a year ago
“Young man, who is Cassius Clay?”
We turned towards the voice, the large man sitting at the front door of the small hardware store in Brooklyn. The sound of Muhammad Ali’s funeral service played loudly in the background.
“Excuse me?’ My husband asked.
“Who is Cassius Clay?” He repeated.
“What do you mean? Cassius Clay is Muhammad Ali. Or do you want to know what kind of man he was?” My husband answered.
The man nodded his head in approval. “Yes. Muhammad Ali. One of the greatest. He fought for us.”
He continued speaking, his voice breaking. “I don’t know…I don’t know where we would be without him.”
I looked at him, rubbing my large belly. I watched as he tried to wipe the tears but they continued to roll down his face.
“Yes. He was a great man. He transcended sports.” My husband agreed.
As we walked out of the dim storefront into the blinding sunlight, I was struck again by how beloved this great man was by people who never even had the chance to speak to him. His was a legacy that would live on and it was up to us to continue the torch.