That's the title of one of the chapters in Alton Ballance's book, Ocracokers. There have not been many times when the aptness of the phrase has been more apparent than recently. Joyce Reynolds, our Methodist minister reminded me that the Ocracoke community has had seven deaths in the last two months. Just yesterday we gathered for the funeral of Roy Parsons.
The Assembly of God church was packed with family and friends, and for more than an hour we celebrated Roy's love of life, music, and stories. There were tender and touching moments, and there were happy and joyful moments. At least eight musicians played songs as Roy's guitar stood next to the casket. Elizabeth assured us it was what Roy would have wanted.
Last night, the Ocrafolk Opry played to a packed audience, and all proceeds went to Roy's family. The performances were stellar, and the crowd responded with enthusiasm and excitement. It was a genuine example of a community taking care of its own. Everyone was united in paying tribute to a kind and gentle musician who was no longer with us, while at the same time strengthening the bonds that keep neighbors, friends, and family connected for the common good. I'm proud to call Ocracoke home.
This month's newsletter is a story of Captain Joe Burrus, last Ocracoke lighthouse keeper before the beacon was electrified and automated. You can read it here.