Do you have a "Lost Colony?"

For years, my family vacationed on the beaches of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Every summer for one week, we’d hang out on the beach all day and go-kart race, eat ice cream or see a summer blockbuster in the evenings.  

On offer, every summer was an outdoor play called the “The Lost Colony.”   

Here’s how the official "Lost Colony" website describes it.

In 1587, 117 English men, women and children came ashore on Roanoke Island to establish a permanent English settlement in the New World. Just three years later in 1590, when English ships returned to bring supplies, they found the island deserted with no sign of the colonists. After nearly 450 years, the mystery of what happened to the colonists remains unsolved.

According to the site, it's the "#1 tourist attraction."

I believe it.

You can't be in the Outer Banks for 24 hours without hearing something about ‘The Lost Colony.”

We never went to see it.

It just wasn't our idea of beach vacation activity. 

As an adult, I found myself back in the Outer Banks again a few years ago. 

On a whim, I drove over to get a closer look at the “Lost Colony.” 

The black asphalt parking lot was filling fast with SUVs full of families arriving early to get good seats. 

Kids were piling out of cars.

Parents and retired couples, a few carrying small coolers, were making their way into the wooded path which led down to the outdoor amphitheater.

It was a civilized procession on a perfect summer evening. Not a cloud in the sky.  

I knew from experience all the hell raisers were burning off their excess energy at the go-karts place or the Jockey’s Ridge sand dune.

Suddenly, a boy who looked to be 11 or 12-years-old, burst out of the woods.

Tanned, unbrushed hair and t-shirt askew, he was energized in the way that only vacations can energize kids.

He stopped at the edge of the asphalt and yelled to his family who were piling out of a mini-van at least 4 parking lot lanes away.

Putting his hands around his mouth dramatically, he bellowed as much as a 12-year-old can bellow,

“They cancelled the show!” 

Pilgrimages of tourists stalled mid-parking lot, expressions of wonder and doubt overtook the faces of people who’d been determinedly if not cheerfully heading to the #1 tourist attraction in the Outer Banks. 

His family, off-boarding from the family mini-van, slowed as they tried to comprehend what epic event could stall the 80+ year run of the Lost Colony - even for a night. 

Someone, who I guessed was the kid’s grandmother responded back, 

“What happened?”

To which the kid responded, 

“They found them!”

I collapsed laughing as did a few others in the parking lot. 

A woman, who had to be his mother, rolled her eyes and smiled. 

Almost everyone else smiled too, and resumed their march.

Keep your sense of humor. 

The show will go on.


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