Ocracoke Island Journal

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An Occasional Journal of Daily Island Life.Philiphttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01572532603071469799noreply@blogger.comBlogger3643125
Updated: 1 day 20 hours ago

Roy, A Memorable Island Character

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 04:17
Many of our readers will remember Ocracoke Islander, Roy Parsons (1921-2007). Roy was a musician & storyteller, and for a decade he was a regular at the Wednesday evening Ocracoke Opry at Deepwater Theater. He was funny, quirky, and loved to be on stage.

Bob & Kathy Phillips brought me this photo of Roy, probably taken in the early 1950s. If you enlarge the picture you can see his name on the neck of his guitar:  R O Y P A R S O N S.

Photo from NC State Archives
















Until the end of his life, Roy enjoyed music, and loved sharing his songs and stories with family, friends, and new acquaintances.

Photo Courtesy Island Free Press













Roy's wife, Elizabeth, continues to operate her small gift shop (Pamlico Gifts) on Lighthouse Road. Be sure to stop by when you are on the island.

And, in case you missed it, The Island Free Press published the eulogy that Gary Mitchell delivered at Roy's funeral in 2007. It is on-line at http://www.islandfreepress.org/Archives/2007.09.17-RememberingOcracokesRoyParsons.html.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Native Seafood

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 04:17
I purchased three fillets of flounder a few days ago at Native Seafood on NC Hwy 12 (adjacent to the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department). Native Seafood is owned by island fisherman, Farris O'Neal, and his wife Chrissy.

Photo Courtesy Connie Leinbach @ Ocracoke Observer












Their retail establishment is spacious, with a generous supply of fresh seafood...shrimp, fish, scallops, clams, and crab.

Robert & Farris













Take a look at their web page, http://nativeseafoodocracoke.com/, and stop in whenever you are on the island. By the way, Farris caught the flounder himself. It was fresh off the boat, and delicious!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Southeast Wind

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 04:56
We have recently had strong winds blowing from the southeast. Unfortunately, the wind and high tide brought a noticeable amount of debris onto our beach from the Gulf Stream. It was distressing to see plastic bottles, shoes, and burlap bags at the tide line. But I trust residents and visitors will pick up most of the trash soon. In the meanwhile, there were a few photo opportunities.

Among other things, there were coconuts:















Mollusk-encrusted containers:















Bamboo clusters:















More jellyfish:















And this picturesque assortment of hawsers and other ropes:















I was out on the beach yesterday with a trash bag, and will be out again to pick up more debris. Actually, much of it was already gone. If you see any of this flotsam or jetsam please pick it up. We seldom see this much junk on Ocracoke's beach. Let's all help keep our beach litter-free!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

March Newsletter

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 05:06
We have just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter, an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. Crystal was so excited to make the trip, and her enthusiasm is evident in her writing. This article is Part I of her experiences on Portsmouth, and includes nine of Crystal's beautiful photographs.

Photo by Crystal Canterbury














You can read Part I of Crystal's article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Saw

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 04:59
Last Thursday I posted this picture of a two-man cross cut saw, and asked readers to guess what it was used for on Ocracoke Island.








The very first comment by "NJ Reader" got it right. It was used to cut ice. For many years ice was brought to the island in large blocks on the mailboat and on several different freight boats. Those blocks of ice were cut into manageable sizes for use in home ice boxes, in fish houses, and on fishing trawlers. Ocracoke was wired for electricity in 1938, and immediately established an ice plant (where Kitty Hawk Kites is located today).

It took islanders a little while to abandon ice boxes, and to embrace electric refrigerators, but it has now been many decades since anyone on the island has used ice for home refrigeration.  Flake ice is now made at the fish house for use by local fishermen.

The ice saw has not been used for decades. It is now part of the collection at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum thanks to a generous donation by a part-time resident.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Blue Bottle

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 05:10
I stumbled across this "blue bottle" jellyfish a few days ago.















You may know it by its more common name, the Portuguese Man O' War.

