Friday, 21 August 2020 12:51

COLUMN: 'Thank you' from a Southern U.S. Navy sailor

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Ellerbe native Peggy Kennedy is a sailor aboard the USS Ronald Reagan Ellerbe native Peggy Kennedy is a sailor aboard the USS Ronald Reagan U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters

As a writer, you sometimes think, ”Is all this time and research on a book or column worth it?”


An average writer or author makes very little money, especially when he or she counts the time and effort to get something published.

It is so nice when someone tells you that they enjoyed reading your work, how they can relate to your stories, or how it helped them through their day or stressful nights.

The following is an email I received several weeks ago from an American sailor aboard the USS Ronald Reagan somewhere in the Pacific:

Dear Mr. Bolton,

My name is Peggy Kennedy, and I am a proud North Carolinian, born and raised in Ellerbe, and am currently serving on a Navy ship, the USS Ronald Reagan. I am at sea right now as I write this to you. We are not able to go to any ports, so all my shipmates and I are kinda stuck and feeling really low in spirits.

I recently read your book, "Just Passing Time," and it made me laugh and cry at the same time. Words cannot express how much it meant to me to read your book and remember my hometown and all my own experiences. I squealed like all get out when I started seeing names of towns and places from your book! My co-workers looked at me like my screws were loose but I didn’t care. I was so happy.

I used to go to Pee Dee River all the time with my Mama, picnicking and walking. I learned to drive out there! I went to church in Ellerbe and drove to Rockingham all the time, where my grandma lived. We got stuck in Sandhills Gameland one time, a friend and I were learning to drive in the thick sand (my friend got us stuck). I have had some bad memories from Ellerbe, but I do have a lot of wonderful memories with my mother there, and you brought back every single one. I cannot even begin to thank you for that.

I especially loved the part in your book about the mother and the carpenter during the war; that put me to tears. My Mama taught me to fear God and respect our servicemen and women; I guess that’s part of why I joined in the first place. That, and I felt that was what God wanted me to do at that time.

I tell you, Japan is awesome, when we are there and able to explore, but absolutely nothing beats home. I live in Oklahoma now, when I’m not in the middle of the South Pacific, but I will never forget where I come from. Ellerbe, North Carolina will always be home to me in my heart.

Thank you again for the morale-booster; your book and stories of home mean the world to me. God bless, and please keep the writing comin’!

Very Respectfully

RS3 (SW) Peggyann Kennedy

USS Ronald Reagan

This e-mail from this young sailor brought a tear to my cheek and at the same time blessed my heart.

We in America are so blessed to have people like this young lady serving in our armed forces to protect us and our homeland.

If I sold a thousand books or wrote hundreds of columns, none would be more gratifying than this e-mail I received from this young sailor.

J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and just released a new book, “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories.” Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..