Tuesday, November 08, 2011

When I was about 13 right up until I was 17, I used to sneak in my Dad's office (which was right next to his bedroom) to temporarily borrow (read: steal) all types of fun, fascinating items. Some days I would steal one of his many college sweatshirts to wear to high school. Other days I would steal music like the Jimi Hendrix Blues cassette or his Branford Marsalis Royal Garden Blues cd. I'm sure my father knew I was removing items from his office, and putting them in the wrong place, but he was nice enough to never say anything--thus enabling my thievery.

One day I was on a mission to steal something new, when I noticed some of his interesting reading material. My father had saved some old newspapers from significant dates in history like Nixon's resignation, Gerald Ford's inauguration, and Martin Luther King getting shot. I set all three papers aside to read, and then I saw two Sports Illustrated magazines buried in the corner. The first one read: End of Ali legend with Ali in the midst of falling from a devastating left hook from Joe Frazier, and the other one read: The Epic Battle with Ali making Frazier eat a right hand. I quickly stacked the magazines on top of the newspapers, and I prepared myself to pull yet another heist.

Unfortunately for me, two seconds after that, I heard the garage open, which meant my dad was home, and I had to attempt to put everything back in its place, and get the hell out of there. Before I went to bed that night, the magazines AND the newspapers were sitting on the desk in my bedroom, and I went to my dad's office. First I apologized for the theft, but he said not to worry about it, but to stop it immediately (I didn't). Then he proceeded to tell me stories about Nixon, about MLK, and most importantly (at least to me at that time) about the Ali/Frazier battles that he saw when he was in his early 20s. I was captivated and jealous all at the same time, and this was before I had ever seen tapes of those entire fights. Once I saw the fights, and combined them with stories I heard my dad tell, I felt like I had seen them live and in person.

So when I heard Joe Frazier passed away (while my Philadelphia Eagles were losing no less) I immediately wanted to call my dad to see if he maybe had one more story he had forgotten to tell me all this time. Unfortunately for me, it was 11:30pm and you don't call anyone that late unless there is family emergency. I'll call him this morning though..

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