It’s Christmas Day on Hilton Head Island. Christmas Day – like every other day – has passed remarkably quickly. Admittedly I slept until nine o’clock this morning so the day began somewhat later than usual and certainly far later than when I was a child and arose as early as three o’clock in the morning to see whether Santa Claus had come. Even though some of our neighbours celebrated late into the night on Christmas Eve, we retired at a reasonable hour last evening after having watched an old black and white Christmas movie. But my weary bones hadn’t any particular reason to bolt from the lair this morning.
It is now approaching the dinner hour and we have just returned from bicycling on the beach. The three-hour bicycle ride naturally added to the vaporization of the day. Fortunately I was able to connect with my elderly mother by telephone mid-morning before we left for our ride. And of course we first had to have our usual breakfast of black coffee, fresh mandarin oranges, St. Dalfour giant French prunes (with pits), ham slices, cheddar cheese, avocado pear and grape tomatoes accompanied by a buttered English muffin with almond butter and eucalyptus honey.
As we expected the beach was active. The sound of yapping dogs and hysterical children was pervasive, at least at the predictable locations (Coligny Park and Sonesta Beach). Many people walking on the beach were amusing themselves with their new Smart Phones and headphones. They appeared quite distracted as we sailed past them on our bicycles. There were people playing Bocce, winging frisbees and tossing footballs to one another. Others reclined in beach chairs and idly watched the sea and the general commotion.
Other than at the traditional public access areas of the beach, there was certainly no congestion at either the southern or northern ends of the beach. We rode from one end to the other today, something we don’t do every day but which we felt prompted to do today. The low tide was at one o’clock this afternoon so the beach was wide and inviting. As the wind was very slight from the south we hadn’t much of a headwind upon our return.
While it would be a deceit to say that we have anything special planned for Christmas Day, we are having a steak-‘n-potatoe dinner this evening with smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres. We expect to receive a FaceTime call from my brother-in-law sometime soon. They are having a gathering of 12 people for dinner so things are likely very busy at their end. When earlier this morning I discussed these arrangements with my mother she protested that it was an extraordinary amount of work for my sister who is hosting the party. Of course I rebutted that it was exactly what my mother did for years on Christmas Day though I obviously didn’t remind her that inevitably the congregation is likewise destined to dissolve into petty disagreements and aspersions as tetchy tempers wear thin after what has been several days of heightened emotions and socializing.
We are of course accustomed to this seasonal blip of activity on the Island. The fervency is likely to continue until after the New Year. After that however it will not be until March that such obvious liveliness is reignited. Meanwhile we indulge ourselves in planning gatherings with those from Canada who are briefly perching here. On Sunday morning (after Boxing Day) we’re rallying with two Ottawa friends whom we met here over three years ago. We plan to go for breakfast together at Low Country Produce Market and Café, notorious for its homemade glazed cake donuts fresh from the oven, dripping in icing.