This jellyfish is in the Class Hydrozoa, and the Order Siphonophora. It is actually a colony of individuals called zooids, which are incapable of living independently. It fills an air sac with gas, allowing it to float on the surface of the ocean. Tentacles dangle below the surface, with stinging cells that "contain one of the most powerful poisons known in marine animals and can inflict severe burns and blisters even when the animal is dead on the beach." (National Audubon Society Field Guide To Seashore Creatures)

Don't let the beautiful, blue color fool you. This critter is best left alone!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Fred Cannon

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 04:37
If you have visited Portsmouth Village you may have noticed a bronze memorial plaque in the Methodist Church dedicated to Fred Cannon.

Fred was a fisherman/crabber who cherished the primitive and solitary life on Portsmouth island in the 1960s. He lived without indoor plumbing or electricity.

The September 1969 issue of National Geographic published an article, "Lonely Cape Hatteras, Besieged by the Sea," that had this to say about Fred Cannon:

"Few outsiders visit Portsmouth, and that suited at least one of the five residents just fine. Fred Cannon, who lived alone at one end of the island, told me: 'I haven't had a tie on since I cane out of the service in 1946. Ain't that wonderful?'

"For Fred Cannon, only death could take him from the island's solitude which he cherished. In April of this year [1969], his 16-foot skiff was found swamped in Pamlico Sound. His personal belongings washed up on the beach. An investigation by the Coast Guard concluded that he fell overboard and perished."

Fred Cannon, just one of many eccentric Outer Bankers, who lived life his own way. 

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Ocracoke Coloring Book

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 04:46
Kitty Mitchell published The Ocracoke Coloring Book in 1976. It was chock full of eccentric characters and snippets of what island life was like four decades ago. Surprisingly, much has remained the same.

Ocracoke Preservation Society decided to reprint The Ocracoke Coloring Book, and it is now available in their gift shop.














There will be a few of our readers who remember Kitty's book, and many more who will enjoy a glimpse into the past by way of this reprint of Kitty's quirky, whimsical drawings and island scenes. The Ocracoke Current has published more about the new venture here: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/110303.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Taxes

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 04:23
As April 15 nears we think of income taxes.

Speaking of taxes, below is information about Ocracoke Island unpaid property taxes (for the years 1834, 1835, & 1836) that  I found in the Feb. 28, 1838 issue of The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC).

1 acre of land owned by Nathan Spencer..............tax owed,   $7.38
50 acres of land owned by John Williams............tax owed,   $4.47
50 acres of land owned by Benjamin Williams....tax owed, $10.20
60 acres of land owned by Abner Howard............tax owed,   $9.43
250 acres of land owned by George Williams.....tax owed, $20.54

Oh, how times have changed!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Cross of Lorraine Division: The Story of the 79th

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 05:06
The following is from a small booklet covering the history of the WWII 79th Infantry Division of the US Army --

On October 25, 1944 the G-2 report of the Nazi 361st Volksgrenadier Div. addressed the following warning note to its subordinate units:

"The 79th Division is said to have fought particularly well in Normandy, and is considered as one of the best attack divisions in the U.S. Army."

----------------------------------
Ocracoke Island native, Major General Ira Thomas Wyche was the Commanding General of the 79th. General Wyche, son of Rev. L. O. Wyche and Lorena Howard, was born on Ocracoke Island in 1887.

----------------------------------
The booklet explains that This was the division ...first to enter Cherbourg...first across the Seine...the division that swept through France like an avenging flame...the division with a combat itinerary like a railroad time table...the division that by sheer guts and a fighting devotion to duty had ousted a desperate foe from the hell that was Foret de Parroy...this was the famed Fighting 79th -- the Cross of Lorraine Division -- back at the task it had thought completed 26 years ago.

You can read the entire booklet here: http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/79thinfantry/index.html.

