I knew my only chance was an all-out sprint of 50 yards, two lengths of the pool. His wife of 57 years, Vera, started us. About 15 yards into it I looked up from my thrashing to see him watching me, his stroke smooth and splashless.
He beat me by about a length, but he could've beaten me by about the length of Omaha Beach. He shook my hand and said, "You gave me a real scare there!"
Right. It would be like Reagan saying to Mondale, "Whoa! You almost nipped me there at the end!" It had to be the new battery.
Let's toast your victory over a beer, I offered. "Sure," he said. "Just let me stretch out with a few more laps." He did 70 more—a mile. Does it every day.
While he swam, it hit me that this is one of the coolest men I'd ever come across. Heroic. Classy. Brave. Buffed. Wise. Kind. "What goals could you possibly still have?" I asked him that night, at one of the 20 restaurants he's developed.
"Well, the next age group is 90-and-above," he said. "So, in a year or two I'm going to have to start getting in shape again."
Forget FACES IN THE CROWD. IS it too late to give him a cover?