Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

March 8, 2011

Ocracoke - Installment No. 2

Yesterday some photographs above arrived in my mailbox. When I clicked open the note, I screamed! Joy oh Joy! Tears came to my eyes. They represent a long but not too tangled tale of full-circle...

We began visiting Ocracoke about 10 and a half years ago. Our annual two-week visit has since become family tradition. In the early days, the boys were so young they got around on training wheels. Now, they both drive. Back then, they'd pack Beanie Babies and books. Now, they pack iPods and computers!

10 years ago, my book idea was just that - an idea. I didn't realize how big a role Ocracoke and the experiences we had there would play in its evolution. How was I to know that all those photos of the boys holding the fish of the minute would come in handy? That my friendship with Norman would extend into long fishy expeditions and result in numerous discoveries? And that 10 and a half years after we first wet a foot on Ocracoke, that a friend would stand in front of Ocracoke Lighthouse with my book in her hands? I didn't have a clue.

Now, looking back, it is easy to connect all the dots, retrace the links, piece together the story. The woman in the picture is Candice. I met her last summer through Facebook. This winter, she became one of the first to buy a copy of the book, and is quite possibly the first to bring a copy to Ocracoke. From what I've read, she loves Ocracoke as much as I do. She also loves to fish. And when the book arrived at her home she vowed to take it to Ocracoke. Not only did she take it with her, she took it to the Lighthouse and she showed it to her/our friends at Tradewinds Tackle and Books to be Red.

How many pictures have been taken of me and my family with that lighthouse in the background? How many times did we ride to it in the drizzle and heat? How many blinks of its light did we watch from the crow's nest or harbor? My tackle boxes are full of Tradewinds tackle. I can't begin to count the number of Tradewinds nets the boys have trashed in pursuit of bait on the beach. If we needed hooks, we went to Tradewinds. Air? Tradewinds. Advice? Tradewinds. And that little bookstore... How many visits have we made on bike or skate board to browze, read, and buy a novel, biography, or picture book that we'd absorb on the boat or back at the house? Too many to count.

And now, both Tradewinds and Books to be Red will carry my book this season. Coincidence? I don't think so!

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