My grandparents owned a bait shop and a seven-room little motel, called The Lotus Lodge, at the south end of the bay. I'd spend summers there catching minnows in the warm, shallow water around my Grandpa's dock, and my Grandma would let me sell them in the bait shop. Maybe that's where the seeds of being an entrepreneur were sown, although that trait came out rather late in life. Late--as at the end of my twenties.
And maybe that's why I only applied to a handful of colleges--and all of them within a fifty-mile range of Lotus Bay. I ended up at SUNY Brockport and when the weather was good, could go and visit my grandparents. By then, the Lotus Lodge had closed. My grandma was getting too old and sick to take care of it.
Graduation day was one of the saddest days of my life because it meant Kathy and I weren't going to see each other very often. I graduated with a teaching degree and Kathy got a business degree. She wanted to work in the hotel industry and one day dreamed of owning her own bed and breakfast. My goals weren't quite that lofty,
And then one week in June, the area was hit with a cold snap--and my grandma had a massive stroke and died a few days later. Since I was the only family member in the area, I helped my sad-eyed Gramps with the arrangements and hung around to help him after the service when the rest of the family jumped in their cars and drove away as fast as they could from Lotus Bay. The only bright spot in that day was seeing Kathy, who arrived for the service. She had to go back to work, but even she stayed longer than the rest of the family.
And just when things couldn't get worse--they did. Gramps and I walked around the property, which by then was looking pretty run down, and found a body in one of the rooms of the old, abandoned Lotus Lodge.
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