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Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting

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Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting

When I was in High School, one of my assignments was to perform community 
charity.  My teacher hooked me up with the President of “The Appalachian Club” at the local 
college.  I was allowed to join the club on several weekend trips into eastern Kentucky to an 
impoverished area that a coal mine company had abondoned years prior.

As a seventeen year old, young man from an upper middle class community, I was astonished 
to discover so much poverty and suffering right here in the United States.  People were living 
in shacks, with no electricity, no plumbing, heated by a coal burning, pot belly 
stove.  There was no High School and most kids my age were already married with kids.  
Most families had at least one child with a mental handicap.

We went around a few communities, checking on people the Club had befriended.  We
 visited an old folk’s home; checked in on an Arts and Crafts Center the Club had donated
 money to; and, helped a woman move from a shack she could no longer pay the rent for 
into an abandoned school bus left on the side of the road.

It was a confusing trip for me because on the one hand I was having a blast being with 
these college kids, away from home and having fun; but on the other hand, I was confronted 
with a foreign lifestyle of pain, suffering, destitution, ignorance and fear.  It was an 
education and an adventure all in one.

On the last night of our trip we travelled to a nearby town having an Apple Harvest 
celebration.  There was a band playing music for a community, barnyard square dance with 
over a hundred people participating in each dance.  I was one of four guys in the group with 
six girls so I was busy all night long.  Each dance lasted over a half an hour as you and your 
partner travelled in opposite directions around the circle of dancers, doing what the singer 
called out with the other dancers until you finally met up again with your partner.  I had a 

The town had only one record that they played over and over several times between each 
square dance to give the band a break.  So now, every time I hear the song, “Kung Fu 
Fighting”, I am taken back to that place in time and in my mind, when a very lucky young 
man, with a very easy upbringing, learned that not everyone had it so good and that you 
didn’t have to go to third world countries to find poverty - we have it right here in our own 

(I know it's a stretch, but this is for the Kung Fu theme.)

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  1. Date: 3/9/2012 10:39:00 AM
    Great makes us appreciate what we have and how far worse our lives could be.

  1. Date: 6/28/2010 10:09:00 PM
    that is a great story, sounds like fun and The dance part reminded me of a time I went to a dance and a Japanize fellow wanted to dance with me...It was the first time i danced with a fellow....