I was raised to be a soldier. It is what my dad did for forty years. As a child my playtime was spent for the most part alone, training myself in the deep woods to live on the land, eat what was there, and to become as stealthy and deadly as a ninja.
Of course in those days no one in Alabama called themselves a ninja. The word was soldier, and in my mind “soldier” had a grand kind of glory attached to it, a word of honour and sacrifice and solitude. Besides, I never wanted to be anything else.
Until I was sixteen.