“It won’t happened to us” just happened to us.   It was named FLORENCE, and she roared through our neighborhood Sept. 18, 2018.   In the 1950’s movie THE RAINMAKER, Burt Lancaster’s character, STARBUCK warns “…don’t ask for deluge”!  Somebody didn’t get the memo.

Trying to find some good out of all this, I make this observation and suggestion.

Our community of some 400 lots and houses is fairly new.  The codes from day one prohibited metal roofs.  This was a decision made with aesthetics a major guideline.

Coastal people described Florence as “once in five hundred years” storm.  Yet the description was applied a week later to storm MICHAEL, that literally blew a Florida town off the map.   While Florence was  evaluated as “…” the most expensive storm in North Carolina history” by Governor Roy  Cooper,  Water–not wind was –the problem:  Unlike 2018’s Michael, or the 1954 monster Hazel.

The water, in flood-like fashion came from down  to up in homes and businesses.  More  often it came down, through  roofs with shingles.  Our house tops turned “tarp blue”.  We travelled eastern NC several different routes,  to Wilmington, who got it the worst, to Raleigh via 24/40 west or 58/70.  To Beaufort by 24/70 or down the island’s 58.

SAME STORY EACH WAY!  While shingled roofs allowed water into the buildings,  most metal roofs remained intact.  NO INTERNAL DAMAGE.  I asked my  insurance adjustor if my observations were accurate?  I guessed a 50-1 ratio between shingled or metal.  He said “…you are no where close”.

Lots of bad weather lately.  Hard to work outside.  Today and yesterday it has been nice.   Roof work every where.   Our people voted to allow metal roofs now.  But—they are more expensive.

CUT TO THE CHASE.  Shouldn’t replacement and new roofs in certain coastal and suspect geographical areas be metal?  Is a study worthwhile considering how to make metal roofs more accessible?   Should governments from local to federal  be concerned about not going through this nightmare again.  Insurance companies?   Certainly homeowners and businesses who are rebuilding.  New ones?

Our people know the scoop now.  Still pricing has people rebuilding with shingles.  While “I won’t be around for the next one” may be true, don’t you want your heirs to avoid this trauma?  Will the extra cost of metal now yield higher resale?

Time for some thought.  Action.  Do your own survey.  How many tarps on shingles roofs.  Metal?  Best evidence?   Check the old tobacco barns with intact metal tops!

If, in fact, the next FLORENCE styled storm is 100 years away –newly added metal roofs will join the tobacco barns as survivors.



My friend,”Country” Boykin, calls my wife OLLIE RAY. Hambone ran the rural store near “Country’s” Rock Ridge, N.C. home. “Ollie Ray hung around ‘Bone’s’ all day and didn’t buy anything. At closing time he would go out to the highway and hitchhike. If a car was going east he’d thumb east. West and Ollie Ray would cross the road and hitchhike that way. Made no difference. He just liked MOTION under him.”
Wife Margaret was fifth of six. She recently read a letter her Mom wrote long ago, describing her children to a relative. By the time she got #5, four year old Margaret, she simply noted “…that one is a little RIP.” I think they should have named her GO.
When we retired I offered, “chose your spot!” No hesitation: “I want to live at beach”. Fine. But, I WONDERED.
Cost of building our “dream” beach house rose as the house rose. Maybe a word of caution: “If we keep adding to building this house we won’t have a bunch for a lot of extras later, for example–travel.” Famous last words:
“You don’t have to worry if we get to that beach!”
That lasted about two weeks.
To be fair she found a solution. Within the last month she has made separate trips to Oregon, Canada, and Denver. All expenses paid because of volunteer “altruistic”services she renders. Really quite honorable as well as lots of miles logged. Doesn’t take long to recover. She’ll unpack, put her clothes up, report in—VERY SOON, wanderlust gene kicks in. She made it an hour upon returning last week from Colorado: “I just booked another to San Fransisco.”
She, maybe we, have a looming problem. There is a fast approaching age deadline (no pun intended) that ends a major avenue for her travels. That, combined with my desire to not get out of my zip code, has several concerned. Beach neighbor, Coach Dave Odom, wonders “…how long are the two of you gonna be able to stay home together. He has a point. Last winter the weather forced us all inside for a LONG few days. Coach Odom noticed that “…when she cordoned that six foot area around your recliner with yellow crime scene tape, now that is scary.”

