Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hot Dogs & English

On Thursday morning Charles Temple, Ocracoke School's high school English teacher, called and asked me to help out with a hot dog sale that evening during Ocracoke's first basketball games of the season.

When I arrived at the school at 4 pm I met Chad, an 11th grader who had recently moved to the island from the Washington, D.C. area. Chad was ineligible to play ball because he'd been living on Ocracoke for less than 6 months, so he was helping with the hot dog sale. Gary was there too, but Charles had gone to the local store for supplies. None of us had ever participated in a hot dog sale before so we had no clue about what needed to be done. As we learned when Charles returned, he hardly knew any more than we did.

We didn't have matches to light the cooker (but we did locate a striker from the welding supplies in the shop room). The bun warmer was missing the tray and lid (but we improvised with aluminum foil). We found a heavy duty extension cord in the shop room. The hot dog buns we located were stale (but we eventually found others). There was no can opener for the chili (so I rode my bike home and brought mine). We ran out of quarters for change (so I ran over to the Village Craftsmen).

Tom arrived in the middle of preparations. He at least had had experience in food service! We put him in charge of boiling the hot dogs. Gary put frozen buns in the microwave oven (which we discovered in the storage closet). Luckily for us Karen showed up just in time (she had organized a hot dog sale twelve years ago). In no time at all we had bowls filled with cole slaw, onions, and chili. Ketchup, mustard, foil, paper hot dog holders....we were almost ready.

Coolers were filled with drinks and ice. Parents and students showed up with cookies, cakes, brownies, and cup cakes. Charles found paper and markers. Hot dogs, $1.00; no, make them $1.50. Soft drinks, 50 cents; no, make them 75 cents. Desserts (is that with one "s" or two? This was for textbooks for Charles' English classes. We had to spell it right!) were 50 cents.

We were just in time. A line started forming before 5 pm. By the time the games were over we had sold over $450.00 worth of hot dogs, drinks, and desserts. (I think, in the off-season, we're going to be selling hot dogs at the Village Craftsmen.)

When it was all over I commented to Chad that he probably found Ocracoke a tad different from Washington. He just smiled, and then allowed as how he had learned to adjust to the island's more informal, laid-back, way of doing things. Welcome, Chad!

Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of George & Jule, published October 29, 2005. You can read it here:


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Hot Dog Sales are an Ocracoke tradition. In the mid to late 60's Thursday was Hot Dog Day during the school year. The Methodist Women sold hot dogs and drinks in the church rec hall. As the lunch hour approoached all of us were perched on the edge of our seats, ready for action. When the bell rang everyone raced across the 'circle' to get in line. My brother, Warren Wilkes, Jackie Willis and I had a system: whomever was first to arrive put in the standard order for all three of us. Mine was 2 hotdogs with mustard, coleslaw and onions (they were chopped nice and large, not minced) and a drink (ice cold coke or pepsi - bottled, this was before cans were readily available). Jackie's mama, Fonnie, always seemed to be in charge of these affairs. Without a doubt, those were the best hotdogs I have ever eaten! Betsy Wilkes Buckingham