A Gift From A Stranger


This week I found myself in a jewelry store while running errands with my daughter. She was having her rings cleaned and making a return. While she browsed, the store owner, a friendly young man named Peter, started a conversation with me. This is how it went.

Peter: How many children do you have?

Me: Two. Caitlin is my oldest. (hesitation) …..And I have a son who is deceased. He died just before his 23rd birthday

Peter: Oh, I am so sorry (hesitation)……how old was he?

Me: He died just before his 23rd birthday

Peter: (now a little flustered) that’s right you just told me that I am sorry

Me: It’s okay it’s been quite a few years since he died

Peter: What happened?


Needless to say Peter opened the door for a long conversation about who William was and where he had been in his life. Peter ended the conversation by saying: “It sounds like your son lived out a dream. He knew what he was born to do at such a young age. He’s quite amazing. We should never forget him.” I told Peter that I loved talking about my son and thanked him for the conversation. In a room of diamonds and sapphires it is a conversation with a stranger that is the most precious gift.


Another gift I just received is a small crop of meyer lemons. I care for a potted plant that spends warm days outside and frigid ones indoors. In return I am gifted a juicy crop. This year a half dozen of lovely lemons. Meyer lemons are readily available in the grocery store this time of year, but if you can’t find them substitute a mix of fresh lemon and orange juice.

Meyer Lemon Grilled Butter Shrimp

3 tablespoons dry white wine plus additional for soaking skewers

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1-tablespoon fresh meyer lemon juice

1 teaspoon of honey

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tablespoons chopped parsley plus additional for garnish

1 pound extra-large shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 20 shrimp)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus additional for garnish

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

4 slices meyer lemon

Soak 4 to 6 wooden skewers in Mark West Pinot Grigio for 30 minutes. In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons wine, 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and parsley. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and pepper and add to the bowl, tossing to coat with marinade. Let stand for 15 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Brush shrimp with half the melted butter; sprinkle with Aleppo pepper. Grill the shrimp, on a lightly greased grill pan, over moderate heat, basting with remaining butter and turning, until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, brush lemon slices with remaining teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Grill lemons for about 2 minutes per side; serve with shrimp. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, if desired. 


Tip: if using frozen shrimp look for bags labeled: IQF (Individual Quick Freezing) for better tasting and well shaped product. As always buy American.



20 thoughts on “A Gift From A Stranger

  1. Blessings to Peter for opening the door to William’s story, and leaning in to listen. And to you for looking back through that graceful lens to see the moment as a blessing. ❤

    • Such a gift to meet a young man like Peter. He gets “it”.

      And here is the best part….Bill wants to go to the store and buy me something as he is so grateful for what happened. (lol) It made him so happy that someone would “lean in to listen” to Will’s story

  2. What a lovely experience Lisa! It makes my heart happy knowing that Will is blessing people with his life story through his amazing momma! ❤️
    It just so happens that I have some big pink shrimps and Meyer lemons in my pantry so I’ll be making this recipe for dinner tonight! Love you!

    • It really was surprisingly lovely that this “brave” young man was so open to this conversation. That kindness and compassion comes from somewhere deep inside a heart. ❤

      Hope you like my recipe

  3. We do receive beautiful and unexpected gifts when we are open to receiving them. You are such a sweet and wonderful person. You are proud and loving and happy to share your story. I think others are drawn to the light and love that you exude. That’s your gift to the world.

    • Thank you Marcie. I think you are the same kind of mom searching for ways to keep our boys unforgettable gifting with felted stones and sharing your story. I think many are listening and learning…how to be

  4. I love how graceful you are, how positively you think, and how Will’s life story is still able to be told and heard. You open my eyes, make me think twice, and help me see the bright side of things. I love having you in my life. So very thankful for the experience of you.

    • Don’t you just love a man like Peter! …and the kindness of strangers ❤ Thanks for hanging in there with me allllllll these years

  5. That is a very beautiful story Lisa. When I was just starting out in journalism, a editor told me that people have two reactions to tragedy: they either want to talk or not. You never knew who would want to talk and who would tell you to take a hike, but I was always heartened by people’s willingness to share their story even in the depths of despair. Going to try your recipe…sounds great.

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