By Marsha M. Brown
Well folks here we are at the end of another year in our life’s story. I don’t know about you but if you’re like me, new friendships, special events and answered prayers in 2012 will stay with me always.
Whether it was when we sat down together at a bountiful Thanksgiving table or when we gathered in the living room by a crackling fireplace on Christmas Eve, we remembered years past. We couldn’t help but remember those who profoundly touched our lives.
When I think of past holidays, I remember two very unique characteristics about my parents. First, Daddy took forever to open a gift. He’d look at it, admire its wrapping, sit it down on his lap, sip some coffee and examine it again, as if the box was pending investigation by a bomb squad…then he’d sip some more coffee, then…he’d look at everybody to make sure they were paying attention. While the minutes passed (which seemed like hours), he’d reach into his pocket, retrieve his beloved pocket knife that had “M.F.M.” carved into the handle (for Marvin F. Mann) and ever so gently he’d begin cutting the tape that held the paper folds together. Honestly? You’d have thought he was opening a chest cavity for a heart transplant!
In his typical manner, Daddy wanted to keep everything, not waste anything and he’d go above and beyond to preserve the paper to be used again next year (which never happened). Peeping over the top of his glasses, he’d scan the room once more to see if he still had everyone’s attention…sip his coffee again and finally…he’d make the ‘reveal’. My Daddy was a character!
The ironic thing about it was that with all the fuss Daddy made over opening his gift, you’d think he was all about gift giving, pretty packages, surprises etc. But, not true…as much as he loved Mama, she’d be tickled if he brought her a clear, glass jar of hard, sticky Christmas candy from the Mann’s Harbor Marina. None the less, she loved him with all her heart and she accepted him just as he was. She knew that Daddy hadn’t forgotten living through the Great Depression which meant he’d never come to terms with spending money for anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity. My two parents were polar opposites, Daddy was a saver and as “tight as a tick” as they say and Mama had a heart for giving and anxious each year to get her Christmas bonus to spend on everybody but herself. I loved them both very much.
Yes friends, the end of a year draws nigh. We’re all blessed to consider all the wonderful people besides family like friends, co-workers, business associates and employees that we cherish too. It means a lot to be able to embrace people close to us that we know we can count on at any hour or call in the wee hours of the night to ask for prayer about a specific worry…someone who genuinely cares about us. Genuine friends celebrate our victories and achievements and weep with our sadness. No matter the hardships, we’re blessed.
Over the previous twelve months, Billy and I have been so grateful for the people we’ve worked with on committees regarding veteran affairs, community events and church programs. Dear to our hearts are those who put themselves out often and literally with generous acts of kindness toward others. We’ve seen it over and over again. People generally love and care about each other…a lot.
Our Veterans Advisory Council, Chairman Clarence Skinner and a veteran is someone who comes to mind – he diligently seeks new ways to reach out to our veterans both in a very personal and professional manner; Moncie “Punk” Daniels, also a veteran and Emcee of the 2nd Annual “Salute to Veterans” event in November was also a blessing who did an outstanding job; veteran and friend Commander Clarence Lewis, all of the gentlemen and women of The American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 and our new friend Vince Puma who along with other dedicated Fraternity Order of Eagles members consistently look for ways to help our Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans. The Coastland Times too whose thoughtfulness of our veterans embraced GIG LINE – providing a way to communicate further with Dare County Veterans…just to name a few…THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! And to all lovers of veterans who have embraced the vision to make things happen and get things done for the good of the honorable men and women who have served or who currently serve and sacrifice for our United States…THANK YOU TOO!
As we look over our shoulder, we view 2012 with pride, joy and appreciation. We have rekindled old veteran friendships and we’ve created new ones. As true blue Americans, we always have much to smile about. Memories, impressions, feelings we’ve experienced between January 1st and December 31st flood my head and my heart. And as I wonder what the New Year will bring, I can only hope that we will see more and more positive change, acknowledgment and honor shown to our veterans across Dare County and our nation too; that our fellow man will seek their better self; that we will listen more to others; hold someone’s hand that needs it; work to bring harmony to our homes, the workplace, our relationships and our communities.
I also hope that more people will read GIG LINE and consider how you can show our veterans that you care. They cannot be thanked enough; they are true heroes. They have seen and experienced unimaginable things in their quest to serve our land. They are remarkable people who love our country in an immeasurable and remarkable way.
No matter how difficult 2012 has been, “hope springs eternal” as they say. The New Year 2013 will be here in a flash and my sweetie pie Billy and I will continue to look for answers, veteran contacts, sources of help and ways to unite the front for veteran celebration. Hold each other tight, bring in 2013 with great expectations that things will get better and look for ways to help a veteran.
Most importantly, love each other harder, forgive each other easier, pray for each other as if it were your last chance. Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud and stay tuned…