Thursday, February 20, 2014

Laughter -- The Best Medicine

Ocracoke islanders do not take themselves too seriously. It is a long-time island tradition to poke fun at themselves and each other. Some years ago the island's Methodist preacher seemed more interested in catching fish than winning souls. Islanders noticed that he was out standing in the Sound more often than he was at the church. Oscar Burrus suggested taking up a collection to purchase copper paint for the preacher.  "Boys," he said, "if we painted the preacher’s feet maybe we could keep the ship worms from getting to him."

This is a photo of my Uncle Marvin clowning around one evening with a makeshift wig and a twig mustache. He loved a good laugh. One afternoon, after his wife left the house to walk down the sandy lane to attend a Ladies Missionary Society Meeting at the Methodist Church Marvin went right to her closet. In a few minutes he had donned one of her dresses, positioned a fancy Sunday hat on his head, and draped an old purse over his arm. To everyone’s delight, Marvin joined the other ladies at their meeting, and even stayed for refreshments.

To this day Ocockers tell stories about the old-timers and their great sense of humor -- Monk Garrish, Danny Garrish, Lum Gaskill, Oscar Burrus, Wallace Spencer, Oscar Jackson, Lawton Howard...and many more.

And the tradition continues. Just spend a little time with David, Earl & Robbie, who work at the Water Plant...and you will know what I mean!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the 2013 Portsmouth Island Christmas Bird Count. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Sometimes a good laugh can get you through the day.
    I always say that if you lose your sense of humor,then the rest of you will soon follow.

  2. Anonymous9:41 AM

    The Water Plant is that a bar or a garden supply retailer?

  3. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Islanders do not take themselves too seriously? That was put to the test with the post Teenagers and Knives back in August 2008.