John Prine and Muhammad Ali

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Miles waved his mother’s white scarf and danced in the aisle. He belted out “Dear Abby, Dear Abby” as loud as he could. He curled up in his mother’s arms when Prine slowed it down with “Souvenirs.” He yelled “Prison in Christmas” as Prine strummed the first few notes of a song Miles still can’t quite figure out. He stood and clapped for an encore and then sang along with “Muhlenberg County.”

We walked out of Wolf Trap Friday night, Miles clenched my hand and looked up, “It was great, Dad.”

As Friday night drifted down, Miles slept all the way home. As Saturday morning began, we learned Muhammad Ali was gone as Miles slept, making up for lost time. 

The greatest boxer in history, Ali made his mark, first with his fists. And then, with his heart. 

I could hear Prine’s lyrics from the night before.

All the snow has turned to water
Christmas days have come and gone
Broken toys and faded colors
Are all that’s left to linger on
I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
For they always bring me tears
I can’t forgive the way they rob me
Of my childhood souvenirs

Memories they can’t be boughten
They can’t be won at carnivals for free
Well it took me years
To get those souvenirs
And I don’t know how they slipped away from me

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That’s why last night and this mornin’
Always look the same to me

I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
I can’t forgive the way they rob me
Of my sweetheart’s souvenirs