The Door Is Open

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I have a yellowed newspaper article taped to my up north refrigerator that reads: “There’s a moment of expectation as you walk into your summer cabin after it’s been closed up for the winter. You open the door and peer in. Did chipmunks sneak in to leave shells under your pillow? (it’s happened). The air is cool and quiet; the linoleum cold underfoot, sand free for maybe the only time this summer. Sun drifts through the kitchen windows past last year’s calendar. There sits the old couch, the driftwood lamp and weather beaten coffee table, welcoming an old friend. You walk out leaving the door open on new summer adventures.”

We’ve had our old cabin that was built in 1940, for thirty two years – with few updates since then. My children and grandkids have come and gone already, but I look forward to their return whenever their work, baseball, football, hockey, volleyball and soccer schedules allow. Friends welcome! In the meantime, I get to spend days with my black shadow, Josie, who will be 16 on her next birthday. I was afraid this might be her last summer to wander the woods and swim, but her new arthritis pills hidden in a gooey marshmallow have given her a lift. Literally. Being stone deaf, she can’t tell me when someone turns into our driveway, and we communicate now with sign language and touch, but she’s still one of the sweetest Labs I’ve had.

Four years after Bill died, Kathie Lodholz Batsch and her husband George, flew up for a short visit. She was head of our alternative ed department where we worked with at-risk high school kids; also a bright accomplished poet. I loved her gentle manner, wisdom and fierce certainty in dealing with our kids who needed a tough advocate in their lives. Sadly, her years were suddenly cut short by a glioblastoma that robbed her of a happy future with her children and George,the love of her life.

Shortly after their visit, she surprised me with this poem and photo she had taken of the door.
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Titled ‘Invitations’, she speaks of our history
here, the strength of my husband, Bill, and the joy
we’ve experienced as we’ve all passed through this
door that leads to the lake.

And this is my corner of our old cabin, where I can
write and think about all the fun and growing up
we’ve shared here with family and friends.
It’s summertime at last!

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