I am rather stationary. (LIKE A ROCK–Bob Seger).
I just turned 74. Bob Dylan is 73. Dylan has a pretty good take on all of it, aging included. Wille Nelson noted at turning 75 : I’ve outlived my pecker!”

***”…it’s not dark yet, but its getting there.” DYLAN
***”…I love you more and ever shall, but there’s no one left to tell, the world has gone black before my eyes.” Dylan (NETTIE MOORE).
*** Bob with a little hope: “Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow. Things are just about to get interesting, right about now”. MISSISSIPPI

I do hope she’ll “stick with me.” I’ve known all along there was no need to try to cage this OLLIE RAY.  One wife told her husband “…if we are gonna gracefully grow old together, you are gonna have to slow down.” Half the Beatles are gone. Dylan, the Stones, lots of commentary. Some quite wistful: “…and I want to rock your gypsy soul, just like days of old…” Van Morrison (INTO THE MYSTIC).

Maybe I should just write her a song. Like my contemporaries. I probably would fare better in country venue. Lets see:



“Hoi Toiders.”
Our coast is called “The Crystal Coast.” Eastern-most Carteret County houses the “Hoi Toiders” or the “High Tiders.” They go “way back,” as my boat-building buddy, J. A. Rose, of Harker’s Island, says.
I asked one old timer about his siblings. They had all relocated elsewhere. Why? “We wuz so poor we had to scatter.”
“Possum” Hale was driving a local, who asked if Hale had anything left to drink (True Story!) Watson or Possum, told him there was a pint in the glove compartment. Before he could stop him this Hoi Toider had drunk half a can of brake fluid.
“Possum” took the immediately ill passenger to the emergency room. After violent vomiting, the Doctor asked, “ Are you all right? You drank a half can of brake fluid.”
“Ort to be able to stop her on a doime,” said the recovering “Core Sounder.”
One tale holds that times were so bad that a fisherman had to take his wife along to help him. A storm washed them both overboard. He was saved and taken by the Coast Guard to the hospital.
A doctor broke the news. “Sir, we found your wife. Unfortunately she was tangled beneath the sea in a net. She has about fifty blue crabs attached to her. It’s quite a mess, and we really wonder what you’d like us to do?”
The Hoi Toider’s conclusion: “Well, toimes being toimes, and Thelma being Thelma, just take them crabs off and re-set her.”
Mr. Rose said a Hoi Toider was awakened at midnight by a neighbor who reported, “Oi’ve hit something out in the road. It’s got an ugly, big hard head, and its ass smells worse than anything Oi’ve ever encountered.”
The husband reported, “ My Lord, you’ve hit Pauline.” 226


(“Bayou Sam, from South Louisiann, had gambling on his brain.
Evangeline, from the Maritime, was slowly going insane.”) EVANGILINE.
Living at the beach does have some disadvantages. You have to drive two hours before you get anywhere. Wish I knew now to fly a private plane. Better still let Margaret fly it. I haven’t been able to find a good local card game. Miss my Elon bunch. I did get in a game but it was a little heavy for me. I like to play for fun. Not so one John McGuire. John is the brother of the basketball coach and announcer Al McGuire and also former NBA Knickerbocker, Dick McGuire. John’s first love wasn’t basketball. About 90 years old and the proud father of nine children, John is a consummate curmudgeon. Not much casual conversation with John. Particularly during a poker game. I tried. He fascinated me with his dogged concentration and love of gambling. I could tell he was a cut above local boys. Several levels above me. I gleaned the information from the game’s players that John had made some money. Finally I got to where he would talk to me. Particularly if I came early before the game started. How did you make your money? Basketball? No way was the reply! He then told me the story. He had a good friend who was a lifetime business partner. But like John, his first priority was not business, but gambling. Trouble was, while they were good at business, they were lousy at the race track. Their business was the bar business in New York City. “We figured out that heterosexuals went to the bars on weekends, but that gays went every night.” Thus a move to Queens and the gay bar business. And a good business. Trouble was, John said “…we’d make a ton of money every night and then lose it back just as fast, or faster, the next day at the track”.
Most of the time John sat quietly during the game. His only intention being to get the crowd to play as many hands as possible. If he wasn’t getting good cards he would often blurt out something that the crowd often didn’t understand, or pay any attention to. “Red board” would come from nowhere. Finally I asked him: John, what does it mean when you say red board. After he explained his action I realized this comment came when the conversation was too long, too idle, or just an excuse (“by God, if I had of caught a deuce I’d have reamed you”). John explained that at the race track, after the race, the results were posted on a big red board.
Once posted. The race was over. Move on. Play another hand. Golfers are the second, next to poker players for whining (“…if I hadn’t double bogged #7…red board.)
John wouldn’t give you any extra information. Once, when asked if he was bluffing, John stated “…my name is Zink and what do you think. I do your laundry for nothing!” After prodding him at the game’s conclusion, John told me about the laundry sign in New York. When the person was told his bill was 40$, he said what about the sign. The manager explained “…you read the sign wrong. “My name is Zink, and what do you think? I do YOUR laundry for NOTHING?” Mr. Zink would ask.
John’s daughter would bring him and come get him. One day after our game I noticed she wasn’t there. I told John to call her and let her know I’d take him home. We still didn’t know
each other well. He looked a little funny when I said “…there is a price for my taking you home.” What price? “You have to tell me one Al McGuire story nobody else knows.” John thought a few minutes and then asked: “Do you remember, when teams first integrated, how coaches were asked how many black kids did the coach play? “The standard joke (I think it was a joke),
was “two at home, three on the road, and four if I’m losing?” I do remember that. John said that we altered that to “three at home, four on the road, and five if we had a bet on the game”.
Gambling certainly has a dangerous side.


