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Gig Line: A cat in the tree and the law

As always, Gig Line is based on my personal observations, interactions with others and first-hand experiences. You may disagree and consider my opinions “hooey-pooey” and if that be the case . . . it’s okay . . . you’re entitled. I can’t tell you how to think, what to think or what to do with your thoughts . . . I am only sharing mine.

How many times have we seen a story about a kitten in a tree; a puppy stuck in a drainage pipe or a horse that has fallen through a frozen pond when it’s not an emergency? It’s always an emergency! The kitten, puppy or horse may surely die without rescue which causes everyone on the scene to scatter about looking for ladders, nets or blankets, heavy equipment to excavate the ground/pipe around a suffocating puppy gasping for air and/or to pull an exhausted horse to the water’s edge to safety. Why do we do this? Why do we go to whatever measure necessary to save the life of an animal? Because it’s in our human nature, DNA or whatever you want to call it to regard life – all life – as precious. Neighbors grab their ladders, children and adults encircle the base of the tree, sometimes even firetrucks are dispatched. We have all seen it: folks running from every direction to help save a life. It’s only right to do that, to protect a life as best we can no matter what life it is, right?

One day when I was fifteen, I was shocked when out of the blue Daddy told me that if I ever found myself pregnant not to come home. His words stung my ears and I was flabbergasted. I wasn’t sexually active and my goals in life were far from that of being “with child” or having a baby, but because a family friend was in that situation, Daddy wanted to let me know how disappointed he would be in me if that happened before I got married.

 

It wouldn’t have been the end of the world and it could have been me, too, but as it turned out, I was married two years later at seventeen and became a mother the first time at eighteen. My teen abstinence wasn’t because I was “Miss Goody Two Shoes,” it was because I loved my parents, respected them and, even though I seriously doubted Daddy would have really turned me away (or that Mama would have let him), I didn’t want to even take the chance.

 

Fast forward to my early thirties, I was sitting in an office one day when a young woman came in and sat down. Being friendly, I asked how she was and what she said took me back. She told me she was getting ready to have another abortion and indicated it would be another one of many. I sat there stunned. I didn’t want her to feel bad or judged in any way, but not only was my stomach upset, I was heartsick. Loving children myself, having had two children of our own by the time I was twenty-one, it had never crossed my mind that if a woman had experienced even one abortion, it would have been her one and only and last one. That day awakened me; it was the stark reality that abortion was not necessarily due to rape, incest, or medical threat to the mother but was at times used as a matter of birth control.

Years later, we owned a business and one night a woman came in to look around. She and I were the only two there and when I asked her how she was, she began telling me about someone she knew who was ready to have a baby but could not raise it. She explained that the young mother-to-be had no money, no financial support and no family. She said that she had chosen to have the baby but not to keep it and that she wanted her baby to go to a good, loving home. I knew a couple who had tried for years and years to conceive but were unable, so I asked the lady for a contact number to reach the young mother which she gladly provided. I then called the couple, described the situation and the result? They talked, they met, then decided and planned for a legal adoption and it ended in a beautiful, life changing experience for the couple, the young mother and the baby. The baby girl was raised in a loving, happy, healthy home with adoring parents. I was thankful for the encounter that night with a woman seeking help for her young friend; I was blessed to see that relationship evolve, providing answers to prayers and to witness the courage it took for the young mother to do the right thing.

Women who have terminated a pregnancy are not horrible people. Maybe as teenagers they were afraid the front door to their house would be locked if they became pregnant; maybe they tried to prevent it and the contraception failed; maybe they believed their partner was in love with them too and ready to marry and maybe the couple simply acted irresponsibly and took no measure to prevent a pregnancy. Maybe no matter their age or circumstance they thought society was more accepting of abortion.

Over these years I’ve never forgotten that young woman who seemed to just want to tell somebody – even a stranger – her dilemma.

I don’t support abortion, but I do support women. I do support doing everything within our power to help a woman who is pregnant who is not ready, able or willing to raise a child, no matter their age; that we should encourage contraception; re-examine our adoption laws so that couples who want to adopt a baby or babies don’t find it so difficult. If matters such as this were amended, perhaps the military families who look to adopt could do so more readily.

And regarding our law enforcement, imagine this: if you had loved or lived with a committed law enforcement officer and you had cooked a special anniversary dinner that had become cold; the table set with flowers and candles wondering why he had not come home (before cell phones), only to hear his car finally pull into the driveway and when you go to the door, you notice immediately he looks different, sad, only to find out he had tried to save the life of a person that didn’t make it. That is when you are reminded that law enforcement is a hard life that demands almost super human feats at times. Not everyone can do it and not everyone should do it, but that all of us need it. The broad majority of them don’t like dirty cops, intimidating cops or cops they can’t depend on, either. They are human and sometimes they make mistakes, big mistakes for which they should be punished. Police officers, E.M.T.s, firemen and all first responders save lives and they should be regarded in a positive way . . . like we always used to do.

It’s clear by all the mass produced and self-crafted signs on the highway that folks are passionate about this election. If you haven’t cast your ballot for the officials running for office this Tuesday, November 3, please pray about it, weigh everything out and vote. Our single vote can speak volumes when added all together and the outcome can make our world better or worse.

God bless you all and take care of yourselves. No matter how boring, wear your masks when you’re around other people; wash your hands often; safeguard who you expose yourselves to and be diligent; find happiness in the folks you love who love you too and, by all means, watch Christmas movies, write a love letter to your family, paint a picture, be thankful. We will get through this . . . together.

Be happy that you are alive and can continue to find ways to bless others; be safe and be proud. We aren’t perfect. We never will be, but we should never stop striving to be better than we are. And when this election is over, if your candidate doesn’t win, pray for the winner, whomever they are; pray for wisdom and for them to do the best job they can for America.

If you know a veteran who could use some help, please call me at 252-202-2058 or write to giglineheroes@aol.com or contact Dare County Veteran Service Officer Patty O’Sullivan at 252-475-5604 or email her at dcvac@darenc.com

Remember that Gig Line is my opinion only. I just had to get some of this off my chest. If you disagree with me, I love you anyway . . . always and forever. Stay tuned!

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

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