Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I spent a long weekend visiting my mom and family. Coincidentally, they live in Hammond, Indiana, a stone's throw from Michael Jackson's home town of Gary, the much fabled "troubled" neighborhood.My sister, Tina, and I have a great sense of adventure. So it's not a surprise that on Saturday, just two days after Michael died, we jumped into her Jeep and motored 10 minutes to see the MJ shrine. I was stunned that it wasn't a mob scene. Sure, there was traffic. But we were able to quickly find a parking spot. We parked two long blocks away from the Jackson home and hoofed it to the place where it all began. People who lived there were in lawn chairs in their front yards taking in all the traffic and watching a steady stream of people making the pilgrimage. When we got there, we saw a tiny home, two bedroom i think, that isn't even big enough for one person let alone a couple and their 7 kids. TV live trucks were sending live pictures of the scene back to their stations. Teary fans were placing flowers, stuffed animals and touching notes at the front step. Others sold cold water for $1 and hawked MJ t-shirts. People snapped pictures with their cameras and phones and took turns taking pictures of each other standing in front of the house. The Mayor, Rudy Clay, a dead ringer for Super Fly, was holding court. Clay chatted with his constituents and signed full-color photos of himself while pledging to "bring Michael home." Clay told a local reporter that he was negotiating with the family to bring Michael home to "lie in state." All this was going on as two huge speakers blared MJ music.Sure, it was surreal, and some would argue tasteless. But in the middle of all this activity, there was a peace that was as gentle as Michael's soul. I'm glad I went.