Every year at the beginning of October, my parents and I drive to the mountains, where my father worked as a musician back in the 1950s. We admire the fall foliage, we stop at several lakes, we eat lunch at restaurant that used to be a railway stations, we drive past places where my Dad used to work, and we stay the night at an inn that was built in 1903.
This year, the sun shone, but the wind was cold, so none of the walks we took were long. At dinner time, when we went down to the lobby of the inn, we appreciated the warm fire burning at the hearth. “Fall has definitely arrived,” my mother said as she sat down on the comfortable couch near the crackling flames.
Just then we heard footsteps on the crooked old staircase. It was my son Shaggy Hair and his wife Smiley Girl. I’d invited them to join us for dinner, but I’d kept it a secret. Both my parents were surprised. “Where did you come from?” my father asked, so startled that he almost dropped the drink he was holding. My mother laughed and hugged the newlyweds.
Dinner was fun. The owner of the inn, who had been in on the secret, had saved a round table for the five of us. Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl were full of stories: they’d been to the Wild Center that afternoon. Of course, it wasn’t long before my father was telling Shaggy Hair Boy some of his old stories. They’re both jazz musicians, sixty years apart in age, and my father was Shaggy Hair’s age when he worked up in the mountains. Even though the meal was delicious and filling, we lingered long enough to order dessert.
The five of us gathered again for breakfast in the morning. We ate looking out over the lake, and we drove to Fourth Lake for a walk on the pier. The wind had died down, and the sun felt good as we talked and admired the views. Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl ran into the little playground in town to climb on the playground equipment, just as if they weren’t a grown-up couple now. My parents and I took the long route home, following a river that wound its way through brilliantly colored trees.