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Clear and Close

Baltimore is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the onslaught of Fort McHenry.  That’s the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem.  He didn’t know that ‘s what he was doing back on September 14, 1814, and I didn’t know so many people were moved enough by the tune to celebrate it and the Battle of Baltimore more enthusiastically than any July 4th of recent memory.

There were fireworks from every conceivable launching point in the waterways of the harbors and points that form miles of city coastline.  I caught the first sights and sounds of them from the passenger seat on the way home from grabbing some chow.


The ones around the corner from the house, across the street from the seafood joint where my son used to work, were clearer and closer.


But the ones I always like best are those that are set off from the water walkway three blocks from my stoop.


My neighborhood is loud and boisterous during celebratory times for the city.  But that’s part of what makes it convenient and cool!


Quiet in the Kung Fu House

I am alone in my own home.  The children are at their grandparents’ house, and my better half is out of town for a Monday funeral.  The last time I went to sleep and woke up at my address with no one else in the building, I didn’t have a daughter yet and my two-year-old son had a weekend’s head start on Christmas vacation with his dad and grandparents, while I was finishing up the work week.

The quiet in my house was disquieting once I wound down from a good class and training session.   Without a family meal to cook or laundry to fold, I noticed for the first time that there’s a kung fu item of some sort in pretty much every room of the house.  Not that I didn’t know they were there.  I just didn’t realize that my entire living space contains kung fu items, until there was nothing to distract me from the realization.

There’s the 100-pound bag in my bedroom, and the adjustable bag in the family room.

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There’s the inability to use the first-floor stairway or the kitchen without passing the collection of workout bags and gear in front of the basement door.


There’s the virtual staff store we pass when leaving the house, and the sashes and medals hanging on walls, mirrors and doors.

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This is a martial arts house – period.  Even when I’m the only person home.

I have to smile at that fact…even while I’m shaking my head. 🙂