I feel I must learn to account for my life in code here on Hilton Head Island. The reason? Practically every day is the same – which is to say, divine – and I am running out of ways to chronicle it though I never tire of saying it. Certainly there are occasional modifications but the prominent themes are tiresomely predictable; viz., get up, drink coffee, stare out the window at the sunlight on the sand, the water and the lush palm trees, eat fresh fruit, shower, apply Coppertone, bicycle up the coast on the mainland, bicycle home on the beach, flake out by the pool, eat dinner, watch a movie, go to bed. There must be a code for all that, it really doesn’t differ much from day to day. Just the crashing waves of the Ocean, the squawk of the gulls, the fresh salt sea air, the sun, perpetual sunshine and warmth!
There was in fact one thing unusual today – and I hesitate to report this because it sounds inappropriate or taboo. Several people passed us on our bicycles today and wished us “Happy Thanksgiving!”. This of course is not especially odd of itself; what is odd is that every one of them was an African American. There were many white people who passed us on bicycles as well but not one of them said a word other than perhaps “Good morning!” or a nod of acknowledgement. As if to punctuate the singularity of this greeting, one black gentleman passed us twice, both coming and going, and in both instances he wished me “Happy Thanksgiving!” For whatever reason, the second time (when I – for the second time as well – reciprocated his good wishes) he ventured to engage me in idle chat as we pedalled in unison along William Hilton Parkway. Alongside one another he asked where I was from. We gossiped as we cycled. He was 71 years of age, from Metropolitan Atlanta (his emphasis); he had been in Canada for three years from 1970 – 73, he admired Pierre Elliott Trudeau (and was amused to know that Justin is his son, not just a relation), he had been to Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary, he was staying at the Park Lane on William Hilton Parkway with his fiancée (second marriage, first one lasted 36 years), he had been in the Army and had never been on Hilton Head Island; his name was Sharif. I showed him how to get from William Hilton Parkway to Burke’s Beach where, at Marker 97, I took a photo of him and Denis on Sharif’s SmartPhone. Sharif knew that “Denis” was French and he treated us to a “Merci!” when we parted ways on the beach.
Another unique feature today is that we had our own little American Thanksgiving. His Lordship did the honours as always, seemingly effortlessly producing a rich and succulent crispy chicken and spaghetti squash with grated Gruyère cheese, roasted pine nuts, white wine vinegar, fresh parsley and basil, black pepper. We balanced the meal with granola and Clementines for dessert. Absolutely delicious and extremely satisfying! And quite the cap on an already otherwise splendid day!