By Marsha M. Brown
No doubt about it…we’re islanders. If you’re one of us and you’ve grown up here, you know what it’s like to drive to Elizabeth City or Norfolk, VA in years past to buy groceries, clothes and for various medical care…like when you were having a baby. It was O.K. though, we didn’t mind because it was our way of life and while the drive was long, the Outer Banks was always worth coming home to. Our desire to support our small local grocery stores kept us going of course but a ride out of town now and then meant variety and abundance of lesser available items to stock up on. Even though our vehicles were bigger, heavier and less economical by today’s standards, it didn’t break the bank to fill up the big ole cars and trucks with gas. Life was sweet.
We’ve all loved the Outer Banks…the beauty; the moist salty air that refreshes your spirit every single day and the undeniable connection you feel about your simple but exquisite surroundings. I remember staying with my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Charlie at their ocean side cottage court in Nags Head at MP 16. My sister and I lived with them and our cousins for several months while Daddy & Mama prepared their two houses in Florida to move to Manteo (his hometown) permanently following his 22 year Coast Guard retirement. I’d listen to the rhythm of the waves as the tide routinely kissed the beach every single night without fail. When you’d looked out the window, you could stare at a hazy moon over the Atlantic and watch the bedroom curtains dance in the breeze. It was such a good time…happy times…a dig your toes deep in the sand kinda times and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. But let me share with anyone who hasn’t grown up here about the rest of what I remember. (I know about now you’re wondering what all this has to do with veterans…hang with me.)
I have wonderful memories…tons of them, way more stories about funny things and good times than sad. Happy times about our family loading up in Daddy’s old 57’ Oldsmobile 88 to go look for a Christmas tree down Mashoes Rd. and having to go outside rain or shine to twist, turn and pray that darned old TV antenna (screwed to a pole just outside our living room window) would pick up a somewhat clear TV signal on our old ‘black and white’. Oh, the stories I could tell. Stories that may not scare you to death, or make you blush or make you cry but rather stories about Roanoke Island and people of the Outer Banks and their love…one for another. It’s the people…the cream of the crop!
We’re tough. We care when somebody loses a loved one…or when a neighbor loses their home in a fire…or when a church member loses their job. We are a special breed…us Outer Bankers…plain and simple. We don’t always agree on everything, not even with family members. We don’t always see eye to on beach nourishment, establishing jetty’s and the benefits or drawbacks of building a bridge or not building one…but one thing I can tell you about Outer Bankers’ for sure and that’s that we care about each other.
That brings me to my point. In last week’s GIG LINE, I wrote about a family who live in Wanchese whose names are Richard and Anna Baum. I told you about his service in U. S. Army having served in Vietnam; struggles with his health having had multiple amputations and how his surgeries prevent him from his life’s calling as a dedicated waterman…a hard worker who proudly supported his family on the water for many years. I told you that he and Anna have asked for nothing but deserve everything…that is good. I invited you to a fundraiser that will be held in their honor on Saturday, August 3rd at 11:00 a.m. at the Manteo First Assembly – Youth House. Remember? Fish fry with all the fixings, plus a dessert and drink for $10…remember? I think I mentioned we’d have local talent, live music and good fellowship with outstanding company. And I’m sure I told you we needed to work together to help this nice couple who’ve had a hard time for a l-o-n-g time and that our working together could make at least some difference in their lives.
I don’t feel it necessary to describe all of Richard and Anna’s needs in this GIG LINE. I think you get the point. Mostly because I think that you all have learned me by now…that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It’s no joke that ‘home’ work needs to be done to make life a little more comfortable for them both. They’re happy, they love each other very much…they’re best friends. But together, we can help take some pressure off, give them a little breathing room and enable at least some necessary home repairs to be done in the near future with your help.
More than anything, it’s the people of Dare County that make this place like no other. If you are a Dare County resident or a repeat visitor or you’re here for the first time…we ask you again to join us. Only six days from this GIG LINE until you get a chance to show a Veteran who served our country with honor that his sacrifice mattered; that what he has gone through is important and that we Outer Bankers love each other even when we’ve never met before. And, that we embrace each other with hope, help and prayer.
I love veterans and I thank God for you all. I’m asking personally and from my heart to please come and meet Richard and Anna When you do, I’ll hug your neck. I’ll be so grateful if you’ll take some time to show you care about a fellow comrade. This is an event where you will be the guest of honor and a time that your presence will be felt and appreciated.
That’s it for this one. It is my focus…because a successful event for the Baum’s is at the top of my list for now. If you want to come but can’t stay…we’ll have take out plates for you. If you can’t come at all but would like to offer a love gift donation, you can contribute by mailing a check to Manteo First Assembly, 812 Wingina St., Manteo, N. C. 27954 or you can go online at www.manteofirstag.com & look for ONLINE GIVING – Amount; One Time Gift and Memo: Baum Family to donate with using a credit card.
My sweetie pie Billy and I would like to meet you too and thank you personally for helping if you can make it. Come and catch contagious and genuine smiles. See happiness first hand. Be there and show a Vietnam veteran that his sacrifice matters. Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. If you have questions or comments, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (252) 202-2058. I hope to see you soon at a time when you can personally thank a veteran…hopefully…lots of veterans. As usual stay tuned.