On your first night of sleep on Harbour Island, one of the myths learned as fact from your earliest children’s board books about “farm animals” is very rudely debunked. The rooster’s first crow is at dawn. As you probably read, the sun rises. The rooster crows to greet the day and wake up the farmer. Cockadoodle-doo.
On Harbour Island, the rooster first crows in the middle of the night. His friends call back to him. And then he doodle-doos even louder. The bragging, which sounds more like coyotes howling, goes on all night long. They seem to quiet a bit by mid-morning. They grow quieter, or you become numb to it…until the middle of the next night, when the first rooster crows again.
Why Do You Name Your House?
There are no address numbers on the houses of Harbour Island. Instead, wooden signs on the gates or front porches tell you the houses’ names: The Arches, The White Lodge, Coral Cay, Loyalist Lodge, Blessings, Briland Bliss. The names give you a glimpse into the personality of the family who owns it or a bit of the home’s history.
Ours is the Back Banyans, though there is no sign to identify it as such. So the islanders know it as “the wooden house across from Ma Ruby’s.” Most houses are made of plaster or colorfully painted, so the wooden cabin under the banyan trees is unique. Plus, Ma Ruby owns a small hotel and restaurant across the street that is a popular stopping place for locals and tourists alike. She is often sitting in the bar area, while her grown daughters run the place, and greets you with “Welcome Home!”
The Back Banyans, in the middle of the small island, is so named for the huge banyan trees in the yard and the fact that it is behind the bigger house on the adjacent estate. Many of the houses are owned by the world’s rich and famous. J. Crew photo shoots have been known to take place on the sands. Prince Harry beat us by a week this time. But no one bothers them here. They find tranquility, as we do.
The naming of houses seems consistent also with the numerous yachts that pull up to the island docks so that the seafarers may rest on the pink sand beaches and sample some of Harbour Island’s wonderful restaurants. For late afternoon entertainment, the kids like to wander the docks checking out the yachts and their names: Four Aces, Dragon, Dog Days, Emily E, and High Life to name a few we’ve noted this week. Dragon looked like a bigger, sleeker, updated James Bond boat. Another yacht brought along it’s own speed boat for water skiing, and of course, its own helicopter. That one had a crew of at least six, all wearing pale blue polo shirts and khakis as their uniform.
So I asked our boys what they would like to name our house back home in Denver. It is a gray house with a big red door. The unanimous vote: Red Against Blue.
Not exactly what I was thinking.