Joe Bells

5:02 AM Elizabeth Seckman 41 Comments



My beach flowers are still blooming! I bought these yellow and red flowers at a nursery in Buxton, North Carolina while on vacation. They're my little piece of the island. Their scientific name is Gaillardia and they are in the sunflower family. At the northern end of the Outer Banks, the placards next to wild beds calls them Indian Blanket.

On Ocracoke Island, they are Joe Bells. The story goes that Old Joe Bell was a lonely islander, probably a fisherman, who was so smitten with a gal that he sowed flowers all over his yard creating a sea of color.

Sadly, the legend also says that the gal didn't return his love and she never stuck around long enough to appreciate his efforts. The lonely island life wasn't for her. Joe Bell's love wasn't long-lasting, but the flowers are. They still bloom year after year after year.


In Book Stuff News...

The other day, I was looking for an old teaser I had made for one of my books, so I google searched it. I never did find the meme that I had made, but I did come across this:


Hoosier Dad has 4.6 stars on Amazon

A gratis shout out from Itsy Bitsy Book Bits. I used them for my review tour for Hoosier Dad and they tossed in all sorts of promos and shout outs at no additional cost, so I wanted to add a shout out for them in return.

41 comments:

  1. Still going strong is a win. Can't blame her for not wanting the lonely life on an island, no grocery store? Geez.

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    1. It was like the Wild West with sand and surf. It would take a special sort of soul to enjoy it.

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  2. What a sad but lovely story. These are what legends are made of :) The flowers do look lovely.

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    1. I agree! My first attempt at growing these flowers at home, I bought a packet of seeds from the museum on Ocracoke with a note about the story and how sad was my first thought too. So, now I call them Joe Bells. I figure if the guy didn't get to have a happily ever after, at least he should have a legacy.

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  3. That was nice of the service.
    All the years I've lived here and we've never been to Ocracoke Island.

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    1. I love it there. I'd recommend going in the fall once all the damn tourists are gone. LOL

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    1. It is the most gorgeous flower ever. Though the wild roses are beautiful too. I brought one of those home this year.

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  5. Such a sad story. Fits the island - 4 people from our church were killed in a fireworks explosion there about 10 years ago.

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    1. That is awful. Must be one of the reasons fireworks are now banned on most of the islands.

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  6. The flowers are lovely. Wish the story had a happy ending, but I suppose they did, you brought the flowers home and I'm sure that pleased Joe Bells 🌼

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    1. That's why I prefer fiction, happy endings are under our control.

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  7. Maybe there's an alternate version where the girl appreciates the token and falls madly in love with him. Very pretty flowers!

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    1. That is your specialty, Loni. Alternative realities! Perhaps there is a universe in where he got a happily ever after.

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  8. PSssssst.... you know there's a story in there, right :)

    Joe Bells... what an awesome character name!

    PS: That chick doesn't deserve a man of Old Joe's reputation and manly hair.

    #JustSayingForAFriend

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    1. So, let's see...to make it suit, we need for Joe to meet a woman more worthy of his manly hair and his simple, yet noble gestures of love. And a happy ending.
      #FixingReality

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  9. Do you happen to have Joe Bell's number? I'd treasure those flowers and (possibly) a man who
    grew them for me. At least, the flowers.
    Cheers.

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    1. Beats the $6 taco guy. LOL. I believe to become legend, he has long since gone toes up. Perhaps there is a descendent...

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  10. I thought the story was going to end that he died and became a ghost and haunted whoever went near the flowers.

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    1. On Ocracoke, that wouldn't have been too much of a stretch. There are plenty of ghosts said to be haunting that island.

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  11. Lots of great legends in the Carolinas, not heard this one before. The flowers are really colourful. I remember seeing them when we lived in NC. Didn't know the story behind them though. And yes, Alex, you should go to Okracoke (Blackbeard's parrot was supposed to say that all the time which is why they named the island after it).

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    1. There are a lot of legends on those islands. I was most intrigued by this one story because I have visited those islands for years and just happened to stumble in to the story because some locals were selling the seeds.

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  12. That was a nice image you made. I love these sorts of local legends - sparks off the imagination!

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    1. Me too. Books published by locals are always great sources, especially the self-published.

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  13. Love the meme, the flowers and Hoosier Dad;)

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  14. That's a sad story, but I still like it. The flowers are beautiful, too.

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    1. I'm thinking positive. The first woman wasn't really his true love, but the second one was so taken by the flowers that it was love at first sight.

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  15. So cool on the book ad!

    Those flowers are so pretty. The legend is sad but it was just unrequited love (often those legends go dark).

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    1. Unrequited love is a sad thing, but so very intriguing.

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  16. It's a great story, but dontcha know the story didn't end there? Poor ol' Joe may have lost the gal he thought was the love of his life, but she didn't appreciate him or the simple blessing of beach living. The NEXT gal did, though, and they lived happily ever after. Surrounded by flowers, sand, and water.

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    1. I like your thinking, Susan. That's probably exactly how it happened.

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  17. I have some flowers that look like those in my yard. Wonder if they are the same...

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    1. I bet they are. I've been seeing them more and more often up north.

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  18. I definitely want to give Joe Bells a happy ending ... and who knows, maybe after the lady he planted all of those flowers for left, someone else came along? Any history on that? Or ... a story spin? The lady could be a loner/adventurer in her own right, someone who might appreciate island living and Joe. :) Anyway, my imagination is going now.
    Congrats on Hoosier Dad's rating and all the good stuff going on!

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    1. That would have made a great story...maybe it shall! Hmm, my wheels are spinning too.

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  19. Hope you were able to get out and enjoy your lovely flowers. I'm familiar with Gaillardia and Indian Blanket but not Joe Bell's legend. You broadened my horizon.

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    1. Always glad to share new angles to familiar things.

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  20. The flower is so lovely. And yes, the story sounds interesting.

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  21. [Reading the rest of the comments]

    I rest my case... "Joe Bells and the Flowering Seeds" (book 1 of a long and successful series) must be written by you, y'all :)

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