Friday, March 18, 2016

Thinking of home

The countdown has begun.  Our departure from Hilton Head Island is in the offing if not indeed imminent. Exactly one month from today we are scheduled to land back on terra firma in Canada. We left Canada on November 6th last. We're rounding out an agreeable five-month stint. We plan to wrinkle the smoothness of this descent by returning to Jekyll Island, GA for a weekend jaunt in the second week of April. Otherwise we'll simply endure the Island flavours until then. We're safely assured that the weather will be warm over the next month. Yesterday I bought two tropical shirts to match two pairs of vanilla shorts. Call me carefree! Every day I strengthen the bit of colour I've managed to acquire over the past five months by bicycling on the beach and afterwards reposing by the pool. It's a routine, a pleasing ritual. Fortunately as a matter of discretion I acknowledge there is no likelihood of my having to display myself in the buff.  Accordingly I confine my ultraviolet exposure to my legs, feet, face and arms. At worst the refinement may impart the appearance of a dedicated golfer. Upon reclaiming our digs in Canada my out-of-doors routine does not deviate from similar precaution and modesty. Admittedly this represents an abandonment of a youthful habit but clearly there is no foundation to support any other posture. Age and corpulence have trumped all fantasy! It's just one of the hard realities of living, not unlike having to relinquish a fervour for a Mustang automobile.  Some things just don't fit - literally!

Being the hopeless materialist that I am, I confess that when contemplating our return home I have regularly cast my mind upon the delectation of our treasured things.  While I say this not by way of condemnation (nor am I suggesting I would will it otherwise), the furnishings in our condominium winter retreat are not enthralling.  To be blunt, they are not mahogany.  Nor oak.  Nor even pine.  Bamboo might be closer to the truth. There is nothing wrong with bamboo, no not at all!  Bamboo is perfectly fine when accompanied by an incomparable view of palm trees, sand dunes and the glittering sea. And when the temperature rises to 75℉ or more, it is arguable that mahogany would be ponderous and decidedly inappropriate. Nonetheless once we have regained our personal territory I can tell you that I will relish the smooth hardwood, the precious Persians, the glint of the brass carriage clock, the first water of the decanters and the vibrancy of the fine art. And dare I say it?  Yes, the weight of the handmade silver bracelets and necklace which I chose to leave behind in deference to escalating reserve! Plus the heavy watches. There is a stabilizing vernacular just waiting to be recovered!

Lest I were accused of being completely shallow (an attribute which I concede haunts me constantly), I hasten to add that there are other features of home base which recommend themselves to me.  For example there is the simple pleasure of traveling upon well-trod paths. It is no secret that my custom when home has lately included a daily visit to my elderly mother. This affords me the privilege (the advantage of which I shall never deny) of driving about 70 kms each day in my much esteemed Cadillac.  I always take the same route which is the highly picturesque Appleton Side Road from Almonte to Carleton Place then the delightful four-lane highway through bucolic farm lands to Ottawa. Coincidentally the trajectory often reminds me of an approach to the Ocean as the highway rises from the pastures near Ashton Station towards the cerulean heavens.

Our tradition of going to the Golf Club for breakfast is also compelling. There are several ingredients at play here, the winsome Club House, the tasty food and the camaraderie of the Club members.  I joined the Golf Club forty years ago and maintained my social membership until my retirement. As I have now relinquished any prospect of exercising my so-called "holding" membership to translate it into a full golfing membership, I content myself with these matutinal visits.  Similarly the tradition of summer luncheon congregations for family and friends has been superannuated.  My father has died and my mother finds it impossible to get about conveniently. That in my opinion eliminates the family motivation for those assemblies.

A similar custom on home territory is a spontaneous visit to Burnstown, Cedar Cove or White Lake for coffee, sweets or a full meal. It has surprisingly taken years to discover these nearby oases of refreshment. The drive through the Village of Pakenham and rural Renfrew County is invariably enchanting. The conviction to the countryside is not lost on me especially in the summer when the greenery of cornstalks competes with the azure blue sky and the wheat waves languidly in an afternoon breeze on a sultry day.

Sometimes we travel further abroad to the Ivy Lea Parkway where we are assured a sublime vista in addition to an unparalleled sojourn at the Ivy Lea Club.

If we are feeling particularly adventuresome we may stretch our boundaries to Gananoque or Kingston.

In the end the Town of Almonte is incomparable.  Whether it is biking on a pleasant summer morning or wandering to the Saturday morning Farmers' Market, it is guaranteed to be blissful.

We may take in an afternoon movie at the Old Town Hall.

All told being home is not a bad thing at all.  We haven't any misgivings about Hilton Head Island but it is impossible to escape the allure of one's home town and country.

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