Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Quiet Day in January

Hi! This is Philip again. I gave my house to a friend for a couple of weeks. Some of our readers may know Michael. He is a musician and sometimes participates in the Ocrafolk Festival. Among other instruments, he plays the didgeridoo (from Wikipedia -- "The didgeridoo [or didjeridu] is a wind instrument of the Indigenous Australians of northern Australia. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or 'drone pipe.' Musicologists classify it as an aerophone."). Anyway, he and Fiddler Dave spent many hours in my house creating music together and practicing (for an upcoming album?? I'm not really sure.).

While Michael was here I went to visit Lou Ann. Even though we were in the cold and snowy mid-west, we got out quite a lot and had a wonderful time (both Lou Ann and I enjoy walking so we joined an early morning hike with a naturalist in a nearby state park, and bundled up many an evening to walk through the quiet streets of her little town). We also filled our days and evenings with pot luck dinners, swimming (Lou Ann gifted me with a YMCA membership so I'd swim for a half hour most days while she was at work), visits with family & friends, an evening at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, line dancing (we did pretty well, thank you), a day at the circus ( wish Lachlan could have joined us!), and other activities (reading & writing were high on the list).

I arrived home Monday afternoon (by way of Swan Quarter, since the bridges on Hwy 12 are being replaced) and led an NCCAT seminar on a Ghost & History Walk last night. I hope they had as much fun as I did.

I haven't had time to check out the bridge replacement project yet (actually there is no way to get down there unless I can find my way from the beach and across the dunes to the road), but I'll give a report as soon as I learn anything. But everything seems to be humming along fine. Mail is getting delivered courtesy of the National Park Service, the UPS truck is making it through the soft sand, and I've seen the Dare Building truck in the village.

But it is quiet this time of the year. When I drove off the Swan Quarter ferry it seemed like a ghost town -- no cars in the parking lots, no pedestrians, no bicyclists....just quiet. It reminded me of the Ocracoke of fifty years ago, or the Ocracoke just before a hurricane. Not a bad place to be, actually.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

See Ya Later!

Still working long and hard, night and day to finish up by Monday noon. Why does she need to finish by Monday noon you ask? Because Frank, Willie and I are leaving for Salisbury, Md. to see my Mom. She'll be 87 years old on January 31st. Her name is Ruth Bromhall and she is happy and healthy an very feisty! Then we'll leave from Philadelphia at 6AM on Thursday with Frank's Mom and sister Amy for Aruba. Frank and I will stay there for a month and my oh my are we looking forward to it. So I'll report when we get back on our adventures. Aruba is a wonderful place and WARM. A note to Lynn in Va., you can order soap from our website anytime darlin. To Emma Lovejoy , it was so good to hear from you and know you miss Ocracoke. Emma is the daughter of friend Karen Lovejoy and Dave Frum and our foreign exchange student from Ocracoke to Denmark this year. To the person who offered a prayer for my son and his family, many thanks. So.....adios, adieu, see ya later.........when I'm tanned and rested. Wahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mixed Emotions

A brief entry today. Our oldest son Matty who lived here with his wife Mary and our two grandaughters Lici and Hannah Rae until this past August left for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma today. He's a Navy veteran and he was a commercial fisherman and carpenter here on the Island. Mary worked for the Ocracoke Preservation Society. But, as is so common these day, prices for homes here are so high they couldn't afford to buy so they moved back to where Mary grew up in Ohio. Matt has joined the Army. He's thirty three. He did it for his family and his country. His Dad and brother and I are very proud of him. We're proud of all that serve. Thank you.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thanks for the Comments

We are sometimes amazed that folks actually read our journal entries, at least I am. We sit here in relative solitude, often not seeing but one or two souls in a days time in the winter. It's so nice to find the comments that you leave for us. To Beth Moore who wanted to know why we visited Chesapeake City, Md. - my husband Frank ( he makes the soap ) grew up there and most of his family lives in or around there. His Mom, Dolly is who we usually stay with when we're there. To the person who had the great suggestions about Burger King - thanks. We'll be traveling again and we'll need more coupons! Willie got a hamburg every time we stopped. Boy does he love to go. To the person who had the question about the vendors who got stranded overnight on the island - there is always one motel open for just that circumstance and if there wasn't I'm sure, knowing Ocracoke folks, they'd have a place to lay their heads. Dallie and I are working hard closing out last year and getting Village Craftsmen ready to open in March. Our hours are long but the radio is loud and we can wear our old clothes and take long walks on nice days. Those are our "perks" off season. Later. Jude

