Today was an event for me, an all-day birthday party! I turned sixty-six. If someone were to ask, I would pooh-pooh the idea of celebrating a birthday. I have always thought that if there is anyone who is entitled to remark upon the day it is one’s mother. The medical experience staggers the imagination! I do of course rejoice in being alive, but it is hardly an observance confined to one day a year. In terms of calculating the passage of years that too is something never far from regular contemplation. In the result a birthday party is like anything else that comes along, just enjoy it if at all possible!
The day began with two birthday cards, one “real” (paper) from my sister featuring a farting English bulldog, the other an electronic card which was so silly – also involving a dog, a singing Dachshund – we are still mimicking the lyrics! Oh, and a handmade card to boot. It was my late father’s perpetual refrain that the handmade cards were always better than anything with a Hallmark emblem on the back. It was my nieces who particularly endeared themselves to my late father in this department. I have discovered that the nicety is not lost on me (nor the abrupt reminder that I am becoming more like my father).
We have a fixed breakfast habit which however we determined to forgo this morning. Instead we drove to a marina near Port Royal at the north end of the Island for breakfast at a secluded joint which is notorious with the locals. There we had Southern style eggs Benedict, biscuits, sausage patties and mushroom gravy. Grits on the side! We sat outside in a sheltered area under those heater devices (which are terribly efficient). The only other person in the immediate area was a solitary bearded chap of 62 years of age who was there with his dog, a well-constructed mongrel resembling a standard poodle, nicely behaved. The chap (whose appearance was reminiscent of a sea captain) informed us he had decided to sell his boat, a photo of which he shared on his iPad. When I took the liberty of asking him why he is selling his boat, he gave some ambivalent answer which I suspect disguised reasons of economy. He wouldn’t be the first person here whom I have met who confessed to the metaphor of loss upon having to abandon ship.
In the parking lot on our departure a gentleman in the car parked next to us observed that we were another car from Ontario. He said he was from Kingston, also a boating man I gathered. We told him we were from Ottawa, actually Almonte which no one has ever heard of. He retorted that he knew John Jamieson in Almonte, and I rejoined that I had assumed the law practice of Johnny’s late father Raymond A. Jamieson, QC. The fellow went on the say that he had once worked for First Air (then owned by John Jamieson). This elicited from me a flood of names of pilots I knew who once worked for First Air, including the very popular Paddy Doyle whom he of course knew. Then followed the usual badinage about the robust nature of that crowd.
After we returned home we wasted no time preparing ourselves for our ritual bike ride on the beach. The weather was cool but brilliantly sunny. We connected with the beach at Beach Club on South Sea Pines Drive as usual. The tide hadn’t receded as much as we would have preferred but it was manageable. The wind was at our back so the progress was thus facilitated. I stopped a number of times along the way to take photos. I am speedily exhausting my artistic talent in the photographic line. We halted at Sonesta Beach, Marker 72 briefly and then for a more prolonged relaxation at the breakwater, Marker 97. From there we regained the William Hilton Parkway where we paused for lunch at a huge organic food store. By this time we were sensing our mounting fatigue. It wasn’t until 3:00 p.m. that we regained our residence at Calibogue Club. Our tour amounted to about twenty miles. I flopped onto a chaise longue by the pool to enjoy the warmth of the setting sun before preparing for the evening’s dinner and theatre.
We put on the nosebag at a Thai restaurant not far from the Arts Centre. The production was a Broadway style effort called “Singing in the Rain”. We left at the Intermission. My legs were killing me from sitting in the same position for so long. Parties are good, but being home is better.