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Gig Line: Get your Valentine groove on!

If you research the origin of Valentine’s Day, you’ll likely read different versions of how it “came to be” but no matter what, when or who started it all, its that special time for everyone to embrace the celebration of love, kisses, cuddling and happiness.

Those who can still share breakfast, cozy up in front of a fireplace or park on a moonlit beach to smooch are blessed beyond measure. First love, young love, love at first sight, mature seasoned love – no matter – that overwhelming emotion we feel when we first fall in love with that one special person who turns our world upside down is indescribable.

If your one true love is still with you, what do you do to show him or her how special they are? Do you have a song, “your” song? Is there a movie that makes you both laugh out loud or blush (tee, hee) that you can never see often enough? Is there a favorite restaurant where you have “your” two-top in a corner where you still flirt, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been together? Do you enjoy going to fancy parties where you dress in your finery and dance the night away until you have to carry your shoes in your hands and walk barefoot on the way to the car? What do you do with the one you love?

Being a widow almost five years now, I can remember most of the Valentine’s Days we spent celebrating each other. I cherish those beautiful memories, every single one of them. Billy always got me either a single or a dozen red roses, a beautiful card and a heart shaped box of chocolates and I always had one for him, too. We’d share the goodies inside and he’d trade me his coconuts for my caramels. I usually fixed his favorite dish for dinner – fried shrimp, slaw, fries and hushpuppies. Sometimes we’d drive out on the beach at Oregon Inlet, roll the windows down and just sit by the water and listen to it lapping the beach. Or we’d walk out on the beach at one of the public access areas off the Beach Road, spread out a blanket, sit together with our bare feet caressing the cool damp sand, then lay back and stare straight up at the stars. We’d talk about our life, our children, our goals and how blessed we were to have each other. One time even after our kids were grown and we were on our way back from shopping in Virginia Beach, holding hands and listening to our favorite CDs, we decided to turn down a long dirt road in Currituck to park. Like teenagers, we hugged and kissed and broke out in laughter thinking how embarrassed our kids would be if they knew about our exit off US 158 and if a cop pulled over and found two adults in their 40s (at that time) with the windows fogged up to see if we were spotlighting in the woods for deer or something. We loved each other so much, my Billy and I.

When the County of Dare hosted their annual Christmas Party, we’d always attend and we’d have a ball. Dancing was so much fun and Billy was a dancer from the get go, so tripping the light fantastic with my sweet, strong, handsome husband was always wonderful. I was proud of him, proud to be his wife and I felt like I could “eat him up with a spoon,” as Mama used to say!

Billy loved music and two songs in particular of Barry White – “You’re the First, The Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby” and I loved Huey Lewis and The News with Gwyneth Paltrow “Cruisin,” Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” and Chris Rea “On the Beach,” but we loved country, old 60s hits and gospel, too – we loved it all. He could sing like a true professional – what a voice! As for me, what a voice still applied, but lo and behold, it was and is torture to hear my golden tones. Even our little Yorkie runs in the bedroom or cocks her head sideways as if you say, “Please stop!” What can I say? It’s the truth!

As a couple, we had so much fun throughout our marriage, we really did. We laughed at my cooking (it was hilarious most of the time) and he’d tease about my lack of comprehension about electronics and technology and we were happy. So, so happy.

This Valentine’s Day I will think of my Billy. I will remember how special he made me feel and how proud he seemed to be that I was his wife. I grieve his loss every day, but you are here either remembering your special husband or wife or you’re here still having coffee in the morning with them, sharing your joys and sorrows, your hopes and dreams and your love. I hope that you fully embrace each day, hour and minute you still have them in your arms; that you cherish them more than ever; that you overlook their weaknesses or mistakes and that you reach deep inside and feel the love you felt when you first fell in love and knew he or she was the one. I hope you count each day in their company as a blessing and that you thank our dear Lord they are by your side.

Life is short, folks. Make the best of your Valentine’s Day. Create new memories even if you have to hobble with a cane or a walker to a bench where you can sit and look at the moon and just hold hands. Or if your legs are wobbly and not up to walking, sit on your front porch, scoot your chairs together and hold hands or sit by their bedside at the hospital or assisted living facility where they now reside and just love each other.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m reminiscing the many Valentine’s Days I spent with my love that is still so strong today, for my pride in his love of country, in his heartfelt kinship with his veteran “brothers and sisters,” for his passion for our American traditions and customs, for his love of family and his love for our precious Lord. I miss him terribly, but I am happy that I have known true love that is everlasting and forever. I hope and wish that for all of you who are reading this Gig Line, too.

Though my arms are empty now, I feel his love still and when I hear Barry White or recall a sight or sound that reminds me of him, I feel a hug inside. Take my advice, folks, while you still have them with you. Make every second count, overlook the little things that aggravate sometimes and focus on all the things that made you love him or her in the beginning. Set aside the small stuff – nobody’s perfect, including any of us.

And if you don’t have a husband, wife or significant other currently in your life, find a way to make something for a veteran, do something for them. Maybe fresh flowers or a nice meal or a heart shaped box of candy to brighten their day. They (our veterans) have been through much and have given much and they deserve all the love we can share. It’s free, it’s memorable and it blesses all recipients. Do it for them and for yourself.

I have little to give anybody but if I could, I’d spoil every veteran I know. You are all so special. You are all brothers and sisters to my Billy in Heaven who fought in Vietnam beside you, who deeply respected all of you who have served no matter what battle, war, or conflict you endured, you are all a hero in my eyes, too, and I thank you.

Patty O’Sullivan, V.S.O. (Veteran Service Officer) for Dare County – 252-475-5604 or email dcvac@darenc.com – is on standby to help veterans with questions or help you submit a claim.  Our local V.F.W. Post 10950, American Legion Post 26 and Outer Banks Marine Corps League #1264 care about you, are there to support you and welcome you in their organizations. If you want or need their contact information or phone numbers, please call me on my cell at 252-202-2058 or email me at giglineheroes@aol.com.

You know the drill – be happy, safe and be proud and to all of you locals, visitors or absentee property owner veterans, God bless you. I love you and Happy Valentine’s Day. Stay tuned . . .

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

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