Hilton Head knows how to throw a party for America better than anyone, so I’m not sure whether to say Hilton Head first or America first.
All I know is that having made no plans for July 4, I moseyed down the 17th fairway at Harbour Town and found another banner evening of Americana red, white and blue.
So big aces and thumbs up for Rob Bender, director of recreation and marine operations for Sea Pines Resort, and for Falcon Fireworks, the company that’s handled fireworks for Sea Pines for the past 15 or so years.
And high-fives also to the Berrigans — Tom, his wife, Paige, and their kids Tommy, Grace, John — and friends Graycen Hensley and Michelle Bundy for inviting me to join their group right up front along the 18th tee, where the rough abuts the marsh grass.
I stood there many minutes, missing adorable family moments all around me as I was obsessively trying to locate the correct feature on my overly expensive Canon Rebel T3i EOS that I have never taken the proper time to learn to use in challenging lighting occasions because I am one of those techie nerds who thinks I can learn things, “on-the-go.”
This camera has all sorts of bells and whistles I don’t know how to use properly. For example, I used to show up with a tripod that didn’t want to attach itself to the aforementioned and aptly named Rebel. No more. He now sits out fun occasions like July 4 with the Berrigans on the 18th tee of Harbour Town, relegated to the corner of my Carolina room.
I have gotten used to those looks from IT professionals and other such trained folks who groan when people like me walk into their shops with little more than a lot of questions and couple of new words in their vocabulary.
I am also someone who — when mistakenly taking pictures in the wrong light setting with the shutter stop at the wrong speed and the focus going in and out and the flash flashing randomly so that the resulting photo contains comet-like zig-zags — will allow people to think that I did it on purpose. I pass it off as an effort at artistic expression. I am known to dabble in such things. Just ask my mother about the shadow boxes I make for her or my husband Johnny D about my creative birthday DVDs and singing-grams.
Which is why I’ve decided to post my July 4, 2017, photographic collection variously in different social media feeds online, to see if people judge them as art or as, well, crap. And, considering what passes for entertainment on the old boob-tube lately (think Kardashians in any form), I figure I might have a decent shot at selling it as high art.
Among the photos are pictures of the moon, which was staring down at us really looking like a face. So, there I am, by myself, looking skyward around 9 p.m., with people walking by at a time of night when, let’s face it, lycanthropes, vampires, sharks and all manner of shape-shifters are awake and feeding. (This is the sort of stuff you pick up surfing around on the internet.)
And, suddenly I hear, “Hey Carmen!”
And I drop my other shoulder strap holding my folding chair and look around wildly, disconcerted because I’ve been staring into the lens trying to focus on the moon, and there’s my old high-school buddy Tom Berrigan.
Now, I don’t have to watch the fireworks by myself.
That’s another great reason I love Hilton Head. I can go anywhere alone and never feel alone.
Which makes for a picture-perfect evening.