"He was a card, he was," came the commentary. "The other boys and girls were scared of him, but I wasn't. I knew he had a good heart. But there weren't nothing he wouldn't do, just for devilment. He let the other children bury him up to his neck in the schoolyard once. When he got hold of a car, he'd drive it right up to your porch, through the garden and all. I remember that time he come to the door in women's clothes. He had a hat, a purse, and that fur wrapped around his neck. You couldn't help but like him, though. He was a character, always giving away things to the younguns."
I stopped by to visit Blanche Styron last night. We talked for over an hour about old-time island characters. I especially like to hear stories of Uncle Homer. Blanche said that my grandmama always doted on Homer; that's why he was like he was. Others have told me that he "wasn't quite right" from the time he was little. He was just full of foolishness, and always unpredictable....and unusual. I reminded Blanche of hearing that he worked in a circus years ago. He "beat the drum for the dancing camel," I was told.
There aren't as many characters here any more. More people, more regulations, more social pressure to conform. What a pity.
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.