A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

Oriental Daily Photo is a member of the City Daily Photo blog network.
See daily photos of other towns and cities around the world at:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12.29- Woody and Bernie Ride Around Oriental

Oriental Daily Photo - Classics & Out-takes Series
(read more about this series here)

Acclaimed author and adventurer Bernie Harberts riding up South Ave.

Bernie comes through Oriental every year or so, usually with at least one equine companion...

Here he is in December of 2007, when he was in town visiting, selling books, and preparing for his "Lost Sea Expedition" (since completed), traveling from Canada to MX in a home-made mule-drawn wagon that included many parts and design-elements borrowed from vessels that travel existing seas.

In addition to the "Lost Sea Expedition," Bernie has circumnavigated in a 34' steel-hulled sailboat (1998-2003) and walked across the U.S., from North Carolina to California with a mule and a pony, a journey on which he based his GREAT children's book, "Woody and Maggie Walk Across America."

The book is fancifully illustrated, and includes actual and imagined stories about the states he traversed...

He discusses the giant "fish bird" of the NC coast, a bird so large it cannot fly, but can carry two men on its back, which it does daily so that the men can pull trapped fish from the bird's giant wing feathers and feed the bird.

The book is full of charming humor, as illustrated in this small excerpt describing NC commercial fishermen:

Please take a few minutes to learn much more about Bernie, Woody, Maggie and their adventures (and Books!) at:


Saturday, December 26, 2009

12.26- Santa's Got a Brand New Bag

Oriental Daily Photo - Classics & Out-takes Series
(read more about this series here)

Santa often hangs out reading at the corner of South Avenue and Freemason St.

Looks like Santa has dozed off while reading... and knocked over his reading lamp.

One might think it was because he has just finished up his years work... But this picture was taken before his big workday in 2007.

Perhaps there are clues on the table? *

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

* (A: Santa has a drink on the table... just to the right of the sand-filled baggie that failed to hold things down)


12.26 - ODP begins "Classics & Out-takes" series

(not my pic, NOT near Oriental)
Yours truly is headed inland for a while... Maybe just for a couple weeks, but maybe a bit more than that. Hard to tell.

In the mean-time, ODP will be featuring some "Classics & Out-takes."

Some of the upcoming pictures were taken before ODP went on-line... Some were taken since then, but didn't make the ODP cut for various reasons.

Many of them I only have approximate dates for, since I took them and downloaded them before ODP, when I was much more careless about keeping pics organized by dated folders.

Also, many were taken with a Kodak digi-cam that reset its date recorder to 1/1/2006 every time the battery was removed for recharging. I guess that is when the digi-chip inside was born, and the geniuses at Kodak failed to put in something that would keep track of the current date while the battery was out of the camera.

Whatever the cause, I religiously failed to re-set the date when inserting fresh batteries, so I will have several postings with pics from very vague and quite-possibly-inaccurate dates.

I hope you all will enjoy these pictures, even though they won't be Fresh Daily snaps.

And I will try to bring some current pictures from generous contributors...

Friday, December 25, 2009

12.25- Peace

Winter festivity star on the flag mast at Oriental's town dock on Raccoon Creek

I wish everyone merriment, peace and love during whatever winter festivity they may celebrate!

For my Futurama fans, Merry Ex-mas:
(see a classic Xmas song from Futurama here: Xmas Eve

For those in the Church of the FSM:

Happy Holiday!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

12.24- Tamales

Tamales in the making

What better way to spend X-mas eve than making tamales?

Masa, pork, chile ancho, manteca (lard), a dash of salt and baking soda, corn husks plus a little elbow grease (ok, a LOT of elbow grease) results in this wonderful cholesterol-filled hunk of holiday fun.

Good with beer. Best when shared.

Not to brag or anything, but they got rave reviews at the Millers' annual X-mas party. Obviously some very discerning consumers.

My brother Fred and I will assemble another two dozen or so in the morning for X-mas dinner.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12.23- Supermercado Jalicience

Alliance, NC, on Highway 55

Today I went to Supermercado Jalicience in nearby Alliance to get some supplies to make tamales for the winter solstice holiday season.

The store, run by a family that immigrated from the Mexican state of Jalisco (Pacific coast, central MX, capital is Guadalajara), is the nearest tienda to Oriental, and the only tienda in Pamlico County, so far as I know.

