"What's happened has happened, and what's going to happen is going to happen, so enjoy the sun on your face right now."
That quotation from an Ocracoke islander is recorded on page 31 of Ann Ehringhaus' book Ocracoke Portrait. It is under a photo of Henry (or Hank...I can't remember his last name) who found his way to Ocracoke about 25 years ago. Henry was elderly, spoke in a gravelly voice, almost always wore a jacket and necktie, and walked around the village pushing his bicycle as if it were a walker. His black dog was a constant companion.
Henry was quite a character. He lived in a modest little cabin on the south side of Cockle Creek. In the winter he once rolled a smoldering log under his house to help keep it warm! He was gregarious, and made many friends, but I never learned where he came from or what he had done for a living. He was arrested once for a minor infraction of societal norms, but no one thought the worse of him for it. He eventually moved away because of health issues, and I don't know what finally became of him.
It is fitting that Ann paired the above quotation with Henry's photo. He was pretty much the embodiment of that sentiment. Henry was just one of many colorful people who have called Ocracoke "home."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the "Joe Bell" flower. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012112.htm.