Richard shuffled in out of the rain and into the hall where I was playing guitar. Neither music nor I were what he was looking for, but was happy to sit and join me in conversation.
I learned that Richard moved to San Francisco in 1955 from Hawaii. “It’s hot there,” he told me as a cold, wet wind blows in from the outside. He lived in Missouri for two years where he failed out of seminary. “I didn’t really want to be a priest, I just wrote my name on a list and they sent me there.”
After that, Richard signed up for the Marines and spent three years in the Bay Area. And after that worked for Pan Am Airlines until the terrorist attack over Scotland. Luanne Rogers, a friend of mine, died on that flight.
But boxing is Richard’s true passion. He had five “championship” bouts and seven “professional fights,” or so he said. His math is a little off, as is most of him. Boxing professionally can do that to a person. He’s also missing a few teeth. He’s lost his false teeth three times this year alone. He was coaching a group of young boys when he lost his first set of permanent dentures. To a nine year old boy “with a strong right hand.”
In his 84 years Richard met Mohammed Ali. And like me, he met the great Sugar Ray Lenard. In between he met many a fist and blows to the head. Today, we would meet at the church where he is used to meeting up with others like him who come for food and social community. Today and the rain he is slow but steady. His footwork isn’t the same but Richard wants you to know that: it’s all good.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one ..."