David in Mexico

When I was nineteen years old, I was an Army private stationed in Darmstadt, Germany. Desert Storm had us all on lockdown, and with Christmas coming up, my boss at the time, Chaplain Mike Suttle, strategized a back-door way to get some of of us lower-enlisted soldiers off-post without having to take official leave. He personally sanctioned a week-long “retreat” to Rome, justified to the higher-ups by him leading a daily prayer session. None of us gave a shit about the praying, we just wanted to get our stir-crazy asses somewhere else. Italy sounded cool. With a thumb’s up from…