Watchman of the Tracks

Dale Leslie, remembers the people, places, and events in over 50 years living and working in the Ann Arbor community.

(Below, worth the five-minute read)

WHEN YOUR PARENTS are brother-sister to your uncle and aunt Leslie, you expect a resemblance in the off-spring and they harbor some family idiosyncrasies.
RECENTLY MY DOUBLE-COUSIN Kent visited Ann Arbor for the 50th Anniversary reunion of the 1962 Ann Arbor High School State Championship football team.  Kent was a hard-driving, honorable-mention All State fullback.  Back then, I trailed as a middle-school ninth grader, far from the gridiron and I idolized him.  Gosh!  He was the closest thing I had to a big brother!  I seldom corrected anyone who mistakenly call me his brother.  So, I was pleased, as a guest in my condo, when he asked me to accompany him to the 2012 gathering.  I was put to work immediately to interview his upbeat teammates, coaches and former teachers and their families for a  reunion DVD souvenir.
(You can view the program by logging on to Watch for new videos about the Ann Arbor, Dixboro and other areas at and selecting:
AAHS 1962 Football State Championship Season in Review- Part 1 & Part 2)
WHILE WATCHING THE DVD HIGHLIGHT PROGRAM, I noticed that when I was standing idle, I sifted, nervously my weight from one foot to the other.  As a child, my mother used to call this shuffle: the St. Vitas Dance, in reality a serious neurological disorder of abrupt movements of the body’s limbs.  But in reality, her interpretation was my body saying, “I need to go to the bathroom.”  I would cringe when mom suggested it in front of others. But she was right, it was an urge to perform this bodily function.
I WATCHED MY HALF-BROTHER KENT IN THE DVD, shifting his weight from one foot to the other when he was standing idle.  This “dance” MUST originate with the Patrick side of our family because the Leslies never danced or even skipped rope.  Thus, the “St. Vitas Dance,” as it was labeled by my Irish mother, Grace Patrick Leslie, remains alive and well among two Patrick offspring in the 21st century.
I CHUCKLE when I see the two of us in separate parts of the DVD  shifting our weight from one foot to the other like a drunken sailor.  I hope you find it a bit amusing
MY DAD’S body appeared like Mother Nature had poured a bucket of adhesive moles over his body- all shapes and sizes- and so-much-so, that he appeared like a dark Zebra with white stripes.  Fast forward to 2012,  by the measurement of one thumb-nail from his navel, my double-cousin Kent has a mole in the same spot as yours truly.  The Leslies: The Mole People.
OH, ONE MORE THING: My Aunt Billie (Kent’s mother) would twitch her lip in her patented half-smile when she heard of my many coincidences in life.  For instance, my favorite number since childhood is “11″ – and our oldest son, Drew, was born on September 11th.  My favorite scripture is: Hebrews 11:1.  Countless times I look at a clock or at my watch, and it will be 11:11, either A.M. or P.M.
So the significance of all this, you ask?  Good Question!  But it’s fun to speculate.
-Dale Leslie, with lots of cousins, 2013



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