Michael. Yeah, he could sing. He could really sing. The other brothers, they weren't too bad, but Michael could sure sing. Back then, we didn't hear about the petty in-differences, the arguments, the abuse, the dysfunction. I suspect had we heard we would have probably tuned it out. Because you see, back then, the music mattered. We had our own problems. And believe it or not, growing up in a heavy union town, with steel mills dotting the landscape, the seventies were a time when we needed Michael and his brothers. Neighbors were being laid off. We were joing our friends in the welfare office. Times were tough. So, when I carried my newspapers, I carried them to the tune of "I Want You Back," running through my head. They gave me the opportunity to close my eyes, and imagine, for a moment, the fame, the fortune and having the talent to sing the song. They allowed me that moment, to drift away, from the poverty, from the hardship, to a comfortable place. Yeah, I came back down to earth. But those moments away were wonderful. And in the summer, with the doors and windows open, throughout our neighborhood was a cacophony of Motown, different artists, different tunes, all colliding together, to create such wonderful melodies and memories. And above it all, was that young man named Michael and his brothers. During our hardest times and our toughest days, when we came home and put our old scratched up 45's on the record player, it was Michael who sang to us, who lifted us, who encouraged us. Back then we didn't think he was weird, or odd, or different. We felt he and his brothers were a Godsend. Michael sang to our hearts. He told us to tell our love ones that we would always be there. That we wanted them back. That we would never, ever, be able to say goodbye. Michael sang to us. He touched us in such a wonderful way. And while none us ever had the opportunity to meet him or his brothers, we counted them as our friends. They helped us, when we needed help, through song. They touched us in a marvelous, indelible way, that will forever last in our hearts forever.
And so when our good friend died the other day, we got on the phone and communicated with each other. We remembered "when". Even in passing, he brought cheer to our hearts because he took us back to "when" - "when" the music really mattered. We will miss our friend, Michael Jackson, and we can only hope that his lasting legacy will be one of song. We can wonder "why", and ponder "what ifs", and so forth. We can lament, and mourn and ask "why him", "why so soon" and "why so young". But at the end of the day, we must reconcile ourselves with the fact that he and his talent belonged to our Creator and He decides when and how. And for me, when I think about the abruptness of it all, the unexpected nature of this great man's passing, I just choose to believe that God was ready to bring him home to sing with His Angels, and maybe, even maybe to teach them to moonwalk.
God bless you Michael. You will be missed.