise in Seattle. I thought I’d share the story of the first time I was in Seattle. FKGuy and I recently had brunch with strangers, and while I was sure that was the first time we had dined with strangers, it was not the first time I had dinner with strangers. 

Don’t talk to strangers,” is something that my parents tried to teach me at an early age. Clearly, they didn’t follow that rule. (How would you make new friends, anyway, if you never talk to someone you don’t know?) Somehow we ended up taking a giant 50 passenger bus tour, although it was only our family and one other person on the giant bus) to a chocolate factory and a winery (they started me young).

The tour included the chocolate factory, samples, the grounds of the property and the on site chapel, which hosts weddings and other events. It has a Sistine-chapel-like ceiling and from my admittedly poor recollection, we spent a lot of time there. As we were sitting in the chapel, with our tour, another tour guide came over and started chatting with my mom. She then invited us over to her house that night for Shabbat dinner. Somehow she noticed the small Star of David I was wearing around my 12 year old neck and decided dinner was in order. My mom thanked her but said we already had dinner plans. She insisted that we cancel them and come anyway.

At this point, our tour had moved on to a winery and my grandfather had convinced my mom that we would be rude to not go for dinner. I’m not exactly sure how this conversation went down. but I imagine it something like this:

Mom: Well, we have reservations at a place I really want to try.

Grandfather: Just cancel them. This very nice woman invited us to her house. We should go. 

Mom: We know nothing about her. Or her family. Or where we are going. 

Grandfather: Eh, what could go wrong? Plus, I’m sure she is expecting us. How could we turn down that invitation?

At our next stop, my mom used a pay phone (it was 1985. They still existed and served a purpose.) and called to say we would come. Only the woman that invited us was not home yet, so her son answered, and the following conversation took place:

Mom: Hi. This is going to sound crazy, but we just met your mom while we were on a tour and she invited us over for dinner. We’d love to come.

Son of Stranger: Oh, yeah she does that. It doesn’t sound weird to me at all. I’ll let her know you are coming and we’ll see you later. 

And that is really all there is to tell. We had a lovely meal at the home of a perfect stranger on Mercer Island. She made salmon, which I did not eat at the time, but even at 12 years old I was polite enough to insist that she not get me anything else. Plus, it has become a barometer for how strange a situation may be. (“Well, it’s not as weird as the time we showed up at a perfect stranger’s house, all the way across the country, for dinner.“)

This stay in Seattle is only for the day. We arrive by cruise ship in the morning and depart by airplane at night. Look for a full trip report covering Vancouver, EAT! Vancouver food festival, plus our Alaskan adventures, starting on May 11.

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