Lumberton, NC, Harrisonburg, VA and Binghamton, NY are but dust, rain and sleet in our rearview mirror. Around noon today the palmetto ferns began ornamenting the highway as we neared Hilton Head Island. We took another sharp left turn eastward in the direction of the North Atlantic Ocean, escaping Interstate 95 as though assuaging a scar with an anodyne. The land widened upon the sea marshes, expanding the horizon in the endless western sky above the vast salt water inlet. A launch motored inland from the sea. We were back. Years of memories suddenly percolated from the depths. Together we proclaimed, “There! Remember that!”. Or pointed to a landmark we recalled with gusto. Or merely allowed the serum of nostalgia to infuse our veins and settle our minds.
Our first stop through the corridors of wilting sea pines and emerald ferns was naturally the office of the estate agent. We have dealt with her for more years than any one of us was readily able to identify. But time has been openhanded to Gail. Though she professes to be of an age with me, I reckon instead that she abbreviates the discrepancy with mendacity as an act of graciousness. We both unhesitatingly remarked how well she looked.
But the most exacting and unwitting discovery – to the continuing credit of Gail and the premier team of professional rental agents at Destination Vacation – was our digs at South Beach Club. Even before seeing the place this afternoon for the first time we had reiterated to Gail, in connection with our vacation plans next year, that we submit with unqualified loyalty to her expertise and recommendations. This year, once again, she has not disappointed. Our astonishment arises in particular in this instance because last year, when seeking to secure a rental on Hilton Head Island, we were initially informed that there was nothing available. Gail stepped in and worked her magic. But as I say we had little imagined that the resort would turn out to be so compatible. It is spacious, secluded and immediately overlooks the sound that borders the sea. Apart from its many other compelling attributes, it is a photographer’s paradise.
We punctuated this fortuity by immediately unloading our gear from the car then proceeded to the nearby bicycle rental office to conclude that necessity, complete with locks and carriage baskets. And thereafter it was but a skip to nearby Salty Dog café for a bite to eat the complete account of which I shall limit to the start and the end; namely, oysters on the half shell and Key Lime pie. Outrageous, I know! But thoroughly decontaminating. By the time we ended our gastronomic sojourn the fog had overtaken the island.
Tomorrow’s venture on Hilton Head Island thus begins shrouded in mystery (including a scheduled convention with a woman whom we’ve never met before but of whom we speak like family). It’s a long and quite marvelous story!