Gig Line: Blessings from others

Published 7:51 am Sunday, December 1, 2019

I recently received a call from a gentleman who asked if I was “Marsha M. Brown” – distinctively – including my middle initial. His voice was solid and polite. At first, I paused because I’ve heard if an unknown (number) caller asks if you are “so and so” and you say “yes,” it could be an unscrupulous trickster recording your response, then somehow attaching it to an agreement to buy something, so I’m typically cautious. However, thinking it might be a veteran, I responded that I was she and I asked if he was a veteran. He responded that he was and proceeded to tell me his full name. It was a beautiful name and one I recognized having heard it before.

This very sweet man had taken the time to write some notes about Gig Line that he wanted to share with me. Then, he made me smile. As a veteran, he told me how much my column meant to him and further explained he had been reading it for years and that five years ago, he had written a letter to me telling me so. He said he liked Gig Line so much, he looked forward to it each week and that he reads it over several times. His compliments were so nice that I could feel my cheeks blush. I remembered his beautiful name and had kept his letter as I had any and all correspondence from veterans and family members who write to me. He also proudly proclaimed his lengthy service in the United States Marine Corps.

Let me be clear – I am not a braggart and if I appear as such, please forgive me because this story is NOT about me . . . it’s about the kind-heartedness of a veteran who took the time to acknowledge my writings. If you know me personally, you know I can talk the ears off an elephant but this time . . . I was speechless.

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I’m not a scholarly person with an impressive list of academic accolades. What I am, though, is sincere and my writing this weekly column? It’s because of the inspiration, influence and impact of my sweetie pie Billy – my one and only true love who passed on to Heaven July 2016 because of Agent Orange, but it’s also because of veterans in general, no matter what branch you served or what rank you achieved – you are veterans and I carry my husband’s love for you all forward.

As the gentleman continued to speak, I wish I had had a recorder capturing his comments for my children and grandchildren to hear. His words were precious and as he went on and on, I just sat there in awe of him, a thoughtful, seasoned veteran who would take the time to compose his thoughts on paper and reach out to share them with me.

I felt so blessed, so appreciated and so happy and I knew without question if Billy could hear or if God would tell him about that call, he would rejoice. And even when this sweet man said he loved Gig Line 99% (and I of course wondered how I fell short 1%) he asked me if I wanted to know why. I told him yes and he said he didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but when I referenced “soldiers, airmen and seamen,” I should “add Marines.” He went on to say that Marines are everywhere . . . on the ground, in the air and on the sea. His military pride politely roared and I found his pride deep and wide like the ocean blue – he was indeed a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and he wanted to distinguish the significance of his branch. God bless this totally committed veteran.

Then, he went on to tell me how much he knew I missed my Billy because he too missed his sweet wife who had passed several years ago. He spoke of their deep love and devotion to each other and about the joy they shared together this side of Heaven. He said the first time he kissed her, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, that she was the one! Oh, my word! First, he almost made me cry by profusely complimenting Gig Line, then he showed his outstanding Marine Corps pride, then he shared the love and loss of his precious wife.

I’m here to tell you that his story was like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold winter’s night. I was happy to hear his appreciation for my writing, for his deep gratification having been a devoted Marine and to hear him speak with such respect and love for his wife – his “tiny, gorgeous Greek goddess” while sharing his understanding of my loss,  it . . . it . . . well, there are no words, even for me.

This man who misses the love of his life also spoke about his daughter and son-in-law and the kind and loving things they have done for him. I quickly realized they must be wonderful, too, just like her dad and her mom in Heaven.  At some point in time, I hope to meet this exceptional veteran, hear more of his history and hopefully see a picture of he and his wife together and maybe he’ll allow me the privilege to feature it in Gig Line.

To his comrades, to his family and to anyone he knows or plays pinochle with, this veteran is a treasure. His story, like that of so many veterans, is special unique and memorable. Awesome human beings who have served our military are the core of our foundation; their letters, cards and calls are like meat and potatoes; they nourish my soul and they remind me that as a widow, I am but a speck, a dot on the overwhelming list of so many who have lost the love they’ll have forever in their heart and as the veteran who changed their life.

I enjoy hearing from all of you all, like the couple who live in Newport News who sends me short notes, sometimes holiday flyers and even a Vietnam Veteran Commemorative Medal – treasures that I hold so dear, thoughtfulness that exceeds their expectation and another veteran who emailed me that he thought I should keep my Billy’s truck just as it is, even with a peeling hood, just like it was when Billy was still here. I thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart and your feedback means more to me than you know.

As I said, Billy inspired me to write Gig Line, but God used him to give me my purpose in life. And along with being a devoted mother, grandmother and career Realtor, Gig Line and my ever so humble acknowledgements of the sacrifices of our veterans is my calling.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Thank you for continuing to inspire me like my precious Billy Brown! Take care – God bless you and everyone you love. Stay tuned!