Durham News: Opinion

What you’re saying: Mark-Anthony Middleton and Jeff Herrick

In this May 25, 1965, file photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw in Lewiston, Maine.
In this May 25, 1965, file photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw in Lewiston, Maine. AP

Most exciting day

In 1980 President Jimmy Carter was seeking re-election and visited Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn. It was one of the most exciting days of my life.

In attendance were Sen. Ted Kennedy, Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Muhammad Ali.

My father Deacon Benjamin Middleton and his buddy Deacon James McPherson were part of Concord’s security force and were taking orders from the U.S. Secret Service that day. My father was manning the door that both POTUS and the Champ came through. As Ali approached he gifted my father with one of his greatest “I remember the time” stories EVER:

Dad – (extending his hand) “How ya doing champ?!”

Ali – “Man what you call me? Did you say tramp?!” (Puts up both fists and scowls at dad)

Dad – “Now you know I would NEVER call YOU that champ!”

Muhammad Ali laughs and hugs my dad. That's the day he became my “champ” as well.

So pretty! So pretty!

Mark-Anthony Middleton

Durham

Loved those trees

Re “Fouls called on Duke softball field” (DN, June 1)

I loved those trees. I used to DJ at WXDU. The DJ booth overlooked those oaks.

When I first heard of they would be cut a few months ago, I ran by to see the trees for myself. I was all set to send an outraged email ... but I found some very sickly, elderly willow oaks. Unfortunately every tree was cankered and had significant amounts of dead branches. I took some photos for posterity.

Willow Oaks only live about 80 years in urban areas. It is a problem all over Durham. I was really hoping they were long-lived post Oaks like we have in Carrboro.

I don’t live in Durham, but I have an affinity for that space. I wish Duke had taken the long view and planted a variety of trees to replace those trees decades ago or took better care of the existing ones. Also they might have done better to show the neighbors what bad shape the trees were in.

Still pains me to see the trees go.

Jeff Herrick

via Facebook

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