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Rest in Peace Muhammad Ali

I was about 16 years old, attending the all-weekend gatherings at the home of Danny Thomas that sprang up every year around the annual St. Jude Children's Research Hospital banquet in LA.

I was at a lunch buffet table in their living room stabbing at some sliced tomatoes (amazing what you remember), and felt a warm breeze on my neck. I looked up - no windows were open, even though it was sunny out. It was an ordinary moment, a tiny detail. I felt it again, then again - and then... I became aware of a presence behind me.

Naturally I turned around and there was Muhammad Ali, square jawed, close clipped hair, looking down at me with intense dark eyes. Then suddenly, he broke into a huge smile. I remember how broad it was, and that his teeth were brilliantly white. He'd been breathing on my neck - and not what that seems to imply...




He was just a prankster. Having seen the way he messed with his opponents in the ring, I realize now it was an honor to be the receiver on the harmless end of his brand of playfulness.

I know we said a little something to each other... but I can't remember what (amazing what you forget!)

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