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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Our front porch faces the morning sun, just like it did at our Andover house. The breeze is crisp, and I wrap myself in a wool poncho, a gift Felipe brought back from Doris in Colombia, after one of his many visits. It’s been over a year since we last saw our son, except on FaceTime calls, which we enjoy fairly often. Lately he’s been calling from his University campus, where we catch glimpses of classmates, the other “bacteriology” students in their matching white lab coats—and one is his girlfriend, Louisa.

I linger as long as possible in my black-painted Adirondack rocker, wrapped in a reminder of a son far away, and I think again about all that’s changed in a half-dozen years. My family expanding, first through adoption, and then through marriages and babies. And this, no doubt, is only the beginning. Kyle is back in construction mode, working on our “Black Squirrel Bunkhouse”—which is not actually a house at all, but a downstairs bedroom with lakeside walkout. When it’s finished it will potentially sleep twelve.

I’m still enjoying my morning leisure when Kyle and Maple return from their daily romp. “I met George and Denise.” He points to the house, just past the open lot—the only neighbors whose names Marlyn didn’t know, when she stopped by for coffee and gingerbread cake, a couple of weeks ago. I’d brought out a notebook and pencil, asking my next-door-neighbor—inaugural Green Lake friend—to fill in names between the landing to our south, and the curve on Xenon, up the road to the north.

We met Marlyn, and her husband, John, shortly after purchasing our lot, three springs ago. “It’s Marlyn like the fish”—is how she said it, and we’ve never forgotten. Nor have we forgotten that first warm welcome, and the drinks we shared by their living room fire. It was our only visit with John, who died a few months later, before we’d begun to build our house. And Marlyn, from the first, has been a gem. She’s shared everything from power to water to homemade treats, and her “housewarming gift” was off-the-charts thoughtful. A digital scrapbook of each phase of construction, beginning with ground-breaking, April 6, 2020—a year ago today.

Marlyn’s son and family live on the lake, too, on the stretch we all know as the “sandy beaches.” Greg’s wife, Joey, bakes and decorates the most exquisite cookies you’ve ever seen, and we’ve been lucky recipients on numerous occasions. Candy-corn cutouts on Halloween, a bewildering assortment of Christmas cookies, fanciest Valentine hearts, even pot-of-gold cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Kevin and Tina are our newest neighbors, having moved into the house next to ours in mid-November. We house-warmed them with a meat and cheese tray, nothing homemade, hoping it might be the thought that counts. They are our peers by age and season of life; their first grand-baby, a girl, was just born to their daughter, and their son is expecting a boy this month. Tina and I have gone for a few spring walks along the lake, swapping stories about life and families—and Kevin periodically cuts through the trees to chat with Kyle when he’s working outside.

Our dearest former neighbors drove up from Andover to visit last weekend. It was a perfect evening, weather and company. We ate burgers on the screen-porch, watching the sun set over the lake. Mike and Cheryl caught us up on the news of our Orchid Street friends, and we talked about their kids and ours, all adults now. They’re going to be grandparents, too, and they're planning another wedding this summer.

The sun is bright over Larry’s woods as I sit on a new front porch, remembering my old one. So many mornings and so many prayers, there and now here. Chickadees hop from pine to feeder, and an eagle calls from its perch, nearby. I savor this day, and I cherish the memories, and I am truly grateful.

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