And you can read more about General Wyche here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092110.htm.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Words of Wisdom

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 04:32
 Today, just a few short quotations from native islanders:

"People come here because they like Ocracoke...but then they start trying to change it." Elizabeth Howard

"I've got a mind to go to church today." Then on reflection, "But I've two minds to go fishin'." Wallace Spencer

"On Ocracoke we don't care what you do; we just want to know about it." John Ivey Wells

Take away whatever you want from these gems by some of our island sages!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Coquina Clams

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 05:37
On Monday I stumbled upon several small patches of coquina clams just above the high tide line. I took this photo:

 













Here is a close-up:



















Wouldn't this make a great jigsaw puzzle?

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Clam Chowder Recipe

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 04:28
A reader asked me to share the recipe for the traditional Ocracoke clam chowder I made for the fundraiser this past weekend (see yesterday's post about the fundraiser).

I started with a recipe from the green Ocracoke Cook Book, published by the Women's Society of Christian Service of the United Methodist Church. This is Mrs. Beulah Boyette's "Wahab Village Hotel Clam Chowder":

Ingredients:
1 quart chopped clams
1 quart water
4 medium onions
1 pint sliced potatoes
Drippings from 6 strips of bacon (not salt pork)

Put all ingredients in pot and cook slowly for at least four hours. Add water as needed. This chowder should be thick when finished.

Well, I didn't exactly stick to the recipe. I needed to make a much larger batch, so I started with a bunch of clams (from Pamlico Sound...not canned!), but I didn't count them. I also chopped up my clams in a blender, so they were basically pulverized. Other people cut their clams with scissors, so then there are larger chunks of clam in the chowder. I had about 6 quarts of finely chopped clams and their juice.

I used about three quarts of water, about 7 or 8 pounds of peeled and cubed potatoes (I didn't count how many), and 5 or 6 large onions (chopped). I also used two packages of thick cut bacon (many O'cockers use salt pork, but I like bacon better) which I fried up. I broke the bacon into pieces and included all of the drippings (that bacon grease might have been the winning ingredient!).

I lit the burner at 7:30 and carried the chowder out to the Community Center at 10:30. I didn't add any water. I never cooked such a large batch before, but my chowder is never thick.

I didn't add any salt or pepper, either. I used the basic island recipe, then just did what seemed appropriate. I must have done something right since the chowder won first prize. Actually all traditional Ocracoke Island clam chowders are pretty similar...simply delicious!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Clam Chowder

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 04:40
On Saturday Ocracoke Child Care held a fund-raiser, the first annual Clam Chowder Cook-off. Ocracoke Preservation Society decided to enter the contest, and I agreed to make the chowder. There were two categories -- Traditional Ocracoke Style and Non-traditional. Of course, OPS and I had no trouble deciding to make a traditional island chowder (Pamlico Sound clams, potatoes, onions, salt pork or bacon, salt, pepper, and water).

Amy took this photo of me opening the clams:



















Ruth Toth provided the clams. Al Scarborough helped me chop the potatoes, and open the dozens of clams.

Lo and behold! OPS won first prize in the Traditional Category. The Anchorage Inn (Sherry Atkinson, cook) won first prize in the Non-Traditional Category.

Photo courtesy the Ocracoke Current














You can read more here: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/110344.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Another Poem

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 04:22
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Here is another poem by Robb Foster. Robb visits Ocracoke often, and shares his fondness for the island in verse.
Ocracoke 
To sit on Ocracoke, my friend
And watch the sun go down again
Our sails unfurl to catch the wind
These souls will start to knit and mend 
A special place, hard to describe
Not many people would prescribe
To spend your days in simple ways
Among the dunes and salted haze 
The calming sound of ferry horns
And laughing gulls that never mourn
That evening breeze to kiss the face
It tells us, "Here's your healing place" 
And those we meet in shops and stores
Who weather here upon these shores
Who's kindness shown, not always spoke
We count them friends, the Ocra-folk 
We'll travel on to points unknown
With mem'ries, sure, to wax upon
But nowhere heals us when we're broke
Quite like the isle of Ocracoke... 
Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.  /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Village Craftsmen

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 04:30
Village Craftsmen is again open for the season. We opened last week, excited to be able to offer even more quality American-made handcrafts from several new suppliers.