I just cannot have X-mas / New Years without tamales, having lived in south Texas for twenty years. Unlike San Antonio, TX, there are no tamale manufacturers around Oriental, so I have had to start making them myself.

Supermercado Jalicience is well-stocked with foods and ingredients necessary for a variety of Mexican cooking styles, not just Jalisco... which is good because I like the "norteƱo" Mexican cooking prevalent in the Rio Grande region, up to and including San Antonio.

The store also recently added a coin-op pool table, and have plans to add a second due to popular demand... The only other pool table in the county is at a private Bingo Hall, ever since the new owners of the Silo's (formerly Hard Tail Saloon) removed theirs a couple of years ago.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12.14- Spirit of X-mas

Exhausted candelaria await pickup in the rain at the Factory St.-Hodges St.-Wall St. turnabout

The Spirit of X-mas festivities are over... lighted boat flotilla Friday night, open houses offering X-mas food and drink to all comers on Saturday, the Saturday evening parade down the town's main streets and, topping it all off, the beautiful candle-lined streets after sunset (see a picture of the candles last year here.)

It takes a lot of folks a lot of time, effort and even gold to make these kind of community events all come together.

The advance preparations for Spirit of X-mas are the most fun part of the celebration... The work done by all the folks who come out to work with their neighbors, families, friends, and strangers on the grunt work of putting together a party ... At every step, folks from Oriental and our surrounding neighbors all pitch in together, chatting and laughing and sometimes even moaning and groaning together.

Of all the elements that make up the Spirit of X-mas celebration, my favorite part is the lining of the streets with 4,000 candles in 4,000 paper bags. The end result is stunning, and constructing these "candelaria" requires a lot of person-hours from volunteers...

On Tuesday folks show up at the Toucan Bar & Grill do two tasks: to light all 4,000 candles for a few seconds, then blow them... this makes them easier to light at the final stage; 2) fold the tops of all the bags down with two one-inch folds, then re-stack the bags... this makes the bags stand up straight and resist the wind. On Thursday volunteers head to Town Hall to put dirt in 4,000 little bio-degradable baggies, stick the 4,000 candles into the 4,000 baggies of dirt, place the baggies into the paper bags, and prepare the finalized candelaria for distribution. On Saturday morning, volunteers place the 4,000 candelaria along the streets, and Saturday afternoon they light each of the 4,000 candles. On Monday the bags in todays picture, and many more clusters just like it, will be collected and disposed of.

One thing I like about the candelaria project is that so many of us work together for so long and have a such good time together during the process... the same is of course true for those who work together putting on the parade and other events that so many visitors come to Oriental see.

But what I really like about the candelaria project is that the final after-sunset impact of the project is that those that get to enjoy the full beauty of the candles are, well, "ourselves"... "our community" ... "us."

And "us" includes: those who live here whether they got here last week or were born in Dr. Purdy's office; those of our loved ones and friends visiting from out-of-town; those who run our local businesses, and those who work in them; and those who started the weekend as visitors but have been inspired to stay in town for the full weekend or longer...

... and it is all these type of folks who pitch in to make it happen in the first place.

... And it is the most-committed of these who take on the responsibilities and not-insignificant personal sacrifices to round us all up to do this kind of "barn-raising" several times a year here in Oriental.

The core body of the real heavy-lifter volunteers behind these events work all year, many of them year-after-year, raising funds from donors, scheduling and accomplishing all of the preparations, and recruiting from Oriental's seemingly unending pool of "part-time" volunteers.

In today's picture of soggy paper bags piled in the middle of the street, I see all the work, fun and most importantly the family friends and neighbors who do it all.

And thinking of all this, I believe that when I wrote my last post concerning the apparent cancellation of one of the Dragon Runs on New Years Eve, I was in one of those however-many "stages of loss" where one feels anger at the loss, and maybe lashes out a bit...

In short I must apologize for the tone of the post. I am indeed upset at the news. I do indeed feel a sense of personal loss, one might say even selfish loss, because I have so much enjoyed the annual Dragon Runs, particularly the one closer to midnight.

I am not sure I quite understand why the second running was cancelled, but I generally know better than to rely on brief newspaper stories, whatever their source, to provide a complete picture of the problems involved in putting on such an event.

