As in years past, Duck has attracted some of the best and the brightest of the East Coast graduate students, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and other movers and shakers, as well as their Western and Mid-Western peers. Others arrive from as far aways as Europe, Brazil and Australia, seeking respite, relaxation, and possibly romance. The Memorial Day weekend is jam packed with parties, beach games, and socializing, interrupted only briefly on Sunday morning by LDS worship services. This year the congregation held a sacrament meeting at a middle school in Kitty Hawk in order to accommodate the large number of vacationers.
As a somewhat reluctant but now fully satisfied third year veteran, my experience at Duck may not be uncommon, but it is unique in that I did not sleep in the party houses, and I had the opportunity to spend quality time with a few close family members, as well as with friends both old and new. The Outer Banks feels like home to me because my ancestors and my paternal grandfather hailed from Harker's Island, a small community located several miles south of Duck Beach and Corolla. My ancestors made their living by fishing and whaling in the Atlantic Ocean, and my grandfather did the same until he met a pair of LDS missionaries who promptly baptized him and inspired him to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he met his wife, my grandmother.
Over the years my family has travelled many times to the Outer Banks, and it is to this region of the earth that many of my fondest memories can be traced. When I discovered that there was a Mormon migration to Duck Beach, I was as much drawn to my ancestral roots as I was to the exciting prospect of meeting beautiful and eligible LDS girls.
This year my father, sister and I visited my grandmother in the Greenville hospital. My father also organized a fireside and mini-conference at Duck Beach for the John Adam's Center, an educational institution designed to encourage people of traditional morality in their quest for truth, and to support the voices of people of faith in the public square. Distinguished scholars and authors participated in the conference and panel discussion on topics such as religion, the so-called "Mormon moment" and politics. With these good incentives to spend memorial day weekend on the Outer Banks (faith, family and fun), I embarked on yet another adventure to Duck.
Of course, like most who flock to Duck, there remained a glimmer of hope in my heart to meet that special someone and to kindle a relationship to last forever. The swimming, dancing and socializing provide ample opportunities for single adults to meet new and interesting people, but not every encounter results in marriage. In fact, I suspect that most return to real life without a new romance, but at least having formed new friendships and created good memories.
Although I had time to rest and to enjoy the beauties of nature (including the beautiful Mormons), this year at Duck was more eventful than I would have imagined it to be. One night after driving back to the Beach house from an excursion to find wild horses, a deer bounded out of the bushes and onto our rental car windshield, and then hopped away on the other side of the road. Fortunately, no one was injured (except perhaps the deer), but the vehicle sustained serious damage to the windshield and one of the windshield wipers. It could have been a lot worse. We were very fortunate indeed.
The next day I had the car towed back to the rental store, and a few of my friends and I headed to the nearest beach for a dip in the ocean. After a swim and a conversation with a friend, a young man alerted us that two of our other friends seemed to be swimming out too far into the ocean. We turned around to look for them, and away in the distance we saw two small heads bobbing up and down, and a hand waving. We couldn't tell if they were in distress, so rather than risk their drowning, we decided to call 911. Within minutes emergency responders were on the scene, and a couple of life guards with floating devices swam out to save them. They had ventured quite far out into the ocean, but as it turns out, they were not in distress. In fact, they were perhaps more distressed to have their romantic swim in the Atlantic broken up by the life guards. Several people had gathered to watch the would-be rescue, and still others observed the spectacle from their beach houses.