Sunday, March 22, 2009


Linda & Ray stopped by yesterday afternoon with a bundle of teak stakes. I mentioned to them several weeks ago that Gael and I were hoping to locate a number of unmarked graves on the island and identify them with numbered stakes. Ray used to work in a boat yard, and has a pile of scrap teak wood. Since teak is resistant to rot we thought that was the wood to use.

While we were chatting in the living room Matt stopped by. He wanted to know if we wanted a nearly full bushel basket of steamed crabs. Of course, we did.

Linda & Ray came back at 6 o'clock with an armful of newspapers. We spread the paper on the table, and brought in the crabs (along with a couple of 5-gallon buckets for shells and claws). I melted some butter and set a nutcracker and knives on the table. Picking crabs is tedious work, but worth the effort. Backfin and claw meat are about the tastiest morsels on the planet.

When we had our fill of crab we topped the meal off with small bowls of sweet potato & ginger soup and homemade bread.

Clean up was easy -- wash three bowls, spoons, & knives, roll up the soggy newspaper, and put the beer bottles in the recycling bin. Another quintessential Ocracoke meal to remember.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Lou Ann's story of participating in the 2008 Christmas Bird Count on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here.

To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.


  1. lrusko3:31 PM

    Marking the graves is a wonderful idea. However, finding all of them is going to be a very cumbersome undertaking. We wish you much luck!
    Len & Penny Rusko.

  2. I have no delusions about finding all (or even most) of the unmarked graves. There must be thousands here on Ocracoke if you include mariners who lost lives in shipwrecks, slaves, early colonists, native Americans, and people that were buried on land that has eroded away over the centuries. Locating and marking just the graves that people still living remember will be quite a task. But maybe we can identify a few.

  3. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Hi Philip,
    Sounds like a fun day! The ginger soup sounds especially interesting.
    An Indiana friend