Village Craftsmen has been a source of fine hand-made pottery, glassware, wooden items, musical instruments, and much more since 1970.

Located on historic Howard Street, the stroll down the unpaved lane (you can also drive, and we have ample parking) passes 300-year-old live oaks, centuries-old family cemeteries, and cottages constructed with timbers salvaged from shipwrecks.

The photos below are a very small sample of some of the unique, finely crafted items we offer.

























Be sure to stop in and say hello on your next visit to Ocracoke Island. We are proud of our quality merchandise and friendly staff.

Our Spring Hours are Tues - Sat: 10-4 & Sun: 10-2
(Closed Mondays & Easter Sunday)

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Movie

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 04:31
Just a few days ago, 21st Century Fox, a satellite motion picture studio based in Wilmington, NC, announced plans to produce a major motion picture on Ocracoke Island.

The psychological thriller (tentatively titled "Ghost Ship") is based on the story of the 1921 wreck of the ill-fated, five-masted schooner, Carroll A. Deering, often called "The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks." Word on the street is that Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro have both been cast in leading roles.

The Carroll A. Deering














Shooting is scheduled to begin sometime in the fall, and islanders are already excited about the possibility of being cast as extras.

For more information directly from the studio click here.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Lighthouse Trivia

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 04:34
Following are several little-known facts about the Ocracoke Lighthouse.
Photo by Eakin Howard


















  •  1794...Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, proposes "erecting a light-house on Occracock island, or elsewhere, near the entrance of Occracock inlet...."
  • 1798...A wooden lighthouse is built on nearby Shell Castle Island (it is destroyed by lightning in 1818)
  • 1822...Jacob Gaskill sells, for $50, two acres of land to the United States for the purpose of building a lighthouse
  • 1823...The present brick Ocracoke Lighthouse is built by Noah Porter for $11,359.35 (Congress had budgeted $20,000)
  • 1854...A new fourth-order Fresnel Lens replaces the old reflecting illuminating apparatus (In 1853 Thornton Jenkins, Secretary of the Lighthouse Board, also reports that "[a]t the same time the present revolving light at Ocracoke...will be changed to a Fixed White Light...." This is the only reference I have ever found indicating that the Ocracoke Light was at one time a revolving light.)
  • 1860...New lantern is installed
  • 1862...Confederate troops remove the lamp and lens, to prevent use by Federal forces
  • 1863...Union forces re-fit and re-exhibit the Ocracoke Light 
  • 1867...Lard oil replaces whale oil as lamp fuel
  • 1878...Kerosene replaces lard oil
  • 1899...Fourth-order Franklin lamp replaces old valve lamp
  • 1929...Light is electrified
  • 1950...Metal staircase replaces old wooden staircase
  • 1955...The Ocracoke light is automated

Below are the Keepers of the Ocracoke Light, all highly skilled and dedicated public servants:
  • Joshua Taylor (or Tayloe), 1823-1829 (his title was Collector [of Customs] & Superintendent of Lighthouse) 
  • Anson Harker, 1829-1846 (first person of record listed as Keeper; Joshua Taylor is listed as Superintendent) 
  • John Harker, 1847-1853 (probably Anson Harker's son) 
  • Thomas Styron, 1853-1860 
  • William J. Gaskill, 1860-1862 
  •  Enoch Ellis Howard 1862-1897 (the longest serving Keeper; he died in office) 
  •  J. Wilson Gillikin 1897-1898 
  • Tillman F. Smith 1898-1910 
  • A.B. Hooper 1910-1912 
  • Leon Wesley Austin 1912-1929 
  • Joseph Merritt Burrus 1929-1946  (the last keeper to serve under the US Lighthouse Service)
  • Clyde Farrow 1946-1954 (Ocracoke's last lighthouse keeper, after the Lighthouse Service was merged with the US Coast Guard)
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

A Glimpse into the Past

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 04:22
Below is a transcript of a portion of an interview with Martha (Mattie) Daly Gilgo (1885-1976, former resident of Portsmouth Island, NC) by her grandson, Julian Gilgo, June 17, 1969, transcribed by Ellen Fulcher Cloud, and included in her book, Portsmouth, The Way it Was.