But I am sure that the organizers of the Dragon Run deserve my thanks, rather than my sarcastic criticism.

To them I apologize for the harshness of my rather emotional response. And I thank them for all their hard work.

They are, after all, "us."


Friday, December 11, 2009

12.11- Dragon Run cancelled due to Dragon Hooligans

The "Parade of Lights" flotilla passing out of Whittaker Creek channel
Tonight the traditional "Parade of Lights" boat flotilla kicked off Oriental's annual "Spirit of X-mas" festivities... I will soon have more photos from all of the Spirit of X-mas festivities, so keep a lookout here.

THE BIG NEWS around town today, however, is that another Oriental holiday tradition, the Dragon Run welcoming in the New Year, has been CANCELED.

According to the local weekly Tea-Party-Hannity-Palin 2012 broadsheet, "The County Compass," the Oriental Dragon Society (ODS) has decided that the pre-midnight Running of the Dragon has become too raucous and unruly.

Apparently the unruly mobs of "Dragon Hooligans" that invade Oriental's quiet thoroughfares each New Years Eve caused some damage to the Dragon during last year's run, prompting the ODS to limit the Dragon's appearance this year to its usual warm-up run at 8:00 p.m. ... the early run is popular among the under-10 and over-95 sets due to their early bedtimes.

Last year, the Dragon returned from the 11:30 p.m. run (more popular among the 11-94 y.o. population) missing a few teeth. (see that story as reported by TownDock.Net here)

In the past there was a tradition that touching the Dragon's teeth would bring good luck - but for a number of years this activity has been discouraged by new prophetic revelations that touching the delicate teeth would bring one bad luck.

Old beliefs are hard to change, however, so teeth-touching has continued and last year escalated into teeth-snatching by some of the notorious Dragon-Hooligans who show up for the late-late-late night 11:30 p.m. run.

I whole-heartily condemn those who engaged in the destructive behavior... the Dragon has been a truly wonderful part of Oriental's New Years celebration for about forty years, and the dummies who thought de-toothing it was a good idea were truly idiots. That said, I think ODS has WAY over-reacted, and in the wrong way...

I guess the organizers figure the "raucous" midnight crowd of Dragon-Hooligans is simply too dangerous for the Dragon... I also guess the very impressive Dragon, which the ODS website describes as being constructed of "Styrofoam, sailcloth, paint and sequins" is a lot more valuable an inanimate object than one might suppose from the ingredients...

It must simply be too valuable to actually use in a street celebration...

... even though it was constructed to be used in a street celebration.

Perhaps the ODS could put the Dragon someplace even safer... maybe on permanent display in the Oriental History Museum behind some bullet-proof glass so that everyone can still SEE the Dragon without risking damage to the Dragon or fun for the spectators. Visitors could come and see the Dragon before the 5:00 p.m. museum closing time and still make it to Beaufort or New Bern (or Raleigh or D.C. for that matter) for some NYE fun.

Here is a photo of the type of riotous pre-midnight throng of literally hundreds of Dragon-Hooligans the ODS is worried about:

Literally hundreds of "Dragon-Hooligans" rioting on Hodges St.
(click to enlarge)
It has been speculated that the cancellation of the midnight run is a form of collective punishment by the organizers, who have apparently been shocked, SHOCKED to find out that people touching the Dragon can lead to damage.

The ODS spin on the cancellation is that they "plan to make the 8 p.m. Running of the Dragon an even bigger and better event" and "focus on keeping the New Year's festivities more of a community event," an apparent hint that the ODS suspects the Dragon Hooligans came from outside of Oriental (no further hints of perp profiles have been given.)

Well, good luck with that... In my opinion, making the 8 p.m. "New Years EARLY Eve" celebration "bigger" than the REAL midnight Dragon Run will require busing in several hundred primary school students with their parents... to make it "better" than the REAL midnight run will require some truly innovative thinking and marketing. I personally cannot think of any reason I would want to wind up my celebration of the New Year four hours before it happens.

