Who better than to spend the Fourth of July celebration than with the Principle of the Bayside High Tigers?  Generationally, those currently in young adult-hood grew up watching the teen sitcom “Saved by the Bell” which played a seminal role in all of our upbringings.  We learned valuable life lessons, like how to sit cool in a chair (thank you AC Slater!), talk on your brick sized cell phone in class, and especially how to save your local school duck pond from being drilled for oil.  In any case, the actor Dennis Haskins, who played Principle Belding on the sitcom, happened to be in Atsugi, Japan for the Independence Day celebration.  He was headlining a Navy Entertainment lineup of bands that must be connected to the USO somehow. I need to pay more attention at work to local events, as most of those in our group had no idea he was going to be there, and were pleasantly surprised when he walked up to our grill out and shook all of our hands.  After thanking us for our service to the country we took some group photos and off he went to another group.  He was very nice and seems to be busy these days with minor acting gigs, radio performances, and other hosting events at minor league baseball games.  Seeing him took us all back to simpler times and we “geeked” out over who could recall the most mundane piece of trivia from the show.  Seeing the Mr. Belding of our youth was more odd in that we were in Japan, celebrating American Independence with thousands of Japanese and their kids in kimonos that we had let on base… made the moment surreal.  But it helped kick start a great day of celebrations and appreciate him taking the time out to come across the Pacific for us.

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