On our annual trip to the mountains, my father pointed out places he remembered from the 1950s, when he worked at mountain resorts as a musician every summer. The resorts were always on lakes; every winding road we took led us to yet another beautiful lake.
We stayed Friday night in an old inn owned and operated by a couple who live right next door with their small children. We ate dinner by a window that overlooked the lake, with the sky getting dark as we ate. After dinner, we pulled comfy chair up to the fire that crackled in the old stone fireplace. My father entertained the owners with stories about his days in the mountains as a musician while I found the guestbook and read aloud some of the entries.
On Saturday, we hiked around a lake where my husband and I camped when our kids were little. “See that island in the middle?” I told my parents. “We canoed out there so the kids could climb up and jump off the rock. That was a very big deal for the kids.”
Each year our pilgrimage includes a stop at Kindergarten Friend’s summer home. Usually, the place is closed so we just walk on the lawn and dock, with me telling stories about the times I visited as a kid, more than forty years ago. This year, we were greeted warmly at the door by Kindergarten Friend, her mother, her husband, her two kids, and three little dogs who yipped and barked at our heels. They’d come up for the weekend.
It was raining outside by then, but the main room has high ceilings and huge windows, so the place was filled with light. “You can see the lake from here,” my father said admiringly. He and my mother hadn’t been inside the vacation home before, so Kindergarten Friend gave them a tour, with me tagging along to point out cool stuff, like the wood carvings she had done on the newel post. We’ve been friends so long that I feel like I can take credit for how creative she is.
We drove home along a road that followed the south shore of a lake. “We used to come here in the middle of the night, after we got off the stand,” my father said. “You’d see whole herds of deer sometimes.” Some of the trees were already bare, but the beech trees glowed orange and gold against the dark green conifers as we followed the winding road, making our way home.