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Gig Line: Thankfulness abounds

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, but I hope the day you spent with your loved ones was as special as you all wanted it to be! As for me, I am thankful for many things in my life, even with all the stress we are all going through these days, because we still have so much to smile about.

The sun is still shining, the sky is still blue and the clouds are still fluffy white and hanging in the sky just like God placed them; the trees are pretty even when they shed their leafy clothing in preparation for winter temps; duck blinds are being repaired or reinforced and the crunch of hunters’ boots making their way to a deer stand still fill the air; watermen are still searching for a load of tuna and smaller fish, too, for those that sit in wait; good neighbors are listening for the needs of others who are shut in, homebound or living day to day more alone than ever feeling almost total isolation; business owners who can contribute to the good of our communities still give from good hearts; food pantries are serving folks going through hard times offering blessings of kindness and nutrition; EMTs are evaluating the injured and sick hoping to keep  COVID at bay; prayers are still going up every single day for our family, our friends, our nation and for those who have lost a loved one.

In this time, we have been through much, but tomorrow is another day to rejoice in the blessings that surround us even now. We have our military men and women – those who have “been there, done that” who have experienced the worst of the worst and those who are currently standing guard now away from their families dedicated to our protection from foreign adversaries; law enforcement who continue their commitment to try to make life safer, more orderly and better for all of us. Our blessings are great, even in the worst of this, so I thank the mighty men and women who sacrifice so much for our peace of mind, restful sleep and protection.

The memories of days gone by are precious; old pictures, clunky projector slide shows and even videos of when we were little riding our first bike, catching our first fish or sitting at the dinner table chowing down on foods that feed not only our belly but our spirit as well come to mind. We do, folks, have a lot to be thankful for and worrying about what we “coulda, woulda, shoulda” done differently makes no difference, but rather what we “want to, can and will do” will leave a mark for the future.

In the last year or few, some of our local icons that we have called on for advice or looked up to with respect – like one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Wayne Gray – and other mentors have retired or sadly ascended to Heaven and they are missed. The impressions and marks they have left on our lives will go on as long as we do, but for now we can be grateful for their advice, their indelible mark and the blessing of having known them. The pastors who preach to us all, pray for our youth and sit at the bedside of those preparing for their imminent journey are precious treasures too, just as their wives and children who miss dinners and special events at their own home because those God called to serve in that very special capacity are at the side of others in need.

Thinking for a second about all the volunteers who help with fundraising events, who collect and distribute gifts to children at Christmas; who visit nursing homes and skilled care facilities to bring cheer to those who cannot live in their own home; those who take church members no longer able to drive themselves to and from church – not for praise or for a pat on the back or recognition from the pulpit, but just because they want to. We have so much good all around us and if you stand in one spot and turn 360 degrees, your eyes will likely ascend on someone or something that has touched your life.

We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We have communities that mesh from the extreme north to the extreme south end of the Outer Banks inundated with sweet, loving, good people who care if you are sick, out of work, out of food, out of company and alone; if someone has made bad choices but wishes to start over, our towns and villages offer forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts. Happy is living here and being one of many authentic born and bred or who moved here because they fell in love with what we have and who we are.

From our little boys and girls who grow up on the water, learning water safety and how to dock a skiff, throw a cast net, drop a crab pot or pull a shrimp net . . . we are Outer Bankers, thank you Lord.

Thanksgiving should be in all of our hearts day in and day out and the beautiful glow of Christmas is coming soon, when we continue our celebration of thankfulness even more so in honor of and in appreciation for God’s precious son Jesus Christ, in recognition of His Holy birth and remarkable life, the miracles He performed; His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. He is our hope, He is our ability to feel love, express joy, offer forgiveness and embrace one another. He and He alone is what brought my sweet Billy and I together; He in us created the most wonderful son and daughter and four beautiful grandchildren we could have ever hoped for and I am so thankful and blessed.

As the season of the most special gift and example of true love to all of us approaches, remember our men and women in uniform; pray for their safety, clear thinking and good judgement in defense of others. Stay true to yourselves and to those you influence and be proud of the man or woman you are. We have so much to give.

Please, please, please – if you are able to offer your life saving blood, please make an effort to participate in the Red Cross Blood Drive at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Tuesday, December 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Wednesday, December 2 from noon-6 p.m., sponsored that time by the Outer Banks Association of Realtors – yippee! Go fellow Realtors!

Also, for anyone who has attended or would like to attend the 13-week Grief Share class, it will be rescheduled to begin in January 2021. Peggy Snead, the outstanding program coordinator and facilitator, is another of our sweet blessings and she is eager to again offer the outstanding weekly group meeting (social distancing adamantly observed). I will keep you all posted as the time for it to begin draws nigh, so please watch for the update in future Gig Line columns. Holidays are such a happy time for us, but also a time of reflection and with that sometimes comes tears. Grief Share is a way of realizing similar feelings, reactions and thoughts that others express to a “T” just like we do when we lose someone we love. No matter the relationship, I promise from personal experience that the study is a comfort and provides a measure of healing. Please just think about it, no matter who you have lost or how long ago it happened.

Do you know a veteran who needs some help? Or a friend? If you do, please let us know by calling either myself at 252-202-2058 or Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer, at 252-475-5604. Either of us can issue the Dare County Veteran Discount Card offering local discounts to nearly 100 businesses with proof of your DD-214 Honorable Discharge, your driver’s license (not necessarily from North Carolina) and proof of your Dare County residency showing either a long term tenant lease (or utility bill in your name) or a Dare County tax bill of vacant or improved land ownership. (Note: no copies are taken or kept, it is for review purposes only.) Call either of us for more information and an appointment and please bring your mask or let us know in advance that you need one.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! God bless you and your family and remember, even though we may never have met, I love you anyway! Stay tuned.

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

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