We all have that one friend who makes you feel like you’re 17 again. No matter how much time passes, you sit down across from them and never miss a beat. For me, that friend is the lovely BG. We’ve been friends for roughly 22 years and while there have been long gaps in our interactions, it takes us all of 30 seconds to pick up where we left off. Though she now lives in Rhode Island, the last couple of years her work has brought her to Seattle and we’ve had the chance to spend time together. This year’s visit took us to Oddfellows Café & Bar.
Two years. That’s how long it’s been since I did the thing I swore I wouldn’t do with this blog. I let it rot in space. Of course, I have a whole host of reasons why… work, lack of time, too much travel. Travel really did play a part. For a while, we went from trip to trip and it felt more like a travel blog. That was never the point. Even more than that, though, I just got a little bored. Feeling bored almost felt like a betrayal.
There have still been Thursday night dinners, some more memorable than others, but all in good company. About six months ago, I started taking food photos again. I’ve started five or six posts and scrapped them all. No matter how good the meal, all felt flat, bland, and contrived (my writing, not the food). Last week, though, on our way home, we stopped at the Old Sage for happy hour. Just a few minutes after sitting down at the bar, I realized what was wrong with the other posts. Over the last two years, I’d forgotten that the food, no matter how amazing, is just one small piece of the experience. I knew it, but I’d forgotten what it felt like.
I can’t remember our last Thursday night dinner. That isn’t to say there haven’t been any, but they’ve been pretty few and far between since late spring. We’ve been eating at home a lot more. It was a really beautiful summer and we finally started making use of our long neglected amenities. We grilled. A lot. We frequented our favorite neighborhood restaurants in lieu of new places and didn’t really venture outside our usual haunts.It was nice. We took a break. We threw a party. We enjoyed each others’ company and the company of good friends. It seemed like overnight, it was all over.
It’s a crime to let a blog post sit for weeks after a new restaurant visit… any blog post. I mean, really, how much can one possibly remember after dozens of subsequent meals? The bigger crime, though, would be not telling you about our visit to Artusi. In all fairness, I don’t remember enough detail to be too specific, but it was such a great meal, I can’t let it pass until our next visit.
Two weeks ago I lost my sweet friend, Lourdes, quite suddenly to a brain aneurysm. When someone dies, the tendency is to forget their flaws and paint a beautiful picture for memory’s sake. The truth about Lourdes, though, is that she was one of those rare people whose imperfections were just part of what made her so wonderful. She honored her Hawaiian roots every moment of her life through both her playful, loving personality and the kindness and gentleness of her Aloha spirit.
A few months ago, Lourdes walked into my office and declared “I want to go to Marjorie.” Anyone who knows me well (and even some who don’t) know Marjorie is my favorite restaurant. B once told me that I am more myself when we are there than any other time. It’s my happy place. Lourdes saw some of my photos from Marjorie and decided it was time for a visit herself. I told her there were very few people I was willing to take there, but I would be honored to take her. We promised to make a visit soon.
I started this post with my own story of where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001 and then quickly deleted it. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with these stories. I appreciate the comfort it brings to read and write these brief snapshots of the most memorable day of the 21st Century. For me, though, it’s more important that we make our stories, our gratitude for those who paid the ultimate price and those who continue to defend our freedom, a part of our personal connections and conversations. Dialogue and human connection are the most important part of the healing process… and we are all still healing. No matter who you are or where you were that day, no American is the same.
My life looks very, very different than it did ten years ago. Aside from my family, the people who are most present in my life are not the same as they were back then. Everything has changed, but just watching the media coverage today, it’s amazing how easy it is to be transported right back to that day.
Lately, B and I have been spending time with new friends. It’s not altogether surprising. Most of the friends we had when we first moved to Seattle have since moved away… and we’ve met some really nice people lately. Last night, we had dinner at La Spiga with two of those new friends, KL and GD.
At some point last week, after reading an article about Skillet Diner, I asked B how he would feel about cancelling last week’s Thursday dinner and having Sunday brunch instead. Given the long weekend, he agreed. Skillet was on our list since shortly after they opened, but there was one major problem. They are literally right next door to our beloved Marjorie. We both know there is no way we’re ever going to be standing that close to Marjorie and choose anything above it. So, dinner at Skillet was out of the question. Brunch on a Sunday when Marjorie isn’t even open was really the only way it would happen.