Candy is Dandy

Jenny Scarborough

Liquor supplies are dwindling at the Ocracoke ABC store.

It is winter.  Citizens are concerned. 

How did this woeful circumstance come to pass?  This is one version of the story.  Prefer your news slightly less interpretive?  You belong here.

Long ago, in the spring of 2010, a humble bookkeeper uncovered scrolls in the Hyde ABC office blighted by poor and incomplete accounting.  She discovered one tenth of one million dollars in unpaid bills.  When this news was delivered to the authorities in the Piedmont, a fearsome message arrived:  alcohol sales to Hyde will be suspended until accounts are cleared.  And so it was.

We cannot meet our financial obligations to the vendors of liquor, cried the ABC board.  The noble drunks and quiet sufferers of our small county demand these distillations, and we are in peril of losing our privilege to sell to them. 

The cry fell on the beneficent ears of the Hyde Board of Commissioners, a five member panel that presideth from a mighty structure in Swan Quarter.  Sell us your building, and we will lease it back to you for a fair price, they decreed.  Use the revenues to enter the black, said the Commissioners.  And it was done, by a unanimous vote. 

Candy is Dandy

The ABC board and its employees, guided by the bookkeeper, emerged victorious in their battle with insolvency (in March 2011, said a holder of the records).

Disaster befell the people, all of whom claim no sinister motive, but only wish to maintain a revenue stream for the county.  Dark storm clouds, brewed in the home of sugar cane and rum, swept across the land.  Tourist dollars that once flowed like vodka over the rocks became a trickle.  Accounts went unpaid.

We have ordered too many drinks for El Patron and Crown Royals, and not enough for Old Grandad and Comrade Popov, said employees.  We should never have opened our coffers ere Irene struck our shores, they added.

Whose feet shall be held to the fire?  Factions formed, fingers were pointed, and allegations flew that truth was corrupted.  Rancor lingered like the smell of stale whiskey after a bender.  Bills were still due, and accruing interest. 

In the distant land of Raleigh, an agency (NC ABC Commission, as it is written) halted delivery of fire water, both brown and white, to the hardy salt-sprayed people of Hyde (in January 2012).  The local ABC board failed to honor debts to Captain Morgan, Senor Lopez and Mr. Beam, among others.  You must pay if you want more!: the board was told.  And furthermore, your accounting is a mess, you haven't hired the necessary officers, met publicly nor provided us with a budget.  Also, please make sure your prices are the same as in every other ABC store in NC.  Stop hiring family members.  Fix these things, and the spirits that soothe will be restored unto you. 

The county board, divided by a vast body of water, valiantly strove for compliance.  We cannot possibly consume all that we have quickly enough to pay our bills, determined the board and its employees, agreed at least on this point.  We will share our bounteous stock with our good neighbors in Dare, Nash and Perquimmens counties.  We will restore our good credit with the distillers and seek understanding from the agency in Raleigh, where vast stores of fermented grain await shipment to our shores.

And so it was that bills were paid, and the board grew ever freer of debt.  In the third month of 2012, Islanders should be able to visit the market stall that abuts the hardware store to select the tonic of their choice.  Until that comes to pass, the board unofficially decrees that good citizens sample less familiar distillations to demonstrate their desire for the market to remain open.  Shopkeepers are on hand Wednesday - Saturday, from 12 - 6:30 p.m.

In unrelated news, Captain Kangaroo reminds people that "You don't know if you like it until you try it."

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