Colonel Ray Springfield, a friend and golfing buddy, told me a personal tale. He and his Wife had their fourth child. She said “enough”. Ray agreed to a vasectomy. A career Marine, he not only knew where this surgery was done, but played golf with one of the surgeons. The day was rainy and Ray was about the eighth potential patient to sit down in the waiting room. About three or four more joined the “first come, first served” (no pun intended) before the nurse appeared at the operation room door and asked “…Okay, who’s first”? Stone silence. No one moved. Ray volunteered.
Upon entry Ray saw his friend was the surgeon on call. Ray said there were a lot of scared faces out in the waiting room. Couldn’t resist! And his Doctor friend was eager to go along. Ray gave it a minute, then screamed at the top of his lungs. Then he cried, begged “STOP, STOP, STOP!!!” Then THUD! Like someone hitting the floor.
He and the Doctor friend sneaked a peek into waiting room.
Ray said two things were obvious: “…first, the rain had stopped and sun shone through the windows, and there wasn’t anyone in the waiting room.”
The Doctor concluded, “…what the hell, Ray, we can go play golf!”


May 9, 2015
One of the local foursome tennis regulars couldn’t make it. A non- member filled in. My buddies, Larry Watson and Randy Campbell teamed together against the newcomer and partner. Larry is the poster child for
knee replacement. And both done at the same time. Now he can run, but at the time of the match above, it was really sad. Anyway, at the conclusion of the match the newcomer shook hands with Randy and said “…nice match, Hugo.” Out of earshot, a puzzled Larry asked Randy, “…why did that guy call you HUGO?” Randy: “Every single lob over our heads you shout ‘YOU GO’. Figure it out!” On the first day of our tennis camp, at 7am breakfeast, I asked a disheveled 10 year old his name? HUH, he said. Again, “What is your name”? Again…huh? Coach: Son, WHAT IS YOUR NAME? More clearly this time: My name is Hunt. How many times do I have to tell you! My friend, “Country” Boykin recently took his new hearing aid out and put it in the golf cart. It bounced out and we ran over it. At a restaurant a month later I noticed him wearing it again. “Did you get a new hearing aid, or get that one fixed?” He said it was the same one. “I’m just wearing it for looks!”


