When you’re a kid from the bay you ride your bike to Geneva Street but never across it. You visit Lake Geneva when you’re 45 and still think of it as a big city. There’s so much traffic and stoplights and noise and sirens. When you’re a kid from the bay you stop at your parents house and your mom is making cookies while your dad listens to a radio program on his phone that he stores in the breast pocket of a button down shirt. If it’s summer the cookies will be chocolate something or other, but if it’s winter they might have ginger in them, or they might be sugar cookies with Christmas colors piped around the edges. In the summer the cinnamon rolls are made in a sheet pan but in the winter the dough is twisted into a circle and we call it coffee cake and your dad used to delivery them on Christmas morning to people who always appreciated the tasty gesture.
When you’re a kid from the bay you go to the candle-lit service at the old lutheran church by the school where your dad used to teach. The church where they held the wedding for your aunt and the funeral for your brother. The next morning you wake up at your house and you drive to that old home where you grew up. You open the door and your dad is sitting in his chair watching A Christmas Story and your mom is making eggs and bacon and orange rolls and cinnamon rolls. If it’s a clear morning the sun blinds you in the living room, but the tree is in the corner and the train is choo-chooing around it and your youngest nephew is lying on his stomach turning the dial to make the train go so fast that it jumps the tracks, just like you used to do when you were his age. Your dad reads from Luke while your mom busies about to make sure everything is as it’s always been.
There are places to go where the sun never stops shining. Other places where the mountains touch the sky or the sand touches the sea. But when you’re a kid from the bay, there’s really no place you’d rather be.