Saturday, August 1, 2009


We were in THIS non-air-conditioned truck, cruising down Hwy 90 on our way back to the Gorge after an afternoon at the river with the windows open, the music blaring and the teens in the backseat singing. Sandra was harmonizing, dancing & driving and the kids had vibrating bums because they were sitting on the spot the subwoofer was housed. We were listing to Billie Jean by Michael Jackson and It. Was. Good.

The sun was shining. Our hair was being tossled by the wind. We were all happy, relaxed and cooled off. We were on our way back to listen to evening concerts. I had my sunglasses on so no one knew that I had tears dripping down my cheeks.

Why was I crying? Because it was simply a perfect moment. This was a quintessential Creationfest experience. I was at peace and full of bubbly joy. And yet, at the same time, I was feeling a profound sadness.

We were listening to Michael at his best. That song is gold. My son and my friend BOTH loving on the same tune. Do you know how rare that is?

And while I'm appreciating the harmonies that are going on in the truck, I'm remembering this blog post and this one that I read after he died. And THAT'S what made me sad. He was a genius with music and (I like to believe) misunderstood when it came to his passion for children, and sick with addictions at the end.

The reason I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt regarding those allegations is because I have a dad who loved kids. Given the choice, he would almost always choose to hang out with babies, kids, teens, young people. He was the one who taught all the kids who sat near him in church to wink. He always had gum in his pocket. Before he would buy himself a "toy" he'd buy us go-carts, dirt bikes, dune buggies ...

He had a way of making a kid feel special. Instinctively he just knew what to do... talk about tire rims, drive out to buy junk food at midnight, make guns out of plywood, have 2 trampolines in the yard, build secret forts, have sleepovers, shoot potato guns, whatever...

There was a time when Drew and his friends would have sleepovers with Bups, with all of them sleeping on the floor in the family room on the farm. Or if we were at the lake, they'd pull a bunch of mattresses on the floor and sleep together in the master bedroom.

That was my dad in his prime.
Things got messy as his brain cells stopped fully functioning. He started to do some crazy things. And now? Well, now it's a good day if he makes it to the bathroom on time.

I was thinking about all these things as we were driving back to the campsite. How, when dad does pass away, I hope people remember who he was in his before things went sideways. And forgive/forget all the painful/weird/mixed up things he's doing at the end of his life.

And that's my position regarding MJ. He was brilliant and loving in his prime. He was someone who loved children and that is often unusual/misinterpreted during a time when such behaviour is regarded as suspicious and twisted - and at the end? He was sick with addictions.

So all of that was going through my mind as we bounced along the highway in the summer heat singing along with Michael as he talked about dancing on the floor in the round.

Just thought I'd let you know.

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