Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dad's Stories

Okay, not sure why three of this picture uploaded, but the thing is, I want to share a couple of the stories my dad told me yesterday as we were shooting the breeze together.

Dad (Dennis McGinnis) grew up in St Paul, near McCalester College. The stories he was telling me were about his first year going to high school, at Central High.

He was nervous, as he had heard this was a really tough school. So on his first day there, he heard about a big fight going on in the parking lot after school. "Great," he thought, "all the stories are true." So he went outside after school, and what seemed like thousands of kids were swarmed around the parking lot, up in trees for a good view of the fight, and shoving each other for a better view. Dad elbowed his way up front, and discovered that one of the fighters was his older brother, John!

John handed his little brother his suit coat and tie (that is what John always wore to school, while dad, of course, wore plaid shirts). He said, "Here, hold this for me, I have to make this quick because I have to get on the bus and get to work." Ha ha ha ha! And that's just what John did!

Dad remembers that after that day, he didn't really worry about kids picking fights with him or being mean to him, because it was well known that John was his big brother.

He also told me about the principal of the school giving him grief because he was always late. He had to go to the office to get a pass to class when he was late, and after a few times, the principal said, "You are going to be a thorn in my side until the day you graduate, aren't you?" He was good-natured about it, because Dad was a GREAT kid, just had a hard time getting to school on time. (apparently he had to hitch a ride, and John always beat him into the bathroom, so he was always scrambling for a ride after John had already gone) So when his graduation rehearsal came four years later, Dad was late! As they called his name and he wasn't there, the principal looked around and saw him entering the auditorium. As Dad went up to receive whatever he was receiving for rehearsal, the principal said, "Until the last minute, just as I thought!"

Then there was the time when Dad was walking down the alley with his big brother, Mike, and Mike was smoking a cigarette. A car was coming, and Dad said, "Hey, we better get out of the way, there's a car coming." Mike responded defiantly, "They can just wait," in his toughest tough-guy voice. Then they looked back, and it was their mom! Busted!

I love listening to my dad's funny childhood stories. It can be hard, as he takes a very long time to tell them (think Heathcliff Huxtable times ten), but I always find that it is worth it.

I was also kind of sad, because John now has cancer, and that must really break Dad's heart to see his big, tough, protector brother being beaten down like that.

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