February 7, 2009 - a day Ken will never forget!
After changing our minds several times about what movie to go see, we decided on the early evening show of "SlumdogMillionaire" at the local theatre close to us. I was holding our seats while Ken went to get the first round of refreshments, when I noticed a woman help an older man shuffle in and sit down directly behind us. OMG!!!
When Ken came back in, I told him to look who is sitting behind us! He glanced quickly and said "hi" to the woman and she replied back the same. We sat back down, and I said "what are you doing?" "Aren't you going to say anything to him?" "Who is it?" Ken said. "It's Muhammed Ali!!!" (The person Ken admires most in the whole world!).
So I got up to get more refreshments, and as I turned around I could see Ken leaning over talking to the Greatest. He said he said "hi, and how're you doing, Champ?" MAli reached up his straight weak left hand to shake Ken's. Ken was in seventh heaven.
It was so weird to sit through the movie knowing he was right behind us. On several occasions, he kind of choked on phlegm, and his wife got that all worked out as she coached him on the coughing. He ate a lot of popcorn, and we heard that too. But what was the most eery, was that we could hear him breathing in and out the whole time, not too loudly, just audible enough that you could tell he was struggling to breathe. Ken says that it was one of those moments when you thought about the cycle of life - here was a man, at his prime was to many the greatest athlete in the world ( and to many still is), now an elderly man in the grips of a serious disease that has taken its toll on him.
Well, as we all know by now, the movie was wonderful, and of course, we stuck around until all of the theater was cleared except for us and them. Again, I walked up the aisle and turned around to see Ken leaning over his idol, talking once more. When I asked him what he said, Ken said, "This is great night - I got to see a great movie and meet the greatest man in the world!" MAli's wife said, "Oh, you're so sweet." And the two men shook hands again.
A moment where I watched two great men meet.