Odie stopped by the shop the other day. 12 years ago he was a skinny little punk. When he mouthed off too much, we used to stuff him into an empty bike box and stash him up on the 3rd tier of the bike shelves out back. He was the stereotypical wise ass kid. We loved him.
The other day when he walked into my shop, he walked in a man. 9 years as a Marine had transformed him. No longer skinny but hard and taller. The smirk always in place years ago, replaced by serious demeanor and bearing. There was no doubt his childhood stayed in Sanford when he left to see the World.
Odie is in Marine communications now. He had started out an embassy guard in India. That did not pan out. He was jumped while off duty and beaten so badly, he almost died. A random act of American hatred they said. Months of recovery used up his first enlistment. Fed up with the Marines he did not re-up. A month later, 9/11 transformed the World, Odie's included.
Like so many of us, Odie was horrified and angry beyond belief over this cowardly act of violence against his country. So he re-enlisted. He has been to Iraq. He is scheduled to go back again in August. He is enthusiastic about his 6 month roation schedule in and out of Iraq. His specialty is battle communications and Iraq is where he feels he makes a difference. In the States, he just cools his heels and practices.
It was great to see him again. It was great to see him healthy, happy, and getting on with his life. His chosen path seems to fit him.