Settling in for the winter

On Thursday, November 13, 2014 we pointed the nose of the black Lincoln MKS out of the underground parking lot at 100 Jamieson Street, Almonte and began our journey to Hilton Head Island for the winter. We have booked three different places for the next four months, the first and the last being each of two-weeks duration, the middle resort being for three months.  The first and the middle are in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.  The last stay is on Jekyll Island, GA.

The first leg of our trip was a seven-hour drive to Mechanicsburg, PA where we have stayed before.  We wasted no time in the late afternoon upon our arrival getting ourselves into the Hotel then to the Centre Street Grill where we hunkered down to a very satisfactory meal which within an hour afterwards secured the most pleasant dreams.  The next morning we were up very early, sometime around 3:30 a.m. and on the road by no later than 5:00 a.m.  By 6:00 a.m. we were revitalizing ourselves with a hearty breakfast at a Cracker Barrel restaurant (a chain which qualifies as our usual haunt) somewhere on Interstate 81.  Our early departure ensured that we were in Charlotte, NC by early afternoon.  We repeated another satisfactory late lunch at a local BBQ joint and would have also repeated an early night in bed were it not for the jarring disturbance of a fire alarm evacuation in the Hotel.  We walked down fifteen flights of stairs only to witness the speedy arrival (and almost equally hasty retreat) of the fire truck.  It must have been a false alarm.  We amused ourselves afterwards by watching some television but it wasn’t long before we succumbed to sleep once again.  This morning (Saturday, November 15th) we arose after five o’clock and then repeated our customary breakfast at another Cracker Barrel restaurant.  This third day of travel was as usual our shortest so we were approaching Hilton Head Island just before noon.

On the drive here I discovered that my windshield wipers were chattering and I had determined to replace the blades.  I knew of a Lincoln dealership en route to Hilton Head Island and we had no trouble locating it shortly after we turned off Interstate 95 towards the Island.  When I arrived at the Service office the gentleman there advised that if, as I had also suggested, I wanted the oil changed, he could do that immediately as there were no prior bookings.  We decided to capitalize upon this unexpected opportunity.  The oil was changed, the windshield wipers replaced and the car washed, altogether a perfect way to commence our introduction to Hilton Head Island!  It also helped that the weather though cool was perfectly clear, not a cloud in the sky.  The palm trees which I so adore were displayed to especial advantage in the brilliant sunshine!  I was as always captivated by the sight of the sounds as we drove across the causeway to the Island, the sailing yachts, the sea grasses, the glistening water of the sea.

Our detour to the office of the estate agent to collect the key for the condominium could not have gone more smoothly.  The agent advised that the lock on the condominium may not operate until 2:00 p.m. so we decided to kill the next hour by arranging the delivery of our rental bikes.  When we were on Hilton Head Island last January the manager of the bike rental shop gave us his business card with a very competitive quotation for bike rentals for the three months upon our return.  We were happily able to take advantage of that offer today.

Once we arrived at the condominium we were very gratified to learn that it suited us admirably!  In fact we even suggested that we might try to secure the place next year for a longer stay (though I am quite certain we’ll appreciate the advantage of the other place being a freehold unit at sea level, not on the fifth floor of a large building with an elevator).  What however particularly endears the condominium is that it has a delightful view of the Ocean inlet or sound and the place is clearly remote from any exterior disturbance.

Our journey’s work was beginning to wear upon us and we wisely thought to get ourselves somewhere for a bite to eat before venturing to the grocery store to collect provisions for the larder for tomorrow morning.  Although we had thoughts of going to some place quite distant from our present location we fortunately fell upon a restaurant which was not only nearby but also overlooking a lovely view of the setting sun over a yacht harbour.

Our subsequent trip to Harris Teeter fulfilled its objective and we are now comfortably ensconced in our digs, fully connected to our various tech-toys, awaiting the final allure of the cotton sheets.

Throughout the day, while driving here, we spoke with my mother and sister by telephone.  That at least expiates any familial guilt I may have had and I am sure it pacifies my elderly mother’s perpetual anxiety about some unexpected dilemma befalling us.

There is no question in my mind that this experience is destined to be one of the most favourable in my entire life.  In one respect it continues to astound me that I even have the privilege of being here, that I have miraculously been able to extricate myself from the practice of law and any other mundane obligation or commitment, not to mention the numerous other accomplishments of the past year (selling the office building and house, auctioning our surplus personal effects and arranging the new apartment). Of course I know precisely how it is that this dream-like situation has arisen (in essence thanks to His Lordship) and as always I have only my lucky stars to thank that our confederacy has been to our mutual advantage.  The prospect of spending the next four months on this idyllic Island, the thought of being removed from snow, the opportunity to dwell upon whatever it is that enables such fortune, is for me an indescribable luxury and fortune.  I am well aware that this enclave is miles from the reality of many others upon the face of the earth, but I am also alive to my own capacity to see the very best in this opportunity.  I have every intention of seeing nothing but providence and treasure in this chance which has been afforded me.