The last of a dying breed.
He was old, but not ancient, the man next to us at the delicatessen. It was 1973. My then girlfriend (now wife) and I had ordered dinner and this old guy, sitting by himself, seemed lonely, so we got talking and he told us how he had grown up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and that when he was a boy, his next-door neighbor was a famous man, a really famous man.
We asked, “Who was it?” And he said, “Have you ever heard of the mad monk, Rasputin?”
How could somebody talking to me in a diner on 7th Avenue have also talked to somebody that ancient? It just didn’t seem possible. Yet the old guy said, “Rasputin and my dad were friends. He used to come over for tea.”