Late Friday afternoon I went to Annabelle's Florist on the back road to pick up a dozen pink roses for Lou Ann (her birthday is next week). Before I left, Chester, who is the florist, pulled out a faded newspaper clipping from the 1920s. The author had visited Ocracoke and was fascinated by the isolated and unique village he found here. He pointed out that there were no roads, just narrow footpaths that meandered from yard to yard. (Actually, there were a few sandy lanes wide enough for a horse and cart.) He mentioned that there were no dogs on the island, and commented on the hundreds of cats. He was fascinated by the lack of crime, and noted that no one locked their doors. He knew that most doors had locks, but learned that almost everyone had lost their keys. He enjoyed popular local dishes of fried fish, shrimp, clams, and vegetables from the garden.
Ocracoke definitely has changed (how could it not), but even though we now have paved roads, automobiles, and a few dogs, the essential spirit of this island still persists, a rare jewel of a community in a fast paced and fast changing world.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the second half of my father's short journal. I call it Remembering Growing up on Ocracoke. You can read it here.