An Old Badger Trying to Keep the Beat

by on September 6, 2011 · 2 comments

in From the Soul, Life Events

Ernie McCray - 40th reunion of Tucson High's Class of '56

There I am as happy as I can be, at 58, posing in front of a camera at the 40th reunion of Tucson High’s Class of ’56.

It’s a cliche but time does fly, like a peregrine falcon diving steeply for its prey against the background of the sky, as in a few weeks I will be basking in the midst of an increasingly dwindling number of classmates for our 55th. Boy, they’re getting old – and vice-versa.

Oh, we had so much fun. I think from the moment I stepped into the main building with its ornately detailed Corinthian columns (being architecturally challenged I got this description from WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia), I could see that it was a place where I could kick back and just be me; that’s all I ask or demand of any place I’m to be.

After I graduated I figured that was it but over the years the school and I have found ways for me to keep contributing to it: I’ve talked to classes there over the years about making a better world; I’m in its Athletic Hall of Fame for my basketball game; my picture now hangs up on its Wall of Fame along with school nobility like Frank Borman, the Commander of Apollo 8 and Linda’s dad, Gilbert Ronstadt, of the Class of ’28; and I’m forever grateful for the honor of delivering the baccalaureate graduation speech in the year 2000 to a wonderful group of kids who received me enthusiastically with a love so warm I can still feel it today as the 21st Century unfolds gradually.

And what I shared with them, before I gave forth with what I hope were words of wisdom, was this little ditty which got them going clapping their hands and moving their shoulders and patting their feet:

I’m a Badger to the Bone
I Got the Beat

I’m a Badger to the bone
I got the beat.
I’m a Badger to the bone
I got the beat.

Used to strut down the hall
asking “what’s the haps?” of one and all.
I remember harmonizing in the shade of a tree,
hoping the sun ain’t out when it’s time for P.E.
Memorizing all those stupid dates in history;
dissecting frogs in biology;
making Sharon Griffith laugh in period three;
talking trash with Mr. Goldstein in photography;
trying to impress the girls with my philosophy
and they’d say, “Hey, you must be kiddin’” with sincerity.
And did I have a crush on Miss Strack…Whoo! Whee!
She made my heart thump uncontrollably
every single time she passed by me
or walked up to me
or said hello to me
or called on me
or corrected me
or looked anywhere near me
or made shade on me
or swatted a fly on me
or said “Boo” to me
or brushed against my knee.
I was hers for the taking – for free.
Oh, I thought I would surely die.
Talking Tucson High.

Always in the middle of everything.
Couldn’t wait for Chorus cuz I love to sing.
When I was hangin’ out with all my friends
It seemed like those days would never end.
We knew all the dance steps – Better not say we wasn’t hip.
But when it all boils down we were just junior flips.
Just going through life’s little turns and dips.
But you’re hearing this from my ample lips.

I’m Bucky Badger to the nth degree.
Got THS in my an/cest/a/ry.
Proudly wore that Big Red “T.”
Loved to get the ball at the top of the key
and bounce a pass to Ira as he cut by me.
Another two points!
Another victory!
We played hoops with all our might!
Tucson Badgers: Fight! Fight! Fight!

I’m a Badger to the bone
I got the beat.
I’m a Badger to the bone
I got the beat.

Can’t wait to see all those old badger classmates of mine in a few weeks because if I know them right they, like me, are still trying to keep the beat. Whatever that means to a bunch of 73 year olds mas o menos.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 10, 2011 at 7:52 am

Woooeee. I especially like the flack about Ms. Strack!


Ernie McCray September 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

She, besides all that, was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.


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