04/18/05 — Opinion: Local connection

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Opinion: Local connection

By Gene Price
Published in News on April 18, 2005 1:45 PM

She was one of the “boat people.” They were the desperate South Vietnamese who fled their country when it fell to the communists after the U.S. pull-out.

Many died on the pathetic, overcrowded boats that ran or drifted for weeks hoping to make landfall on friendly shores or be picked up by ships from non-hostile countries.

Manthi and her younger siblings survived.

She came, finally, to California. Because of her brilliance, gregarious nature and engaging personality, she became a marketing executive for one of the country’s big computer enterprises.

And she has an interesting Goldsboro connection.

Almost two years ago, Manthi and Eric Weiner were en route from Raleigh-Durham Airport to Beaufort to vacation with our son, Charles, and his family. Since they were taking U.S. 70, they were under instructions to stop by Wilber’s in Goldsboro to enjoy barbecue and sweet tea.

That would make their presence in North Carolina official.

Manthi and Eric had been worried for some time. They had been wanting very much to have a child. And she had not been able to become pregnant.

When they stopped by Wilber’s, Manthi had a small kit in her purse. It was a self-administered test to determine pregnancy. While she and Eric waited for their barbecue, slaw and tea, Manthi decided to step into the ladies’ room.

While there, she took the little test. And came back to their table ecstatic. The test had shown positively that, finally, they would be having a baby!

They arrived at Beaufort two and a half hours later, bringing a tub of barbecue — and beaming with the good tidings.

We visited Manthi and Eric recently in their lovely home high in a mountain overlooking San Francisco Bay. They operate their own business from home. That way, they can enjoy, full-time, their lovely daughter, Emily, now 18 months.

Yes, it was a girl. Had it been a boy, who knows, it quite possibly would have been named Wilber!

That notwithstanding, Wayne County and Wilber’s “pregnancy diagnostic center” will always be special in the hearts of Manthi and Eric Weiner out in Woodside, Calif. And they always will be special to us!