Saturday, July 31, 2004

Stories at Dusk....

Friday nights here are slow-paced. Sometimes the men play poker..sometimes there are dinner engagements or bike rides...but there are no malls to visit, no movie theatres to view new films..no K-Mart or Wal-Mart to occupy time.

Last night after supper we walked the sandy road to Blanch's house...she is Philip's cousin and has lived here on the island all her life. She is 83. We carried a lasagne casserole (compliments of Philip's cooking)...opened the white gate of her garden and up to the front porch.

Blanch's house is typical of the island...it is painted white with lovely green trim and a large pizer. The scent of gardenias was strong as we knocked on the door carrying our offering.

Blanch was delighted to see us as she had been cleaning, and needed the break as well as the company. Two fans were circulating the air in the parlor room which was filled with family photos and books including the census of Ocracoke for 1870 and the cemetery
records.

She is always interested in what we are doing..but truth be told, we are much more interested in what she has to say. Her mind is sharp, her memory is impeccable..the hurricane of '44..the black out of WW11. Last night the conversation wove around to children's games. She was animated as she began to tell us about the games she played here as a little girl. Some were typical...hop scotch, marbles, skipping ropes...some we had never heard of. Philip, with paper and pencil in hand, wrote titles and words as fast as they were spoken.

It was dark when we left. The almost-full moon was playing games with us..hide and seek through the live oaks and cedar trees. Blanch stood at her doorway and waved, "Wasn't this fun tonight?" she said.

Indeed it was, Blanch, indeed it was.