Currituck County Tales and Legends

Emanuel Santos Postpones the Goose
Submitted by Roy E. Sawyer, Jr.
February 2001

I first met Emanuel Santos in 1972 on a day I had driven my grandmother Gladys F. Sawyer, Zuliem Wright, and John Lloyd and Brucie Melson Gallop to the "North Banks", as they called Duck. We were visiting in the home of Mrs. Lovie Beals when Emanuel Santos dropped by for a visit. His English was very broken, and I was immediately fascinated with this foreigner who was living nearby. Thus, the story unfolds:

As a very young man he had sailed from his native Portugal on a merchant vessel, from which he jumped ship in California. Unable to speak our language he nearly starved from lack of work. Miraculously he found his way across country and wound up in the care of James Harvey Spruill, a blacksmith for the City of Norfolk, who had family in Duck. Emanuel Santos came to Duck with Spruill and the local people took a liking to this stranger and nicknamed him "Hap".

Hap's first job in the Duck area was at the Caffey's Inlet Lifesaving Station, where he was a cook--perhaps he had cooked previously on the merchant vessel. One day the captain of the Lifesaving Station brought him a goose and told him to prepare it for dinner (lunch). Hap proceeded to dress the goose and to make the normal preparations. Suddenly the captain reappeared with a pan of fish and said, "Postpone the goose. We've got some fish". Poor Hap didn't know what "postpone" meant. He pondered and suddenly it came to him that "postpone" must mean "to stuff". Hap got real busy stuffing the goose with the fish and cooking it to perfection. Needless to say, the captain and the others who gathered at the dining room table that day were unable to consume Hap's exotic recipe!

From that day forward, "postpone" has become a word meaning "dressing" in our home, and we often tease Mama, asking her if she is going to postpone the turkey at Thanksgiving.

Hap spent the remainder of his days in Duck and passed on in the late 1970's. Before his death, he gave Elsie Scarborough a stack of one-dollar bills and instructed her to pass out one each to every child who attended his funeral. She was told that she could keep the ones that were left. Hap's love for children was never-ending. Minnie Griggs remembers as a child growing up in Duck that Hap gave a soft drink to each child every day after school. There is a lot of sadness in the story of Hap's life, but he left a legacy of love to be remembered by.



Marty Holland