Charlie Morris O'Neal died early this week. He was 83 years old. He was another one of the old-time Ocracokers. We will all miss the twinkle in his eye and his impish smile.
I am honored that Charlie's family has asked me to give the eulogy tomorrow at the funeral. Charlie and my dad were buddies. In their later years they would meet down at the base docks with other O'cockers. There they would sit in their cars and reminisce, tell stories, and laugh. They both enjoyed a good joke, especially if they could tell it on their friends -- or each other.
Last summer Lou Ann & I visited with Charlie, his wife Lorena, and their extended family. Charlie told about childhood games they would play on the island -- King Stick, Annie Over the House, Spittle Spittle Spat, and Cat (a colonial era game much like baseball).
Ocracoke has lost one of its best. The good news is that Charlie's grandson, Aaron, is growing up to be one of our "tradition keepers." Aaron listens to all the old stories and relishes the retelling. As long as we remember to tell people's stories they continue to live....and we are the richer for the lives they shared with us.