Great Food, Good Fortune, Happy Endings.

by Rebecca Robison

The moment that you taste something really delicious, it leaves an indelible mark on your memory.  You know the moment when you take that first bite, and turn and say, “Here, you HAVE to taste this,” and your sharing fork is on its way for someone else to sample.

It is also amazing to me how a delicious dinner can unlock the tongue and remarkable conversations flow. I recently had the opportunity to prepare and experience such a dinner with Matt and Kim McKain and Dan and Barbara Henderson.

The Menu:

Sear-Roasted Double R Ranch Co. Petite Tenderloin Filets
Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Boursin Cheese
Spring Greens with Julienne Granny Smith Apples, Pomegranate and with a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Coconut Crème Pie with Blackberry Cassis and Mango Coulis

The finished product!

Even though our backgrounds were all quite different, we discovered how many things we actually had in common. Sharing a great meal and personal stories with these remarkable, talented people reconfirmed how small the world is, and how the power of simple acts of kindness can change lives.

Here is Barbara’s story, (or at least one of them):

“I came to America as an exchange student from Yugoslavia in 1992. At the end of my exchange year, I was desperately trying to find a way to stay here.  I had been offered many scholarships to a number of universities but unfortunately none of them were “full-ride.” I knew I had to earn extra money to get into a school.  With a student visa, I was not allowed to work anywhere, so my plans to remain in the states were quickly diminishing.  My host family offered to pay me “under the table” to work at a burger joint.

At about the same time, I was invited to a dinner party by a friend who was also from former Yugoslavia.  At the party I met Sherry, an amazing woman who had traveled to Yugoslavia.  She had been to my country several times and was absolutely fascinated with our people and the culture.  We talked and talked and before we knew it was early morning!

Barbara telling her story...

During our conversation I mentioned my struggle to stay in the USA and the work offer proposed by my host family.  Sherry is an attorney and a very ethical and honorable person who could not bear the thought of illegal dealings and the possibility of exportation.  She called me the very next day, and within a week I had a new home. In addition to opening her home to me, she paid the difference necessary to attend The College of Idaho. Later, she was instrumental in helping me get my parents to America. Her good deeds go on.

I call her my Guardian Angel, my American ‘Mother’.

Sherry also introduced me to another wonderful woman, Patricia who would later become my mother-in-law.  Patricia wanted to introduce me to her son, so I reluctantly agreed to a blind date.  The date didn’t go as she had hoped.  Her son Dan and I were on different paths.  He had just graduated from college; I was just starting my freshman year. Occasionally our paths would cross and we would laugh about our awkward “first date”.  Many years passed and I often wondered what would happen if he and I ever did get together.  In August of 2006, I was hiking the Loon Lake trail outside of McCall.  As I was hiking up the hill and not really paying attention, a mountain biker came down and nearly wiped me off the trail! As he apologized for almost taking me out, he recognized me and said, ‘Barbara…its Dan Henderson!’  I had no idea who he was with the helmet, glasses and all the biking gear.  After a few minutes of chatting we both agreed that we needed to get together.  I continued up the hill, he went down. Later that day, I found his number on a card attached to my car.

The rest is history.

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