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

January Newsletter

It's been quiet here on the island lately. Instead of catching up on chores I've spent more time relaxing than working. I did write a short newsletter a few days ago, however. It was inspired by a 1942 article in The State magazine that I came across recently. You can read it here. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Not Much was Moving

Yesterday was one of those days that is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been here in the winter. It started out raw and cold, wind blowing, rain beating sideways. Half way through the morning I stuck my head out the back door of the shop and low and behold - spring had sprung. The rain was still beating sideways. When I left Village Craftsmen a little after 5PM I went to the Variety Store to pick up a few things for dinner. You could hear the ocean roaring and carrying on like it was as near as the Post Office. The rain was still beating sideways. The vendors that had come to make deliveries for the weekend couldn't get off the island. Sysco, Budweiser and others had to spend the night, I hear. When I went to let Willie out about 9PM the fog was swirling around the yard but the rain had finally stopped. As I crawled in bed about 11, I could still hear the ocean's roar in the distance . This wild place somehow wraps itself around me and quiets me to sleep.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Home Is an Island

Frank and I left Ocracoke on December 21st and returned on January 7th. We went to Salisbury, Maryland-Chesapeake City, Maryland- Bedford, Pa.- Dublin, Ohio- Camby, Indiana and back the same way again. We visited mothers, and sisters and brothers, sons and daughters-in-law, grandaughters, neices and nephews and many friends. We went to stores, taverns, museums, galleries, restaurants and every single Burger King between here and Indiana thanks to Frank and some coupons he got on Christmas. We had more fun than two people have a right to have. We laughed til we cried. We cried because we left people we love and won't see again for too long. We decided that 14 degrees is too cold for any human being to endure . We decided that we hate traffic more than 14 degrees and we were so happy to get home to the quiet of the island. We just wish we could have brought everybody we love home with us. Excuse me while I grab a tissue. Jude

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is inspired by an April, 1942 article about the island in The State magazine. You can read it here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hi, this is Philip again. I decided to take a two week winter trip. Went to see Lou Ann, then we traveled to Texas to visit her parents in Houston. I was a good sport and sat through several hours of old home movies! Actually it was fun to see images from her former life (it is quite interesting -- she lived in a farmhouse without running water, cooked on a wood stove, spun her own wool, and raised chickens, rabbits, goats, & cows, among many other things).

We spent New Years Eve with my 95 year old aunt and her daughter. Went to the Grapevine Opry (in Grapevine, Texas) for a country music celebration. The theater is larger than Ocracoke's Deepwater Theater, but there was a lot of down home banter and good cheer. All of the performers, much like at home, were friends, so we heard about their husbands, wives, and children. And the music was superb, especially one ten year old girl who belted out "Your Cheatin' Heart!"

Back on the island life is slow and quiet. And cold. Not as cold as the mid west (a foot of snow covered everything in northeast Indiana, transforming Lou Ann's small town into a fairy land), but it has been below freezing several nights (it's in the low 40s right now). I haven't been down to the campground yet, but the road is definitely closed as contractors begin replacing all seven bridges on the island. Completion is scheduled for no later than mid-March, maybe sooner.

In the meanwhile, all traffic (other than 4-wheel drive) comes and goes by way of Swan Quarter or Cedar Island. Dare Building brought a 4-wheel drive delivery truck, and an unfamiliar fuel delivery truck has been on the island. There's also a brand new helicopter landing pad by the airstrip in case of medical emergencies. I haven't been out there yet to see if a helicopter is stationed here now. But there is also an additional yellow fire truck on the island "just in case." It's nice to know that the authorities have done a thorough job of preparing for this period of enhanced isolation.

I might make another off-island trip later this month. Michael Stanwood, a musician friend of mine, is coming to the island in a week or so, and I might leave the house to him for a while so he and fiddler Dave can practice undisturbed in my living room for another CD.

Our latest monthly newsletter is the story of the Christmas Eve wreck of the British steamship, Ariosto, in 1899. You can read it here.