June 8, 2023

Traveling Across the USA | PARK CABLE | Graceland & Detroit

Lesie and I had the good fortune to hit up Graceland on a stormy Sunday afternoon. This is one of those times that a curse becomes a blessing, becase it meant NO LINES at Graceland. For those of you who have never been, Graceland is like a small casino/six flags. There are 11 Elvis giftshops on campus, a 50’s Diner that serves Peanut Butter and Banana on toast, and a car themed bar, an ice cream stand, etc. Leslie and I weren’t really big Elvis fans (yet…) but I have always wanted to see Graceland since we visited Memphis as a kid and didn’t have time to see it. Graceland is awesome. It definitely hit me when I stood i his front hallway that I was in one of the most famous entertainers in history’s house. The house was actually quite modest for a man of his stature, you see kids sign a record deal and buy bigger Crib$ than Graceland all the time.

You realize how HUGE a star Elvis really was in a time that was much less public. You realize Elvis is a bad ass for joining the army. I’m sure he didn’t see much action but most dudes would move to Canada before joining nowadays. You see the 1,000s of records, and awards, and award winning records. You see a young wife with big sunglasses staring right back at the photographers just as inquisitively. And you hear a few random tales about Elvis as a great father, but daughters of great fathers don’t marry Michael Jackson…And then you walk past his grave…kinda weird…Leslie started crying 🙂 And the tour is over. Everyone files out and enters into I.T.M. (idiot tourist mode) Graceland was awesome…we definitely think it is a MUST SEE in America.

detroit. DETROIT. detroit. DETROIT. detroit. DETROIT. detroit. DETROIT. detroit. DETROIT. detroit. DETROIT.

I just saw the city for the first time with my own eyes and it is sad. In downtown two out of every three buildings or so are completely vacant. Like all 20-30 floors, including the ground floor. There are no shops, or coffeehouses, and there are very few people or cars. Then you get out of downtown and there is more despair and homeless and junkies wandering the streets all in dark & depressing colors. The buildings are so covered in graffiti that you stop noticing it. In the neighborhoods there are a few boarded up, burnt out buildings on every block. EVERYWHERE. Then you drive down 8 mile and it’s busier, but feels tense like Crenshaw Avenue in L.A. And then you cross into Grosse Pointe. And it is like an oasis. You don’t see burned down houses or broken windows…you see yards, with kids actually playing in them.

And within minutes you completely forget about all the problems on the other side of the freeway. You see mansions that could house the city’s homeless. You see the cars of the people with the mansions. You see the lake views of the people with the mansions and you see the gardens of the people with the mansions. But you don’t see the mansion people. Why you ask? Because they still have jobs.

How did we let this once great American city turn into Beirut? Is this just a glimpse into the future of our big box, strip mall culture? Are we gonna let all the old major cities fall apart and then just go build a 5-year stucco version in the next town over? What kind of a message does this send to other nations about America? First Katrina and now Detroit? I haven’t heard much about Minneapolis lately…anyone know if it’s next on the list? (I know their bridges weren’t doing very well over there) Once commonly referred to as Motown or The Motor City is now known to its residents as Hell on Wheels and Murdertown. My wife and I are no strangers to rough areas but when we passed a thrift shop near downtown that looked really cool we decided it was better not to get out of the car. This is America. We have to learn to help each other out. We would do anything for our family and close friends. We give them money, take them in, help network and find them a job, let them sleep at our home, use our towels, and feed them. And they would do it for their friends and some of yours. And so on and so forth until we realize we are all holding hands and we should all want the best environment to spend our 65-85 years on this planet together. Because that is it. That’s all you get.

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