I think we became friends the night Doc and I sat up talking late; and he turned to me and said, "Y'know, Pete, I think you're the first white boy I ever liked" and grinned like a Cheshire cat.
A month after I was medevac'd, Doc showed up at Cam Rahn Bay with malaria. Sometime during one of our long conversations on the beach after hours, he told me I was gonna marry the girl I'd been writing to. I told him he was full of shit, but he insisted that I was gonna marry her. I told him if I did, he'd have to be the best man.
Well, sure as Westmoreland got medals, I got married. In East McKeesport, PA, with Zeb as my best man. It was only a couple of years ago that he told me how blown away he was when we showed up. In fact, he said, the entire neighborhood was blown away, because Sandy and I were the only white faces within 5 square miles.
It never even occurred to me... All I knew was that I was going to keep my promise to my friend.
Well, "Sam" and I are divorced now, have been since 1973 or so. But Zebedee and I are still friends and will remain brothers until the end of time.
I told him on New Year's Eve, 1994, that he was the best friend I ever had. Zeb laughed out loud and said to me, "Well, Pete, you're the *only* friend I've ever had."
As is our habit, whenever we're together, we both laughed until tears ran down our faces.