Saturday: Controlled chaos as we brought sister-in-law and my luggage was too big for sky (roof) cap. Or the roof cap too small, as I view it.
Weather seems iffy too at least as far as high temps: 62, 71, 68, 67.... But with sun I think they’ll feel warm enough. Still, I’m wondering if late October too risky weather-wise even for south South Carolina.
West Virginia is a scenic drive. On a less figurative level than “what has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” one might ask “what has Charleston to do with Miami?” Even states, like California, seem more pluribus than unum.
I spy the Pliny Presbyterian church right next to a nudie bar next to an old farm house right out of Walton’s Mountain. All this in colorful Frazier’s Bottom, WV.
Saw a billboard advertising Dublin Irish fest in Beckley, a four hour drive. Appropriate given Appalachian mountain music has Irish roots.
Another big billboard shows a woman with a painful expression using pliers to extract her front tooth with the headline: “Let a professional do it!” A sign you wouldn’t see most places.
Quaint mountain structures along rivers conjure Rhine chalets and “Mack the Knife”.
It’s raining but the abundance of plant life testifies to the need. People flock to Vegas or L.A. deserts for the perpetual sunshine but an artificial water supply decouples rain from life, as birth control pills separate sexual pleasure from life creation.
A sign advertises for colonoscopies and I marvel at the rate of compliance for an uncomfortable test that tests positive less than 1% of the time. On the other hand, it is the third leading cancer death.
Another sign advertises “Biscuit World” and I picture patrons having an entree of biscuit with a side of biscuits. Serves all your biscuit needs and then some.
Listened to Tucker Carlson on Brian Lamb's podcast. Carlson sees the election of Trump as a cry for help, and that the big difference between elites in the 1800/1900s and elites nowadays is that back then they felt a certain amount of luck and good fortune, referring to themselves as “fortunate” and seeing a need to help others, as Carnegie did. Partially this was the influence of Christianity as well. Now elites are irreligious who think they did it all themselves and look down in remarkable ways in Trump voters, thinking their troubles are all self-inflicted and deserve no help.
Read part of book sighted in WV rest stop souvenir shop (which, belatedly, I think I should have supported and bought something). The book, written by a West Virginia native about his pet alligator, was free on Kindle.
(Later): Arrived arond 8pm and unpacked while the Buckeyes went down to ignominious defeat. Concentrated on the Buckeyes after halftime and the way they were playing it would’ve been a crime for them to have pulled it out in the end. No danger of that, as they played as suckily as I can ever recall. No discernible running game and a lax defense does not a champion make. In a way, it’s better to lose that way than to lose a close one that but for a couple plays dashes your post-season hopes - with this game, it wasn’t a couple plays, it was nearly all plays. My biggest disappointment is I wanted to see a ND-OSU playoff game but that’s not in the cards now.
Sunday: Unbeknownst to me, Steph and Marsha were up between 2 and 4am with a dog crisis. Not our dogs, but one of Marsha’s dogs at home was ill and dogsitter called saying something was very wrong with Deuteronomy. So dogsitter took Deut to the emergency room (Steph’s niece was on duty and facetime’d them) and turns out the dog has bad arthritis that somehow affected his stomach and so was given fluids and strong pain meds.
Had choice this morning between 8am and 11:15am Mass and Steph wasn’t enthusiastic about either so I headed off solo to 8am. The deacon gave the homily which was a fundraising appeal for the local high school. Same appeal last year, I guess they do it every October this week or something. He's a bit of a ham and asks the ushers for a basket during the homily and they fumble and eventually find one, bring it up to him, and he lays a $50 in it saying that leaders need to lead by example. The usher didn’t immediately withdraw the basket and the Deacon says, “What?! You want more?” and the usher scurried away. Funny. The deacon started homily by saying, “Yesterday we were in shorts and t-shirts and today I see coats. Welcome to Fall! But I think in a few days it’ll likely go back to Summer, so fear not you tourists out there.” Although even that’s relative: it’s 37 in Ohio now and 61 in Hilton Head! I’ll call that a win.
Full sun on a quiet deck in paradise. Coffee, cigar and contemplation. What I like best about vacation is copious amounts of alcohol at night and copious amounts of coffee by day, separated by a fine cigar. That’s some marrow-suck living.
I was trying to think of the biggest environmental changes from my youth. Wetter summers, cooler springs. The invasion of Canadian geese. The near disappearance of honey bees. The lack of clover and dandelions (in our yard). Of those I think the geese are the most noticeable on a daily basis. What’s stayed the same? Lightning bugs. Cattails around ponds. The moon looks the same as it always has.
Today’s menu involved a late trip to the beach, 2pm, after a luxurious morning on the deck. Lushed out on the empty beach, a tad cool but less so by having wind at my back. Come 4:30 I released the hounds, sending them into the tizzy of sea frolics and mad-dog gambits. By 5:15 we were back at the joint and ordered delicious pizza from Doughboys. Yum.
South Carolina's only about a month behind us. The average high in Columbus in early September is the average high in Hilton Head in mid-October. And we know late September is iffy at best in Ohio. Fort Myers is an amazing 3 1/2 months behind Ohio. The average high in December is still 77. So Hilton Head is much more like Ohio than it is like Florida.
