The kids are back in school. With that, you should see my literary output increase.
Before we unleashed them on their 2nd and 6th grade teachers respectively, we all sat down as a family and watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Why? Because you should always send your kids back to school with fresh kung fu moves to try out on the rest of the student body.
That’s where the title of this post came from. It has nothing to do with kung fu, (I kind of wish it did) but I’ve still got that movie on my mind, so there you go.
As you know, if you read my last post, my wife and I just returned from a trip to Italy. I’d like to share one more story from the trip before I move on to other things like, “Why Live Music Will Keep You Young”, and, “The Top Five James Bond Movies”, and, “Why Does My Seven Year Old Take Longer Getting Out Of The Car Than His Great Grandmother?”
As part of our trip, we took a break from driving on Italian highways, also known as the chariot race scene from Ben Hur, and visited the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Upon arrival, I used the time honored tourist technique of “when you’re not sure where you are, follow the crowd.” We ended up in a line to see the tomb of St. Francis himself. The line wound in through the lower basilica and down into the crypt. The basilica was full of signs reminding all of us to be quiet. To enforce all of this quietude, there was a friar in a booth that would come on the PA system every once in a while and say “Silencio, SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I know, it was as amusing as it sounds.
Eventually we made it down the stairs and into the crypt. Because I am an Adventist not Catholic, my interest in being there was really more in the historical area. But it was a surprisingly moving experience for me. Mixed in with the tourists, were people for whom this was a pilgrimage. People who brought with them hopes, dreams, and troubles to lay at the tomb of St. Francis. Their emotion was palpable and it lent a reverence to a place that already had a special feeling.
Just like in the rooms above, there were signs everywhere reminding us to be quiet. EVERYWHERE. Behind us in line was a woman who would Just, Not, Shut, UP. On and on she went. Ironically she was yapping to her traveling companions about how people have no respect. However, she wasn’t the only one ignoring the signage. This continued talking finally angered one of the friars. I’m not real familiar with friars, but I assume it takes a lot to anger one. He proceeded to stand next to the tomb and give the most angry hushed lecture on respect that I have ever seen. In my house lectures on respect are rarely hushed. If I was a totally indecent person, this would have made me giggle uncontrollably. Almost directly afterwards, the lady in line behind us (yes, the same one who was very concerned about respect) said, “Wait, whose tomb is this?” Ugh.
After our time in the crypt, we exited the building into a courtyard and the bright Italian sunshine. When we first arrived at the basilica and I learned that entrance was free, I turned to my wife and said, “Betcha there is a gift shop.” She said no. I said, “You watch, the Catholics are much better at this making money for God stuff than us Adventists.” Guess what was right near the exit of both the upper and lower basilicas. Well played Catholics, well played. This got me thinking that we Seventh-Day-Adventists could use some saints. We’re missing some great marketing opportunities. Saint Desmond Doss? Saint Ben Carson? Saint Brian McKnight? Saint Busta Rhymes? (Ok, so he’s a former Adventist) I see it now. A gift shop at every church where we sell Adventist saint gear. Books, Christmas ornaments, magnets, decorative prints, shot errrrrrr communion glasses, oh, and gluten based meat substitutes.