Dear Gail, You probably don't remember me, but I'm the kid who grew up next door to your mother back in the old neighborhood in Concord. Your mom used to baby-sit me, and in a way, over the years, she became the grandmother I never had. But I think you were already long married by that time. Anyway, I dreamed about the neighborhood last night, as I still do now and then, even though the whole place is of course long destroyed. But there I was back home again, and in that aimless way that dreams develop, I thought I'd stop in next door and say hi to your mom. I crunched my way down our long gravel driveway out to the sidewalk, past the hedge, then onto the narrow concrete walk between the twin lawns and up the steps to her creaky old front porch. She wasn't sitting in her big green rocking chair – the one with the wicker seat – so I knocked on the screen door. The funny thing is, every detail on that porch was there as plain as day: I could feel the three slanting brass...
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