Regaining the beach et al.

We left 1000 Islands, Canada on November 30th last.  Today – December 15th – marks completion of our first two full weeks on this exquisite barrier island, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina beside the roaring North Atlantic Ocean. Already we’ve had so many escapades – trifling though they are – about which to delight. Perhaps the zeal is nothing more than a change of venue, something new to do and see, but whatever it is, I am dead chuffed! Every day we have bicycled (for me between 15 – 20 Kms) and I have reinvigorated my daily car wash cycle as well (a convention I excuse as an imperative to control the dripping sap from the towering sea pines). With the indisputable convenience of Apple Music I subsequently relax with baroque classical Christmas music and the likes of Tony Bennett for the more popular American songbook such as “White Christmas“. It is as usual impossible to escape the fervour of Christmas and its holiday spirit. Red wreaths and ribbons abound! For the moment I do however feel reluctant to proclaim the natural seaside beauty here when wistfully recalling the traditional Christmas themes of snowy lanes, fireplaces and the like.

Today I visited our former haunt at Beachside Tennis in South Beach. Though I didn’t make it onto the beach access to view the condition of the white sand, it is probable that even with the recession of the tide the shore would be impassable by bicycle because the sand is too moist to accommodate the cruiser tires. The claggy beach can historically extend as far north as Tower Beach and beyond; but today the travel from Tower Beach was smooth.  The only impediment – if one can call it that – was a strong northeasterly wind. I ploughed along the beach with the distinct intention of doing whatever it took to exercise and hopefully to reduce my protuberant belly. After almost two years (during the COVID restrictions) of deliberate, unending and devil-be-damned consumption of bagels, peanut butter, carrot cake and butter tarts my physique has billowed.  I now consider it a success to fit into my most recent fat shorts wardrobe notwithstanding the exhibition of cotton.

Part of the reason I am so smug however is my unlikely discovery yesterday of a hair stylist whom I consider superb. Her name is Elena. She is Russian, married to an American.  If I have it correctly she said she had been working at Rita’s Barber & Stylist, 1 N Forest Beach Road for 13 years. Her expertise is manifest. She works skilfully and briskly. She also listened to what I said at the start.  I have learned that talking about my preferred hair style to a barber or stylist is normally superfluous; that in the end you get what they give.  Elena has proven herself entirely unique in that respect. For the first time in many, many years I afterwards regarded myself in the mirror with an uncommon degree of approbation. Nor is this vanity unfounded as I have the correspondence of another!

As I look through the drawing room window across the narrow roadway onto the manicured golf links bordered by Palmetto ferns beneath the ubiquitous sea pines, I cannot but imagine how pleased my late mother would be to know that all is well. Mother was always the first person with whom I communicated my thriving enthusiasm; and she as readily participated in the thorough blessing. Having mother’s ghost with whom to propel this verve spares me beating others with unwelcome repetition and tedium. A vicarious synthesis if you will! I am reminded of the adage, “A son’s first love is his mother; a mother’s last love is her son.