I had been invited to spend Christmas at Kiawah , a sea island on the Atlantic coast, 15 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. A lovely place, and with a population of a little over a thousand, traffic congestion was not a problem. The island has a long and colorful history, Wikipedia mentions that it was referred to as “Kittiwah”
by George Gershwin in the opera “Porgy & Bess.”
In early evening on Christmas Eve, I took a walk down by the ocean, observed White Tailed deer peacefully grazing along the way, seabirds floating overhead, and to my surprise, alligators making a commotion in the fresh water ponds as I strolled by.
A fog started moving in, a chilly breeze blowing over the water confirmed it’s usual message that the Atlantic is nearly always cold. My days as a sailor could attest to that. After a few minutes walk on the beach , I came across a wooden crate that had floated in from somewhere, placed it next to a wooden post sticking out of the sand, and with a fairly comfortable seat and back rest, started thinking about a song that had been floating around in my head.
I had just become comfortable when out of my right eye I saw a figure walking ever so slowly in my direction. In time it became clear it was a woman, middle aged or better, walking with her dog, a golden retriever. She paused in front of me for a moment as she drew near, and rather sadly wished me a Merry Christmas. My impression from her demeanor was that she was alone, and anything but merry. Trying to find good cheer of some kind in return, I mentioned what a handsome dog she had. Yes, he is she said, “where you from she asked?” Texas I said….and you? New Jersey she replied, and then as she turned back in direction of travel, I could barely make out “or at least I used to.” She turned briefly once again to speak something in my direction, but the wind blew her words away.
Drops of moisture from the mist started collecting on my face, as I once again caught a brief glance of the woman, and her dog disappearing in the distance. Turning up my jacket collar, I headed back towards the house, wondering what set of circumstances had brought her here. After pouring a glass of merlot, and taking some sharp cheese squares out of the fridge, I sat down and wrote “Just Another Misty Night” (in Southern Carolina.) Hopefully someone who cared for her would call tonight. After all, it was Christmas Eve.