Today is a special day. It is the 70th Birthday of probably the greatest boxer who ever lived.
Quickly, my Mumammad Ali story . . . Back around 1972 I was living and working in Tucson, Arizona for Addis Signs, a long established electrical sign company in Tucson. I was working as a sign sketch artist and was managing the plant.
That year, NESA (The National Electric Sign Association) was holding their international association convention in Washington, D.C. at the new Washington Hilton Hotel.
My boss, Tom Addis invited me to join him and attend this annual important-to-the-industry event.
I said great and we were off.
We got a room at the Washington Hilton Hotel, the site of the convention.
I remember being in the elevator one day and someone stated that Muhammad Ali was in the Coffee Shop right now.
I thought this might be a great opportunity to see the champ for myself . . . so I hustled to the lobby coffee shop.
There was a light crowd of about 80 people around him as he stood near the counter.
I remember hearing a steady loud speech from the champ touting he was the greatest.
I ambled my way up closer to the excitement . . . I felt and knew I was in the company of a truly great giant of a person.
He literally stood there like a real giant with his entourage of about 5 men and a group of at least 6 or7 of the most beautiful women I've ever seen surrounding him . . several people were in line waiting anxiously to get this man's autograph. I quickly got at the end of the que and searched for a piece of paper and a pen.
As my turn came I handed the champ's aide and bodyguard, ( a six-foot burly Fruit-of-Islam-type gentleman ) the only thing I could find for Muhammad's autograph . . . My American Airline's boarding pass ! It was better than nothing, at least the back was blank.
When I handed it to him, he turned it over to inspect the back side before handing it to Ali ( As if it might be an I.O.U. note ! ) , Not a bad idea, I thought.
I treasured that autograph for at least 30 years . . then, like a moron, I misplaced it !
" The secret of genius
is to carry the spirit of the child
into old age,
which means never losing
your enthusiasm. "
Aldous Huxley, 1884-1963