The day I met Muhammad Ali
The day I met Muhammad Ali he was still called Cassius Clay.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he stood on a stage with the Houston Astros and made those baseball players look small.
The day I met Muhammad Ali was in the early 60s when I was barely a teenager.
The day I met Muhammad Ali I was with my father who worked for NASA building test facilities to train the astronauts.
The day I met Muhammad Ali some details are in sharp relief, some cloudy …
The day I met Muhammad Ali he spoke against the Viet Nam War and opened my eyes and made me question our Almighty Government.
The day I met Muhammad Ali what remains clear is the power of his charisma, his indelible image, his unforgettable charm and boisterous confidence.
The day I met Muhammad Ali I remember his goofy, toothy grin and shining white teeth set against his handsome brown features.
The day I met Muhammad Ali I don’t remember how or why I got to be there to meet one of the most recognizable people in the world.
The day I met Muhammad Ali the other remarkable person in my life was Astronaut Ed Mitchell, my Youth Group Leader, who went on to walk on the moon on Apollo 14, had an ecstatic experience and started the Institute of Noetic Sciences – but that’s another story I’ll tell soon.
The day I met Muhammad Ali was it just me and my dad? or were my siblings or mother there?
The day I met Muhammad Ali he was dressed in a light blue suit that contrasted with his smooth dark skin, and made him stand out from all the dark suited men who accompanied him on that stage.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he made everyone laugh, talking about how pretty he is – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee …
The day I met Muhammad Ali he read a poem that blew my mind and confused me … what was a prize fighter doing writing poems???
The day I met Muhammad Ali he impressed my young mind, made me question what I thought I knew, made me really LOOK and LIStEN to him, made me want to understand.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he looked me in the eye and really saw me.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he shook my hand with both of his, made me feel strong, and special, made me feel I could do anything, because he believed he could do anything.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he made me feel he was genuinely glad to meet me.
The day I met Muhammad Ali he gave me a sense of a bigger world, better world, greater world than I knew the day before I met Cassius Clay.
The day I met Muhammad Ali I knew I was in the presence of greatness.
The day I met Muhammad Ali I will never forget though it has been at least 50 years – and I’m grateful to look back on the landscape of my life and wonder if I’ve made a difference as I witness the lives that have touched mine.
Muhammad Ali January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016
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He Took A Few Cups of Love
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience,
One teaspoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith,
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.
Muhammad Ali enlivened many of his news conference and training sessions with poems. They caused many people to laugh, some to cringe.
Ali could be Robert Frost in a robe; Maya Angelou with a championship belt, though his sometimes simplistic stanzas sometimes leaned more toward something out of a Dr. Seuss book. He was a true beat poet — as in, he loved having a rhyme to have a reason to thump his latest rival.
These helped make Ali one of the poet laureates of boxing.
“Everyone knew when I stepped in town,
I was the greatest fighter around.
A lot of people called me a clown,
But I am the one who called the round.
The people came to see a great fight,
But all I did was put out the light.
Never put your money against Cassius Clay,
For you will never have a lucky day.”
Written in 1962, when Ali was still Cassius Clay.