A Quick Update for LHBTF Readers

bahamas, green turtle cay, abaco, tropical flower, desert rose First, thank you for visiting Little House by the Ferry. I hope you’re enjoying reading about our little piece of paradise. (And for those of you who’ve asked, more Fish Hooks updates are on the way.)

Those of you who follow LHBTF and receive new blog posts by email will notice a small change going forward. You’ll still receive email notifications of each new post, but they will only include summaries. To read a new post in its entirety, simply click the “read more of this post” link.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to LHBTF, but you’d like to receive email notifications new posts, just click the “Follow” link at the top right of this page. Thanks!

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Returns Soon

I was happy to hear that a new season of Who Do You Think You Are starts this Wednesday, July 23.

Who Do You Think You Are?If you’re at all interested in genealogy, you’ll enjoy this show. It’s fascinating, and hugely inspirational for amateur genealogists. Each episode follows a different celebrity guest.  With the help of historians, genealogists and subject matter experts, guests trace their family histories across the generations and the globe.

The upcoming season features Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammer, Cynthia Nixon and Rachel McAdams.

On the west coast, Who Do You Think You Are airs Wednesdays at 9pm on TLC. For air times in other areas, check your television listings.

Related: Who Do You Think You Are?

The Wrap – Who Do You Think You Are? Season 5 Featured Guests


In Memory of Oral Bethel

Tom and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Oral Bethel.

oral bethel, bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay

Oral Bethel

One of the best things about our project to restore the little house by the ferry is that it brought Oral and Jason Bethel into our lives. They have given us much more than foundations and a porch.

If there is such a thing as an aura, Oral Bethel’s was filled with dignity and goodness. These qualities were plain to see in the way he carried himself, in his words to others, in the skill and care of his craft, and in the character he instilled in his son. Simply put, to know Oral was to respect him.

And our respect for him only grew deeper as we saw how courageously he faced his illness.

It goes without saying that Oral’s life was too short. But a man who has the love of family and friends and the admiration of his community has not left any work unfinished.

Our love and condolences go to Arlene, Jason, Jennie, Alyssa, Christian, and Hailey, and to Jason’s sister Amanda and her family as well. For you, we hope there is comfort in the thought that Oral is in the arms of another carpenter tonight.

For Oral, we hope there is Yoo-hoo in Heaven.

Rest in Peace, Miss Shirley

“You see all them?” Shirley Roberts gestured toward the dozens of cats lazing outside her front gate. “Only two are mine.”

“Then why do you feed all of them?” I asked.

“Well,” she scattered a fistful of kibble on the ground. “They look so much alike, I can’t tell which ones belong to me. And I can’t let the rest go hungry.”

Green Turtle Cay lost one of its most intriguing characters yesterday. Shirley Roberts (affectionately known as “Shell Hut” Shirley, to differentiate her from the other Shirley Roberts in town) passed away unexpectedly in Nassau.

Abaco, Bahamas, Green Turtle Cay, Shirley Roberts, Stray Cats

Sadly, some local folks — particularly the younger generation – only knew Shirley in her later years, when her mind had begun to wander and it was sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction in her stories. But Shirley Roberts was feisty and independent, a woman of many talents who lived a remarkable life.

In addition to being a shrewd businesswoman, Shirley was the first female commercial pilot in the Bahamas. For years, she flew a twin-engine charter plane, transporting tourists, local residents, dignitaries and sick people in need of emergency medical care. Everyone who flew with Shirley recalls her amazing aviation abilities, especially her smooth and gentle landings.

And she didn’t just pilot planes. My cousin, Alton Lowe, tells me that during the years she lived in Nassau, Shirley was part-owner of a private yacht, which she captained singlehandedly.

Alton says Shirley was also musically inclined, a talented singer who often participated in the charming New Plymouth tradition of pre-dawn caroling in the weeks before Christmas.

From as far back as I can remember, Shirley owned The Shell Hut, one of Green Turtle Cay’s original gift shops. In recent years, however, she opened the store less often. Some weeks, she didn’t go in at all. As the souvenirs in her shop window grew dusty and faded, so did her memory. And Shirley became known as the lady with the cats.

Many afternoons, I’d see her at one of the local grocery stores, buying cat food. A local resident once told me he’d counted thirty-eight cats gathered on Shirley’s wall and around her gate, awaiting her return.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, shirley roberts, stray cats, potcatsbahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, potcats, stray catsAnd it wasn’t just felines who benefited — Shirley made sure the local pigeons and gulls got their share, too.

Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas, Shirley Roberts, Pigeons

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, ” Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character.” I think that’s absolutely true. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they treat animals. And as Alton said of Shirley, “If she had to, she would give up her own food to be able to feed those cats.”

Shell Hut Shirley was spirited, generous and kind. Until her last days on the cay, she remained sprightly and outgoing, caring for the birds and cats and regaling tourists with her colourful tales. Green Turtle Cay will be a shade less bright without her.

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