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Gig Line: Is it too much to wish for?

I wonder, folks, if it’s too much to ask that while we have differences of opinion, we act like mature adults instead of children. I understand the concept “different strokes for different folks” as they say, that some like it hot, some like it cold, some like their fish fried, others like it broiled. We are not all the same, nor do we look the same (unless we’re multiples), nor do we think the same and that used to be acceptable.

Case in point, yesterday when I was writing Gig Line on a totally different topic, my cell phone rang and I immediately saw it was a very dear friend. This friend of mine and his wife (and two children – grown up now) are incredibly special friends of our family who originally started out as my real estate clients.

This couple, who I’ll refer to as “L & B,” live in northern Virginia and in 2002 we met when they came into my office in search of property to buy on Hatteras Island. Fortunately, a vacant lot I had recently listed for sale was the perfect fit and we consummated the transaction on a one back from oceanfront lot in Waves. Over the course of their planning and construction of their beautiful new home, we grew closer as friends. It was easy. They were delightful in every way – funny, thoughtful, kind and extremely good to work with on a professional level. It was my joy and my blessing to meet, to know better and to come to love their family.

As time moved forward, their home was built; they furnished and decorated it attractively and it was their respite on the Outer Banks. It was a treasure, a gathering place of family and friends from near and far and it was wonderful. Many times, when they were down, they would invite Billy and I and our daughter and her family (also a Realtor) whom they had come to know over to eat with them and it was always a blast. We would eat “B’s” delicious cooking, laugh for hours, tell stories and pick on each other for fun and the hours together flew by.

Though our friendship launched 19 years ago, it has continued to grow beyond expectation. While visiting them several times, we met their awesome parents; they gave us a personal up-front tour of D.C.; “L” was responsible for referring me to a colleague who bought two semi-oceanfront homes through me within a relatively short timeframe; and because of “L,” his prestigious job in D.C. and his connections, Billy and I were afforded an opportunity to visit the White House Press Briefing Room where we met news correspondent John Roberts. Later, by invitation, I attended the 2004 White House Christmas Party hosted by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The exquisite party was held in the East Wing of the White House and the splendor of it all took my breath away.

In anticipation of getting this incredible chance to meet the President, I wondered what I would say once we were face to face. I asked the Lord to help me say something that I wouldn’t regret and left it to His inspiration from that point forward. I was dressed, if I do say so myself, to beat the band in a black beaded gown adorned by a customized bracelet, earring set and necklace in black and clear crystals and I felt confident and ready to meet literally the “top of the line” in person.

Well, the time came and adjacent to the memorable Blue Room with its striking Christmas tree was the Diplomatic Reception Room where the President and Mrs. Bush greeted guests and photos were taken; in that incredibly special room is where President George Washington’s picture adorned the wall over the fireplace. The many military personnel were dressed stunningly, and they were everywhere. My escort, who also worked at the White House (the gentleman whom “L” had referred to me that I had sold two houses to on Hatteras Island) and I were individually announced before approaching the President and the First Lady. He was introduced first at which time he shook Mrs. Bush’s hand then stepped to the left to greet the President. Following him, I too was introduced, spoke to Mrs. Bush, shook her hand, then stepped to my left to speak to President Bush. What did I do? Three guesses! You know me – unorthodox, down home Marsha – “what you see is what you get” with me, so I graciously shook his hand, then slid my arm around his waist, looked him straight in his eyes and said, “I love you!” I felt it in my heart and that was what came to my mind to convey. Upon hearing that, he smiled a great big smile and chuckled, then he said, “Thank you!” and put his arm around my shoulder; then they took our picture (which I still treasure) and I walked away with my escort. Behind me I heard the President say something immediately to the Secret Service(?) or whomever it was as we departed, and it was only a short time later that I think I know what he said. In the mail shortly thereafter, I received a surprise – it was a fancy commemorative invitation to his second inauguration.

On the way outside that night, I was so moved – not like an overly excited groupie or anything like that – just touched as I passed the standing military personnel who lined the exit path. They were beautiful, handsome and pristine in their appearance. Funny, but the tears started to roll down my cheek. It was a proud moment in my life, not just to meet a President preparing for his second four-year term, but more because of the friend who had done so much for me as my initial “client,” of the love I had developed for his family, of my appreciation for he and his wife “B” showing such genuine hospitality, for their love for Billy and vice versa despite our differing political views. They accommodated us in their warm and welcoming Virginia home on several occasions where we stayed with them. They had introduced me to the very refreshing and yummy “lime in a coconut” beverage (yum!) and most especially they gently encouraged my sweet husband and Vietnam veteran to visit The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall which many refer to it as “The Wall” for the first time. He dreaded it. He pondered on whether he should go or not, but he did and I can tell you firsthand, it was an extremely poignant, heart-rendering experience for my husband and for me, too, as the onlooker who had seen in his eyes the pain he had felt for all those years. That night, he walked in silence and gently caressed “The Wall” as his haunting memories mirrored back at him and as his tears fell, I stepped back and kept quiet out of respect to my hero. It was a night I will never, ever forget.

My point to all of this? That as late as yesterday when “L” called me to tell me about a work-related class he had attended that focused on helping veterans in an extraordinary and unique way, we still found our differences in politics, who we supported and why, completely contrasting but acceptable. He teased me, I teased back, we laughed, we challenged each other on current day events, and we laughed more and again at each other, but together.

Now folks, if I said he had a fat chance to change my mind, or sway my position, I’d be lying to you. Never happen, captain! But the thing is, though we disagree, we do it respectfully. We agree to disagree; we see things differently and that really is okay. I love him and his precious wife and their son and daughter and no politician or political party will ever change my thoughts, my mind or my heart as to what my vision is for the future of this incredible nation, nor will I ever change his.

My hope is that any of us who have experienced, been subjected to or who have been offended by serious ridicule, insult, heartache and separation (not only due to COVID-19 but between family and friends before, during and since the election) will rethink, recoup and regroup and return to civility and sensibility soon.

I am a conservative; I love the Lord God Almighty and His precious Son Jesus Christ; I believe in mercy, forgiveness and kindness to others; I believe in second chances; I am proud of our United States military – all branches; I have faith in and appreciate our law enforcement; I believe our Constitution was inspired by our Father and I believe in saving and sustaining life of the old and young and not destroying innocent babies in their mother’s womb and, most definitely, I believe in life after death.

My wish? That we settle down, love more than hate, pray for calm, stand up for the things we believe in but in the right way on both sides, work together on problems that are crying for resolve, believe in our ability to do so, then rejoice in our unified success.

Lastly, I thank the Lord every day for my life, my parents, my husband, our children and our grandchildren. I thank the Lord for holding me down, lifting me up, pushing me forward and holding me back when it was in my best interest and I thank God, too, for my friends “L & B” for loving me. Like I told President Bush, “I love you” and folks, I mean it. Please call my cell if you want to talk: 252-202-2058 or write to me: giglineheroes@aol.com.

Until next time, be happy, be healthy, stay safe and be proud. If you know a veteran who could use a hand, contact me or Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer, at 252-475-5604 or email dcvac@darenc.com, because we’re here for you. Thank you for taking the time to read Gig Line and God bless you all! Stay tuned!

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

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