I met Joe in the army. We were at Fort Dix before being shipped off to Vietnam. While our friends were protesting the war, we were fighting it.
Joe wasn’t an easy man to know. He was hard for a man of twenty-one years of age. I could see why. Once we became friends he told me some things I wouldn’t wish on anyone. His parents divorced by the time he was two. His mother in and out of alcohol rehab on more than a few occasions, and when his father was around it was usually with a bimbo of the evening.
Joe and I went our separate ways after the army living two states apart. We saw each other at the reunions every year, and every other chance we got.
“Bye Joe,” I whispered, looking in the casket. “Hope the flip side of life is better than this side of life.”