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Master Tora's Message

June 2006

Ghosts are something I strongly believe in so I was not very surprised when I had an encounter with one on a cold autumn evening... My grandafather was staying with us and had driven my sister and me to our karate dojo while my dad stayed home with a sickness. Everything was fine until we got in the car to leave. My grandfather has a condition that numbs his feet so he can hardly feel anything with them. In the pale crescent moon's light, he couldn't see the gas pedal or any of the controls in my mother's car...nor had he memorized their location like he had done in his own. The car roared into reverse and we spun around a crowded parking lot, dodging cars and swerving around pedestrians. My little sister was screaming at the top of her lungs and my grandfather was cursing like a sailor and praying aloud at the same time (a very strange thing to hear may I add). In the passenger seat in front of me, I saw a strange glimmer of light that was too bright to belong to the moon and too colorless to be coming from a street light. I heard a very deep, smooth voice whispering my name. I though I was imagining it but then it called my nickname that only my friends knew in a very demanding voice. It was enough to snap me out of my shock and I listened,"Open your eyes...everything is alright." It was then that I noticed that I had closed my eyes and my face was buried in my hands. I opened them to the sight of the parking lot blurring by in reverse outside my window. "Grandaddy." My voice was very quiet, as if I had been on a long journey and couldn't spare much breath for a voice,"Stop the car." I doubt my hard-of-hearing grandfather actually heard me but he found the brake at that exact moment and turned the car off. Stumbling from the vehicle into the night air, I looked up at the shop signs to see us parked right outside the dojo again, perfectly in line with the curb. My little sister later admitted to seeing someone in the front passenger seat as well and described the being in greater detail than I could. We ended up getting home safely. Knowing my interest in Japan, dad had bought me a book and I automatically flipped to the page with a martial artist with the nickname "Tora". A shiver ran down my spine and I swear I heard a faint "Hello..." echoing in my mind.

I think it was Master Tora who guided my grandfather around all of those obstacles, kept my sister safe, and kept me calm. To those who don't believe in ghosts, that's fine with me but I most certainly beg to differ.

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