"A lot of
people say I should do more boasting and bragging about Arthur Jr.," Mr.
Ashe says. "But that can get aggravating. I plan to live to 100—and I'll
never make it that way." Pink Ashe died in 1949 at a ripe old age. "The
good whiskey gave out," Mr. Ashe explains, straight-faced. The Ashes do not
just accept life. They play with it, each in his own way, when they permit it
to confront them.
There was the
time last year in Dallas, two days before the Davis Cup round with Mexico. It
was the most important match of Ashe's career at that point, but he had to
attend a fancy luncheon in a tall building. He was able, finally, to escape to
a far corner and hide there with some friends. Suddenly, however, he spied two
determined matrons steering toward him. He knew their look. "Uh-oh," he
said, "here come the ones who have been assigned to put me at ease." If
a man did not know better, he might have thought he saw the Killer instinct
briefly pass through Arthur Ashe's eyes. But he smiled instead. "Why does
everyone want to put me at ease?" he asked. "I am at ease. I'm always
at ease." The two ladies came and took him away. They did their duty.
Arthur put them at ease.