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UNCLE JACK'S WEBLOG
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Ho Ho Ho Redux
       Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. are back in Charm City after a delightful three-week sojourn in South Nags Head which included every kind of weather from balmy spring to a rollicking nor'easter that shut down Highway 12 in Hatteras for the umpteenth time this year. Their hearts go out to the folks in Rodanthe and Buxton whose buildings got clobbered again by Mother Nature. She is nothing if not relentless.
       As is the Holiday Season in which most of us are now enmeshed. This is his 84th Christmas and he can honestly say that it no longer has quite the enchantment that it did when he was a little kid feeling up all his packages under the tree on Christmas Eve. This year he will try to enjoy those thrills of anticipation vicariously as he watches Mrs. Uncle Jack's four grandchildren rip into their painstakingly wrapped packages with manic abandon just as he did so many years ago.
       He will never forget the year that one of those gifts was a genuine Red Ryder BB gun with which he spent many a delightful hour destroying imaginary enemies in the form of empty cans and paper targets while receiving innumerable exhortations from his mother on proper gun etiquette. In today's trigger-happy atmosphere the instructions she gave him could save a child's life.
       Anyway it's Christmas Eve which gives Uncle Jack one last chance to remind all his readers that his pretty funny Kindle book called "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" might be just the ticket if you're looking for a cheap, last-minute gift for somebody who loves the Outer Banks and enjoys a chuckle now and then. Here's a sample of the 100 mostly funny bits in the collection (augmented by dozens of interesting pictures he took during the forty thrilling years he lived in Nags Head). For more information about how to send the book as a gift just Google "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" Kindle Edition for all the information you need:

                            Social Notes From the Mainland

Mrs. Carter Fry hosted the Grumpy Harbor Ladies Literary Society at her home on Route 6 last Thursday. Luncheon was served followed by election of officers and a dramatic reading by Mrs. Otho Scramm of selections from the current best-selling novel "Hot Mountain". Mrs. Delmore Wiggett fainted during the reading and had to be rushed to the clinic in Manteo where she remained in intensive care for several hours.

Mr. Carter Fry went to Plymouth on Thursday and has not returned.

Miss LuWanda Crammitt, daughter of Mrs. Opal Crammitt of Clamflats, has a speaking part in a new feature film entitled "Debbie Does Amsterdam," the latest release in the highly acclaimed "Debbie" series of travelogues from Mammary Studios. LuWanda, who is known professionally as Debbie Craven, is employed as a masseuse in Los Angeles, California while pursuing her acting career. She was a l992 graduate of Thassamusketo High School where she was voted "Most Likely To" by the boys of the senior class.

Mr. Albert Zebulon, manager of the Grumpy Harbor 6-l2 convenience store was in Nags Head last week attending an Executive Training Conference at the Ramada Inn. More than 300 managers of 6-l2 stores in the three-county Eastern Swamps Division attended the meeting which focused on helping convenience store managers cope with inflation. Mr. Zebulon attended seminars on "How to Squeeze 50 Extra Cups from Each Pound of Coffee," "Save $$$ by Recycling Used Stirring Sticks" and "Creative Bookkeeping".

Mrs. Estelle Jones went to the HMO in Columbia on Monday to have her corns pared.

Billy Frank Weddle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Joe Weddle of Drainfield, was home last week on a three-day pass from the East Carolina Correctional Center in Clam Quarter where he recently starred in an inmate production of Verdi's "La Forza del Destino".

Mrs. Greb Fillett and Mrs. Nettie Clayford drove to Norfolk on Wednesday in Mrs. Clayford's new Ford Siesta with optional overdrive. They got 43.6 miles to the gallon according to Mrs. Clayford's daughter Lula who is home on vacation from Central Junior Bible College in Charlotte where she is majoring in long division.

       HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL FROM UNCLE JACK AND MRS. U.J.
      
      
      

                           

      


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Locals might remember these strange cloud formations from a week or so ago. Almost every cloud in the sky was a jet contrail in some stage of its life.

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The contrail formation process continued for hours with older ones disintegrating as new ones were being formed. The amount of high level jet traffic over the Outer Banks is amazing.

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The setting sun provided some color for a while.

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Eventually the whole works disappeared below the horizon as did the sun. Spectacular while it lasted.

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Another great walking path in the Nags Head Woods. This one is handicapped accessible and also great for baby strollers and carriages.

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The fishing pond. This trail is located at the very end of Ocean Acres Drive and has parking places for two cars with handicapped tags.

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The wide wooden walkway was designed to accommodate trees as well as people. It's a beautiful trail, part of which replaces the old Ocean Acres Sewage Disposal Plant.

