Posts Tagged ‘Ninja’

Summer Camp Pt. 1

August 7, 2017

I have been thinking lately of my summer experiences as a kid. When I drive down the streets of Baltimore City, I see school-aged kids walking on the sidewalk and I suddenly remember that school is still out. When you reach an adult age and you have no kids of your own, you kind of forget that summer is a magical time where school is out and you get to play. Most of my play during summer was structured because my parents believed in not leaving me to my own devices and also believed in having relative adults keeping me safe. So, like a lot of kids, I went to summer camp.

The first camp I went to was called Camp Glencoe situated out in Baltimore County, not far from my home but far enough that it was my first time away from home. I had been to day camp before but this was my first shot at sleeping away from home for longer than a day or two. Glencoe’s specialty was kids with dyslexia or learning disabilities but they also prided themselves on taking care of kids with other health difficulties. At the time, I was having some difficulties with my ADD and I was definitely starting to have a lot of complications from my Double Aortic Arch which had been diagnosed as asthma. So, I do not remember doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff but I did stuff when I could.

One of the most memorable things about Glencoe was that we were told of a camp legend pretty close after arrival. There was a ninja that stalked the grounds of Glencoe. Nobody knew the identity of this ninja even though kids constantly investigated. Some swore they had found black clothing in their counselor’s room but I never believed that the real ninja would be so careless. During large public events at the camp, the ninja would run out of hiding and strike. His weapon of choice was whipped cream pies. He would run out and score direct hits and then he would run away. This was a camp tradition. The first time it happened, I was blown away and kind of scared. The second time I joined in the camp tradition of pretty much every kid in camp running after the ninja, trying to catch him. We never did.

I remember doing a lot of reading. I had daily tutoring sessions where I did math and English with teachers. It was not as bad as it sounds. I am a nerd so I never really hated the actual school aspects of being in school. This is also where I got all of my summer reading done for school. I know some kids do not enjoy summer reading, wanting to play sports, hang out with friends or do anything else. I always loved reading and having the assignments gave me an excuse to spend a lot of time reading and discussing the books with the tutor. I did not have dyslexia so math and reading were easy to me, I just had a concentration problem to work on. So, I remember spending a lot of time doing homework in between meals, swimming and occasionally doing outdoorsy activities.

I had done a few sleepovers at that age but only for a night or two. It was not until middle school when I started to stay over at friends for longer periods of time. As I said, Glencoe was the exception to that rule since it happened before my fifth-grade surgery. We lived in large dorms with rooms packed tight together. The hallways were patrolled by counselors at night, making sure we were not up to anything. I found that I was not really that homesick which was a happy discovery. The only truly bad experience I can think of is the boy’s dorm once had a huge building-wide pillow fight staged by the counselors. It was like a prison riot. I remember a younger boy dropped his pillow and opted to punch me in the face instead. I was stunned and angry and I was still chasing him when the pillow fight came to its natural end. It took me a while to cool off and that incident helps fuel my sense of fair play in a fight.

I also remember a camp-wide water gun fight we had at one point. Everybody had a full Super Soaker or two and there were buckets full of water balloons scattering the camp. Again, we had another riot but this one was a lot more fun. We happily blasted each other with water, running all over the camp to cool off. No points were scored and there was no object to the game besides pure mayhem and pretending I was a cool army of one fighting through the masses. I even remember filling up and firing from within the shallow end of the camp swimming pool, wading chest deep like I was in some eighties action movie. That is a fond memory and I do not remember getting too winded thankfully. I thought, for such a structured camp that catered to younger kids, that this unstructured, chaotic game was an amazing feat by the counselors.

Ultimately, I started to excel more at school now that new ADD medication was kicking in and I had a solid grasp on my studies. I started to enjoy learning for learning’s sake more and I never got poor grades all the way through high school (and only a few bad grades in college). Once I had my surgery, I did not need to go to Camp Glencoe and my folks started looking for other summer options for me. I did not really have any close friends at that camp so I was not really sad to leave it. I was ready for normalcy. An ‘asthma’ -free experience with no homework. I got that experience, sort of. I will talk about it next Monday!

Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure

July 29, 2015

Felix Osaka

When the plane touched down at the Osaka International Airport, I eagerly got off and headed through a terminal in a foreign land. I hate flying and the ogre in the seat next to me didn’t make the flight any easier. As soon as he realized I was Aware he talked my ear off about everything under the sun and somethings that weren’t. He was nice enough but I’m anxious enough during a flight. I didn’t need the additional stress.

After a quick trip to baggage claim, I stepped into the sun and got my first lungful of real Japanese air. It was not shockingly different from Baltimore but it was different from Sub Hopkins in all the best ways. I started to look around and I eventually laid eyes on Ren Akiyoshi which was not a good sign. I don’t have anything against Ren but I was expecting his wife and my cousin, May. Her absence meant something was happening because she had talked up and down about how excited she was that I was coming.

This was supposed to be a short vacation before I settled down to establish a practice in Columbia. I had found office space and Grace Testa had agreed to be my assistant. Even now she was setting up the office and getting everything in place for our grand opening. Ever since my Legendary epiphany in Sub Hopkins I was eager to get things started but May and her husband were legends too and wanted to see me. They had paid for the ticket so there was no way I could say no. Besides, I like visiting family.

“Greetings, Felix. How was your flight?” Ren asked, a sly little smile on his face. Ren was hard to read sometimes but May always said he was a good guy.

“It was a flight. It’s common knowledge I don’t like flying. Why do you always talk like that, Ren?” He had intentionally pushed a few buttons but I couldn’t help but smile.

“In an exagerrated manner? It amuses me. Shall we go to the car?”

“Good idea. So what’s going on? What’s the crisis?” I asked. To his credit, Ren didn’t break stride. He did wait until we had slipped into his car to respond.

“The Tengu have taken three people hostage. They also ignited a warehouse and injured a lot of people.”

“Wow. Where do we start?”

“We will meet up with May. She has arrived on the scene and is trying to communicate with the local Sentinel at the warehouse. Also, she was looking forward to seeing you.”

* * *

When we pulled up in front of the smoldering remains of the warehouse, May was standing on the hood of a car and staring off into the distance. Even when we were little, we always called her Wonder Woman. During family vacations, she was almost always the leader of the kids. There she was, looking like the cover of comic book with a four foot broad sword hanging on her back. She grinned and deactivated her armor as she jumped down and gave me a hug.

“Felix! You’re finally here! Ready to help us kick some ass?” She said with a smile.

“Well, it’s kind of my first time with field work but I go where I’m needed.”

She smiled a thousand watt smile. “I’m glad you were needed here.”

“So, is the sentinel going to let us see the crime scene?”

“Yes, actually, but Ren is already inside doing that.”

I looked around and truly Ren had disappeared. “It must be nice being a ninja.”

“I think you’ll find it’s even nicer having one on your team. Come on, let’s grab a cup of coffee and we’ll check out the victims, Doctor.”


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