The highway would have been faster, but I chose the road that goes around the eastern side of the lake. I passed a little restaurant with a sign that bragged: “We have bullheads.” Local folks like my father love these fish, for reasons that no one really understands. The ice cream store, where I stopped many times as a kid with my father on our way home from sailing, wasn’t yet open for the season. At the marina, the docks were still empty except for a single boat of fishermen who were joking and swearing at each other as they worked to fix their motor.
Farther on, I passed the little town with the amusement park. The rides stood empty in the spring sun. The brown sign that advertised the beach looked like it needed a new coat of paint. Most of the summer camps were still boarded up, and the first dandelions of the season were springing forth on the little lawns.
After about 45 minutes of driving along the lake, I came to the little town where Biker Boy now lives. Longtime readers will remember that Biker Boy is the kid who used to live on my street and has been in foster care for more than a year. He’s living with a family now — a young couple who live near the lake.
We spent the morning down by the shore — skipping stones, finding pretty ones, and investigating a dead fish that had been tossed onto a lawn. I had a chance to meet the members of the household, including the dogs and the cat and some hens. I heard about extended family members who live near by, and Biker Boy showed me his prize possession: a remote control car that actually flew through the air when he drove it off a pile of rocks.
The little town hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. It’s the kind of place where Biker Boy can spend sunny afternoons riding around on his bike and swimming in the lake. I bet everyone in the town will know him by the end of the summer. I don’t want to say too much more — since this blog is no longer very pseudonymous — but right now, everything looks really good for him. He’s in a safe place with kind, compassionate people who love him and who plan to adopt him. As I drove home, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for all the people who have been working to give this kid a happy ending.