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Some of the trees along the trail are wrapped in huge vines which seem to have formed a kind of snaky symbiosis.

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It's not too late to enrich an Outer Banks book lover's library. Just Google "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" Kindle edition for ordering instructions.

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Reservations are already coming in for Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage for 2015. All indications are that it will be a record-breaking season in South Nags Head so don't wait too long to contact Cola Vaughan Realty for further info.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:59 AM

Comments [4]



Friday, December 12, 2014
A walk in the woods.
       Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. love to walk on the beach but when the wind is whistling out of the north as it has been for the past few days they look for alternatives. Lucky for them there are numerous delightful places to walk that offer both shelter from the wind and pleasant surroundings. One of their favorites is the trail that winds through the Nags Head woods from the starting point on Barnes Street for about .8 miles to a small beach on Roanoke Sound.
       To find the trailhead go west on Barnes Street (Ace Hardware is on the corner at the Bypass) almost to the end where Colony Ridge is on the right and the old Nags Head Medical Center is on the left. Watch for the poorly marked parking lot entrance to the trail on the left just before you reach Colony Ridge. (There is a picnic pavilion and playground sharing the same lot). The trail starts right at the informational sign board erected by the Town of Nags Head and the Nature Conservancy.
       The path is wide enough in most places for two people to walk abreast and at this time of the year is carpeted with leaves and pine needles and is easy walking. The trail was completely dry even after this week's rains. There are some ups and downs but easily managed even by ancient Uncle Jack who has respiratory problems in addition to all his other infirmities of old age.
       The pictures will tell the rest of the story better than words could.
             


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The path as it looks near the entrance. No bugs, mosquitos or snakes to worry about at this time of year.

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On a sunny day like yesterday the woods are beautifully illuminated.

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Another view of the woods off the trail. The variety of flora is astounding in a maritime forest like this.

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This exposed root system of a toppled tree was worth a few minutes of study. Uncle Jack has never seen anything like this on the beach.

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The trail ends at the sound where a weary trekker can rest and contemplate the beauties of nature while sitting on a peculiar tree root. The causeway and bridge to Manteo are visible to the south and Roanoke Island to the west.

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"M" apparently loved "W" enough to deface this root at one time. One wonders if their love has lasted as long as their graffiti.

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The trail crosses the old Nags Head Woods road at one point. This road was in use long before the Beach Road was constructed in the 30's.

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This alternative path branches off the main trail and leads to the back of the parking lot of the YMCA. It is as yet unexplored by Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. but not for long.

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Kudos to the Town of Nags Head and the Nature Conservancy for providing and maintaining this wonderful amenity for locals and visitors alike.

posted by Uncle Jack at 4:55 PM

Comments [2]



Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Sea Gull Drive, 12/9/2014
       The wind and rain let up enough this afternoon for Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. to drive down to Seagull and see how the orphan houses were doing as the northeaster begins to subside.
The storm moved a lot of sand out from under them as the pictures show. The drama continues.


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This house is just north of Seagull Drive and is being repaired. It is now several feet higher off the beach than it was a couple of days ago.

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The house in the foreground has been listed for sale in recent weeks but there may be a delay until the septic system and electrical connections can be restored.

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The northernmost house appears to be tilting even more than before after a couple of days of battering by the surf.

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Seagull Drive itself took a beating as well.

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Make me an offer. Quick.

posted by Uncle Jack at 4:33 PM

Comments [1]



Friday, December 5, 2014
Ho Ho Ho
       Uncle Jack is happy to report that he and Mrs. U.J. have managed to escape the pre-holiday hurly-burly of Baltimore for three weeks which they are spending in and around peaceful South Nags Head and vicinity. While the weather has not been as utterly perfect as it was during their last visit in October it is still conducive to beachwalking and sundry other outdoor activities such as attacking the relentless vines which threaten to engulf all of his trees and bushes in spite of his Herculean efforts to stop them.
       New houses are going up in the neighborhood for the first time in a while and Uncle Jack is happy to note that not all of them are the typical cookie-cutter McMansions that have come to dominate the local real estate scene in recent decades. Every once in a while a new house appears that hearkens back to an earlier day---reminiscent of the historic old row of cottages on the ocean front in Nags Head.
       He is happy to note that one such Nags Head vernacular home is nearing completion just a few blocks up the street from his own house. He and Mrs. U.J. wandered up there yesterday and got a close-up look and he has to say they were impressed. It's on the right hand side as you are going south on Old Oregon Inlet Trail just a few hundred yards south of Whalebone Junction if you'd like to check it out.
       With Christmas coming on Uncle Jack feels compelled to don his Santa Claus hat and to point out that his Kindle book "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" could solve a lot of gift-giving problems for Outer Banks lovers who want to give an Outer Banks-related gift that doesn't cost a lot of money and wasn't made in China.
       His book contains no less than 100 of the funny bits he wrote for the Outer Banks Sentinel and Current newspapers over the years plus many, many pictures from his own collection. You don't need a Kindle to read it either. It really shows up well on his iPad because the pictures are in color and can be blown up to full screen, just like on a computer. You can find out more about how to order and other useful information by Googling "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" Kindle Edition. At $4.99 it's a steal.

