After my brother and I came back home after watching The Bridge at Remagen at the Majestic Theatre, we played in the front yard with our G.I. Joes, taking on the entire German Army until mom yelled for us to come in and wash up for dinner. She made a big batch of sloppy Joes and later, her friend Barb from work stopped over with her boyfriend Don who just returned from Vietnam.

Don sat cross-legged on the living room floor and stared straight ahead with hooded eyes at the television and Clint Howard on Gentle Ben. He wolfed down two plates of Joes and washed them down with a six-pack of Old Milwaukee. When he finished, he fidgeted with a large hunting knife that he had strapped to the outside of his brown boot and jumped when a car backfired outside.

That’s when I stopped playing army.