I'm always fascinated to learn which parts of "Boocoo Dinky Dow: My short, crazy Vietnam War" strike a chord with readers. For Ed Bremer, it was the story of the soldier who set out to kill his dog.
Ed is news director for KSER-FM. When he interviewed me about the book I co-authored with Grady Myers, he asked me to read Grady's anecdote about Stiletto and his ailing puppy.
The grunt in question was a gung-ho, let's-kill-Charlie type. He had an affection for knives -- which is why Grady dubbed him Stiletto. It wasn't a knife, though, but a .45-caliber pistol that Stiletto borrowed from Grady the evening he decided his dog had rabies and had to be dispatched. Things did not go as planned. Things went badly. Ed saw that episode as a reflection of trauma and conflicted emotions of many American soldiers in the Southeast Asian conflict.
You can listen to the KSER interview here. The Stiletto story comes shortly after the 34:20 mark, where Ed is asking me if I had a moral or lesson in mind when I was assembling Grady's tales for publication.
Ed asked lots of questions. Among them: Did Grady suffer from PTSD? Did I leave any of his war stories out of "Boocoo Dinky Dow"? How did the book come to be written? How did Grady's children react to it? One of Ed's memorable observations was that Grady struck him as a man of integrity. Which I agreed was definitely the case.
Another memorable moment for me came right before the interview started. That's when I reminded Ed that as a writer and former journalist I would, truth be told, rather be the one asking the questions.
"So would I," he replied with a grin. Then he put on his headphones and switched on the microphone.
Julie Titone is co-author of the Grady Myers memoir "Boocoo Dinky Dow: My short, crazy Vietnam War." Grady was an M-60 machine gunner in The U.S. Army's Company C’s 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 8th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division in late 1968 and early 1969. His Charlie Company comrades knew him as Hoss. Thoughts, comments? Send Julie an email.