Monday: Max is still on workday schedule and woke us around 6:30am. Took a 2 mile walk with the dogs through Sea Pines to the Sea Pines forest preserve where I found a private trail that lead to a beautiful lake. I would’ve loved to have just camped next to that lake and read for a few hours. Spectacular sun shining on carpets of red pine needles. A gaping gator.
Tuesday: Full cloud day, temp around 68. Brings home the fact that a vacation is a crap-shoot weather-wise. Subprime, but good church weather so headed to Communion service at 8am and it was over by 8:20. Spent a few minutes in the small but nicely appointed and furnished Eucharistic Adoration chapel.
Come noontime Steph and Marsha wanted to take a bike ride so we went up to Lawton Stables and admired the horsies. Big Harley, the Belgian, was there. Then rode to Harbor Town and had delicious late lunch at Crazy Crab. Had tasty salad and blackened broiled grouper.
Then took the dogs on an hour run/walk to beach at 4. They were wild and I left Maris off leash as is my new tradition. She’s dependable.
Wed: Opened up with a couple of innings of last night’s World Series and some jazz in my earbuds. Red Sox look unbeatable, a sort of super team like the Golden State Warriors or the Big Red Machine.
It’s fun to get paid while on vacation as will happen this Friday, but it’s not fun when the stock market crashes, wiping out all the year’s gains. That’s the nature of the market: in some ways the gains feel unearned and they are also subject to being rescinded, as if you won bingo but then in a few days they can take it away from you.
So today was lazy, capital “L”. Made it down to the beach around 11, soaked up the sun in the dunes before you get to the actual beach because the wind was 15-20mph and felt a bit chill. Later took Maris and Carly on walk with Steph & Marsha. Sunny and beautiful if cool. Read some of memoirs of a (funny) bookstore owner.
I enpicture a cigar and drink.
Interesting 'dote from Herodotus:
“This Candaules then of whom I speak had become passionately in love with his own wife; and having become so, he deemed that his wife was fairer by far than all other women; and thus deeming, to Gyges the son of Daskylos he used to impart as well the more weighty of his affairs as also the beauty of his wife, praising it above measure: and after no long time, since it was destined that evil should happen to Candaules, he said to Gyges as follows: "Gyges, I think that thou dost not believe me when I tell thee of the beauty of my wife, for it happens that men's ears are less apt of belief than their eyes: contrive therefore means by which thou mayest look upon her naked." But he cried aloud and said: "Master, what word of unwisdom is this which thou dost utter, bidding me look upon my mistress naked? When a woman puts off her tunic she puts off her modesty also. Moreover of old time those fair sayings have been found out by men, from which we ought to learn wisdom; and of these one is this,—that each man should look on his own...I entreat thee not to ask me to do what is unlawful to do.
The history of Herodotus
Thurs: Cloudsome day, resolutely so, with high around 68. Too cool for beach with high wind. I looked back over last five Octobers at Hilton Head and it’s around 21-9 good weather days to bad. 70%. Come 6pm it was last shot at beach with dogs, so I rallied them and gave them one last beach hurrah and tried to video tape it with my iPhone though the action was fast and furious.
We’re going to stay through Friday since no way do we want to drive through the rain, let alone with dogs that need to be walked at “wet-stops”. Finally slowed down enough (and de-Twittered) to do more spiritual reading. Sat on leather chair next to the front door windows, slow-sipping beers, etc... during the less than clement weather. Slow-beer lifestyle was very nice. Then watched Life Below Zero followed by Alone finale.
Max ended his streak of being good at night. Steph woke at 4am when she heard him thundering upstairs and peeing on the side of our bed. She went downstairs to take him out and found a pile of poop as well. She doesn’t want to bring him on vacation ever again and I told her that it’s partially on us because we could’ve crated him all night.
Friday: Full, long 8am mass with the saintly pastor, who mentioned an ailing Fr Bob S. who is a “real” priest, thereby casting aspersions on the average priest but probably isn’t untrue. He said Fr Bob had a horrific childhood and yet despite it became a holy man.
Steph and Marsha went for walk on beach whilst I made myself bacon and eggs scrambled.
I never fail to be amazed at how often I take weather reports seriously. Shocked to see weather is decent, at least pre-afternoon (later: and post-2pm). Periods of sun and woke up to balmy 68, about a dozen degrees warmer than usual mornings this week. Now 75 outside and able to spend some time at beach, a rare thing this trip.
Spent 11-1:30 at beach resting comfy till rain alert got me moving on a 2-mile run. Dogs wanted another beach visit - Max is smart enough to know which entrance is a street walk versus a beach walk (front door versus garage door) and he declined a walk until I moved to “right” door. Maris needed to go so I wanted to get two dogs done, potty-wise. Maris practiced dive bombs or fly-bys on Max, sprinting from thirty yards away and clipping Max on the ears as she went by. Max was under the constraint of the leash and was feeling the constriction. For not being big swimmers, they seem to like the (shallow) water well enough.
Nice to see the free WSJ book of the month is the new Vietnam War history. I’d been tempted to buy it and had downloaded a sample so now looks like I’ll have it for “free”.
Saturday: Slow boat to China today, root cause being we didn’t pack trailer night before so we didn’t shove off till 7:45 after an hour and a half of packing. Kitchen is a time suck since there’s always a junk load of leftover groceries. There’s dog gates and dog crate and a lot to do to get to point of getting to drive 12+ hours, but the drive was easy with third driver! (No drivers of the canine variety alas.)