Friday, February 03, 2006

Hours from Home Depot?

Wednesday's post was about moving Milan & Nina Williams' old brick cistern. I included several photos of the move, which prompted this comment from one of our readers:

"Your latest photos made me wonder about the realities of living hours from the nearest Home Depot. Also, about the pace of daily business during the off season--the volume of ferry traffic and customers throughout the day, etc.
Enjoy the posts.

We do live hours from the nearest Home Depot as well as from any number of other retail establishments (and professional services) that our readers are familiar with. There are several ways we deal with this:
  1. Sometimes we just do without. Do we really need that new pair of shoes? Maybe we can do without a screen on that window.
  2. Or we might borrow from a neighbor. Somebody on the island surely has an extra sheet of 1/2" plywood.
  3. Often we've got just what we need in the outbuilding -- spare plumbing parts, screws, eye bolts, you name it -- we seldom throw such things away.
  4. Maybe we can actually buy it on the island. The hardware section of the Variety Store carries all the basics for plumbing, electric, and other general house repair. If it's for a boat Tradewinds or O'Neals may have just what we need.
  5. If a friend is going "up the beach," as we say, there's a good chance he or she will have time to make one more stop for that special circuit breaker or can of paint.
  6. Don't forget -- Dare Building Supply and Kellogg's Supply send lumber trucks down to the island several times every week. They bring 2 x 4s, 8 x 8s, shingles, concrete blocks, name it. They even can get their vehicles down Howard Street.
  7. The internet is a convenient way for islanders to get the odd or hard to find item. I just ordered a magnetic knife holder, computer software, and a fire escape ladder, all on-line.
  8. And finally there are lists. We all make lists -- for paper towels & toilet paper, underwear, plants, special light bulbs, computer supplies, prescription drugs, etc. A trip off the island can be busy and fast-paced (and often expensive) as we try to make all the rounds (after a dental appointment) and still catch a late night ferry home.
About the pace of daily business in the off-season -- it's SLOW. Hardly any of the shops are open this time of year, and there's virtually nobody here anyway. Sometimes the ferries run empty. This is the time of year we clean, organize, repair, and catch up. It's also the time of year we relax, read books we've put off, have pot lucks, visit, take vacations, walk on the beach, play games.......

We may be hours from Home Depot, but we're just minutes from the beach and from our friends and neighbors.

Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is Gary Mitchell's essay "I Believe in Pot-Lucks," published January 23, 2006. You can read it here:


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