Midsummer Rite to Replace Events

Sundae Horn
Midsummer Rite to Replace Events

Due to spring event cancellations, Ocracoke to revive an island tradition. 

As Ocracoke residents see their hope of a normal spring and summer season dwindling away with the Stay-At-Home order, they are turning to ancient rituals to ensure a prosperous 2020. 

Mark your calendars for the Summer Solstice Midsummer Night Send-Off, set for Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 5:44pm. It will be a celebration for the ages. 

"We all thought April would be the light at the end of the tunnel," said a local business owner, who hasn't cha-chinged her shop's till since the evacuation for Hurricane Dorian began on September 3, 2019. "Instead, that light was a freight train heading right for us."

"We've got to do something to help out bottom line," said another. "If we can just save the season before the 4th of July, maybe some of us can make it."

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," a local sage agreed.

The tiny island, still reeling from Dorian's wave of destruction, has been working toward and hoping for a return of the tourism-driven cash-flow that fuels the economy. But the global pandemic of COVID-19 is turning that hope into despair.

As the social distancing recommendations turned to a stay-at-home order, Ocracokers realized that they would have their beloved island all to themselves for another two weeks... 30 days.... who knows how long? 

The cancellation of annual spring events was a sad, but necessary conclusion. The PTA Variety Show, the 1st Annual Old Quawk's Day, Arts Week, the 5K/10K/Half-Marathon, Portsmouth Homecoming, Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament, the British Cemetery ceremony, the Waterfowl Festival, and other smaller happenings were all cancelled or postponed. Island folk were counting on those events to bring spring green ($$$) to the sandbar.

"We know that the coronavirus is in every state and over 150 countries, but it still feels personal," said a number of whiny residents on Facebook. "We're the only ones to be this devastated by a natural disaster and now we have to worry about a killer virus. How are we supposed to cope?"

As a rule, Ocracoke residents are a fractious, backstabbing, critical bunch, eager to eat their own. But in times of great troubles, they can and do come together as one solid community. 

After trying yoga, communal meals, prayer, meditation, yaupon tea, counseling, yelling at meetings, crystals, crystal meth, and attacking each other on Facebook, they realized they needed to take stronger action to create a sense of we're-all-in-this-together-ness in the face of a pandemic. 

And like many close-knit communities before them, they did what's easiest to promote solidarity and solace: found a scapegoat. 

As we all know, a scapegoat, in Old Testament tradition, is a goat who takes on the sins of the community and carries all the sin away into the wilderness. And then everyone is pure and self-righteous -- and ready to par-tay! 

Older O'cockers can harken back to the days when the obvious scapegoat was simply a dingbatter or a dit-dot. In recent years, Hyde County officials, or even the whole of Hyde County mainland, was a favorite choice, with strong competition from the National Park Service, piping plovers, the ferry division, golf carts, transplants, the tram, and ducks.

But this year all agree that the underlying cause of all our problems is: the non-resident property owner! 

Let's just say it now: even though contractors and delivery people go on and off the island daily, and Ocracoke residents leave for shopping and medical appointments, and not everyone is keeping the safe 6 feet away from everyone else on the island, if coronavirus gets here, we'll know it came with an NRPO. You only have to look your Facebook feed to see how that accusation, conviction, and sentence has already been decided! 

Join us (or don't if we're all still on quarantine) in June for the Midsummer rite when we'll choose a hapless NRPO (who just wanted to own a little piece of paradise) to carry all our sins away for us. The chosen NRPO will be set adrift on Pamlico Sound from Springer's Point, thereby ensuring a bountiful summer with full fishing nets, a hearty fig harvest, and cash in the bank.  





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