Today ‘The Greatest” is 70. Happy birthday Muhammad Ali. Today’s rain showers and seeing some umbrellas brings to mind my meeting Muhammad close to 50 years ago. I was a struggling, yes confused, young college student returning to college from home on a train. I think it was in the fall and it was a chilly damp day. I left the train station to get a cab to take me to college. I was walking toward a cab when the door opened and out popped this young very stylish African American young man, about my age, with a cane. He walked confidently from the cab with his cane, tapped the cane three times in front of me and Shazam, the cane became an umbrella. I’m sure I had a complexly dumbfounded look on my face ( don’t tell me how often I have that look today) because the young guy about my age held up the umbrella over the two of us and says, “How about that . . .what do you think of that” and off he confidently strides into the train station.
I get into the cab, obviously still bewildered, and the cab driver says. “Do you know who that was? That’s Cassius Clay”
This was shortly before Cassius became Ali. But even then without any entourage and practicing his trick for me he sure knew where he was going as he strode off into the station about 50 years ago. There I was a future meteorologist standing if ever so briefly with a man who would become “The Greatest”. He sure knew where he was going even 50 years ago. Happy birthday Muhammad Ali. I wonder where that magic umbrella is. I could use it every once in a while.