Editorial: ‘Old friends, they shine like diamonds’

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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An old friend called on Monday.

He’s the kind of guy who after talking with him a few minutes, you feel better about yourself and the place you live. He just has that kind of way about him.

Basically, it’s honesty. And you can hear it in his voice. He cares.

Many of you – especially those with ties to Downtown Mocksville for quite a few years – may remember Jonathan Wishon. Before he became sick (He’s faced death more than once, including recently.) did more to promote bluegrass music than anyone in these parts have ever done, through this newspaper, radio station WDSL, and most importantly, through his personality.

I can still see him walking through town, going from door to door. It would take quite a while, because folks liked to talk to Jonathan. He wouldn’t be there for himself, but to promote a community activity, usually involving bluegrass or classic country music.

He was tireless in his efforts.

Although no longer able to perform those duties, guess what?

Jonathan Wishon still cares about Mocksville. He still cares about local music. That’s why he called. He wanted to know that things were going fine in town. I’m just glad I didn’t have to lie to him when I told him that things – especially with local music – are going great.

He laid a great foundation.

Jonathan, in his own words, is also doing great. He is living at a Clemmons facility, recovering from his latest life-threatening bout with strep and sepsis. “I was dying and I didn’t know it,” he said.

“I’m doing OK, staying busy. I can get up and walk. My strength is coming back strong. I’ve been walking straighter.”

That’s good news, Jonathan. So is the fact that he’s able to attend services at No Creek Primitive Baptist Church, where he is now a proud member. He says he does well getting into and out of the church and pews without causing delays, although inclines are tough for him to manage.

And yes, he keeps up with what’s going on as best he can, even asking about one of the newer restaurants he recently visited, Mocksville Family Restaurant. It gets a thumbs up from Jonathan.

And Davie County gives you a thumbs up, Jonathan. We thank you for everything you’ve done, but keep checking up on us. We need that.

Perhaps a good way to describe a call from Jonathan is with the words to the song, “Old Friends” by the late great Guy Clark.

It’s like when you’re making conversation

And you’re trying not to scream

And you’re trying not to tell ‘em

You don’t care what they mean

And you’re really feeling fragile

And you really can’t get home

And you really feel abandoned

But you want to be alone


Old Friends they shine like diamonds

Old Friends you can always call

Old Friends Lord you can’t buy ‘em

You know it’s Old Friends after all

And when the house is empty

And the lights begin to fade

And there’s nothing to protect you

Except the window shade

And it’s hard to put your finger

On the thing that scares you most

And you can’t tell the difference

Between an angel and a ghost


Old Friends they shine like diamonds

Old Friends you can always call

Old Friends Lord you can’t buy ‘em

You know it’s Old Friends after all

– Mike Barnhardt