Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Most of the "Trick or Treaters" avoid Howard Street. I guess it's too spooky. Actually a couple of the mamas of the boys who went on the ghost walk Friday night told me how creepy the boys thought the stories were. I saw two of them tonight. One assured me he wasn't about to walk down Howard Street after dark with all those graveyards along the lane. The other one said he was going to write an expanded version of the Aunt Lorena story, and he'd have all of the dead rise up from their graves and join her on her midnight wanderings.

Just something to think about next time you are on the island!

Sleep well.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

It Was a Dark & Spooky Night

There were 6 middle-school-age boys on my ghost walk last night (the girls were off-island on a scouting trip). They looked over their shoulders when I told them about the ghost of Old Diver, and they listened intently when I related how Alice O'Neal had been buried alive.

But the best part of all was when we stopped on Howard Street where the former Methodist Episcopal Church, South had once stood. It was dark and quiet. I told them how my great aunt Lorena had been buried in the church yard in 1897. Three years later she was dug up and moved, and the coffin had been opened..........

It was quiet. Earlier the boys had been eager to move along. Now they just stood still, unwilling to continue down the moonlit lane, afraid they might encounter Lorena's wandering ghost.

Here's hoping your Halloween weekend is just as creepy!

Friday, October 29, 2004


My evening walk on the beach yesterday after work was wonderful. It was great to breathe the salt air and feel the sand between my toes. (I did miss the colorful trees in the midwest, however, and wished Lou Ann could have joined me for my walk along the surf.)

Tonight I'll give a ghost/history walk for our local youth group (6th - 8th grades). It will be a shorter version than usual, but I hope the stories will send chills down their spines. There's the ghost of Old Diver, the woman who was buried alive, the ghostly casket that floats along the lane, the murder of 1861, and Aunt Lorena who was dug up only three years after her death (and who now wanders up and down Howard Street in here moldy grave clothes!).

Hope you enjoy Halloween whereever you are.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Home Again

The weather here is fantastic! Sunshine and temps in the low 70's. What a great day to be outdoors.

I got home last evening, just in time to watch the stars emerge as the moon slid behind the shadow of the earth. A truly magnificent display.

My trip to the midwest was super. Fall colors were outstanding, especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. On Ocracoke only the poison ivy turning yellow & red lets us know it's fall.

I had accompanied Ocracoke's Molasses Creek Band to the first Decatur, Indiana, storytelling festival. Along with Barbara McBride-Smith & David Novak, nationally acclaimed storytellers, and Lou Ann Homan, outstanding storyteller & show organizer, I shared island stories and conducted a workshop on collecting community and family stories. We all had a wonderful time. Now it's time to enjoy the last few weeks of a glorious island fall.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Last Post for About Two Weeks

I will be off-island on another fall trip, so look for our next journal entry in about two weeks. Amy & David will be looking after my apartment, but they've declined my request to keep the journal up to date!

This seems to be "Birthday Weekend" on Ocracoke. Last night Katy Mitchell celebrated her 16th birthday at an inter-generational party and pot luck dinner at Deepwater Theater. We enjoyed lots of wonderful food, fun conversation, and, as a special treat, several budding young musicians entertained us on guitars and drums.

This afternoon Steve Harris, manager of the Pub, celebrates his 40th birthday, and this evening island native and Ocracoke park ranger, Kenny Ballance, will join with most of the island community to celebrate his 50th birthday.

And who asked "What is there to do on the island?"?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Wreck of the "Pioneer"

Yesterday I got so busy running electric wires at the house I'm rehabilitating that I forgot to publish this note on my daily journal:

"One hundred and fifteen years ago, on this date [October 14, 1889], the steamer, "Pioneer" wrecked on Ocracoke's beach. It was the last wooden steam vessel seen in the area, and it's cargo of general merchandise washed through the village. You can read about islanders wading in the tidewater collecting all manner of goods, and about my great-grandfather and the cask of whiskey, by clicking here:"

Today [October 15] is gray and overcast with a chance of thunderstorms.

Roy Parsons

Ocracoke native, Roy Parsons, is 83 years old and a beloved island "character." He performs regularly on guitar & harmonica at the Wednesday night Ocracoke Opry. He helps his wife, Elizabeth, at their shop, "Pamlico Gifts," down point just past the lighthouse. He builds boat models (schooners, trawlers, sloops, etc.). Roy tells stories -- quirky, funny stories. He loves poems and often speaks in rhyme. His eyes sparkle, and he smiles easily. You can often spot Roy peddaling his bicycle along Highway 12.

A Journal reader recently posted the following message:

"I met Roy and Elizabeth in October after hearing him at the Ocrafolk Opry, and Roy is making a boat for me. I took photos of him and have created a web site that tells a little about him. The best thing about his model boats is that he knows the boat he is building, and he can tell you a story about it. Roy is a real Ocracoke treasure!"

You can view the web page here:

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

58 Degrees

It was dark and chilly when I walked to my outdoor shower this morning. Orion's belt was sparkling high above the trees and the early morning air was brisk & invigorating.

In a few minutes I'll walk the 100 feet to the old house we're rehabilitating and do a little electrical wiring. Then I'll be back to the Village Craftsmen by 9:00. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 70's by noon, so it will be a pleasant day to work on the house again this afternoon. Might even slip away to the beach later on.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Autumn Beckons

I woke up this morning to a cool October breeze. I even pulled the quilt over my shoulders! But the air quickly warmed up into the 70's for another delightful island day.

All day long I seemed to be running back and forth between the shop and the rehabilitation project. While I was gone, and in the last few days, there has been quite a bit of activity at the house -- lots of new structural members on the north side of the house, a new bathroom addition on the south side, restored windows installed, new wooden replacement siding, heating & air conditioning ducts added, etc. I'll post some photos later.

Ocracoke is gearing up for a new fall celebration, "Village Days," November 12 & 13. You can read all about it here: (This is an Adobe Acrobat "pdf" file and it might take a little longer than normal to load, so be patient.)

If you can get away for that weekend come on down and join us. There will be lots of fun things to do, island history to enjoy, and other special events.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Back Home

I returned home a couple of days ago to the most gorgeous weather imaginable. Sunny days in the low 70's & cool nights. Not many folks visiting right now. But we islanders are enjoying every minute of it.

Yesterday was the big celebration for Audrey Penn's latest novel, "Mystery at Blackbeard's Cove," an adventure novel for youth that is set on the island. The get-together drew crowds all day long for the book signing and party afterwards. Look for the book on your next visit to Ocracoke. I'm proud to say that my pen & ink drawings were used at each chapter heading.

As beautiful as the island is this time of year, it's always a pleasure to travel a bit, especially in the mountains in October. Lou Ann and I enjoyed visiting my three grandchildren in western NC, listened to master tellers at the Storytelling Festival in east Tennessee, hiked to the top of Mt. LeConte (6,593' tall) near Gatlinburg, and soaked in the sights and smells of Fall. It was wonderful.

Now that I'm back home, I think I'll take a walk on the beach and re-acquaint myself with the blue-green Atlantic Ocean. Should be perfect for swimming. This afternoon there's an "October Birthdays" potluck at Rob & Sundae's. I'll be back for that.

I hope you're having great weather where you are!