Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Only Seconds Between Here and There – Gig Line #224


By Marsha M. Brown

We all say it and we all know it to be true…life is short. In a matter of seconds a life can change dramatically but when you see that invisible thin line…it shakes you to the core.

One day last week on a nice, clear day and with very little traffic on the road, I headed to Wanchese for a brief visit with my son and grandchildren. Driving my sweet Billy’s favorite vehicle…his 2002 Toyota Tundra…I saw not far away a vehicle in the opposite lane headed toward Manteo. It was a rather small vehicle, gray in color and naturally expecting it to eventually pass beside me, the potential loss of my life literally flashed before my eyes.

As the vehicle drew closer toward me, it suddenly swerved into my lane and I’m as close to certain as I can be that all but one tire on that car was in my lane of traffic headed straight for me. To my right was a narrow shoulder and a ditch where the ground/marsh slightly elevated beyond that offering nothing short of a dead stop for me with no more room to clear the vehicle if it didn’t turn back into its lane. For seconds I thought I would be killed or flown out from Dare County…it was just that close and even in the split of a hair, I thought the next thing I would see would be our Heavenly Father and Billy. No joke.

I abruptly turned to the right headed for the ditch and slammed on brakes expecting a head-on impact or at the very least…for my drivers door to be crushed. But…God must have wanted to keep me here instead and that car, suddenly and just before creaming my side of Billy’s ‘Toy’, missed me ‘by a hair’. I couldn’t believe it…God had saved me. I was shaking when that little gray car continued on its way toward Manteo. It shook me up and tearing up I started thanking God and praising Him for sparing my life then I reached for my cell phone but when I had veered to the right and slammed on brakes to avoid hitting the ditch bank, my phone had flung across the truck and had landed so that if you opened the passenger door, it would have fallen to the ground. I wanted to call Beach Central to report what had happened. I sat there collecting myself and looking forward and backward, there were no other cars on the road that might have seen what happened or to make a call to 911. I considered for a minute the driver could have been sick, asleep or even on his/her cell phone…maybe they were intoxicated or high. I was literally shaking…it was just that close. As I continued toward Wanchese to see my son, I considered that none of us are perfect and that maybe it was a really good person who had simply looked away from the road…but at the time I didn’t care their reason for nearly killing me, I just wanted to tell them off and bring to their attention that their mishap could have cost my life or serious injury to both of us.

Moments later when I arrived at my son’s house, I turned Billy’s ‘Toy’ off and just sat there reflecting what had just happened and my cell phone was still way out of reach. I looked over my shoulder and in the back seat was a case of new NC4VETS RESOURCE GUIDE magazines I had recently picked up in Elizabeth City to give to our vets. Beside those magazines was a box of green light bulbs I recently picked up from our Kitty Hawk Walmart store – green light bulbs that promoted us to remember our vets and to support them, a promotion the store had started a year or so ago.

I thought about the close call I had just experienced and how so many of our veterans (you) had looked imminent danger in the eye countless times…but somehow through the grace of God, He wanted YOU also, to stay in this world and fulfill the plan He had for you. I looked at the veteran related materials and thought of my sweet Billy whom I miss beyond words or adequate expression and how in only the last few years he had opened up a little to share some of his darkest memories of Vietnam. I further considered our veterans of WWII, Korea, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq and the countless times their life had passed before their eyes in the battlefields, jungle, deserts and mountainsides. I thought about how the prompt reaction of turning your head just in time to see impending danger, ducking from bullets, positioning your weapon to defend yourselves and those in your charge and to destroy the enemy attacking you had taken place…and…how many times they (you) might have reacted in just the right way to deflect death or injury and…how God our Father wanted to spare you too.

I love you all and I’m sad that so many of you have been through what you have but I’m thankful that each of you used your training to preserve your life and that you’re here  today reading GIG LINE. For veterans who were not called into combat, I’m thankful you all have served our nation honorably carrying out other incredible work and feats to help defend and protect our men and women in combat and the citizens of these great United States. All veterans are critical to keeping us safe, protecting our lives and our freedoms. You are all heroes…every single one of you and our country loves you.

If whomever was behind the wheel in the little gray car that day is reading this GIG LINE, I hope you’re okay and I forgive you but…let’s all stay off the cell phones, don’t pick up something you drop in the car floor (until you stop somewhere), if you’re going to booze – please do it off the road and responsibly and if you’re on pills or drugs that make you woozy…please park your car and give your keys to somebody else.


Saturday, April 22nd – Annual Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 Fundraiser from 5 – 8 PM Colington Harbor Fire Station, 108 Old School House Rd., Colington (after 2nd bridge, turn left). BBQ/Chicken plates w/sides & dessert $10; raffle & live auction starting @ 6:30 PM. Come and join an outstanding group of veterans, family and friends. The event will also enable you to acquire your free Dare County Veteran I. D. Card (requirement: if you reside in Dare County bring your DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge & your Drivers License and if you don’t live here full time but own property (either improved or unimproved), in addition also bring a copy of your Dare County Tax Bill and or utility bill). The I. D. Card is evidence you served our country and there are approximately 70 businesses on the Outer Banks that, upon seeing your Card at check out, would like to show their appreciation for your service by discounting (varying percentages) the goods and services your purchase. Also, the list can be found if you search: darenc.com and in the search bar enter: Veterans I. D. Card. Once there you’ll see a picture of the ‘Card’ and a list of the businesses that participate.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Veterans…you are the glue that holds us all together. On behalf of grateful men, women and children all across this nation…thank you. Please contact me if you know a veteran who needs help, my cell: (252) 202-2058 or contact Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer: (252) 475-5604 to make an appointment to discuss potential benefits or entitlements. God bless you all and stay tuned!

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at editor@giglineheroes.com.  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top