Black Day In July


1965 marked beginning of the burning of America’s inner cities—Watts, Detroit, Newark, Chicago; race riots and police brutality were rampant during the late sixties. In 1967 I was just a kid oblivious to what was going on around me, but having met a girl at the Music Box—a major hook up place for young people, I was invited by her to come down to Detroit so we could continue our “together time.” Two weeks later, soon after arriving on her doorstep, it became clear that I had misplaced expectations. After an awkward evening, I found myself back on the expressway hitchhiking out of town. Coincidentally, on that same evening, the Detroit riots ignited. Needless to say, the hitchhiking was poor. After 20 hours of putting one foot in front of the other in order to traverse the 170 miles that stood between me and my destination (I managed three short car rides also) I arrived back home at 6 pm Sunday evening extremely tired, hungry and wiser. I’m telling this story because playing at high volume on the radio in the two car rides that I did get, blasted the Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood song, “Jackson” (actually, I think it’s a Johnny Cash song, but they made it theirs). Were it not for that song (and later that album) I’m not sure I would be telling this story right now. Funny how those types of connections exponentially increase the “fun” (and meaning) in one’s life. And, of course, it was Gordon Lightfoot’s song Black Day In July that keeps the memory of the Detroit riots alive.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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