I have a lot of friends in all parts, whether they’ve eaten my food or seen me on TV. I love to visit with folks and I have even been known to burn the bread while shooting the bull with someone. Some of these friends are what I call first timers- we meet them only one time. I guess it’s easier for me, because that way I make a good first impression and before I have had time to give them food poisoning we hit the road and are gone out of sight. I may not ever see them again… man why couldn’t It be that way with my mother- in- law?!
After Chopped Grill Masters aired last year in August, we were overrun with calls, letters and emails. And we answered them all, we did. There are certain ones that still stand out but none stranger than this. Now it happens a lot in life when someone calls or bumps into you and says if I’m ever in the neighborhood I’m going to drop by but most of the time that never happens. We got a call from a couple in Palmer, Alaska. They had seen me on Chopped and said they would be around the Oklahoma area in June and wanted to come to our restaurant to eat. Well, the little wife explained that we don’t have a restaurant and only do onsite catering.
However, the more we got to thinking about it, what are the odds of two folks traveling nearly 5000 miles to come and eat supper? I think you would have better odds winning the lottery. So we figured if they were around our area they sure could swing by for a visit. What do you do with Alaskan folks to entertain them? Maybe talk about the weather for a couple of hours. Do they know Sarah Palin? Does it really stay dark all winter and light all summer? We decided maybe we should watch some Ice Road Truckers and brush up on our Alaskan history.
But I knew we’d do our best to be hospitable and cook them a steak, with all the trimmings- that will impress them!
Soon our night to entertain came around and Doug and Diane showed up at our door. I told them come on in and let’s sit in the living room and have a visit. They seemed like nice folks, but it was still early on. All I could tell for sure was I didn’t see any weapons and I couldn’t see any Health Inspector badges.
We had a great meal sitting around the table and had a good visit. At the end, we wrapped up some souvenirs to take back with them. When they were out of the drive way and out of sight, Shannon and I went back into the house. A couple hours later we noticed the silver was missing!
Ok, that didn’t really happen. It would have made an interesting story, but as Paul Harvey said here is the rest of the story…
About a week later Shannon got a call from Diane and she said, “I don’t know how we can ever thank y’all! But seeing as how you two were so hospitable we would like to show you our gratitude and have y’all come for supper at our house!” Now all that is well and good but my gosh it ain’t like we can just drive over this evening and break bread with these fine folks.
My little wife was in the process of telling them we didn’t want to intrude when Diane said, “We have made all the arrangements. We are going to fly y’all in and pick you up at the airport in Anchorage.” My little woman liked to have passed out! I heard Shannon telling them they didn’t have to do that. But it was too late and they had already gone and one-upped us!
We sure thought this was a strange invitation, but we do love an adventure and those folks, that we had known for three hours, seemed like nice people. And sure enough it definitely proved to be one great Alaskan adventure.
Alaska is truly the last frontier with breath-taking views, beautiful country and the best thing of all our first two adopted Alaskan family members. And the bonus was they even had three good pups which is a must for us and Bonehead, the beagle.
We visited and ate and visited some more. To sit on their deck and escape the Oklahoma heat was a treat for us. But more than that, we sat for hours and visited like we had known each other for years. There are some people you meet and it comes clear, as fresh water in the barrel, these are just good folks. Friends that now have become family. The effort those two made to show Shannon and I a trip of a lifetime was… awesome. To fly over glaciers and see mountains so tall and so close it looked like you could reach out and touch them. But what got touched were our hearts.
These Alaskans are special. We were sure outdone by these fine folks because I told them the steak I made for them didn’t quite measure up to what they gave us. Doug and Diane have a place at our table for any meal they choose.
I remember what Diane said as they were taking us to the airport, “You know we may seem a little odd- but we’re friendly!”
Folks all I can say for sure is it did seem a little odd at first, but me and Shannon met the friendliest folks in Alaska.