Where the rubber meets the ravioli…

The smell of fresh rubber is pungent in my nostrils. I’m writing this post from the lobby of a tire store while I wait for new tires to be installed on my travel weary car.

Chihuly Museum, Seattle

Chihuly Museum, Seattle

I’m recording another magical night and shaking my head in disbelief. When I am in Seattle, it is home, it is returning, it is my daughters. I spend as much time with them as possible, both together, each separately, whatever I can get of their busy lives, I grab and treasure.

Tonight was “Dinner with Alicia night.” We were both tired, but both excited to be together and we headed out to a neighborhood Italian restaurant only to pull up in front to find a sign on the door that read “closed for a staff wedding.” The place was closed up tight and we sat there dumbfounded on a Saturday night.

I tried to think of other places to go when “Swingside Cafe” popped into my weary brain. Alicia had never been there and it had been way too long since I had adorned this darling, small, quaint house in Fremont.

With daughter, Alicia, at Swingside Cafe

With daughter, Alicia, at Swingside Cafe

We walked in their doors around 8:30pm, got a prime corner table and proceeded to catch up on our days and order amazing salad and pasta. Being with Alicia is like liquid sunshine, she glows into my soul and I tan under her gaze. After we had been talking for forty-five minutes we started to hear music coming from the adjoining room. We could see a large table of ten people and they had all pulled out their instruments, a miniature accordion, 3 fiddles, small flute/recorder things, and a guitar. Turns out they were amazing professional musicians that were drawn together after attending some Irish music camp.

Alicia with Brad, Fin and Lucky

Alicia with Brad, Fin and Lucky

Brad, the chef and owner of the restaurant, came over to our table and smilingly asked if we had brought our auto harps to join in and we struck up amiable conversation. We met Fin and Lucky, his dogs, who immediately jumped up next to Alicia and wiggled like crazy. Brad made us feel more than welcome, like we were in his home. He invited us to move to a closer table to watch the musicians and said that he would bring us some Washington white port, made by somebody called Alexander the Grape, to sip at the end of our meal.

We ordered dessert, and Brad brought us over some rare Washington red wine to accompany it. We were in heaven. Dogs, cats, live music, great wine and a Sicilian host that made us feel like family. Our waitress said that our dessert was on the house, but when the bill came a lot more was on the house than that! Our salad was comped and of course all of the wine he so generously poured.

Why people choose to be so generous to me is an unknown. It was especially delightful to have Alicia there to experience the magic that seems to surround my encounters. She too, was enthralled with the restaurant, the company and music and sadly realizes that small restaurants like this are a dying breed.

As we were tapping our toes to the Irish ditties, another regular patron came in and started to dance and asked Alicia and I to join him in a jig. There was much laughter and clapping and complete delight. There are such extraordinary people in the world!

IMG_9168As I wend my way back to Seattle for the holidays, I anticipate more magical times to come with three wonderful daughters to spend my days with. Happy holidays to everyone. May you be surrounded by those you love.


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