Splashing about the pool

When at length and after irresolution I mustered the vigour to elevate myself from the chaise longue and conducted a mixture of waddle and shaky perambulation to the pool, clinging to the railing of the steps then submerging with relief into the cool water, I hadn’t anticipated meeting Mike Hyndman upon surfacing.  He was headed in my direction in the manner of a swimmer of lengths. We both paused in the narrow of the pool and shared the usual social niceties about the weather and the wind. Then he mentioned Montreal and I returned the volley with Ottawa.  We were off!

Mike Hyndman (born December 8, 1945, in Quebec City, Quebec) is a Canadian former ice hockey right winger who played in the World Hockey Association for the New England Whalersand the Los Angeles Sharks.

Hyndman spent two seasons in the Ontario Hockey Association with the Montreal Junior Canadiens before spending three seasons with Boston University. He turned pro in 1970 in the American Hockey League for the Montreal Voyageurs and then played for the Boston Braves in the same league in 1971. He split the 1972–73 season in the World Hockey Association for the New England Whalers and the Los Angeles Sharks, playing 59 games for the Whalers and 19 games for the Sharks. Spells in the Southern Hockey League for the Greensboro Generals and in the Western Hockey League for the Phoenix Roadrunners was followed with eight more games for the Los Angeles Shark during the 1973–74 season. After one season in the North American Hockey League for the Cape Codders, Hyndman finished his career in Europe with spells in Finland and Austria.

From what I gathered (that is, based upon what I could hear above the prattle and screams of the nearby children in the pool) Mike lives on Hilton Head Island in Sea Pines, in fact not far from where we were conversing. It is no accident that he has family here as well, people coincidentally involved in tennis.

Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, located in the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, prides itself on a world-class coaching staff, family-style atmosphere and junior tennis programs tailored to our student’s individual needs.

In addition to sharing a mutual connection with Cape Cod, Boston and Sarasota (Longboat Key), Mike further endeared himself to me by responding in fluent French when, upon our departure from one another after our casual encounter, I exclaimed, “À la prochaine!

My initial persuasion to go to the pool today was the hope of benefitting from a swim (a preferred exercise to bicycling at this stage of my physical capacity). I had overlooked the anticipated composition of children at the pool on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. It clearly has taken me time to absorb the changing demographics of the Island as one season ends and another begins. I am also unaccustomed to meeting people like Mike who live on Hilton Head Island. Although we regularly acquaint ourselves with others who winter here, they like we are predominantly interlopers.  And like we many of them are about to depart like birds in migration.

Being a “tourist” it is easy to forget the very different mindset of those who qualify as residents. As my erstwhile acquaintance Louis de la Chesnaye Audette, QC OC once pointedly enquired, “When was the last time you had a tourist to dinner?” In an area such as Hilton Head Island which is so obviously and openly devoted to tourism the tables are reversed for those who live here. It is they upon whom others look down their nose, not particularly with condescension but rather with a degree of sympathy knowing as we all do what weight the tourism business levies upon the residents in high season.  Indeed we were once here in early July and I can tell you in summary we could not wait to leave! The traffic in every sense of the word was impossible.  We were barely successful to secure a hotel room for the one night we thought to visit en route to Canada from our prior vacation in Florida.

And so it is that we begin to count the days. Only yesterday we communicated with a relative in Ottawa and agreed to rally as is our custom at the golf club for luncheon to reignite our conversancy with the latest enterprises of the family. It is no twist of fate that the buoyancy of family is enlivened after a winter of estrangement. I am nonetheless proud of our homeboy Mike! He is unquestionably a credit to himself, his family, his friends and acquaintances on both sides of the border.