Julian: About how many people were living there (on Portsmouth Island) when you were young?

Mattie: O-o-o-h dear Lord, there was hundreds. Portsmouth has been a place in this world. I've seen myself ---and I'm only 83 years old, and I've stood on the porch and seen 30 to 40 vessels on their way in. Just between Ocracoke and Portsmouth, down there what they call Teach's hole.

----------------
Sometimes we have to be reminded of how important Ocracoke Inlet was for commerce along the eastern seaboard. At the turn of the twentieth century, as Mattie Gilgo relates, dozens of sailing vessels could often be seen anchored in Pamlico Sound. They were carrying lumber, cotton, turpentine, rum, and various other cargoes to and from ports as far away as New England and the West Indies, or even more distant places. Ocracoke wasn't always as isolated as it is often portrayed. 
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
(Post revised at 11:27 am, 3/30/15.)
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Where is Fernando Po?

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 04:29
On January 23 I wrote about native islander, Eliza Ella ("Miss Lizerella") Styron O'Neal (1890-1953), who never left the island in her entire 63 years (except to venture a mile or so out into Pamlico Sound in a small boat).

That got me thinking about how things have changed, and how widely traveled present-day islanders are. I mentioned this to my daughter Amy, and she posted a question on Facebook for Ocracoke islanders: How many different countries have you lived in or visited?

At last count, there were 143 places, some of which I had never heard of (including Fernando Po)! They are listed below. I know some of them are territories of other countries (e.g. Anguilla), are actually parts of larger countries (e.g. the Galapagos Islands), have been altered (e.g. the Czech Republic is part of the former Czechoslovakia), are special regions (e.g. Hong Kong), or may no longer exist as separate countries (e.g. East Germany).

However, this list (literally, from A to Z) includes places in the spirit of Amy's question. I even wanted to include Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in north central Montana, where I lived in the winter of 1968-1969, because it felt like a foreign country (or, more honestly, I felt like a foreigner in their country).

I know this is an incomplete list, but I think it's pretty impressive. Islanders, please leave a comment if we haven't included some place you have lived in or visited, and all readers, please leave a comment with suggestions for exotic places we might want to visit:
 
Andorra
Anguilla
Antarctica Antigua
Argentina Aruba Australia Austria Bahamas Barbados Belgium Belize Bequia Bermuda Bonaire Botswana Brazil Bulgaria
Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Chili China Columbia
Cozumel Cuba
Croatia Curacao
Czechoslovakia Czech Republic Denmark
Djibouti Dominican Republic
East Germany Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Equatorial Guinea Estonia Ethiopia Fernando Po Fiji Finland France French Polynesia Galapagos Islands Gambia Germany Ghana Goa Greece Greenland Grenada Guam Guatemala Haiti
Hawaii (before it was a state) Holland Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland
India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan
Johnston Atoll
Kazakhstan Kenya
Kwajalein Island
Lebanon Liechtenstein Lesotho Luxemburg Macao Majorca Malaysia Martinique Mexico Monaco Montserrat
Morocco Namibia Netherlands Nevis New Zealand Nicaragua Nigeria Norway Panama
Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Rhodesia Romania Russia Saba Saipan San Marino Saudi Arabia Scotland Senegal Siberia Sicily Singapore South Africa South Korea
South Viet Nam Spain Sri Lanka St. Kitts St. Lucia St. Maarten
St. Thomas St. Vincent Ste. Barthe Sudan Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Tanganyika Thailand Tortola Trinidad Turkey Turks & Caicos Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan Venezuela Virgin Islands Wales Yemen Zanzibar
Happy travels to all! And we hope Ocracoke is always on your list of favorite places to visit or to call home.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs