Friday, August 01, 2014

Shooting Hoops

This photo may not look like much -- just a basketball lying off the edge of the school's outdoor court.

One of the things I've always like about walking through the school yard is seeing basketballs lying around. There is generally no need to carry them home, since the school has the only basketball court on the island.



















Maybe the next time you walk through the Ocracoke school yard you will want to stop and shoot a few hoops! There is often a basketball nearby.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Creative Arts Program, 1974

The August 2, 1974 issue of The Carolina Beachcomber ran a photo of Ocracoke's Methodist minister, Jimmy Creech, and a brief article about the Creative Arts Program Jimmy initiated.

Jimmy Creech, 1974



















"Popular preacher Jimmy Creech of Ocracoke Island, leader of the creative arts program for the Ocracoke United Methodist Church, is excited about two coming attractions. First, Ira David Wood, executive director of Stage '75 drama production group of Raleigh, will be a guest artist. 'A truly professional artist in dramatics, having starred several years in 'The Lost colony' as Old Tom and Sir Walter Raleigh, David brings to us an acting talent rich in perception and vitality,' Jimmy said. Attraction number two is well-known pottery craftswoman, Alice Proctor."

Ocracoke's tradition of theater, crafts, and music continues. Be sure to seek out shows and performances whenever you are on the island.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Theater

Summer (and Winter) Theater has been an important part of island life for quite some time. In the summer of 1974 Julia Howard's three act musical, A Tale of Blackbeard, began it's run of 9 seasons in the course of 20 years. The play built upon a long tradition of plays, skits and variety shows that were staples of Ocracoke Island evening entertainment for decades.

As many of our readers know, A Tale of Blackbeard has been revived this season with a cast of talented local actors and actresses. Clever lyrics and catchy tunes complement the script which portrays the last days of the infamous pirate captain who lost his head just off shore in 1718. Salty sailors, coquettish village girls, and a prominent village family provide drama, conflict, and romance.

Joseph Winslow & Amy Howard, 1994 Production














This summer my son Stefen Howard has been working on a web site dedicated to preserving the history of this iconic Ocracoke Island production. The site is a work in progress, but Stefen has already published images from many of the performances, as well as vintage newspaper clippings, programs, and historical sketches.

Take a look at www.ataleofblackbeard.com now...and later this summer for updates from the 2014 season.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Music at Breakfast

Bob Zentz, well-known folk musician, and his musical fiancee, Jean McDougal, are on the island this week, and will be performing at the Ocracoke Opry tomorrow evening. Bob has a repertoire of several thousand songs, many of them nautical tunes and sea chanteys.

Bob & Jean are staying with us for a couple of days...and it doesn't take more than a thought, a word, or a hint to inspire them to get out their instruments and break into song. I took this photo Monday morning at the breakfast table.















Bob and Jean entertained us for about an hour, playing and singing both traditional songs & ballads, and introducing us to some of Bob's original pieces.  After sharing stories about colorful Ocracoke island characters, Bob played his song about a popular banjo player, Sud Bell (born 1882), last resident of Hog Island, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Ol’ Sud Bell, Ol’ Sud Bell
 Sittin’ on the porch of the Wachapreague Hotel
Pickin’ on the banjo, he played it rather well
Gone but not forgotten, is Ol’ Sud Bell!

You can read the rest of the lyrics here:  http://www.bobzentz.com/songbook/o.sudbell.htm.

Times like this, shared with talented friends, add spice and beauty to island life. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Perils of Beach Driving

I recently discovered this photo in an old album. It was taken at South Point in November, 1981. If I remember correctly, the angler fell asleep as the tide was coming in.



















As far as I know, this SUV (or whatever is left of it) is still out there, having gradually sunk deeper into the sand. It wasn't long before it was completely covered up.

The message: stay awake, and pay attention when driving on the beach!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Down Point Decoys

I had occasion to visit with David O'Neal at Down Point Decoy Shop a few days ago. As soon as I stepped into his store I was reminded of what a tremendous inventory of old and new bird carvings he carries.














Dave was sitting at the counter, chatting with a customer about antique rifles and waterfowl hunting, when I entered. After the customer left I mentioned that I would like to come back with my camera, and take a few photos to put on my blog. Dave agreed, saying he always appreciated free publicity.














When I returned I noticed that David had a copy of the 1986 National Geographic Traveler magazine on display. David was featured in the magazine, and his picture was on the cover. I remarked that he looked a little younger in those days. His mustache was definitely not white!  That led to talk about how the senior years just seem to creep up on us without our awareness while it's happening.


















If you haven't been in Down Point Decoy Shop lately, be sure to stop by and check out David's wonderful collection of working and decorative decoys.


















And, if you are wondering why "Down Point Decoys" is located "Around Creek" it's because David started his business Down Point (on the lighthouse side of Silver Lake), near his family home...but he moved it Around Creek (on the Community Square side of Silver Lake) a few years ago.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Carroll A. Deering

As a young boy I loved to listen to my father tell tales about Ocracoke. One of my favorites was the story of the “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks.” On summer trips to Ocracoke we always borrowed my Uncle Marvin’s WWII army surplus jeep at least once, and drove to the north end of the island. Along the way we would stop at the wreck of the Carroll A. Deering. Since late February of 1921 the bow of the Deering, along with her heavy iron capstan, lay on the beach several miles south of Hatteras Inlet. The wreckage was distinctive. I would stare at the massive timbers and listen with full attention as my father retold the mysterious tale.

Wreck of the Deering, Photo courtesy of M.R. Dixon













The five masted schooner, Carroll A. Deering, was launched April 4, 1919 by the G.G. Deering Company Yards in Bath, Maine. She was the last and largest ship that eighty-six year old Gardiner Deering built. Named for his youngest son, the massive vessel was just over 255 feet long, weighed more than two thousand tons, and carried six thousand yards of sail. She was impressive by any measure. 

US CG Image of the Deering












The Deering wrecked January 31, 1921. The sails were up, tables were set, and food was in the galley stove, but no crew members were aboard the vessel, just a cat. The Deering has become known as the Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, and the mystery of her wrecking has never been solved.

An Internet search will yield numerous links. Here is the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_A._Deering.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072114.htm.