This summer, when the tourists milled through the streets of Belgrade Lakes, I was one of them. I rode up there on my brother’s boat and got some ice cream at Day’s store and tried some pizza from the guy who had a tent set up in one of the driveways. There was a lot more foot traffic there compared to when I was a kid. They have a farmer’s market on Sunday and more places where you can wander up and grab something to eat. Forty years ago, it was pretty much Day’s or nothing, and Day’s was more about knick-knacks than food.

To my surprise, the downtown (known as The Lakes) was a lot like my description from Accidental Evil. I populated the streets with a few locals and a bunch of summer tourists and imagined bustling commerce. I suppose that I was merely extrapolating on the apparent trend. Still, it was neat to see The Lakes match my imaginary version.

In a few weeks, the last of the tourists will be gone and forgotten, for now. Residents will get on with the serious business of squeezing the last warm weather out of fall and then enduring the coming cold.

Today, up at my brother’s house, I saw one of the older locals for the first time in years. He has never read my book, Migrators, and that’s probably a good thing. I took some liberties in that book with descriptions of him and his family. I changed the names, of course, but it wouldn’t take a lot of sleuthing to make the connection. In fact, his friend *had* read Migrators, and he *had* made the connection.

His friend asked me, “You’re the author, right?”
I told him yes, and then before I could think it through, I said, “In fact, Buster is in one of my books.”
“Oh, I know,” the friend said.
I wonder what he told Buster about that book. I didn’t want to bring it up, but I hope that nobody took offense. None was intended.
Most of my friends realize that they will eventually end up in one of my books. They seem to have a pretty good humor about it when I kill them off. Although one of my friends sounded a little hurt when he realized that I had made him into a mouse and then given him a heart attack.

I’m glad that I got the chance to live up in that area, but I’m also glad I moved away. I think it might be a little easier to write about Belgrade from forty minutes away.


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