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Letter: Two very different meanings

I’ve had a friend for over 40 years. He is not only a very good friend but a fine human being.

Over the past 40 years, we have drank a lot of beers, told way too many jokes, figured out the preachers, gave up on the politicians.

He loves to tell people he went to A.L. Brown, where they taught culture, and that I went to South Rowan, where they taught agriculture.

We both served our country during the Vietnam War — one as a trained killer in the jungle, the other one as a medic in the hospital.

We talk on the phone every day. Most of our conversations are about medical conditions. He is in the first stages of dementia.

On Sunday, June 16, he called to ask me if I had read the Salisbury Post. I told him I had read it and the letter about me had a serious misquote.

I told him Julie S. Pinkston quoted me as writing, “No need to thank me for my service,” in my letter. What I actually wrote was, “No need to thank me. You’re welcome.”

She was quoting the good editor of the Salisbury Post. What I wrote and what the editor wrote as a headline were two different things, with two different meanings, no matter where you went to school.

Then my friend asked me, “what is that disease combat veterans get that makes them commit suicide?”

“PTSD,” I told him.

“Well, don’t you have that?” he asked.

“You know I do,” I said.

He said, “Then you need to get in touch with Julie S. Pinkston and ask her if she would have been happier if you had put a bullet in your head instead of a letter in the paper.”

So, Julie, what’s your answer?

— Whitey Harwood

Rowan County



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