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Naperville
Monday, February 26, 2024

Real Life – Return to the Queen

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Patti KoltesRagged from several travel mishaps and powered by only four hours of sleep, I made my way north, and turned back time. How many hours had I driven The Adirondack Northway? I have certainly lost count. The curves of the highway; the endless greenery; layers upon layers of mountains. It is a path to paradise, a paradise I was lucky to call home.

Now, just months after my mother’s death, I motor onward toward my Barnaby family reunion. Passing The Blue Waters Lodge, I imagine my parents there, honeymooners. The sign is cheery though worn, like the photos I have of their trip, sixty-four years ago. Their marriage played out along these waters, until they chose the ocean and sunshine over the seasons of the Northeast, and sold their home on Lake George.

My housekeeping cabin is set high in the woods, its deck perfectly positioned to memorize the beauty of Northwest Bay. The fi rst of my family to arrive, I am alone with my lake. I have no luggage—it’s possibly in Newark—but I am promised it should arrive in a couple of days. I settle back in my Adirondack chair, a glass of lake water at my side, breathe the piney mountain air, and listen to the birds.

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When our family fully assembles, our four cabins assume roles. The lakeside one is logical for cocktail hour. The cabins where the youngest cousins live host breakfasts and campfires. Mine is great for dinners. We rent boats, attempt ping pong near the beach, play miniature golf, and go out for ice cream. We are all kids, now that we are at camp.

Mornings come early in our simple lodgings. The sun streams through unlined curtains. The crows caw. Hot coff ee on the deck is followed by a hike up the mountain. We mark our parents’ passings with readings beside a mountain stream.

Our family closes it circle on the Queen of American Lakes.

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Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.

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