Here's a free sample:
             

                                          How Goes Bose?

It is now less than two weeks before Christmas and as usual Uncle Jack has not even started his Christmas shopping. He is really cheap and he hates to spend money on anything so Christmas is always a particularly trying time for him.
According to what he learned in his Lutheran confirmation class a long time ago the custom of gift-giving at Christmas got started very early when the the Three Wise Men turned up at Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the newborn Jesus. He has since learned from Google and other trustworthy sources that many biblical scholars have grave doubts about the accuracy of the story. However, this heresy is hotly disputed by the staff theologists at Amazon.com and Toys R Us whose bosses derive half their profits each year from traditional Christmas gift buying.
Uncle Jack has no idea where to buy frankincense and myrrh these days but he has found that gold still makes a very acceptable gift, particularly among his children and grandchildren who make up the bulk of his shopping list. There is no doubt in his mind that they would rather have gold than myrhh even though he has no idea what myrrh is.
As is usual at this time of the year the magazines and newspapers he reads have waxed fat with Christmas advertising. Every day he wades through page after page of exhortations to buy this or that "perfect gift" for everybody on his shopping list, the vast majority of which are wasted on a penurious skinflint such as himself. Rolex? Schmolex.
He must confess that there is one product which sometimes tempts him, especially when he is thinking about a gift for himself which is most of the time. It is called the "Bose Wave Radio" and the reason it tempts him is that he has not been able to peruse an upscale magazine for the past ten years without confronting at least one advertisement for this so-called "acoustic marvel", usually a full-page ad on one the most expensive pages. He does not exaggerate when he says he has been exposed to 10,000 of these ads over the past decade and he is only one of millions of magazine and newspaper readers who can make that claim. Obviously the Bose company has sold a ton of these little radios or their relentless and costly advertising campaign would have been dumped years ago. So why doesn't Uncle Jack own at least six of them by this time, sucker that he is for any device that plays music?
The main reason is that the Bose company has not been able to bludgeon him into accepting their claim that this itty-bitty little table radio is really worth $350. It is Uncle Jack's considered opinion, which appears to be shared by many audio aficionados, that the Bose Wave Radio may be a good product----perhaps nearly as good as the Bose flackmeisters say it is---but that at the same time it is ludicrously overpriced.
He cannot help wonder what part of the purchase price of every Bose Wave Radio goes toward paying for the avalanche of advertising designed to convince consumers to buy the damn thing no matter what it costs. He suspects it is a lot and he also suspects that eventually the Bose company will run out of customers who have so much money they don't have to worry about whether something they want is grossly overpriced or not. (Perhaps this is also why Bose is now pushing their incredibly expensive earphones in much the same way).
At some point they may be forced to lower the price of the radio and when it gets down to around $49.95 he might actually buy one out of curiosity if nothing else. And now, having gotten this pet peeve out of his system, he knows he will be able to sleep well tonight.
And it won't be on a Tempur-Pedic mattress.


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Front view of a Nags Head vernacular home in South Nags Head nearing completion. The builder is Seth Johnson for a private owner who reportedly plans to live in it.

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Pool and pool house in back of the main house.

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Low tide in Sonag. Greta Garbo would have loved this beach. Taken on Tuesday Dec. 2.

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Hangin' out in the 'hood.

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Google "Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage" for information about rates, availability, etc. for 2015. Close to the beach in South Nags Head. Ideal for senior citizens. Comfortable and inexpensive.

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It's not Frankincense but it makes a great gift anyway. Google "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks", Kindle edition.

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Newman's Shell Museum. One of dozens of pictures in Uncle Jack's Outer Banks Kindle Book.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:29 AM

Comments [3]




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Except for short hiatus in Baltimore Uncle Jack has lived in Nags Head for over 45 years. He was a columnist for the Outer Banks Current and its successor, the Outer Banks Sentinel, for 20 years. A collection of his columns is available from Amazon Kindle under the title Uncle Jack's Outer Banks. He and Mrs. Uncle Jack, aka Sue, live in South Nags Head whence he observes and sometimes comments on the passing parade.
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