Gig Line: That darned COVID-19

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, January 23, 2021

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It is undeniable this dastardly virus has taken its toll on the masses across our country and our world. It has consumed the lives of many loved ones and has broken hearts in numbers that boggle the mind. Still, many have not been touched personally or directly having had no one close to them who contracted the virus, became gravely ill or passed away. But of late, I have known of several who succumbed to the illness and when writing this Gig Line, I can only ask that anyone who is sick of hearing to “wear their mask, practice social distancing and to wash their hands frequently” . . . please just deal with it.

Generally? I have assumed the unwelcome role of a hermit for months now. I rarely go anywhere unless to pick up curb side groceries or at a drive through restaurant, bank or pharmacy. I tend to notice more often the Dare County Health (Sanitation) Grade that is posted (or should be) for patrons to readily see; I notice the attendant at the window wearing gloves or not and most assuredly if they are wearing their mask.

Probably about two months ago, I went to one of my favorite fast food restaurants and when I placed my order at the speaker, the person taking the order asked me to give my order again, then again. After the third time of speaking as clearly and loudly as I could I was beginning to get agitated myself because I couldn’t understand why it was difficult to hear my simple lunch request and I thought to myself – somebody’s in a foul mood today!

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When I finally got to the window for pick up following the cars in front of me, the attendant seemed very grumpy – typically they were genuinely nice and accommodating and I thought to myself, something doesn’t seem right. Just after handing me the order, I noticed the attendant put their hands to their head and held it as if they had an awfully bad headache and I almost asked if they wanted a Tylenol but decided against it, them “not knowing me from Adam” as they say and feeling sure the attendant would address it accordingly. Being skittish about COVID anyway, I moved on through the exit and sat over to the side for a minute wondering if it could be the virus and I felt bad for them, hoping whatever caused their confusion or headache would subside quickly.

During our exchange I had gloves on and a mask; the attendant also had a mask on, and I am not certain about gloves but having no contact with the inside contents of my bag or my order (because I watched closely), I went about eating my lunch yet cognizant of the situation and still a little nervous about it.

About a week or two later, I went to the same restaurant and there were several cars at the speaker window, so again, I got in line thinking all to be okay. I knew full well that with many restaurants to choose from, the one I was at I had always found to be dependable to serve, fresh, hot and good food. Sitting, sitting, sitting in line with three vehicles ahead of me, still at the window, I began to think, “What the heck?” and finally the first in line moved forward. Then the second, then I got to the speaker and waited for an attendant to ask for my order. Finally, I said “Hello . . . hello? . . . helloooooo!” but no response. I shifted into drive mode and got to the area of the pick-up window and realized the restaurant was closed, chairs were turned up on the tables and a notice was posted. Now folks, let me be clear – I am not saying it was COVID-19, nor am I criticizing the establishment in any way shape or form, that is why I will not identify the restaurant that I really like doing business with. And, if it had been an issue, they had obviously addressed it. I also think the County of Dare is doing all it can to keep us posted on COVID-19 with updates, recommendations and guidance and that the restaurants are very careful and responsible when it comes to protecting the public. What I am saying is that we all get headaches now and then, right? We are all (or most of us) doing our best to avoid exposure to the monster that has devastated our world and no, I am not advocating paranoia either. I am saying that for those who do not take this situation we’re dealing with as serious as they should, please reconsider and follow recommended guidelines as best you can.

One of our beloved local families lost a young man not long ago to COVID and it broke the hearts of everyone who knew him, then just recently on January 6, I came to hear from a mutual friend/Realtor that someone I loved dearly had also passed from COVID. He lived with his wife in Colorado; he was a property owner in Dare County and an outstanding human being. And while I knew he was sick and in the hospital with it there and I had been communicating with his wife and through our mutual friend, I thought he was on the upswing and getting better . . . not true, he died on January 5.

In a forthcoming Gig Line, I will talk about this fine man who had also served proudly in our United States Marine Corps. I will dedicate that Gig Line in his honor and to celebrate his life and the many ways he touched the lives of all of us who knew and loved him (he was also a friend of my Billy). His grieving widow has agreed to provide me with more information about him as soon as she is able and to fill me in on their love story, their big family and all his outstanding accomplishments. For now, I will tell you that he was older than me, but he was highly active, healthy and even a ski instructor each year.

This Gig Line is written to acknowledge those who have been lost to COVID and to simply remind all of us that no matter how young, or healthy or active friends and family can be, this virus does not discriminate. So please take the advice we are given; adhere to the notices Dare County posts online and stay as safe as you can. I take to heart the possibility that if I contracted it, it would probably do me in; I’m overweight, I am 70 years old (I might look like I’m 90 for all I know, but generally, I don’t feel more than 60) but even with the few meds I am on, I try to be careful. I will talk on the phone all you want and I will wave at you when I see you and even blow kisses toward you under my mask, but I will also do my very best to protect both of us to help contribute to bringing an end to this horrible disaster.

I miss visiting up close and personal with my children and my friends . . . I miss hugs and kisses and I miss feeling that if someone I love is sick or dying, that I can’t sit at their bedside, hold their hand, kiss their cheek and pray for them no matter what illness they might have. Through this isolation, I have practically memorized every commercial promoting insurance, medicines, diets and cell phone plans . . . borrrr-ing! I’m anxious to get back in the swing of things . . . live life and work . . . dear Lord, I sure need to! Real estate sales have been crazy good, but I have been referring to other agents until things l calm down because I like my 35+ year career. So, folks I hope and pray that you and your loved ones stay safe; that you lift up those who are dealing with COVID now and the families of those who have left us.

In the coming weeks and months, I will be writing/submitting stories of life, love and loss including personal testimonies of our veteran widows, widowers and others too! Also, there is another incredibly special Marine whom I have wanted to interview for some time so I can share with the world his precious love for his “petite Greek goddess.”

In the meantime, be happy, be safe, and be proud everybody. Grasp each second of life, try to stay healthy in your body, mind and spirit . . . eventually we will get through this nightmare and I will have a lot of stories of recovery, postponed hope and dreams that finally came to fruition and I’m looking forward to it. Please do not hesitate to call me: (252) 202-2058 or write to me: especially if you would like to tell me the story of your special veteran (they are all special) or another true love. If you know a veteran or veteran family member who needs help, please let me know, If you have questions or would like to submit a V.A. claim, call Patty O’Sullivan our Veteran Service Officer: (252) 475-5604 or email her: She is there to help you, to answer your questions and to help you acquire a replacement DD-214 etc. She’s A+ and loves helping our veterans and their families . . . call her!

Lastly, either Patty or I can issue veterans their free Dare County Veteran Discount Card for discounts all over the Outer Banks, so, it you have an Honorable Discharge from serving in our U. S. military; you live (rent/lease) full time in Dare County or you own property in Dare County (vacant land or improved) and you have a picture I.D. (preferably Driver’s License – not necessarily for North Carolina) . . . it only takes minutes to get the free Discount Card in your hand and we do not keep originals or copies of any of your documents!

Until next time, remember that prayers help us all get through the most difficult times in life. I may not know you, but as I tell you all often, I love you anyway. God bless you and until next time . . . stay tuned!