It was 2002. I hadn’t seen Sgt. Ramos since 1971. It had been 31 years. Although the ink in his tats had faded, I could still read the Latin inscription, Semper Fi, on his right arm. Other than the wear and tear of some pretty rough years, he looked OK.
“Lieutenant,” he said. “What’s new with you?”
I didn’t know where to begin, so I thought I’d drop something zany into the mix of our conversation.
“Sgt. Ramos, you’re looking at a new leader of a Girl Scout troop in La Cañada. They’re Daisies, kindergartners,” I said. He looked at me as though he was gut shot. I could see the confusion in his eyes, transitions, the alchemy of going from one form of life to...