Gig Line: An unforgettable lesson

Published 10:30 pm Thursday, June 9, 2022

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I have no way to know what those of you who are reading this Gig Line have been through in your life. I don’t know your ups and downs, your trials and tribulations, your successes and disappointments, your joys and sorrows but what I do know is that life’s lessons come to all of us throughout life and what we do with those eye opening experiences helps to shape who we are, what we believe in, what we stand for and no doubt influence what we project to others about ourselves, even when we don’t realize it.

It’s important to me that none of you think for a second that I think I’m a “know-it-all,” somebody who “has all the answers” or “a smarty pants” who would get a thrill just arguing with someone for the fun of it. That’s not me. But I am a thoughtful person who considers both sides of the coin. I can look at each side and decide for myself “heads up or heads down” which side I like better and why. That’s because:

In my freshman and sophomore years at Manteo High School, I was invited to the prom each year by two different seniors and I was thrilled each time, but Daddy said “No!” He thought I was too young to go out with a senior. He did, however, concede that I could invite or be invited and accompany a date to the prom(s) during my junior and senior years.

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As it turned out, in 1967 (11th grade), I invited a funny, sweet guy friend of mine and we had a wonderful time! No romance really, just a few kisses. Mostly just fun with our mutual friends. Then, in 1968 in my senior year, I was asked out by a fella in my class and decided to go. (Note: My one true love Billy had already graduated from Manteo in 1965 and by my senior year, he was serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and we weren’t even dating then.) At that time, my hair was a little longer than shoulder length, very thick and curly and I had a vision of how I wanted to style it for the prom. I wanted to wear it up, thinking it would be pretty with the dress I would be wearing that night and especially having grown it out for this special occasion, but when I arrived at my hair dressing appointment and I explained what I wanted to the lady stylist, she disagreed with me. She was older, of course, and a respected professional in her field. I sat in the chair feeling pressured. She didn’t like my idea and I surely didn’t like hers, but she was older than me and who was I? A 17-year-old girl who had been raised to respect those older than me, to have my own thoughts of course, but not to be rude or hurt anyone’s feelings if possible. She stressed how much she “loved” my hair but thought it would look pretty the way she wanted to “dress” it.

The beauty shop was busy with back-to-back appointments for my classmates and juniors, too, prepping for that “special night” that we had all looked forward to. I sat there pondering on what to do. Should I insist on her doing it the way I wanted it? After all, I was the customer and she was the hairdresser, not me, but would my vision be ridiculous? Dumb looking? Was she right? In essence, I didn’t want to argue, nor did I want to hold the chair up for the other girls waiting. So I let her take the reins. BIG FAT MISTAKE! No offense, but I couldn’t believe what I had done and when she spun my chair around to look in that huge mirror, I literally fought back the tears. I realized walking out to my car that I had really screwed up! When I arrived at home only a few blocks away, I sat in my Mercury Comet and cried in the driveway. How . . . how could I have let her have her way with MY hair? Why did I let her dominate and influence me to do something I didn’t want to do like that? Needless to say, I didn’t want to even go to the prom. I was ashamed, I was devastated plain and simple. She had cut my hair off as short as my ear lobes and I looked (to myself) like Granny Grump! Oh, my word! What had I done? What had she done?

Mama and Daddy were both shocked when I walked inside and both of their mouths dropped open, of course not meaning, to but their jerk reaction made it worse if there was a “worse” than what I had already seen in the mirror. Mama consoled me as best she could. Daddy clearly didn’t like it and I only had a few hours until my date would arrive to pick me up. Putting makeup on was a challenge with the tears rolling down, but I had no choice and went about getting my bath and putting my long, fancy prom dress on anyway, but only because I had to, short of standing up the nice guy who had asked me to accompany him.

So, when he came up on the front porch, knocked and came in, he too had “that look” seeing me so different than when we had left school hours earlier. He was a gentleman though. He was kind and complimentary and proceeded to give me my pretty corsage, observing that my heart just wasn’t in it. On the way to the big event, he did his best to cheer me up, to lie through his sweet teeth and tell me I looked pretty and that he was proud of me and all I could think was, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!“ We danced very little. My spirit felt stepped on. I was disappointed and ashamed and sorry that I hadn’t done my own hair, the much longer thick curly hair that I was frequently complimented on. Darn it! I was madder at myself than the hairdresser at that point, but do you know what? It taught me an unbelievably valuable lesson that has stuck with me ever since 1968 – to not ever, ever let anyone influence you into doing something you know you don’t want to do – not ever!

