Gig Line: Just telling it like it is

Published 11:40 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

To anyone who may read my column for the first time, I will waste no time in telling you that Gig Line is a unique weekly connection between us. Initially and primarily, this column is about veterans, and it is dedicated to them and their families. It also gives me an opportunity to praise the Lord for all the blessings in my life and to remind everyone that we are wonderfully created for a purpose. What we do with the life we have, how we live our life, treat our family and others and what good we do each day can either richly bless one another or make someone feel lower than a snake’s belly.

I choose to tell it as I see it and not hold back when it comes to my faith and my love for people … even for those I have never met. And again, while the topic of veterans and matters of importance to them is paramount (my goal), I sometimes express my personal feelings and opinions about matters of life … with regard to everything from grief having lost my husband in 2016 to brain cancer (a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam), to other matters that matter – occasionally politics, to loving and accepting who we are and to realize we are “originals” and unique, reminding us that even with our many flaws we are loved on a level we cannot fully comprehend.

I love our veterans, and I appreciate their (your) sacrifice and that of loved ones who sit at the table with an empty chair; or being the sole occupant in a bed as a lonely spouse hugging a tear-stained pillow; either because our significant other is deployed facing daily threat to their lives or even worse … deceased. Being cognizant, I wish I could wrap my arms around those whose lives are impacted in the absence of their “other half” no longer being by their side to share family laughter, children’s achievements at school and everyday gifts while the rest of the world moves on. Sometimes we spin with hearts that are broken.

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That being said, I am a conservative, and I am proud to say that. I love the Lord, I believe in the history of the Bible, a miraculous birth, an incredibly simple man – the son of God – Jesus Christ and His suffering and sacrifice on a wooden cross. It is not up to me (or you) to judge a single living soul for what they believe in or how they live their life. But at the same time, we are accountable for what good we do and do not do … it is as simple as that.

Veterans are a blessing in my life every day. I have learned from my favorite – my Billy – someone who taught me the true meaning of patriotism, love of country and “brother/sisterhood.”

Through the 48 years and one week of our marriage and life together before he went to Heaven, I learned that veterans of foreign wars are treasures; their stories make you cry, and that often times their tears are hidden, in secret, while they battle the memories that too often are triggered by the sound of a jet flying overhead, the sight of a Huey, the sight of a fellow veteran wearing a cap proclaiming service to their branch or the war they fought in. When they look in each other’s eyes, they know, they understand, they are in tune to each other; they feel each other’s pain and experiences without saying one word. They just do. They have a real and undeniable kinship.

This brings me to a couple of especially important things I want to make sure you know about. First, one of our born and raised local men has not only served in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army Ranger – team leader, but 40-plus years later, he authored a story about his experiences in a book he entitled, “Vietnam War – Lesson of a Lifetime.”

Charlie R. (Robbie) Beasley Jr. is the author and while it is his first book, you would never know it. He has a gift … he IS a gift to his wife Jane and their family but to all of us too who call him “friend.” When I first read his draft still in the editing stage, I was flabbergasted, honestly. I learned so much of what my exceptional husband Billy had never talked about. I felt enriched, enlightened and proud of Robbie, that he used his sacrifice and endured to convey to the rest of us what it was really like over there. What little bit of help my two cents worth offered has not been for compensation, in fact though Robbie has offered several times, but I have no interest in gaining anything out of his venture other than the knowledge that Billy would be proud of him and would want me to do anything I could for his “brother” especially since he and Robbie graduated Manteo High School together in 1965.

Though I have talked about Robbie and his book before, I want you all to know that his books are selling with the public asking for more, so if you get a chance you can purchase one at Downtown Books 252-473-1056, downtown Manteo; O’Neal’s Sea Harvest Restaurant & Seafood Market 252-473-4535, Wanchese; and Billy’s Seafood Market 252-441-5978, Colington.

In addition, and if you would like to hear a live podcast interview with Robbie, please access it as: #042, Charlie Beasley, Vietnam Vet, Commercial Fisherman December 14, 2023. Robbie has been a successful waterman/crabber since before and after his service in Vietnam. In the straightforward podcast interview Robbie talks about his experiences in Vietnam and the Vietnam veterans who have read it appreciate that it equates to a teaching tool for their children and grandchildren. His book conveys in an honest and detailed manner what you might never have heard before. No “fluff,” no artificial or “puffed-up” hype, just sincere, from the heart testimony … a book that you and your loved ones need to read.

The second especially important topic I want to talk with you about is what Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County veteran service officer, shared with me in the last few days.

She said the Greenville Vet Center representative came and met with her very recently and told her they are reaching out to our area to help veterans. The gentleman told her they were interested in coming here to help counsel eligible veterans where the setting can be in a coffee shop, a meeting room or somewhere casual in a relaxed atmosphere. Patty said the rep told her they have a mobile unit they are planning to bring to our annual Dare Day event in downtown Manteo on Saturday, June 1, 2024. She said she will prepare a write-up for the Dare County newsletters and Facebook.

She asked that I invite you to contact her office: 252-475-5604, cell: 252-473-7749 or email: patricia.o’sullivan@darenc.gov to express your interest in participating in the possibility for veteran counseling to come to Dare County on a regular basis. She explained that the counseling could potentially be scheduled either on a one-on-one basis or in a group setting. Please note, there is a Vet Center eligibility requirement that she can review with you if you contact her.

Counseling is a good thing … it is nothing to be timid about, ashamed of or to delay if you feel it could be of help to you. Honestly, in my opinion, I think many of us in this world could use some counseling. We have all been through heartache, hardship, trauma and life changing experiences. It is important and extremely helpful to veterans I know and love and I am thankful our heroes have not allowed the stigma of getting counseling to stop them but rather help them deal with P.T.S.D. and memories that are hard to let go of or deal with. Please think about it, okay? If you know a veteran who might want or need to consider counseling, please give them Patty’s contact information. Do it. Share her info with them because you love them and would like to see them feel better and find a better way to cope with life … it could save their life.

Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Realize that while we have a lot on our plate dealing with significant issues that confront us every day, we can get to a point of seeing the beautiful sunshine behind the temporary clouds, realize the blessings of life, the goodness in others and that all of us being in this together will get us through the bumps in the road!

To my Gig Line friends – Joe, Charlie and Sally, Linda, Roy and Sharon, Leroy, Sue, Mary Alice, Robbie, Peggy, Don, Ray, Bibber, Gabe, Luke and Beth, Lisa, just to name a few – I thank you. Call/text me if you have a question or want to chat; my cell is 252-202-2058 and my email is giglineheroes@aol.com. God bless you friends (old and new) and just know that you matter to the good Lord and to everyone who knows you. I love you and you are all in my prayers. Stay tuned!

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