It has taken me a lifetime to fathom my parents. Of course I am grateful for what they did for me, the sacrifices, the benefits, the gifts and generally being good and sober parents. But it has taken me this long to “get” their sense of humour. My mother in particular has turned out to be a bit of a comic in my eyes, an attribute one doesn’t normally search out in one’s mother. I suspect it is from her that I inherited my funny side. My father – though at times he surprised us all – generally proved to be hopelessly serious and one had to judge carefully the opportunity when sharing levity with him. My mother’s humour is in the character of what I consider to be stock Jewish humour at its heart – the ability to see the amusing but purely dry side of things. Whenever I shared with her what I considered to be my accomplishments, her standard retort was the mock approbation, “What’s not to like!” I practically shrug my shoulders and uplift my hands when I think of it!
Take a small thing like breakfast for example. We’ve pretty much established a routine after three months of being on Hilton Head Island. As you might expect our days are not exactly jammed with commitment and therefore breakfast, like everything else we do here, is a leisurely affair. I begin with a bowl of fresh fruit, a sliced banana, orange wedges and black berries. This I transport to my computer along with a decently large cup of hot, black, strong coffee. The methodical consumption of the fruit (with a salad fork) is conducted over the space about a half-hour as I check my overnight email, perhaps put some thoughts to “paper” and of course snoop about the bank accounts and investment portfolio. I replenish the coffee as I go.
When that routine is exhausted it’s back to the kitchen to prepare the next round. This morning’s menu was pâté de campagne (from our specialty food store “Fresh Market” on William Hilton Parkway), Roquefort cheese and two eggs “over easy”. Sometimes we have smoked salmon or Virginia ham slices. If I had my way there would also be an English muffin lathered in salted butter and spread with peanut butter but I am governing my appetite as best I can. I compensate for my deprivation by afterwards having a bowl of granola, preferably some good stuff from “Fresh Market” but maybe just the usual fare from Harris Teeter. And more coffee.
Not surprisingly we normally don’t have lunch (except when we first arrived on the Island, before adjusting our pace). We found that a mid-day meal usually spoiled our appetite for dinner (though we certainly relished our noontime detours to Sea Shack for blackened fish, cole slaw and corn bread). Now at the most we might have a can of plain tomato soup after returning home from our customary three-hour bike ride. Even that minor extravagance is reluctant, and I normally satisfy myself with Perrier.
Our evening meals have been invariably good – a variation of filet mignon, crab cakes (the “Ultimate” from “Fresh Market”), chicken (done any number of ways including breaded with Panko crumbs or topped with Thai peanut sauce), various pastas (puttanesca – my personal favourite – and Alfredo among others), veggies (typically asparagus, lima beans and white or sweet potatoes), all usually preceded by crudités of celery, carrots and black olives, spicy dill pickle spears, maybe shrimp and smoked salmon. For dessert we try to abandon sweets in place of fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt. Occasionally some of us lapse into Whoopie Pies, lemon squares and pecan pie.
And then there’s the magnificent beach, the glistening Ocean, the yacht club and the dazzling sunshine. What’s not to like!