That goes for everything and from that time forward, I have stuck to my opinions; I’ve stood up for myself and others in the most tactful way I can no matter who it offends. I’m not wishy washy and when it comes to religion and faith and belief in Almighty God, I will stand up for the Lord I know and love no matter what; when it comes to politics, the same and November, my friends, is coming!

I can’t make anyone believe what I believe, but I can share my views and hope that folks find some value in what I have to say and I will consider theirs. Regardless, I’m fine either way. When I tell you all in my columns that I respect opinions of others who differ from mine, I mean that. I don’t care how much money one has; what they own; what they drive or what title follows their name – I’m proud of me. What I stand for being a conservative in politics, a staunch supporter of law enforcement and a proud and active veteran advocate.

We all have family and friends and sometimes we simply can’t agree with their reasoning – maybe it’s their lack of faith or who they vote for at the polls, but I can tell you this: like most Americans, my heart is broken for the children and teachers that perished because of the tragedy in Texas. None of us can know the pain of those parents and spouses and little fellow classmates. None of us can make sense of it and, like you, I have wept at the thought any human with a beating heart could have done such a thing. But what I believe is this:

Oftentimes our children are raised with huge heartaches and undetected mental illness until they are adults, when it’s usually too late.

Schools should be like Fort Knox, impenetrable by anyone wishing harm on our children/students and the school’s faculty.

Our law enforcement should never, ever have been defunded, asked to stand down or restricted from fighting crime by any means necessary, no matter what.

No crimes against our youngest to oldest citizens should be tolerated in any circumstance, on any mode of transportation, on city streets in any town, city or state in this country.

Open looting, destruction of businesses should never occur while shoppers and employees stand by afraid to make a move or intercede – what the heck?

How is it that so much open border is acceptable – given those unvetted for COVID-19 screening and criminal histories, etc. further burdening our neighborhoods or legal system – with no regard for the good, hardworking immigrants who have come through our doors “the right way?”

How do we explain that when it comes to loving and caring for our little ones who are destroyed by shootings, drugs and violence innocently sitting in their strollers in broad daylight are different than innocent lives in the mother’s womb that are destroyed limb by limb? Are they less important than the precious children we mourn through senseless crimes? How does anyone agree that a baby’s life can be ended at full term when our history has always been to save, help lives, offer extended expensive care to save our children’s lives – we do that for animals don’t we?

Since when it didn’t matter anymore that people who hurt, maim or kill innocent people aren’t subject to severe punishment, no bond, no opportunity to get out and do it again and again.

How do we swear we want to protect our children from abuse, drugs, sex crimes, endangerment, yet we know the fentanyl crisis that is killing our precious young people every day?

Why do we see so many men, women and children of all races love each other, yet politicians and others stir the pot, instigate hatred, create a deep dreadful divide at every turn? Are we not capable to stand together against those who want us to hate each other? Are we so gullible we can’t think for ourselves knowing the truth and fend it off?

My father always had guns in our home growing up. He hunted in deer season, he had several shotguns and rifles and he always had a pistol that he kept in his dresser drawer. It wasn’t loaded but he had it for protection of our family if needed. He took it on long trips from state to state in case we broke down on the highway late at night, not for defense of people as much as predators; he taught us respect for his things and he made it very clear to never, ever touch any gun he had, long or short, no matter. We had respect for him and his legal and responsible use and care of his guns. He was a law-abiding father who had two sons in career law enforcement who also had guns on the job and in their homes. Responsible parenting; safe, restrictive exposure and very limited access was paramount, but not more than that of protecting our family if necessary.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Believe what you want, be influenced by whomever you want, but realize one thing, my friends: It isn’t the fault of the politicians and lawmakers for the drastic and horrible situations we are dealing with as a nation and society nowadays. It’s our fault for voting those into office who wish to undo life as we have known it . . . and for letting them “cut our hair short!”

Until next time, be happy, safe and healthy. Love one another but love yourself too – stand up for yourself, stand your ground if you really believe your views are justified. If you know in your heart changes seem more outlandish and not quite right, don’t budge out of that salon chair. Say “No!” No matter our lifelong political party, much of this doesn’t make sense and I won’t support it (or them) based on conscience and principle; either keep it to yourself at the polls or be bold enough to speak out and stand up for what’s right and remember that eventually you’ll have to look in that big fat mirror yourself. I hope at that point, we’ll all like the reflection we see.

If you’re a veteran and need some advice, help with a claim or you have questions specific to the V.A., please contact Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veterans Service Officer, at 252-475-5604 or

I love you all, no matter our differences. Each of us and our opinions matter. Call or write to me at 252-202-2058 or God bless you and your loved ones. Stay tuned!