Native islanders love to tease; and they especially enjoy calling attention to each other's minor foibles. Last week I needed a few empty boxes so decided to stop by the ABC store (they usually have a dozen or so stacked on the porch by the hardware store). As I was pulling into the nearly empty parking lot I spotted my space right next to the water company pickup truck. David & Earl were getting into the truck and I knew I had just enough time to scoot behind them before they backed out.
When I opened my door I noticed Earl and David in convulsions of laughter. Earl rolled down his window. Between guffaws he informed me that David had just nodded toward my car and asked, "Who's that ------- idiot?" Then they both erupted in more unrestrained laughter. "Why, it's Philip Howard!" they burst out.
Those two have enjoyed teasing me for years (since the mid 1970s when I taught them in school).
After more mutual teasing and laughter, they pulled out and I ran up on the porch to discover no boxes and a closed sign on the ABC store door. As I approached my car I noticed the water company truck pulling back next to me. Earl and David were beside themselves again as they pointed out that I sure was in a mighty big hurry to get a bottle of booze at mid-morning.
I explained that I was just looking for boxes,,...and that just set them off again. "Oh sure," Earl chortled, "and I'm sure you just read the articles in Playboy!" With a grin and a smirk they motored off.
I saw Earl in the grocery store yesterday and he was still enjoying the joke. At the checkout counter I mentioned to him that one of the reasons I like Ocracoke so much is that folks don't take themselves so seriously here. "That's for sure," Earl said. "In some places one of us might have ended up with a bloody nose."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter provides more information about the majestic live oaks on Ocracoke Island. You can read it here.
To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.