I’m losing too many friends. Gerald “Scope” Wallace could be a handful. Most of my other friends were afraid of Scope. But the funny ones catch me, regardless. His specialty was wise-ass. The first time we met he convinced my Wife and I to go to Raleigh on New Years Eve, 1972. Going there he swerved quickly off the road to a shack with the neon sign, BEER. Got to get a couple, he said. The place was awful and the cashier was overly rude. Perfect for Gerald. After several attempts to be nice and getting nowhere Gerald took the bag of beer, turned and on the way concluded with “…you certainly do have a nice place here!” A few hours later he got us all kicked out of the FROG AND NIGHTGOWN (Scope liked jazz. And wine.) “… the grapes got me again”.
My last haircut reminded me of Gerald. With little hair left, I go Great Clips for the minimum. And, I have learned how to register “on line”. Twenty minutes wait, maximum. The trouble was a storm caused school to be cancelled and the shop overflowed with “walk-ins”. And the staff had not booked enough tattooed, pink haired clipper wielders.
Much like the express line in the grocery store when everyone has 50 express line items and a pocketbook full of coupons, and the cashier runs out of register tape—Oh Mother, things ain’t going well.
I am winning the patience game. Kids groaning, adults shouting at the barbers, people leaving. My 20 minutes is already 30.
And, another cycle has rotated without me. Hmmm—trying to get the kids out ain’t working! They all have full heads of hair to be cut with monograms in their hair and color variations I knew not of.
Many of the grumbling had to stand. I read another hairstyling magazine and the seat next to me was vacated by a mad veteran left the shoppe.
All of a sudden there she was. Everyone knew her. My guess is nearly every small town has one.
She works in the local hardware. Knows where every nut and bolt in the store is, but has never found tact, kindness, or patience. And here she sits by me in midst of the angry. I thought of Gerald.
After a long silence I began the one sided conversation:
Me–you a local person?
Old salt–Swansboro. (silence)
Where did you go to high school?
Where were you born?
Do you work around here?
Swansboro. silence. end of round one.
No sound but angry grumbles. Riot coming?
I said nothing.
And then the break.
She ASKED ME—how long you been waiting?
Forty minutes late.
You register on line?
yep. silence. round two.
Then, me first. “and you know its like cooking. You work all day on the meal and everyone eats in five minutes.”
Salty with first crack of agreement–grunts.
Me: Not only that, everyone ahead of me has some special request. They could cut my bald head in 5 minutes. (the hook and she takes it)
ME WITH THE BAIT–“Want to bet””
Loudly now, “You are damn right I’ll bet you!”
(The crowd shifts from anger to silence upon witnessing the developing scene.)
100$ I SUGGESTED. (the crowd hushed moan).
Well, no.
Me-how bout a dollar? DEAL! The crowd erupts with applause.
“TOM” is called. I’m up, bet is on.
I show the old salt time on my six dollar watch. She nods ok.
I am in the first chair so my talent is tested. First a whisper to my girl who has heard what is going on: “Don’t talk. Cut it as quick as you can. Big tip”
Next hide the watch under the apron, but where I can watch the time. The crowd now watches gleefully. Some make side bets. The watch is at four minutes and ticking. Patches of white hair flurries abound. Barber is doing her part.
Salty’s first mistake. She didn’t make note of the starting time. Beneath the cloth apron I deftly reset the watch giving me added one plus needed minute needed to beat the deadline. I kissed my cutter and showed Salty the altered watch. YOU OWE ME A DOLLAR! THE CROWD ROARED.
She smiled and handed me the buck. I started to put it in my pocket, but then goaded her. Boy –I got you. You didn’t check the real time. The trim took more than six minutes! She giggled, probably her first. I gave her her bill back. The crowd, waiters and those inside have completely changed moods. I turned to leave and waved at the victim, then the crowd, Halfway through the door I turned around and said “got you again.” That dollar is yours and you won a dollar on the bet. It dawned on all as I looked into my wallet. I showed her nothing but large bills. Now stunned I took the bill back. Can I pay you with this? Gerald smiled down, or up. I had them all scratching their heads.
I reached in my pocket and took out four quarters and paid my debt.


Golfing buddy, Cleve Folger, started his story by saying, “…I went to Elon College for a year.” Oh yeah, I replied, did you like it?
Cleve: Yes, I really did!
Me: Why did you leave?
Cleve: My Uncle was an actuary. He wanted me to get that degree and join him. It was a good opportunity.
Me: Where did you transfer to?
Cleve: Atlanta State (GA.). They has a good program there and I could afford it.
Me: Did you like Atlanta?
Cleve: Yeah, until I got kidnapped.
Me: What?
Cleve: I was in a tough part of Atlanta at night. Two guys took my car, money, and clothes. At gunpoint. Naked and stunned I was turned away  by residences by equally stunned locals.
Finally a kind family took me inside their home. They reported details to the police and gave me some clothes to wear.
Me: Did they ever catch them?
Cleve: The police called back. They picked up one of the two quickly. They had another suspect who denied involvement. I was asked to view a lineup to see if this was the second guy.
When they showed the lineup I immediately confirmed the second thief. Interestingly, when I exited the lineup a lawyer representing the identified man, asked me skeptically if I WAS SURE his client was the one?
I told him it was easy once I saw he had my clothes on.