Of course, the ODS might want to re-think the whole 8 pm run after seeing this evidence of rampant pre-pubescent Dragon-Hooliganism:

A juvenile delinquent Dragon-Hooligan during an "early" Dragon Run two years ago
(click to enlarge)
So all you folks who were thinking of coming to Oriental for a truly fun New Years celebration should start making new plans... Apparently ODS wants to make this an event for 12-and-unders, locals only thank you very much.

I suggest to would-be New Years Eve Oriental visitors instead go to nearby Hobucken to watch some midnight barges hauling phosphate down the ICW... that would be a more exciting New Year's Eve than strolling along an empty and desolate Hodges St. here in the ONC. At least something would be moving.

Local bar/restaurant staff have been disheartened by this latest news, as the Dragon Hooligans have historically provided a much-needed off-season spurt of business while fueling their masochistic anti-Dragon rages with tasty food and beverages.

Rumor has it, however, that the local "Town and Country" grocery store IS stocking up on diapers and juice-boxes in hopes of reaping some profit from the 8 p.m. crowd... if there is one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12.09- Oriental's "Drumming Dragons"

Weekly drum circle meeting at Oriental town hall
(iPhone photos today... but you can still click to enlarge)

Walking back from the Town and Country grocery this evening, my brother and I heard percussive beats emanating from town hall...

My brother Fred, being a musician (albeit a guitar player), soon found himself joining in on some trance-inducing jams - that's him background-right wearing the hoodie in the photo above.

The "Drumming Dragons" are an integral part of Oriental's New Years Eve festivities - they lead the rhythmic drumming and pot & pan-banging that summons Oriental's Dragon out of its lair for the annual "Running of the Dragon" street celebration of incoming new year.

(see great pictures of last year's Dragon Run at TownDock.Net... I'm generally inside the dragon after enjoying some festive bevs, so I don't have any of my own pics)

Others in tonight's weekly drum circle meeting were (starting to Fred's left, going clockwise) Roger, Pat, Charlie, Noel and Doug:

(click image to enlarge)


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12.08- "Bye Polar," homeport North Pole, AK

50+' sailing vessel at the town dock, fresh in from North Pole, AK

The NEy breezes brought Santa into Raccoon Creek, Oriental NC, aboard this vessel today.

Don't worry, kiddies... Despite Senator John McCain's best efforts, Santa's elves are still busy back in North Pole (near Fairbanks) reading all your letters and ranking you on the Naughty/Nice scale (read about Scrooge McCain's views on Santa's home town here) ...

No doubt this fine S/V will make it back with plenty of time to spare before the big day!


Monday, December 7, 2009

12.07- "Old Reliables"

Henry H. Stephens, 47th Inf Regiment, 9th Inf. Division,
the "Raiders" regiment of the "Octofoil" Division

Oriental local Henry H. Stephens was 26 years old when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Today his remains rest at peace in the old town cemetery just outside of Oriental.

I have no information about Stephens' personal service or his death... only the impressive record of his combat unit that marched across Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and the Ardennes.

Stephens was in the U.S. Army's 9th Division, 47th Inf. Regiment.

The 47th was among the first U.S. units to engage in offensive ground combat during the war - on November 8, 1942 it was one of the 9th Div. units that landed at Algiers, Safi and Port Lyautey in French Algeria. The 47th's 3d Battalion took Safi, the first liberation of a city from Axis control in World War II.

In March-May of '43, the unit saw action in Tunisia, where it fought its way north to Bizerte on the Mediterranean.

August of '43 brought the 9th to the invasion of Sicily, with combat at Randazzo and Messina.

The 9th then went to England to prepare for the Allies great invasion... On D-Day+4 (June 10, 1944) the unit landed at Utah Beach in Normandy and fought in the successful liberation of the French port of Cherbourg, whose capture was integral to the supply lines as the Allies began the push-back of German forces on the continent.

9th Div. GIs with some happy locals at Cherbourg
(borrowed from The 9th Div. Society)

The 9th continued with the Allied advance, crossing the Marne river into eastern France on August 28, 1944... by November, when Henry H. Stephens died, the 9th was holding down defensive positions on Germany's western border with Belgium.

Stephens' buddies went on to fight alongside the 101st Airborne against the German counter-offensive on Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge), and burst across the Rhine at Remagen on March 7, securing parts of the Rhineland until V-E Day, May 8, 1945.

