Gig Line: Getting old isn’t great, but it beats the alternative!

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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This year I turned 71 – WOW! It’s hard to believe. I don’t feel old, I don’t think old but I’m sure in the age group that I used to think as “old.” In the grand scheme of things, I feel very blessed, generally happy and eager to do things in my life – it’s my poor ol’ knees that haven’t gotten the message!

Every day in our lives is such a gift, you know? A lot of folks younger than us have been through so much and that alone should give us the drive to see, do and be more than we have ever been before. As a seasoned Realtor for 37 years on the Outer Banks – now with knee issues – I’ve accepted that walking up and down the steps of 3-4 story houses is a bit much, so I’m thankful to work with a super-star fellow Realtor on a referral basis. He’s top of the line, I respect him, his experience, his negotiating abilities, being a stickler to detail, follow up and his sincere interest in seeing every listing and sale come to fruition with a successful closing. My partnership with him taking good care of the clients I refer to him helps me and is all I could hope for. Still, I love the business of real estate and if things physically were as they used to be, you’d see me waving at you from the top-level decks!

That’s the thing, with age we can become complacent, slow down, feel displaced but when you think about it, that’s silly! We have experience and seasoning and stories to tell. People to see, places to go and life is beautiful even amongst all the political hogwash and hate speech chaos these days!

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Wherever I am – in downtown Manteo, at the OBX Mall (I still call it that) or anywhere else and I’m sitting in Billy’s old red Toyota that he loved dearly – I enjoy watching the families and cute little couples walk into the stores, oftentimes holding hands. Sweet couples with white hair and wrinkled skin, they are beautiful to me. They remind me of my Billy and I miss him so much. I grieve his loss every day, but I also celebrate every minute we were together, knowing that the Lord must have loved me a lot to give me the privilege and honor of being his wife for almost 50 years.

The fall reminds me of when we used to go to Crystal River, Florida so he could swim with the manatees. He was crazy about those gentle giants and his first goal after unloading our suitcases was to reserve a pontoon for several days to just cruise out into the bay atop crystal clear water and just love life. His happy place was behind the steering wheel wearing his black Vietnam Veteran hat scanning the water for bubbles that rose up when the “sea cows” got close to the surface. I can’t help but wonder which of us was really the happiest: him or me seeing him so happy, grinning from ear to ear. He was sentimental about the unthreatening, well-girthed creations somehow. I guess it was because though they were big, gentle as a lamb, just eating algae, weeds and water grasses, never doing harm to anyone. When we’d see one that had scars on his/her back from boat propellers, somehow it resonated with Billy connecting to his scars down deep inside as a result of war.

Yes folks, we’re all getting older and hopefully we’re a lot smarter but also a lot kinder; hopefully we take more time with our children and grandchildren to talk about “back in the day” when other people’s lives and their propertiesw were recognized as a result of hard work, sacrifice and their treasures were respected.

“Precious Memories,” the old gospel song first written by J.B.F. Wright in 1925 and later recorded by the Turkey Mountain Singers in 1928, encapsulates just how precious our memories are. Whether you’ve heard Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton or whomever sing it, it’s always beautiful and it starts like this: “Precious memories, unseen angels, sent from somewhere to my soul, how they linger, ever near me and the sacred past unfolds . . .” If you have a computer or access to one, I recommend that you take a minute to search it by song title, pick from the many artists who’ve recorded it and hear it in its entirety. It sort of sums up what I’m feeling this holiday season and things so dear to my heart.

Remember that no matter our age, our ability to climb Jockey’s Ridge – or NOT – we have much to give to others. A kind word, a hug, a phone call and our prayers. We need each other more than ever in this world – we need to realize and embrace that all our history and old hymns and family gatherings, military and police support really mean something. Please mark your calendars for the Grief Share class that I’ve spoken about often. It’s a group support for all of us who have lost someone dear and it’s a healing time. More info to come on this later, but for now, please mark the date of January 13, 2022 – 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Manteo at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church.

This time of year is wonderful. It is our history, our present and hopefully our future to celebrate life, love, togetherness and our blessings from God above. If you are feeling especially sad, there is help and love all around for you and anyone you know. Anyone finding it a challenging time to cope, please contact your pastor, a close friend or especially the good Lord and even the website where they have a V.A. Crisis Line. The VA provides a means to call, text or have a live confidential chat over the computer if you could use some additional emotional support this time of year.

Until next time, just know how special you are to your family and friends – and to me, too! Be healthy, safe and happy! We have a lot to grumble about, true, but we have more to brag about and praise, so let’s do it! Okay? We’re all in this life together going through similar things and the bumps in the road are just that – bumps in the road and sooner hopefully, rather than later, the bumps smooth out again for the ride ahead!

Thank you for reading Gig Line and to see more writings, visit website at If you’d like to call and talk, my cell is 252-202-2058 and my email is Also, Patty O’Sullivan, our veteran service officer, can be reached at 252-475-5604 or email her at God bless you and your families in the coming weeks and just know that you are a part of my everyday blessing. I love you all. Stay tuned!