Friday, October 18, 2013

Ice Cream

My father used to tell me that when he was a boy (he was born in 1911) Walter O'Neal had a store near the harbor. In addition to the usual staples, he had livestock, including a dairy he sold fresh milk and occasionally cuts of beef.

More interesting to a young boy was ice cream, a rare treat on Ocracoke before refrigeration. Every now and then Mr. Walter would hand churn ice cream. Then he would raise a flag to announce his product to the village.

Photo courtesy of Mary Ruth Dickson

I never asked my dad what shape or color the flag was. Maybe Blanche knows. I'll try to remember to ask her the next time I pay her a visit.

Our most recent Ocracoke Newsletter is a compilation of humorous stories told by or about islanders. You can read it here:


  1. Bear MacDonald9:27 AM

    Oh, the memories!
    Reminiscing back to when my folks would drag my brothers and I to visit ancient aunts and uncles in Hebron, MD. We never looked forward to these visits but always enjoyed ourselves once we were there.
    Houses by the 1960,s had been "modernized", meaning that one no longer needed to visit the outhouse. The bathroom was a small addition off the side of the kitchen. No one had air conditioning, but relied on a cross breeze through the house. Livestock in the yards was common even though they lived within town limits. Aunt Edith and Uncle Everett's neighbor had a horse in his back yard. Aunt Stella and Uncle Charlie kept a cow and had chickens running loose. The authentic southern fried chicken and dumplin' soup was the best.
    We always looked forward to hand cranked home made ice cream. My fondest memories are of cranking the churn while chickens ran around and complaining, "Dad, my arms hurt. Isn't it Ricky;s turn yet?"

    Robb, I never nuke my water for tea. It just doesn't seem right.

  2. Anonymous10:28 AM

    those were the days, no electric bill, no water meters, no street side trash collection, no plumbing problems, news was to be heard from folks at the store ( the sign looks as if it declares W. Cone AL west cone Alabama) Your grandmother might say How much does all this cost? --- oh this is in response to the previous post. anyway ---- this flag from today's discussion ---- do you suppose the ice cream maker was methodical ? ooh... I have enough extra eggs to make ice cream or do you think he was the throw caution to the wind type-- and made ice cream when the spirit moved him? I ask this because ----what kind of flag did he fly /raise on any other day ???