The men of the 47th at Ft. Bragg, NC, March 22, 1941
(borrowed from The 9th Div. Society)
(click image above to enlarge)

Henry H. Stephen's forefathers were among Oriental's earliest founders, and he serves as a fitting tribute to all the local boys who served in the U.S. armed forces and merchant marines after the infamous Japanese attack on U.S. soil 68 years ago today.

Remember to thank a WW II vet for all they did for us... before they aren't around to thank anymore.

No doubt many local lads never made it back... and I have met one life-long Oriental resident WW II vet still living here in town... but I did find 42 WW II veterans currently at rest in the cemeteries outside of town, both in the larger historically white cemetery, and in the smaller pre-desegregation black cemetery a few hundred yards away...

Of the 42 WW II vets in the cemetery, most made it back home to live after the war, with only Stephens and Lewis Bracy Midyette (another descendant of town founders) dying during the war:

Here are some of the men of the 9th's 47th Inf. Regiment... Perhaps Henry H. Stephens is among them? If you recognize him (or anyone else), please go to Vincent Whaley's "Tribute to the 47th Infantry Regiment 9th Infantry Division web-site (from whence I borrowed these)... He is trying to ID these brave fellas who fought with his Papaw:

(Photo Copyright © 2007 by Vincent Z. Whaley)
(Photo Copyright © 2007 by Vincent Z. Whaley)


Saturday, December 5, 2009

12.05- Feature Attraction

Saturday Matinee: "Jana and Ian Got Married"
(click images to enlarge)

Jana Weichel and Ian Crawford were married this afternoon in Oriental's historic Old Theater... the theater's first ever wedding.

Here we see the happy couple after the wedding and post-wedding photography session, no doubt quite ready to get to the reception and begin celebrating!

The wedding guests had already long departed to the reception at the Oriental Women's Club - even the couple's wedding carriage had left due to the post-sunset arrival of rain and cold winds:


Thursday, December 3, 2009

12.03- Some smart turkeys

Wild turkeys
As far as I can tell turkey hunting season doesn't come around until April and May... But better safe than shot, plucked, roasted and eaten, I always say.

I spotted these wild turkeys feeding in a field next to Kershaw Rd.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12.2- Full Foulies and a folding bike

A rainy day in the ONC

Foul-weather gear and a folding bicycle... sure signs that this guy is a cruising boater running errands while ashore in Oriental.

The transient slips in the harbor have been rather empty lately, as autumn's southward boater migration is on the wane...

But not today: the crowd of boats at town dock and the Oriental Marina & Inn is reminiscent of November. Looks like a lot of late migratory vessels which probably would otherwise have been underway or spread out among many nearby rustic anchorages but-for the ominous weather forecasts.

And I'll bet those Capt.s and crews are feeling pretty good about their decision right about now... Over an inch of rain today, 20+ knot winds gusting to 30+, and this evening we even had a tornado watch.

I myself opted to do today's ODP shot from the lee (and dry) side of a windshield (you can see a blurred wiper, upper left corner.)

Those who rank high on the Salty Scale, like today's ODP subject, are of course always fully prepared to be out in windy and much wetter conditions than today's, be they on sea or on land...


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12.1- Homemade Stealth

Cap'n John and crew take his home-built "Stealth" for a sunset run
(click image to enlarge)
Today I found Capt. John and crew putting-in his fast and sleek home-built water rocket at the Wildlife Ramp on Midyette St. in Oriental just as the sun set.

John has spent the last six months building the un-named vessel... He told me the NC Wildlife Dept. (in charge of registering boats and classifying home-made vessels in the process) has deemed it a "2009 Stealth."

She is a mere 16 feet long, and John reports he has had her up to 95 m.p.h. so far... but the boat IS still under construction, as evidenced by her primer colored hull, so he may yet be able to get her up to a respectable velocity.

I figured I could google the boat design and find more about it... I found a speedboat manufacturer named "Stealth," but their models do not resemble this one...

I'm hoping John will see my post and drop me an e-mail so I can get a bit more info.

You can see some additional pictures of John's 16 foot Stealth speed boat here at my Oriental Daily Photo-EXTRA blogsite.

One more shot for the ODP... the Stealth doing something better than half of her top speed leaving Smith's Creek's green Marker No.3 just of her starboard beam:

click image to enlarge