Meeting in Seattle, Good and Bad

Our little group has been warmly welcomed by the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle, which is housed in a fabulous “Mad Men”-era building overlooking Lake Union, and staffed by the friendliest people in town. The director, Kristine Leander, is top-notch, and there is constant activity at SCC, with dancing, music, language classes, free genealogy help, dinners, weddings, you name it. It has a beautiful lounge, a library, and a film screening room. It’s a happenin’ place.


Lingonberries, pancakes, ham, coffee . . . and Renee’s reindeer skin bag from Jokkmokk!

The center has been flying the Sápmi colors for seven years, the only official building in Seattle to do so, as far as I know. For this fact alone, I am a dues-paying member (the lingonberry discount is nice, too).

The last Sunday of each month there is a Swedish Pancake breakfast, and PSS has used that occasion to meet, watch movies, and celebrate Sámi National Day (February 6, the date of the first Sámi congress was held in 1917 in Trondheim). The center is conveniently located near a waterfront park, perfect for post-event loitering.

This is “a good way to meet.”

Hanging out at Lake Union.

Not so good? Hanging out at the Folklife Festival when a passerby gets shot. Yes, this actually happened. Noreen and her entourage (aka children), Kent, Ilmari, Renee, Lynn, and I were blithely touring the Chihuly Glass Garden below the Space Needle at Seattle Center when shots rang out. Just yards away, on the other side of a hedge, a guy had opened fire after being pummeled with a skateboard, hitting a bystander in the leg, not his intended target. The shooter took off into the center grounds, the wounded guy was quickly given first aid. I gave a report to an officer, then called my husband (who was meandering around inside the grounds) and said, let’s vamoose. (Such a wimp!) The rest of the gang continued on their merry way, up to the top of the Space Needle. The gunman was quickly apprehended, and I missed out on a terrific evening with friends.

That is not a good way to meet.


Not actually a shooting victim, just somebody goofing around. (Minutes before the actual gunfire!)

Today I am playing tour guide to our visitors from Sápmi. If we end up at the Space Needle, I’ll try not to mention the shooting.

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